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2009 Readers Poll: Best New Seinen/Josei - Drama

About.com Readers Pick 2009's Best New Drama for Grown-Ups


With so many amazing seinen (men's) manga releases making their debut, and so few josei (ladies) titles, I combined the two categories for grown-ups and split them into two categories by general story genre: drama and comedy.

Surprisingly, with the lion's share of this year's most critically-acclaimed titles in this one category, voting traffic was relatively light. Still, Pluto continued its reign as 2009's most popular new graphic novel for grown-ups.

See more of the best manga of 2009

WINNER - Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka

Pluto: Urasawa X Tezuka Volume 1  by Naoki Urasawa, from VIZ Signature / VIZ Media
© 2004 Naoki URASAWA/Studio Nuts, Takashi NAGASAKI, Tezuka Productions All rights reserved.

Author and Artist: Naoki Urasawa, based on the original work by Osamu Tezuka
Publisher: VIZ Signature / VIZ Media
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Based on a classic Astro Boy story "The Greatest Robot on Earth," Pluto is a seinen manga remix of Osamu Tezuka's tale as seen through the eyes of a minor character. Gesicht is a German detective who's trying to find out who has been killing robots and humans, knowing that super-robot Atom may be targeted next.

2nd place - Ooku: The Inner Chambers

Ooku: The Inner Chambers Volume 1  by Fumi Yoshinaga from VIZ Signature / VIZ Media
© Fumi Yoshinaga 2005 / HAKUSENSHA, Inc.

Author and Artist: Fumi Yoshinaga
Publisher: VIZ Signature / VIZ Media
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In Edo period Japan, a mysterious and deadly disease called the Red Pox has descended upon the land. Within eighty years of the first outbreak, the male population has been decimated by seventy-five percent. Women have taken on all the roles traditionally granted to men, even that of the Shogun. Young men are treated as precious providers of life and are carefully protected, with the most beautiful males sent to serve in the Ooku, the Shogun's inner chamber...

3rd place - 20th Century Boys

20th Century Boys Volume 1 by Naoki Urasawa, a seinen manga series from VIZ Signature / VIZ Media
© 2000 Naoki URASAWA/Studio Nuts; With the cooperation of Takashi NAGASAKI. All rights reserved.

Author and Artist: Naoki Urasawa
Publisher: VIZ Signature / VIZ Media
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Kenji is a rock musician whose dreams of superstardom have long since faded away as he's settled into his mundane reality as a convenience store manager. When one of his childhood friends dies under mysterious circumstances, Kenji wonders if his friend's death is related to the rise of a bizarre new cult. And could it have something to do with "The Book of Prophecy" he wrote when he was a child?

4th place - Dogs: Bullets & Carnage

Dogs: Bullets and Carnage Vol. 1
© 2005 by Shirow Miwa/SHUEISHA Inc.

Author and Artist: Shirow Miwa
Publisher: VIZ Signature / VIZ Media
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Mihai is a retired hitman who can’t forget the pain of his past. Badou is an "information broker" who has lately had a run of ridiculously bad luck. Naoto is skilled with a sword, but bears the scars of her twisted childhood. And Heine? Heine is a tormented soul who somehow can’t or won’t die. They’re all "dogs," and these are their stories.

5th place (tie) - Children of the Sea

Children of the Sea Volume 1 by Daisuke Igarashi from VIZ Signature / VIZ Media / Shueisha Inc.
KAIJU NO KODOMO © Daisuke IGARASHI / Shogakukan Inc.

Author and Artist: Daisuke Igarashi
Publisher: VIZ Signature / VIZ Media
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Umi and Sora look like ordinary teens, but they have an unusual connection with the sea because they raised by dugongs since they were very young. When Ruka visits her oceanographer dad at the aquarium, she meets Umi and Sora and finds herself drawn to the pair. Soon, she discovers that they have something in common: They’ve all seen a phenomenon they call “the Ghost of the Sea.”

5th place (tie) - A Distant Neighborhood

A Distant Neighborhood Vol. 1
© Jiro Taniguchi

Author and Artist: Jiro Taniguchi
Publisher: Fanfare - Ponent Mon
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Hiroshi Nakahara is a middle-aged businessman who finds himself transported back to the days when he was a school boy, but with all of his adult memories and knowledge intact. Now that he's been given another chance, Hiroshi revels in the opportunity given to him to do things differently: to talk to the cutest girl in school, to smoke and drink, and more seriously, to try to prevent his father from abandoning his family.

6th place - A Drifting Life

A Drifting Life
© Yoshihiro Tatsumi

Author and Artist: Yoshihiro Tatsumi
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
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A Drifting Life is Yoshihiro Tatsumi's mostly-autobiographical story of a manga artist born in the shadows of World War II, as he struggles to overcome his family problems, find success and his own artistic point of view in the competitive world of manga, against the backdrop of post-World War II Japan.

7th place - GoGo Monster

GoGo Monster by Taiyo Matsumoto from VIZ Media
© 2000 Taiyou MATSUMOTO/Shogakukan

Author and Artist: Taiyo Matsumoto
Publisher: VIZ Signature / VIZ Media
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First grader Yuki Tachibana says he can see and talk to 'monsters' -- but are these creatures just a figment of a disturbed child's imagination, or is he the only one who can sense the impending war between two factions of supernatural beings who are haunting his school?

8th place - Summit of the Gods

Summit of the Gods Volume 1 by Jiro Taniguchi published by Fanfare / Ponent Mon
© Jiro Taniguchi

Author: Baku Yumemakura
Artist: Jiro Taniguchi
Publisher: Fanfare-Ponent Mon
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On his third expedition to Mount Everest in 1924, explorer George Herbert Leigh Mallory and his climbing partner, Andrew Irvine disappeared while ascending this legendary peak. Flash forward several years later, when a Japanese explorer finds an old Kodak camera in a Nepalese curio shop that may have belonged to Mallory. What secrets does this camera hold?

Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit

Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit Volume 1  by Motoro Mase, a seinen manga series from VIZ Media
© Motoro Mase

Author and Artist: Motoro Mase
Publisher: VIZ Signature / VIZ Media
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In a Japan not too far removed from reality, the government has instituted a program designed to make its citizens appreciate life to its fullest. How? By randomly sentencing citizens to death and informing them of their fate when they only have 24 hours left to live. Ikigami is both the story of these unlucky souls and their last day on Earth, and the government messengers who must deliver the bad news.

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