Popular manga

I’ve relied on ~8 Wikipedia category articles and Goodreads lists to supply over 440 manga titles assigned uniquely into the categories shōnen, shōjo, seinen, and josei, and I’ve sorted them based on their first volume’s Goodreads stats (the log of the number of raters multiplied by the cube of their score expressed as a percentage). Obviously, dubious categorizations as well as biases inherent in the ratings are problems in the results. Still, the top 50 titles in each category and in all categories combined are given below, as usual minus any actual data from Goodreads.

50 popular manga

Fullmetal Alchemist
Death Note
Attack on Titan
Ouran High School Host Club
One Piece
Fairy Tail
Naruto
Black Butler
Tokyo Ghoul
Maid-sama!
Dragon Ball
Blue Exorcist
Fruits Basket
Rurouni Kenshin
Bleach
Hunter x Hunter
OnePunch-Man
Kamisama Kiss
Soul Eater
Skip Beat!
InuYasha
Sailor Moon
Akira
Case Closed
Electric Daisy
Hellsing
Yotsuba&!
Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You
Cardcaptor Sakura
Oyasumi Punpun
Love So Life
Berserk
Horimiya
Vampire Knight
Naoki Urasawa’s Monster
Yu Yu Hakusho
Nana
D.Gray-man
Beast Master
Hana to Akuma
Hana-Kimi
Pandora Hearts
Blue Spring Ride
Gakuen Alice
Trigun Maximum
Alice in the Country of Hearts
xxxHolic
Reborn!
Love★Com
Ranma ½

50 popular shōjo manga

Ouran High School Host Club
Maid-sama!
Fruits Basket
Kamisama Kiss
Skip Beat!
Sailor Moon
Electric Daisy
Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You
Cardcaptor Sakura
Love So Life
Horimiya
Vampire Knight
Beast Master
Hana to Akuma
Hana-Kimi
Blue Spring Ride
Gakuen Alice
Alice in the Country of Hearts
Love★Com
Faster than a Kiss
From Far Away
Special A
Kitchen Princess
Beauty Pop
Orange
Suki-tte Ii na yo
Last Game
The Wallflower
High School Debut
Tokyo Crazy Paradise
Black Bird
MeruPuri
Shugo Chara!
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun
Akatsuki no Yona
Daytime Shooting Star
Snow White with the Red Hair
Fushigi Yûgi: The Mysterious Play
Boys Over Flowers: Hana Yori Dango
Happy Cafe
1/2 Prince
Dawn of the Arcana
Full Moon O Sagashite
Kodocha: Sana’s Stage
Absolute Boyfriend
Natsume’s Book of Friends
D.N.Angel
Tail of the Moon
Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne
Barajou no Kiss

50 popular shōnen manga

Fullmetal Alchemist
Death Note
Attack on Titan
One Piece
Fairy Tail
Naruto
Black Butler
Dragon Ball
Blue Exorcist
Rurouni Kenshin
Bleach
Hunter x Hunter
OnePunch-Man
Soul Eater
InuYasha
Case Closed
Yotsuba&!
Yu Yu Hakusho
D.Gray-man
Pandora Hearts
Reborn!
Ranma ½
Bakuman
Trigun
Sword Art Online
Assassination Classroom
Pokémon Adventures
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
Shaman King
DRRR!! Durarara!!
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
Azumanga Daioh
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
Hikaru no Go
Rave Master
Chibi Vampire
Koe no Katachi
Tegami Bachi
Yu-Gi-Oh!
Rosario+Vampire
The Ancient Magus’ Bride
Akame ga KILL!
The Devil is a Part-Timer!
High School DxD
Cross Game
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Negima! Magister Negi Magi
Yakitate!! Japan
Love Hina
Cage of Eden

50 popular josei manga

Nana
Red River
The Crimson Spell
Mars
Paradise Kiss
Pet Shop of Horrors
Midnight Secretary
Nodame Cantabile
Solanin
Princess Jellyfish
The Story of Saiunkoku
Tramps Like Us
Bunny Drop
Karneval
Sand Chronicles
Private Prince
Cat Street
7 Seeds
Wandering Son
Sensual Phrase
Gokusen
Sakamichi No Apollon
Ōoku: The Inner Chambers
Honey and Clover
A Drunken Dream and Other Stories
The Cain Saga
Chihayafuru
Desire Climax
Little New York
My Lovely Honey
Maison Ikkoku
My Girl
Aria
Butterflies, Flowers
Utsubora – The Story of a Novelist
Oishii Kankei
Kaze Hikaru
Bitter Virgin
Tada, Kimi Wo Aishiteru
Doll
For The Rose
Princess Ai
anata ni hana o sasagemashou
Beautiful People
Model
Deep Love: Ayu’s Story
X-Day
Hanshin
Suppli
Flat

