Some of the most interesting graphic novels that came out in 2008 were seinen (men's) manga, so this gave us a competitive race in the Best New Seinen Manga Poll. At first, newcomer Astral Project by marginal (a.k.a. Garon Tsuchiya, the author of Old Boy) and Syuji Takeya from CMX Manga looked poised to take first place. Then a surge of support for Gantz by Hiroya Oku pushed this Dark Horse title to the front of the pack, giving it the win.
Gantz is one of those manga that is so filled with action, bizarre twists, black humor and an astounding level of pure, adrenaline-charged violence --- well, let's just say that it's a small miracle that it got published here without being censored by more sensitive sorts. A tip of the glass and a hearty 'kanpai!' to Dark Horse. We can't wait to see what you have up your sleeve for 2009.
A nod is also due to Astral Project, a series that was a late entry to the game, but no less worthy of its strong showing in this poll. This smartly-written supernatural suspense series reminds us that Old Boy was no fluke -- Garon Tsuchiya is a master manga storyteller who writes compelling, creative and well-crafted mysteries. Astral Project is filled with clever plot twists that will catch even the most jaded readers of suspense novels off-guard. If you haven't picked it up yet, you're totally missing out.
See the rest of the nominees at the Best New Seinen (Men's) Manga poll page, and view the full results of the voting. Also, see the rest of the results in all of the 2008 Readers' Polls. Thanks for voting! Next up: the results of the Best New Josei Manga and Best New Classic Manga polls.
Image credit: © Hiroya Oku