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I’ve been a manga fan or a long time, longer than I’ve been an anime fan.  Although I enjoy both mediums, there’s just a certain charm to manga that makes it more appealing in  my eyes. Even if I enjoy an anime series, I can usually only watch two or three episodes at a time before having to take a break. With manga, I can read through volumes of a series that I like with little problem. With that said, there are quite a few manga that I have come to love through the years that have not yet been published in North America. Below I make a small list, in no particular order, of some of the manga that I think deserve to get licensed and published in this side of the world.

#1 – SKET Dance (Kenta Shinohara)

 

Created by one of Hideaki Sorachi’s former assistants (of Gin Tama fame), SKET Dance follows the adventures of the Kaimei High School campus support group, SKET Dance. The three main characters help the school’s student body and faculty whenever possible, making friends (and laughs) along the way.

Reasons for licensing: It’s a Jump title, so if someone licenses it, it’s going to be Viz. The manga is fast-paced and most chapters are self-contained stories, meaning that it is very easy to pick up and read a volume. The cast of characters is as diverse as they come, and the author has no problems with jumping from drama to comedic gold.

Reasons against licensing: Much of the comedy in the series stems from parodies of Japanese talk shows, making it very hard to grasp without adding extensive footnotes. While there may be a few arcs that take a couple of chapters and develop the characters, there isn’t an “end” point in sight. No major villain to destroy, no hearts to win over with love, and no dreams to complete. The manga gets better with every volume, but its story isn’t designed to hook readers into patiently waiting for the next volume to come out.

 

 #2 – Kimi No Iru Machi / A Town Where You Live (Seo Kouji)

 

A spiritual sequel to Suzuka, Kimi No Iru Machi follows the story of Haruto, a teenage boy who lives in rural Hiroshima. His life is turned upside down when Yuzuki Eba, daughter of Haruto’s dad’s best friend, moves in with him to study at the same high school. Haruto isn’t all too happy about Eba moving into his life, given that he already loves another classmate.

 Reasons for licensing: This isn’t your average run-of-the-mill romance story; it’s much better. The art is beautiful and chapters tend to end with a cliffhanger, which helps boosting sales .The settings change, the characters change, the emotions change; the constant state of progress makes reading the manga a real delight.

Reasons against licensing: What I consider a delight, some may abhor. For starters, the characters don’t have much depth to them (you fall in love with them regardless). These same characters have a tendency to be indecisive and/or make bad decisions all around, which might put off some readers. The cliffhangers might make the wait for the next volume hard, which is why I recommend that it be released in omnibus containing two volumes each.

 

#3 – Change 123 (Iku Sakaguchi / Shiuri Iwasawa)

 

Change 123 follows the story of Teruharu, a big fan of the Kamen Raider show (parody of Kamen Rider), and Motoko, a girl suffering through multiple personality disorder. After their fateful reunion one day, Teruharu must help Motoko deal with her three other personalities, all while trying to fight to stay alive (no, really).

Reasons for licensing: The only one of the four mentioned in the post who has finished publication, the story is short enough that it doesn’t require a major commitment. In a pseudo-harem containing so much fanservice, it’s refreshing to know that the characters, main or secondary, are very fleshed out and unique. The fighting is bloody and varied, as each of the personalities knows a different fighting style.

Reasons against licensing: As fun as the characters themselves are, the story itself is a real hit-and-miss. One particular arc foreshadows something real big, but never really goes into it after that. It’s also ironic how the original, normal Motoko is one of the blandest characters of the entire manga.

 

#4 – Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai / The World God Only Knows (Tamiki Wakaki)

 

The World God Only Knows (TWGOK for short) follows Keima, the king of dating sims, as he and the devil Elsie team up to capture runaway spirits from Hell. These spirits hide inside girls with gaps in their hearts and it is up to Keima to win their hearts over and release the spirits from their body.

Reasons for licensing: TWGOK’s manga has been licensed and released in both French and German. The anime was recently announced to have been licensed by Sentai Filmworks. When you think about it, the only thing left is releasing it in English. And really, why not? It has great art, a complex and surprisingly captivating plot, and a lovable cast of characters.

Reasons against licensing: As funny and smart as the series is, this manga deals a lot with dating sims, which don’t hold much ground in the Western Hemisphere. Really a minor complaint though, as people who are not familiar with the game genre can still find this series wildly funny.

 

With that said, which manga do you think deserve to be licensed and released in English?