50 popular seinen manga

Tokyo Ghoul
Akira
Hellsing
Oyasumi Punpun
Berserk
Naoki Urasawa’s Monster
Trigun Maximum
xxxHolic
20th Century Boys
PLUTO
Uzumaki
Mushishi
Ghost in the Shell
Chobits
Vagabond
Tekkon Kinkreet
Lone Wolf and Cub
Gangsta.
A Bride’s Story
Parasyte
Chi’s Sweet Home
Buddha
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Battle Angel Alita
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Liar Game
Vinland Saga
Blade of the Immortal
Higurashi When They Cry
All You Need Is Kill
Angel Beats!
Planetes
Clannad Manga
Blame!
Wolf’s Rain
Battle Royale
Black Jack
Gantz
Showa: A History of Japan, 1926-1939
Elfen Lied
Domu: A Child’s Dream
Black Lagoon
Ode to Kirihito
Chang Ge Xing
Spice & Wolf
The Voices of a Distant Star
Museum of Terror: Tomie
Ajin: Demi-Human
K-ON!
Corpse Party

Selected SF/F Previews for 8/2015

Below are the titles I’ve chosen to highlight from SF Signal’s lists of books and comics released in August 2015.

  • Becky Chambers, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. I’ve heard a lot of buzz about this originally self-published space adventure novel, and the preview seems both readable and pleasant: classic space opera tropes but with a light, contemporary feel.
  • Terry Pratchett, The Shepherd’s Crown. Terry Pratchett’s last Discworld novel is pretty much by definition a gift to be treasured. I can’t imagine this is the best place for someone to begin the series, but to a fan, the opening scenes call to mind many warm and happy memories.
  • John Scalzi, The End of All Things. This is the latest in the Old Man’s War series, and as usual, it seems to be compulsively readable stuff.
  • Christopher Moore, Secondhand Souls. The sequel to Moore’s very funny Grim Reaper comedy, Dirty Job, this seems like fun too, though I’m sure the experience of reading the preview benefits from also having read the first book.
  • Tom Scioli, American Barbarian. This seems to be a parody of 80s cartoons like Thundarr the Barbarian, but with more than a hint of the 70s comic Kamandi to it as well. Like its source material, it appears to be delightfully unsophisticated yet strange.
  • Stefan Petrucha, Deadpool: Paws. Deadpool first appeared well after I’d stopped keeping track of the Marvel Universe, and I’ve been neither here nor there about the Deadpool comics I’ve read. But I did like a couple of the jokes in the opening chapters of this prose novel, e.g. the bit about “Goom hungers!”

Selected SF/F Previews for 7/2015

Here are the titles I’ve chosen to highlight from SF Signal’s round-ups of books and comics released in July 2015.

  • China Miéville, Three Moments of an Explosion. I wasn’t aware before this summer that Miéville had even written any short fiction (at least, not more than one story), but I was instantly interested in reading all of it. The preview offers a look at two stories. The first was strange, as expected, and I liked what I could read of the second one: a magical realist story about icebergs that suddenly appear in the air over London and mostly just float there.
  • Dennis Mahoney, Bell Weather. In a fantasy world loosely inspired by Earth’s 18th century, a woman with amnesia arrives in a small town by unusual means: drifting unconscious in the river’s annual flood of flowers. That and other enigmatic natural phenomena made this preview stand out for me.
  • Max Gladstone, Last First Snow. I’ve read the first book in this series, which combines the breezy tone of an urban fantasy novel with an intriguingly weird fantasy setting—one in which people manage bizarre gods via magic and (oddly enough) legal process. The preview for this fourth book in the series leaps right into that stuff, and I appreciate fantasy novels that put the fantastic elements front and center.
  • Jodi Taylor, No Time Like the Past. Judging from the preview of its fifth volume, The Chronicles of St. Mary’s seems to be a light, witty, and mildly absurd time travel series blending historical details with simple fun. In this episode, the historians from St. Mary’s visit their own institution during the English Civil War.
  • D.B. Jackson, Dead Man’s Reach. I’ve been meaning to try the Thieftaker Chronicles, which take place in a magic-infused colonial Boston on the verge of the Revolution. This is the fourth book, and I thought it started reasonably well by introducing numerous series characters without making too many assumptions while still getting into some plot issues quickly.
  • E.R. Eddison (trans.), Egil’s Saga. I had no idea fantasy fiction pioneer E.R. Eddison had translated Egil’s Saga, but much more interesting was the fact that he chose to maximize the use of vocabulary with Germanic rather than Latinate roots so that the translation would sound more like the original. Based on the preview, I don’t think the result is something I could read all the way through, but sampling it was interesting, and I’m glad someone tried it as an experiment.

