[AniFemTalk] Manga readalong candidates

We started our second watchalong podcast yesterday, on long-running seinen powerhouse Berserk. A watchalong is when two people who haven’t seen an anime watch six episodes of it at a time, then record a podcast with one superfan to discuss those episodes from a feminist perspective before moving on to the next six episodes. It gave us some insightful, rewarding discussion on Shirobako, and now we’re considering applying the format to manga as well.

The only criteria would be that the manga are available to legally buy in English and lend themselves to interesting feminist discussion. (As you might have guessed from the featured image, Akiko Higashimura’s Tokyo Tarareba Girls is already on the list! ) Just one question today then: if we did a manga readalong, reading through one volume of manga at a time then discussing it before moving on to the next volume, which manga would you like us to cover?


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  • Brainchild129

    Question: does the manga have to be CURRENTLY in print? There are series that are totally relevant for discussion, but have been at least physically out of print for years. Obviously discussion would be limited to those who actually own it or have access to it through other means like libraries, but would they be off-limits?

    • RIP CMX and GoComi series… they had some gems…

  • Shi

    Anything by Yuhki Kamatani ; ;!!!

  • Shanks

    The Promised Neverland! I don’t normally read manga anymore, but this one is definitely a gem that I think could spur a lot of interesting feminist discussion on gender roles and how they’re presented through the characters. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    Edit: now that I look into it, it doesn’t look like it’s available to purchase in English… 🙁 Though there are 3 free chapters available on VIZ. Highly unfortunate.

  • AsteriskCGY

    That would get me to buy the thing and read it. Princess Jellyfish was a fave of mine.

  • stensatsu

    Would be interesting to see your take on Black Lagoon.

  • Blusocket

    Goodnight PunPun would be a really interesting one to tackle! Wandering Son is another good candidate since the anime covers such a small part of the story, and maybe The Ancient Magus Bride if there are any significant differences between the manga and the anime.

    • alecksis

      Goodnight Punpun was the first to come to mind for me as well! I adore the manga but I would like to hear the AniFem team talk about it. There’s a lot there to unpack and there are a few elements that are just uncomfortable no matter how you look at it. Ancient Magus Bride would be really interesting as well.

  • alecksis

    Someone else already said Goodnight Punpun and Ancient Magus Bride which were my immediate thoughts. Orange by Ichigo Takano might be interesting as well. However, I’ll be happy if it’s something I’ve never read or heard of because I’m always looking for recommendations. 😀

  • Elena M. Aponte

    I would really love to see you guys read and discuss “Mushishi!” It has a really interesting progression of artwork and I love how it approaches issues like childhood, love, consent, and motherhood. It also has some genuine moments of reflection and rumination on many universal truths. It’s technically a shonen title, though I think it appeals across genre lines. It is a little episodic, but I think it has a lot of interesting things for discussion!

  • Alex Erde

    Thanks to you guys I found out that there is another series from the woman who does Princess Jellyfish and now I want to read Tokyo Tarareba Girls like crazy. Also the Manga “My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness” looks and sounds really interesting.

  • anony

    Otoyomegatari please!!!!!

  • Blusocket

    Ooooh, After School Nightmare is a great suggestion! I feel like Setona Mizushiro’s work is really unique, and that one in particular has so much worth discussing from a feminist perspective. I’ve only read bits and pieces of it, but yes, absolutely, seconded hard. I feel like Skip Beat would be way too long for a readalong podcast (37 volumes!) but it’d be a GREAT candidate for an editorial, I’d love to see someone caught up with the series analyze what it does well and where it’s stagnating.

    • Caitlin

      I miiiiiiiight end up being that one, since I’m currently working my through Shojo Beat’s catalog and my library has all of Skip Beat. I lost my will to continue after about 15 volumes at my last attempt. The romance is just so uncomfortable, the art is terrible, and… the ellipsis… abuse… is mind… numbing…

      • Blusocket

        Oof, that sounds like a mess. I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts, but ofc no pressure! It seems like you’re already going to be wading through a lot of bad for the abuse in shoujo series, so you have zero obligation to make things harder on yourself–15 volumes is already a valiant effort lol.

      • Ashley Leung

        Haha! The art of Skip Beat definitely has some really obvious weak points, but I think the artist also does some really effective things with illustrating metaphors, and expressions (also adorable chibis :D). I actually find the romance pretty weak/uncomfortable at times as well despite liking both characters involved in it, but I think that’s why it could be kind of interesting for a deeper discussion – but not if you’ve lost the will even to keep reading XD.

  • Lossthief

    It’s not yet available in volumes, but Astra Lost In Space is the first thing to come to mind. It’s the newest series from Kenta Shinohara, the creator of Sket Dance, and a sci-fi adventure series about a group of teenagers stranded at the far end of space forced to survive alien planets and hostile environments. Without giving too much away, it’s recently been heading some interesting directions WRT to gender with some of the cast, and in general it just has a wonderfully well-rounded main cast that I love to death.

    The series isn’t available yet as volumes in English (the first volume is set for some time later this year) but all of the current chapters are available for free on Viz’s website.

  • alecksis

    I love all of these. Kase-san and Morning Glories is so sweet, so pure. <3

  • Anna

    What about Wave, Listen To Me by Hiroaki Samura?
    It has twenty-something women trying to find their place in the world and build careers, and a lot of time is dedicated to the protagonist getting over a bad past relationship … It’s also crazy and unpredictable, and it deserves more love.
    It’s still a relatively young title, with only 30-ish chapters (and three volumes) out, so it’s not a huge commitment. Digital-only in English, but there are also English simulpubs of the individual manga chapters, which is pretty cool and maybe deserves support.

    It’s definitely a manga where I’d love to read other people’s opinions, especially with feminist issues in mind. But it’s definitely not the kind of manga that’d get a ton of mainstream attention, alas.

  • Moni

    Failure of a heroine-if you discount the last volume, it’s full of takedowns of shoujo tropes and promotes healthy relationships. Then the last volume the mangaka just pretty much says ‘yeah I actually like all these unhealthy tropes so I’m going to make up for me breaking all the “rules”‘.

  • SC

    I just finished reading Full-Time Wife Escapist and this manga deserves more exposure. (And a better English title.) The series re-examines the value of unpaid work in marital relationship, and it’s a very unique success story of a young woman. To my surprise I liked it better than Tarareba.

  • Floweramon

    Fruits Basket, definitely! It’s been rereleased by Yen Press, so I highly recommend it. It’s a classic manga that had a decent anime that only covered the first handful of volumes, but the story gets sooooo much better after that! (not that the beginning is bad, it’s full of tearjerkers both sad and happy, but I’m so sad the anime never got to the rest of the story) Some of the elements are a little dated (which, hey, another point to talk about), but the cast is full of wonderful female characters, even some that aren’t that sympathetic in the beginning become more developed and interesting as they’re explored.

    On a bit of a more obscure note, Kitchen Princess is a cute series. It’s kind of the same sort of cuteness that Fruits Basket is (I’d even call it a theoretical Fruits Basket AU) but still being its own thing. It even comes with recipes for all the food that appears in it (I don’t know if cooking is anyone in the group’s thing, but it might be a neat challenge)