Best Manga and Manhwa Releases: May 2023 Best Manga and Manhwa Releases: May 2023 Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine

Best Manga and Manhwa Releases: May 2023

We love a good manga read, and luckily the month of May is literally stacked with must-read titles from Yen Press, Tokyopop, and Kodansha that are each easily worth your while! In fact, there are a ton of genre-heavy tales that range from action-adventure to romance, mystery, adulting, and even the nostalgic chance to revisit a few childhood memories, so without wasting any time – let’s dive into the top-tier manga selects that this month has to offer!

Best Manga and Manhwa Releases: May 2023 Best Manga and Manhwa Releases: May 2023 Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine

[Oshi No Ko]

Volume 2

Publisher: Yen Press

Format: Manga

Release Date: May 23, 2023

Premise: Gorou is an ob-gyn with a life far removed from the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry—the world of his favorite idol, rising star Ai Hoshino. But when the two are unexpectedly brought together, their fates become intertwined in ways that defy all reason. For the good doctor, it’s time to stan(d) and deliver!

Currently: Ten years after the murder of pop idol Ai Hoshino, her young (and unusually mature) twins are now poised to enter high school. While her death has had a profound effect on the children, it’s manifested in polar-opposite ways. Ruby is determined to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become an idol, but Aqua has no desire to stand in the spotlight. Instead, he works behind the scenes in the entertainment industry, all while harboring an ulterior motive: discover the identity of the accomplice in his mother’s untimely death!

Why It Works: When the first English volume of [Oshi No Ko] recently dropped, we made sure to recommend the title due to its incomparable atmospheric capabilities as one of the most daring manga (and anime series) of the year. Despite its glittery pop idol setting and uniquely chilling themes surrounding the toxicity of fandom, [Oshi No Ko] has a very strong understanding of the negative outcomes surrounding the modern idolization of pop stars. Yet, underneath its unsettling yet realistic influences, the tale turns into a biting horror-revenge story that will keep readers begging for more. 

After previously pulling the rug out from its core characters in the first volume, the second volume resumes with a well-crafted time-skip that brings our reincarnated protagonists to their teenage years. With innate superstar qualities divided between both of Ai’s unconventional children, the revamped story offers a perfect natural segway into that same world a decade later – all while creating a Kill Bill-esque tension that’s been appropriately stewing for years. The second volume of the popular manga also capitalizes on its vast world-building potential by taking the proper steps to introduce Aqua and Ruby into the entertainment industry, and carefully assembling the roster of characters that will be explored or investigated in chapters to come. By the time it builds to its concluding chapter, (similar to the conclusion of the introductory volume) [Oshi No Ko] continues to build momentum which will assuredly have us discussing the third release with you when it’s released. 

Best Manga and Manhwa Releases: May 2023 Best Manga and Manhwa Releases: May 2023 Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine

Sasaki and Miyano

Volume 8

Publisher: Yen Press

Format: Manga

Release Date: May 23, 2023

Premise: Miyano spends his days peacefully reading Boys’ Love comics and worrying about how girly his face is—until a chance encounter leads to a scuffle with his senior Sasaki. Intrigued by his feisty junior Miyano, delinquent Sasaki uses every opportunity he can to get closer.

Currently: After Sasaki’s graduation, the clock ticks on while Sasaki and Miyano’s relationship slowly deepens bit by bit. They do all the little things couples do―eat lunch together, swap favorite books and music, quote BL lines…and just be there for each other. And then one day, Miyano suddenly realizes he wouldn’t mind if this lasted for the rest of his life…

Why It Works: We’re back! Yes, after including Vol. 7 of Sasaki and Miyano on our list a few months ago, the next volume of the ongoing title has also earned a spot for showing incredible consistency. Because this one is a sweet, completely endearing love story that’s worth your time regardless of where you jump into the title – but how does this particular story live up to (and even surpass) its previous successes? We’re here to break it all down so you know exactly what to expect!

When we pick up with this newest addition to the overarching love story between Sasaki and Miyano, the pair has moved into a new year (and one step closer to college) as an established relationship. The shared social circles begin to discuss (and realize) the budding romance with open conversations, and even an extra added degree of respect about boundaries creating a sincere support group for a young couple that’s exploring their feelings for one another. So now that the duo is finding normalcy in their partnership, things are undoubtedly closer to getting shaken up by the new college experiences around the corner. Also, for a chance to relish in side stories and growth, this volume has a slew of bonus chapters that are perfect for a comprehensive, advanced re-read (like Halloween, or a phone number exchange) adding to the compelling chemistry readers’ have fallen for. Next up… the college arc! 

Best Manga and Manhwa Releases: May 2023 Best Manga and Manhwa Releases: May 2023 Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine

I Cannot Reach You

Volume 6

Publisher: Yen Press

Format: Manga

Release Date: May 23, 2023

Premise: 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…

Currently: Time rewinds to Kakeru and Yamato’s elementary school days when they first met each other. While their personalities are near-exact opposites, they grow closer with each day they spend together. Soon, Kakeru learns more about Yamato—that his father fell into a coma after an accident, and even about a certain secret that he’s hiding…

Why It Works: If you’ve been following (or at least interested in following) the cutesy BL title I Cannot Reach You, the newest volume of the manga might just be one of the most satisfactory series of chapters so far – dually acting as an introductory point for new readers and a very important recollection of defining moments for Kakeru, Yamato, their potential relationship, friendship, and even familial ties that’s bound to connect with prospective readers.

By taking the time to turn back the clock to some of their earliest memories together, I Cannot Reach You elevates its already heartfelt material with a fully-fleshed out back story to characters who know each other better than some of the strongest couples in manga (or anime). In the trenches of the sixth volume, the vast majority of its delightful pages commits to broadening its audiences’ knowledge of their long history together – giving the intertwined duo a poignant origin that’s essential reading. With a deeper understanding of their closeness and obvious investment in one another, the volume doubles down on the importance of this particular love story and earns itself the title of being a ‘must-read’ manga.

Best Manga and Manhwa Releases: May 2023 Best Manga and Manhwa Releases: May 2023 Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine

Confessions of a Shy Baker

Volume 2

Publisher: TOKYOPOP 

Format: Manga

Release Date: May 16, 2023

Premise: Toshimitsu Yamamura owns a real estate company and loves baking delicious, healthy snacks in his spare time. When his coworker comes to him one day with the idea of advertising their real estate agency as LGBT-friendly, Toshi realizes this little change could really help people who often face discrimination in his industry. He’s terrified, though, because he worries this move will out him as gay. Joined by his boyfriend Gonta who inspired him to bake in the first place, Toshi navigates a changing world that’s slowly becoming more accepting, faces his fears and discomfort, and bakes some incredibly lovely treats along the way.

Why It Works: It isn’t every day that a manga title with LGBTQ+ content is openly willing to discuss discrimination or the fears that can be associated with bigotry, but thankfully Confessions of a Shy Baker manages to lightly acknowledge these exact topics with poise – all while creating a charismatic relationship at the forefront of its success. Because with love, baking, and the strength needed to create change, all things are possible for Gonta and Toshi as a strong two-person unit!

While Confessions of a Shy Baker is definitely more of a story for those “adulting” via career paths, pursuing a passion, and the aforementioned goal to overcome a specific breed of hatred, the title also sets a positive message for its younger readers by creating a tangible dynamic that’s not looking to create shock-value drama. The biggest takeaway from this story – happiness in the form of romantic love and the ability to fulfill your aspirations are both entirely attainable.

Best Manga and Manhwa Releases: May 2023 Best Manga and Manhwa Releases: May 2023 Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine

Manner Of Death

Volume 1

Publisher: Yen Press

Format: Manga

Release Date: May 23, 2023

Premise: When the skilled coroner Dr. Bunnakit is called to examine the body of his childhood friend after her “suicide,” he soon determines that she was actually murdered. That night, a mysterious stranger threatens him, telling him to rule her death a suicide-and after he confides in his prosecutor friend about this incident, his friend suddenly goes missing. But all hope is not lost, as a young lecturer named Tan offers to help him get to the bottom of all this-which would be more reassuring if Tan weren’t the prime suspect… 

Why It Works: The brand new Yen Press manga title Manner Of Death begins with a line from one of its lead characters, coyly teasing, “Bias prevents you from seeing the world as it really is.” which might just be the most spot-on way to open a series that intends to partially flip the script on your expectations for a story that highlights same-sex companionship. And considering that the title incorporates an inquisitive coroner, complex murder mystery, potential abuse of power, and even repeat danger for its central characters, the ‘romance’ of Manner Of Death is merely a bonus factor at play. 

Impressively enough, the abundance of stylistic choices and narrative components are perfectly scattered throughout the first (lengthy) volume – establishing our 30-year-old protagonist as someone with plenty of traumas and history to unpack. Though, just as you begin to pick up important details about character development, the primary focus of its tense murder mystery backbone knows how to pivot and keep readers anxiously anticipating each panel. This one is quite the devilishly delightful page-turner.

Best Manga and Manhwa Releases: May 2023 Best Manga and Manhwa Releases: May 2023 Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine

What This World Is Made Of

Volume 1

Publisher: Yen Press

Format: Manga

Release Date: May 23, 2023

Premise: No family, no home, and no savings—the Nakata brothers, Kanade and Kaname, have lost it all. So when a mysterious app offers to help them find lucrative work, what choice do they have but to sign up? Introduced to a gamified system of bounties, the two soon come face-to-face with the “odd” in odd jobs—the dangerous creatures they must now fight. But Kanade and Kaname have no choice: To make money, they’ll have to take down these monsters called Worlds…or die trying.

Why It Works: The premise for this one is very direct and wastes no time when we first meet the sibling duo of Kanade and Kaname – two brothers who are down on their luck after losing their grandmother. With nothing but a shared van, bills to pay, and a need to earn cash quickly, the two find themselves agreeing to terms on an app-based job offer that seems too good to be true… Because why would any employer provide you with a build-your-own schedule, bags full of money, and still be entry-level? Nonetheless, they’ve embraced the new role of combatting uber-level monster threats and there’s no looking back now!

A nice bonus factor (and oddly amusing quality) to the manga series also comes in the shape of the title’s nonsensical response to the unconventional world — setting up a grand surprise that doesn’t seem as jarring to these two unlikely badasses as one would expect. Right as the two central characters (speedily) adapt to their surroundings, the unavoidable action leans into more traditional shonen attributes and goes full throttle with stunning action-packed sequences throughout. 

Best Manga and Manhwa Releases: May 2023 Best Manga and Manhwa Releases: May 2023 Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine

Wandance

Volume 5

Publisher: Kodansha

Format: Manga

Release Date: May 23, 2023

Premise: A SHY TEENAGER HAPPENS ON A CLASSMATE DANCING ALONE, AND HER JOY TURNS A KEY, UNLOCKING SOMETHING IN HIS HEART… Kaboku Kotani is starting high school, and he plans to do what he’s always done: go along with his friends, keep quiet, and not draw too much attention to himself. After all, it’s hard enough to get by with a stutter like his— why make things worse by standing out from the crowd? But then he sees another first-year, Hikari Wanda, dancing like no one is watching—or like she doesn’t care who sees her. It makes Kaboku wonder: Could he reach that same freedom? To find his way to Wanda, he does something he never thought he could: He joins the dance club. After all, every routine begins with a single step, right? Join Kaboku and Wanda as they freestyle their way to life and love!

Currently: Wanda, Kaboku, and Iori return to the dance floor in a series of one-on-one battles in their latest dance competition. Can they stay true to themselves, and their moves, or will they buckle under the pressure?The dance competition continues, with Wanda squaring off against a young man who tries to taunt her into making a mistake. She manages to stand her ground, and the sight of Wanda dancing once again sparks something inside of Kabo that cements how he feels about dancing—and Wanda. As he faces his own insecurities in the contest, Kabo comes to a realization about how he needs to approach his dancing. Will it be enough to save him from defeat at the hands (and feet, and arms, and whirling torsos…) of more experienced dancers? And he’s not the only one who has some soul-searching to do—after being pitted against a talented friend, Iori will have to dig deep and find a style that’s uniquely his own if he wants to step and prove that he has what it takes to challenge Assay…

Why It Works: Self-expression is extremely important, and one of the key factors in living life to the fullest – regardless of your passion (as long as it’s not something harmful to yourself or others, of course) so the ongoing dance-focused manga Wandance is the perfect reading experience for anyone with respect for the intricacies of choreography and pushing personal limits to live up to one’s potential. And in the newest volume of the Kodansha release, there’s a nice assortment of all of those qualities wrapped into one – with a nice dose of friendly competition to top it all off!

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