Selected SF/F Previews for 6/2015

Here are the Amazon previews that I enjoyed out of those linked in SF Signal’s June round-ups of new SF/F books and comics.

  • Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology. The VanderMeers are responsible for several of the very best SF anthologies, and I’m delighted to see that they’ve assembled a collection of feminist SF that appears to include both classic and lesser-known but intriguing stories. Insta-buy.
  • Garth Nix, To Hold the Bridge. The major selling point for this collection of Nix’s short fiction seems to be that it has an Old Kingdom story, i.e. something set in the same world as his YA novels, and the preview for it seems decent. The collection doesn’t seem to have any Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz stories in it, though, which would interest me even more.
  • Taiyo Fujii, Gene Mapper. A blurb says this SF novel about GMOs, augmented reality, and other contemporary issues was a self-published hit in Japan. The preview’s breathless litany of science news imagery reminded me of Ramez Naam’s Nexus, which I also enjoyed.
  • Philip Zaleski & Carol Zaleski, The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams. Tolkien and Lewis were a big part of my childhood, but I haven’t maintained the connection. What appeals to me just as much about this is its focus on literary friendships and its scholarly detail.
  • Matthew Meyer, The Hour of Meeting Evil Spirits: An Encyclopedia of Mononoke and Magic. This is volume two of a guide to Japanese folklore. Evidently it was funded via Kickstarter, which may explain the high cost of the print edition. The electronic version, though, still seems pretty nice. Volume one is The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons: A Field Guide to Japanese Yokai.
  • Jon Morris, The League of Regrettable Superheroes: Half-Baked Heroes from Comic Book History. This encyclopedia of odd and mostly discarded superheroes appeals to me on many levels: it’s funny and informative, but it’s also easy to imagine a slightly alternate universe in which these heroes had more fans or better writers to help them gel into something more lasting.
  • Sebastien de Castell, Knight’s Shadow. This is the second book in the Greatcoats series, and I found its preview slightly more compelling than that of the first, though I had almost been persuaded to try the first one a while back. Anyway, it’s a musketeers-ish fantasy series that promises to deliver a lot of swashbuckling action.
  • Paul Tremblay, A Head Full of Ghosts. Contemporary horror novels are often not my thing, but the preview for this one seemed smoothly written and cleverly topical, in view of reality shows, Paranormal Activity, etc. Certainly it left me wondering what had happened and wanting to know more, so … success.
  • Andrew MacLean, ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria for the End Times. This graphic novel about a girl and her cat companion poking around in a post-apocalyptic landscape seems light and well-illustrated, but I also liked that the writer would drop in the text of an aria in French and footnote it as if to say to non-speakers, “Look it up.”

Selected SF/F Previews for 5/2015

Here are the previews I enjoyed most from SF Signal’s May round-ups of new SF/F print media and new comics and graphic novels.

