Future Reads: Other 2021 Manga to Look Forward To

I remember starting this year thinking that there wasn’t much manga to look forward to. I had a few titles on my list but I really wanted more.

I am so happy to report that waiting a bit longer, especially for those surprise publisher announcements, has given me those new titles to beef up this post and get excited about more upcoming manga. This is going to be fun!


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Title: I Cannot Reach You Vol. 1 (Kimi ni wa Todokanai Vol. 1)
Written and drawn by: Mika

What It’s About: No matter how much time we spend together, I’ll never become special to you.

Childhood best friends. Two halves of a whole. The cool, smart one who’s good at almost everything, and his average, dorky friend who struggles to do anything right­—Yamato and Kakeru. Always by the other’s side, but not together in the way they truly want to be. No matter how hard they try, their hearts cannot reach each other…


Note: This title is set to be released on March 9, 2021. I’m happy to see the official cover art is finally here.


Blue Giant Omnibus Vols. 3-4

Title: Blue Giant Omnibus 3-4
Written and drawn by: Shinichi Ishizuka

What It’s About: Miyamoto Dai, a student with a taste for basketball, changes his life the first time he sees a live jazz performance. The incredible music strikes a chord deep inside him, and he immediately decides to dedicate himself to the saxophone. He has no skills, no formal training, and no idea what he”s up against, but his obsession drives him to play that instrument day after day. Will passion be enough to become the player of his dreams? This award-winning manga from Shinichi Ishizuka, compiled into five omnibus volumes for its English debut, is a pitch-perfect drama about the power of music.


Note: This title is set to be released on April 20, 2021. If you haven’t checked out the first volume, definitely try and check it out.


I Think Our Son Is Gay, Volume 1

Title: I Think Our Son Is Gay Vol. 1
Written and drawn by: Okura

What It’s About: Despite belonging to a family of four, the Aoyama residence is typically home to three due to father Akiyoshi’s job. While he’s away at work, mom Tomoko and her two beloved sons Hiroki and Yuri go about their everyday lives–going to school, making dinner, doing homework, etc. But now that Hiroki’s in his first year of high school, his thoughts are turning ever so slightly to sex and romance…and his mom can’t help but notice his slips of the tongue when he’s talking about who he likes. Supportive Tomoko has an inkling Hiroki might be gay, but she’s going to let him figure it out for himself. Unfortunately, Hiroki has little talent for keeping his “secret,” so he might die of embarrassment before all is said and done!


Note: This title is set to be released on May 11, 2021. I’m very used to reading manga about teen characters from their perspective so this book is especially interesting as it is from a parent’s perspective. I’m looking forward to this release.


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Title: Ride Your Wave
Written by: Masaaki Yuasa & Reiko Yoshida
Drawn by: Machi Kiachi

What It’s About: New college student Hinako moves to a small seaside town to surf and enjoy herself, and finds herself falling in love with firefighter Minato after he saves her from a fire. Their young romance comes to an abrupt end when Minato drowns…but in her grief, Hinako discovers that singing a song they used to perform as a duet summons Minato in the nearest body of water–be it a puddle, glass, or bathtub. Will Hinako be able to reach Minato again?


Note: This title is set to be released on May 11, 2021. I have actually seen the movie this manga is related to and it is…pretty magical. I’m excited to see what the manga offers.


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Title: Mao Vol. 1
Written and drawn by: Rumiko Takahashi

What It’s About: A girl is transported to the past and encounters a Japan teaming with ghosts and demons. She finds an ally in a travelling exorcist named Mao. Together they’ll fight the supernatural creatures they meet and unravel the mystery that connects them.


Note: The cover art is not final! I will try and update it as soon as I see the official one come through. On February 19, 2021, Viz Media announced they were releasing this title sometime in Fall 2021. This series is also still ongoing in Japan as well so there isn’t a final volume count as of yet.


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Title: My Love Mix-Up! Vol. 1 (Also known as Kieta Hatsukoi)
Written by: Wataru Hinekura
Drawn by: Aruko

What it’s About: Mistaken identity leads to a blossoming romance between two boys.

Aoki has a crush on Hashimoto, the girl in the seat next to him in class. But he despairs when he borrows her eraser and sees she’s written the name of another boy—Ida—on it. To make matters more confusing, Ida sees Aoki holding that very eraser and thinks Aoki has a crush on him!


Note: The cover art is not final! Unfortunately, there isn’t much information on this series so I am not sure at this very moment how many volumes there will be. This is another title that Viz Media announced recently, which will be coming out sometime in October 2021. I’m real excited for this one as I have heard that the representation in this one is positive.


On a Theme: High School Manga Live-Action Adaptations

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This time around, this post will be focusing on live-action film adaptations of coming of age high school mangas.   These stories are nostalgic, drama-filled, sometimes cheesy, sometimes weird, and incredibly emotional.  My overall high-school experience was boring in comparison.  I won’t speak of it.

Our teen years are such a formative time and yes, emotions do run high because we’re finding out who we are, how we feel and where we want to go.   These stories show that in all its excruciating glory and I love that.  I honestly do.  From manga to film, it can only get better as you see those characters you love and identify with brought to life.

The following list includes ten manga books with their live-action adaptation counterpart.  The items on this list are by no means the only ones that exist.  There are plenty more, of course.  However, I tried to keep it short and interesting with these choices.


1. Orange

Orange (Orenji): art and story by Ichigo Takano

What It’s About:  On the day that Naho begins 11th grade, she receives a letter from herself ten years in the future. At first, she writes it off as a prank, but as the letter’s predictions come true one by one, Naho realizes that the letter might be the real deal. Her future self tells Naho that a new transfer student, a boy named Kakeru, will soon join her class. The letter begs Naho to watch over him, saying that only Naho can save Kakeru from a terrible future. Who is this mystery boy, and can Naho save him from his destiny?

The manga series is complete and should be available in two complete edition volumes.  Originally, it was released as 6 volumes.

The film adaptation was released in 2015 and stars Tao Tsuchiya and Kento Yamazaki.  It is directed by Kojiro Hashimoto.


2. ao haru rideAo Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride): art and story by Io Sakisaka

What It’s About:  In high school, Futaba gets a second chance with her first love, Kou.

Futaba Yoshioka thought all boys were loud and obnoxious until she met Kou Tanaka in junior high. But as soon as she realized she really liked him, he had already moved away because of family issues. Now in high school, she meets Kou again, but is he still the same boy she fell in love with?

The manga series is still being released right now in North America.  There will be a total of 13 volumes in this series.

The film was released in 2014 and stars Tsubasa Honda and Masahiro Higashide.  It is directed by Takahiro Miki.


3. daytime shooting starDaytime Shooting Star (Hirunaka no Ryūsei): art and story by Mika Yamamori

What It’s About:  After arriving in Tokyo to live with her uncle, Suzume collapses in a nearby park when she remembers once seeing a shooting star during the day. A handsome stranger brings her to her new home and tells her they’ll meet again. Suzume starts her first day at her new high school sitting next to a boy who blushes furiously at her touch. And her homeroom teacher is none other than the handsome stranger!

The manga series just started being released in North America.  Volume 1 was released July 2nd, 2019.  There will be a total of 13 volumes in this series when it is complete.

The film was released in 2017 and stars Mei Nagano, Shohei Miura, and Alan Shirahama.  It is directed by Takehiko Shinjō.


4. kimi ni todokeKimi ni Todoke (From Me To You)art and story by Karuho Shiina

What It’s About:  Sawako Kuronuma is the perfect heroine…for a horror movie. With striking similarities to a haunting movie character–jet-black hair, sinister smile, and silent demeanor–she’s mistakenly called Sadako by those around her. But behind her scary façade is a very misunderstood teenager. Too shy to fit in, all she wants to do is make some friends. But when the most popular boy in class befriends her, she’s sure to make more than just that–she’s about to make some enemies too!

The manga series is complete and has a total of 30 volumes.

The film was released in 2010 and stars Haruma Miura and Mikako Tabe.  It is directed by Naoto Kumazawa.


5. strobe edgeStrobe Edge (Sutorobo Ejji): art and story by Io Sakisaka

What It’s About:  Having no experience in romance, the vibrant Ninako curiously explores the meaning of what “love” really is, and is surprised to feel a colorful range of emotions as she grows closer to the school heartthrob, the quiet yet gentle Ren, who also happens to be involved in a longtime relationship. With every intention of keeping her head held high, Ninako prepares to face the mental pain of this one-sided love that she had allowed to take root, facing a series of trials that would either contribute to her growth as a headstrong woman or break her as it did with other girls. However, is this really a one-sided love? Or had something been silently sown in the most hidden part of Ren’s heart?

The manga series is complete and has a total of 10 volumes.

The film was released in 2015 and stars Kasumi Arimura and Sota Fukushi.  It is directed by Ryūichi Hiroki.


6. we were thereWe Were There (Bokura Ga Ita):  art and story by Yuuki Obata

What It’s About:  Nanami Takahashi falls for Motoharu Yano, the most popular, carefree boy in class. For Nanami, it’s first love, but Yano is still grieving the death of his girlfriend who died the year before.

Nanami starts high school with high hopes of making lots of friends. She develops a crush on the enigmatic Yano, but he may have too many secrets for her to handle.

The manga has been collected into 16 volumes and has been released in North America.

This series was adapted into 2 films, both were released in 2012.  The film stars Toma Ikuta and Yuriko Yoshitaka.  It was directed by Takahiro Miki.


7. your lie in aprilYour Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso): art and story by Naoshi Arakawa

What It’s About:  Kosei Arima was a piano prodigy until his cruel taskmaster of a mother died suddenly, changing his life forever. Driven by his pain to abandon piano, Kosei now lives in a monotonous, colorless world. Having resigned himself to a bland life, he is surprised when he meets Kaori Miyazono, a violinist with an unorthodox style. Can she bring Kosei back to music, and back to life?

This manga has been collected into 11 volumes and has been released in North America.

The film came out in 2016 and stars Suzu Hirose and Kento Yamazaki.  It is directed by  Takehiko Shinjō.


8. my love storyMy Love Story!! (Ore Monogatari!!): art by Aruko and story by Kazune Kawahara

What It’s About:  Takeo Goda is a GIANT guy with a GIANT heart.

Too bad the girls don’t want him! (They want his good-looking best friend, Sunakawa.)

Used to being on the sidelines, Takeo simply stands tall and accepts his fate. But one day when he saves a girl named Yamato from a harasser on the train, his (love!) life suddenly takes an incredible turn!

Takeo can hardly believe it when he crosses paths with Yamato again, and he finds himself falling in love with her… But with handsome Sunakawa around, does Takeo even stand a chance?

The series is complete in 13 volumes and has been released in North America.

The film was released in 2015 and stars Ryohei Suzuki, Mei Nagano, and Kentaro Sakaguchi.  It is directed by Hayato Kawai.


9. Kids On the SlopeKids on the Slope (Sakamichi no Apollon): art and story by Yuki Kodama

What It’s About:  The beginning of summer, 1966; because of his father’s job situation, 1st-year high school student Kaoru Nishimi moves by himself from Yokosuka to Sasebo in Kyushu to live with relatives. Until then, Kaoru was an honor roll student who tended to keep to himself, but meeting notorious “bad boy” Sentaro Kawabuchi starts to change him. Through his devil-may-care classmate, Kaoru learns how much fun it is to play jazz and finds the first person he can call a real friend.

The manga is complete in 9 volumes plus an extra story.  However, I do not believe it has been published in North America.  In my research, I found editions in French and Spanish. If you read in either of those two languages, you might be able to find a digital copy of the manga available for purchase.

The film came out in 2018 and stars Yuri Chinen, Taishi Nakagawa, and Nana Komatsu.  It is directed by Takahiro Miki.


10. Honey So SweetHoney So Sweet (Hanii):  story and art by Amu Meguro

What It’s About: Little did Nao Kogure realize back in middle school that when she left an umbrella and a box of bandages in the rain for injured delinquent Taiga Onise that she would meet him again in high school. Nao wants nothing to do with the gruff and frightening Taiga, but he suddenly presents her with a huge bouquet of flowers and asks her to date him—with marriage in mind! Is Taiga really so scary, or is he a sweetheart in disguise?

The manga is complete in 8 volumes and has been released in North America.

The film came out in 2018 and stars Sho Hirano and Yuna Taira.  It is directed by Koji Shintoku.