In the world of manga, 2011 was a year of ups and downs, innovations and set-backs. It was the year we said goodbye to TokyoPop and Borders Books and Music, and hello to JManga.com, Kodansha Comics, and SuBLime Manga. It was the year that manga publishers got hip to the digital publishing tip in a big way, with VIZ, Dark Horse, Top Shelf and Kodansha joining Digital Manga, Yen Press and NetComics in the digital publishing arena. But even as digital publishing is getting a toehold, print is still king in the North American manga publishing biz. While there are definitely fewer publishers and fewer new titles hitting the shelves lately, there were still lots of new and notable manga released in 2011.
But which ones rose above the rest? My taste is, well, it's admittedly a little quirky -- but here's my picks for the best new manga of 2011, including 15 must-read shonen, shojo, seinen/josei, yaoi, and all-ages manga titles that are worth checking out from VIZ Media, Yen Press, Vertical, Dark Horse, Last Gasp Books, Fantagraphics, Drawn & Quarterly, Kodansha Comics, Fanfare-Ponent Mon, Digital Manga, JManga, and even a self-published surprise.
The two titles that topped the list were my personal favorites that I found myself reading, re-reading and enjoying over and over again: The Drops of God by Tadashi Agi and Shu Okimoto (Vertical) and A Bride's Story by Kaoru Mori (Yen Press). But which were your favorite new manga of 2011? Check out the 2011 New Manga Gallery featuring the over 135 new manga series and one-shots that debuted this year and chime in with your picks below.
Stick around! Next up are my picks for the Best Continuing Manga of 2011 and the few unlucky titles on my short list of the Worst New Manga of 2011. You'll also get your chance to crown your faves when the 2012 Manga Readers' Choice Awards return in January 2012.
Image credits: © Tadashi Agi, Shu Okimoto / KODANSHA, ©2009, 2010 Kaoru Mori /PUBLISHED BY ENTERBRAIN, INC.