  • Naomi Novik, Uprooted. Novik’s first non-Temeraire novel is a treat: a fast-paced, character-driven fantasy full of engaging scenes and colorful magic. It will probably be on my Hugo ballot next year (or perhaps more importantly my Locus ballot).
  • Neal Stephenson, Seveneves. I’ve only read a few pages of this, but having the moon mysteriously blow up on line one is certainly an intriguing way to start an SF novel. And I’ve heard enough buzz about it to think I’m likely to read it eventually.
  • Hannu Rajaniemi, Collected Fiction. Rajaniemi writes some of the most interesting post-singularity short fiction in SF, full of strange ideas and strange imagery, so this was pretty much an insta-buy for me.
  • Noelle Stevenson, Nimona. Currently there’s no preview for this on Amazon, but I did pick this up based on some kind of preview somewhere when it came out, so close enough. Anyway, this is a charming graphic novel about a young woman shapeshifter who signs up to be the sidekick of a local fantasy villain. There’s a lot of cute humor to it but also some surprising emotional complexity.
  • I.N.J. Culbard, adapting The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers. This graphic novel adaptation does a great job capturing the feel of Chambers’s classic story cycle: so mysterious, eerie, pensive, etc.
  • Gwenda Bond, Fallout. A YA novel focusing on Lois Lane seems like a fun idea, and the writing on exhibit in the preview suggests it would be a fast, pleasant read as well.
  • Simon Leys, The Death of Napoleon. What if Napoleon was replaced by a double at St. Helena and escaped to see Europe again? It’s a stretch to call this SF/F or even alternate history, because the point of departure from our timeline doesn’t seem to have a significant impact. But I like the idea, and this seems well-written.

Selected SF/F Previews for 4/2015

I’m still catching up on SF/F previews. Here are the highlights I’ve selected from SF Signal’s April round-ups of new SF/F print media and new comics and graphic novels.

  • Mary Robinette Kowal, Of Noble Family. This is the final entry in Kowal’s Glamourist Histories, a Regency fantasy series about a couple from England and their use of magic to make art. I’ve enjoyed the preceding volumes in the series, and I heard about this one last year when two blog posts explained the lengths Kowal went to for accuracy in rendering Antiguan Creole English in the novel’s dialogue. Based on plot points in an earlier book, I could sort of guess how the protagonists would wind up in Antigua, and the preview confirmed it. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out of all the historical research Kowal did for this book.
  • Kazuki Sakuraba, Red Girls: The Legend of the Akakuchibas. This seems to be a family saga with elements of magical realism and perhaps science fiction, because it extends to some time in the future. I see that the author primarily writes light novels (i.e. YA), and that may explain why the preview’s narration felt straightforward to me, uncomplicated in a way I associate more with YA than with magical realism written for adults. Or maybe it’s just a very clear translation. At any rate, the imagery was engaging.
  • Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire), Rolling in the Deep. When writing as Mira Grant, McGuire takes science fiction premises that strike me as slightly corny and blends them with the easy-going narration of an urban fantasy novel but also (most importantly) the plot developments that make it worthwhile. In this novella, the premise is that some cable channel has financed an expedition in search of mermaids, but we’re told from the very beginning that no one returns from the expedition. So what happened? I guess I only have to read 120 pages or so to find out.
  • Robert Charles Wilson, The Affinities. I wonder if Wilson’s latest might be an allegory about “taste tribes,” because it apparently has to do with society being transformed as people join scientifically-constructed voluntary associations of compatible personalities rather than sticking with their kin or school/workplace friendships. I don’t know, but regardless, the first chapter or so of this novel reads very smoothly, and although it’s no longer surprising in an RCW novel, one review promises some sort of twist.
  • adrienne maree brown and Walidah Imarisha, Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements. The preview for this collection only offers glimpses of two stories, but I like how those stories venture into standard subgenres (zombie stories and superhero stories) with representational concerns that are not typically in the foreground. I think I might prefer non-fiction for insight into contemporary social issues, but I appreciate seeing the tropes of science fiction as such get a new lease on life through association with new points of view.
  • Ken Liu, The Grace of Kings. Liu has published several notable short stories in the past few years, but I think this is his first novel. It’s an intriguingly ornate epic fantasy, and the setting is certainly interesting, even if I can’t guess from the preview how well the characters and story fill out.

Popular mid-to-late 20th C. innovative fiction

In 1998, a short fiction collection from Dalkey Archive Press titled Innovations: An Anthology of Modern & Contemporary Fiction included at the end a “A Highly Eccentric List of 101 Books for Further Reading” selected by the editor, Robert L. McLaughlin, and sorted by author. Below, I’ve re-sorted those suggestions by the log of their current number of readers on Goodreads multiplied by the square of their current rating (treated as a percentage). As usual, I’ve omitted the Goodreads data itself.

1. Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five
2. Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths
3. David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
4. Gabriel Garcia Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
5. Joseph Heller, Catch-22
6. Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose
7. Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire
8. Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Journey to the End of Night
9. Julio Cortázar, Hopscotch
10. Italo Calvino, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler
11. Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow
12. Don DeLillo, White Noise
13. Paul Auster, New York Trilogy
14. Mario Vargas Llosa, Conversation in the Cathedral
15. Günter Grass, The Tin Drum
16. Georges Perec, Life: A User’s Manual
17. William Gaddis, The Recognitions
18. Milorad Pavić, Dictionary of the Khazars
19. John Barth, The Sot-Weed Factor
20. Raymond Queneau, Exercises in Style
21. Alasdair Gray, Lanark
22. Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses
23. Flann O’Brien, At Swim-Two-Birds
24. Angela Carter, Nights at the Circus
25. Manuel Puig, Kiss of the Spider Woman
26. David Markson, Wittgenstein’s Mistress
27. Richard Brautigan, A Confederate General from Big Sur
28. Thomas Bernhard, Concrete
29. Richard Powers, The Gold Bug Variations
30. José Donoso, The Obscene Bird of Night
31. Samuel R. Delany, Dhalgren
32. Samuel Beckett, Murphy
33. William Burroughs, Naked Lunch
34. William Carlos Williams, Imaginations
35. Danilo Kiš, Hourglass
36. Steven Millhauser, Edwin Mullhouse
37. Carole Maso, AVA
38. Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Three Trapped Tigers
39. Josef Škvorecký, The Engineer of Human Souls
40. Carlos Fuentes, Terra Nostra
41. Robert Coover, The Public Burning
42. Ishmael Reed, Mumbo Jumbo
43. Fernando Del Paso, Palinuro of Mexico
44. Alexander Theroux, Darconville’s Cat
45. José Lezama Lima, Paradiso
46. William T. Vollmann, The Ice Shirt
47. Janice Galloway, The Trick is to Keep Breathing
48. William H. Gass, The Tunnel
49. Tadeusz Konwicki, A Minor Apocalypse
50. Gilbert Sorrentino, Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things
51. Joseph McElroy, Women and Men
52. Nicholas Mosley, Impossible Object
53. Harry Mathews, Cigarettes
54. Alain Robbe-Grillet, Jealousy
55. Donald Barthelme, Snow White
56. Kathy Acker, Empire of the Senseless
57. John Hawkes, Second Skin
58. B.S. Johnson, House Mother Normal
59. Jacques Roubaud, The Great Fire of London
60. D. Keith Mano, Take Five
61. Felipe Alfau, Chromos
62. Marguerite Young, Miss Macintosh, My Darling
63. Paul Metcalf, Genoa
64. Stanley Elkin, The Living End
65. John Edgar Wideman, Philadelphia Fire
66. Claude Simon, The Grass
67. Rikki Ducornet, Phosphor in Dreamland
68. William Eastlake, Castle Keep
69. Gert Jonke, Geometric Regional Novel
70. Karen Gordon, The Red Shoes and Other Tattered Tales
71. Robert Pinget, The Inquisitory
72. Henry Green, Back
73. Edmund White, Forgetting Elena
74. Ann Quin, Tripticks
75. Coleman Dowell, Island People
76. Christine Brooke-Rose, Thru
77. Julián Ríos, Larva
78. Juan Goytisolo, Makbara
79. Michel Butor, Mobile
80. Carol De Chellis Hill, Henry James’ Midnight Song
81. Curtis White, Memories of My Father Watching TV
82. Nathalie Sarraute, Do You Hear Them?
83. Brigid Brophy, In Transit
84. Gabrielle Burton, Heartbreak Hotel
85. Severo Sarduy, Cobra & Maitreya
86. Luisa Valenzuela, He Who Searches
87. Piotr Szewc, Annihilation
88. Ralph Cusack, Cadenza
89. Claude Ollier, Mise-en-Scene
90. Susan Daitch, L.C.
91. Julieta Campos, The Fear of Losing Eurydice
92. LeRoi Jones, Tales
93. William Demby, The Catacombs
94. Alf MacLochlainn, Out of Focus
95. Eva Figes, Ghosts
96. Reyoung, Unbabbling
97. Osman Lins, The Queen of the Prisons
98. Margaret Dukore, A Novel Called Heritage
99. Wallace Markfield, Teitlebaum’s WIndow
100. Charles Newman, A Child’s History of America
101. Alan Burns, Dreamerika!