Introducing…The first in a new long-running manga review series
Kila here – you may have seen some of my other articles on this site before: I tend to write up reviews for the new anime each season and play a lot of video games. But, I also happen to read a lot of manga… or at least, I used to. I’ve always been a big reader and whilst that hasn’t changed I have found myself in recent years leaning more towards the media of anime rather than the printed page. So, I set a challenge for myself to read more diverse manga in the coming year or so. Sitting down and finally starting to read one of the most popular (and depressing) series of all time, Goodnight Punpun, got me thinking. To truly experience more of the diverse series out there, why just go with the top-rated series? Why not check out some of those series that perhaps haven’t gathered as favourable ratings, and really see how the higher ranked manga hit that bar?
And so, I decided to try a little experiment. I would read the Top 50 ranked manga series (taken from one of the more popular sites, MyAnimeList), and I would alternate between reading these and the lowest 50 ranked manga series. The cream of the crop (according to the site’s many users), versus the ones considered trash at the bottom of the heap. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect to have a good time reading some of these lowest rated series – clearly they had to have done something wrong to have garnered such low acclaim. But in a way, I hope that broadening the reading experience would make those highest rated series shine even more. And who knows – maybe I’d even find out that some of those low ranked manga are not as bad as the criticism has led to believe. I’ll be reporting my experiences and thoughts as I progress which will be posted in subsequent articles – I see these as being more personal in nature then my typical reviews however so a little disclaimer there.
Still, like any good research project (even a self-inflicted one), certain rules have to be put in place before the research can begin. Here are mine:
- My specific list takes the Top 50 and Bottom 50 ranks of all the manga on MyAnimeList, as of the morning of 07th September 2021. MyAnimeList updates their rankings twice a day so I chose to take a snapshot view of the list at that time, and this is the list I will be working from. Therefore, it’s possible that the list on the site will differ in the future, but my project will not reflect this as it complicates things a little much!
- More manga series exist on MyAnimeList then the 14,670 titles I chose from – however any after this number have no ranking at all (meaning, no score), and so they were invalid for this project due to lack of data.
- I will be reading these titles in reverse order: so beginning with manga rated 50, and 14, 621 and then working my way towards the manga rated number 1 and number 14,670. I shall alternate between the top and bottom series in reading order.
- MyAnimeList collects not just manga formats, but also light novels and manhwa – I’ll be reading whichever format is listed, so expect a few light novels in the list!
- If a series is one I’ve read before, I’ll be rereading to get a fresher impression of it.
- If a series is just a part of a larger series (e.g. one of the Jojo’s chapters), I will likely try to read the prequels also so that I can better understand the series in context and why this particular one is rated higher or lower than its predecessors.
- I’ll be reading as ethically as possibly – as much of the manga I can find I’ll source through local libraries and online.
- And finally, Why MyAnimeList? It says it itself on the home page: MyAnimeList is the world’s largest anime and manga database and community. I’ve looked at a few other options that are popular such as AniList and compared their ranking lists and found them to be similar, and MyAnimeList was more user-friendly for my needs.
So come along with me, on this long (potentially very long… because One Piece is on that list) and exciting journey into the highs and lows of manga!
See you in Part Two, where I tackle the first two series on my list: