2010 was another great year for manga. The following are my favorite ten of the year, the best of which will also be ranked on my forthcoming overall best comics of the year.
2. not simple (Natsume Ono) - Natsume Ono has constructed an amazing story here full of turmoil. Very intense stuff. She uses simple cartoony lines to illustrate her book, one that looks more alternative than most manga out there, and almost reads more like a graphic novel than what you'd expect picking something out of the manga section in the bookstore. It almost looks deceptively juvenille at first glance, but the story is very mature, with deep issues touched on with finesse. This is fantastic material: surprising, touching and refreshing.
3. Sand Chronicles (Hinako Ashihara) - This shojo series constantly impresses me. It's very emotional, full of wonderful characters with deep emotional scars with revelations that keep coming as far as nine volumes into the series. Not only is the main character Ann fascinating, but the secondary characters all have their hang-ups that can be just as interesting. A truly amazing book.
5. Ooku: The Inner Chambers (Fumi Yoshinaga) - This title from the creator of Antique Bakery just seems to keep getting better as it goes along. Following an alternate history during Japan's Edo Period, where a disease has steeply declined the population of men, women take on important roles in society, including the all-powerful ruler, the shogun. The inner chambers are full of men who serve at her leisure, with plenty of politics, and laws in place to ensure things remain proper. A gripping historical drama.
7. Honey Hunt (Miki Aihara) - From the creator of Hot Gimmick is this shojo manga that follows celebrity-in-the-making Yura, who's trying to rise from the shadows of her two famous parents, and juggle a love life at the same time. I'm constantly entertained by what Aihara has unfold in this book, which is full of complicated, messed-up characters.
9. Bakuman (Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata) - From the creators behind the super-popular Death Note is this drama about two kids who want to become professional manga creators. It's a fascinating glimpse into the behind-the-scenes of the manga industry, and all set to that beautiful detailed art of Obata's.
Arisa (Natsumi Ando)
Ax Anthology (Edited by Sean Michael Wilson)
Black Blizzard (Yoshihiro Tatsumi)
Saturn Apartments (Hisae Iwaoka)
Yotsuba&! (Kiyohiko Azuma)