Feel-Good Manga: 6 Series to Relax With
In these uncertain times, reading can be a comfort as the stories can take us to places away from our reality and where things aren’t as unsettling. Sometimes though, we need stories that are not just uplifting, but also positive. That reassurance that life can be normal and fun again might be all we need to get through the difficult times and calm any anxieties. Fortunately, there are several manga series that let us escape our everyday lives to experience other, quieter times.
Chi’s Sweet Home – This is the story of a grey-striped kitten and the family that adopts her. The stories are only a few pages long, and usually depict the kitten Chi discovering something new in her home, interacting with Yohei and his parents, or meeting the other pets and animals in her apartment complex and neighborhood. Chi and the other animals talk and talk to each other, but not to the humans. The challenges of going up stairs, trying milk for the first time, and playing with super bouncy balls with Yohei are just a few of the stories you’ll read in this series. There are 12 volumes sold as singles or 4 omnibuses called The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home. A second series called Chi’s Sweet Adventures is currently being released in full color. There are three volumes out now. Both titles read left-to-right. (Kodansha Comics)
Fukufuku: Kitten Tales – This is a two volume series written by the same creator as Chi’s Sweet Home. Her first series featured an older cat named Fukufuku living with an elderly woman. This series details Fukufuku’s early days as a kitten and becoming accustomed to her new home. Fukufuku treats animals more realistically. They do not talk like in Chi’s Sweet Home, so they communicate through action and expression. This series features more cute kitten situations, but with different interactions as her owner is older. Fukufuku goes through the seasons, discovering hot cement in the summer and joy of a kosatsu in the winter. The series also reads left-to-right. (Kodansha Comics)
Yotsuba&! – This series is about a young green-haired girl named Yotsuba and her everyday adventures with her father, neighbors and friends. Because Yotsuba is still a young girl, everyday items and situations fascinate her. She’s full of energy and loves to discover new things. She can make a new friend with some boxes and find wonder in a helicopter toy. There are currently 13 volumes of the ongoing series out, but because of a slow publishing schedule new volumes are about 2-3 years apart. Kids can relate to Yotsuba and adults will rediscover the wonder of seeing life through a child’s eyes. (Yen Press)
My Neighbor Seki – Seki is a boy with no time for school but plenty of time to create new race tracks to topple erasers, act out adventures with toy robots and bring cats into class to pet and play with, all to the chagrin of his classmate Yokoi, who sees it all and is the only one who gets in trouble with the teacher. Seeing the absolutely ridiculous and funny things Seki comes with is entertaining enough, but it’s Yokoi’’s reactions to them that make this series so humorous. This 10 volume series is a great way to pass the time with its silly and often ludicrous gags. (Vertical Comics)
Aria: The Masterpiece – This is a sci-fi fantasy that takes place in the future. Mars has been terraformed into an ocean world now known as Aqua. A girl from Earth, Akari, has come to Neo-Venezia to become an Undine, a gondolier who acts as a tour guide for tourists coming to the city. She becomes a trainee at the Aria Company, one of the most prestigious water-guide companies in the city and whose president is a large white cat with round blue eyes and a human-like intelligence. The stories in this series invoke a tranquil, restful feeling as Akari guides the gondolas through the water canals and talks to her customers. The first couple of volumes follow the season on Aqua, adding to the wonder and relaxed feelings. There are currently 5 omnibuses collecting 10 of the 14 volumes available. It’s a good recharge for a tired heart and soul. (Tokyopop)
Nichijou – If you want to take a walk on the weird side, Nichijou is the series for you. It’s about a group of school friends and the surreal situations they get into in school and out. One of their classmates is a robot made by a child professor who keeps building different weapons and other strange contraptions into her. Their principal likes to tell bad dad jokes and wrestle with a deer in the school yard. Yukko, a student, tries to save a hot dog from lunch from hitting the floor. This 10 volume series is for older readers, in the 15 and up age range. But if you are looking for something completely ridiculous and out of the ordinary, this is the series for you. (Vertical Comics)
Filed under: Manga
About Lori Henderson
Lori Henderson is a mother of two teenage daughters and an avid reader. She blogs about manga at her personal blog Manga Xanadu as well as contributing and editing for Manga Village. She blogs about all things fandom (mainly Doctor Who) at her other personal blog Fangirl Xanadu. She's been at it so for over 5 years now and counting!
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