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Mangas with Serious Topics

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Post #683517
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7:22 pm, Aug 30 2016
Posts: 7

I am wondering if anyone can suggest mangas that have serious topics.

Serious topics as in:
-Abusive relationships
-Serious illnesses
-Teenage pregnancy/parenting
-Gender Identification
-Death affecting the main character

I recently read Bitou Lollipop and it had some serious topics in it and wanted to know if there are other mangas with topics like that. It can be the main theme of the manga or part of it. I don't have any other specific examples on the top of my head, but when I think of any I will add them.

I am tolerant of most genres, but I do not like harems and ecchi. I do not mind ecchi if it adds to the story and not there purely for the fan service. I know this is not the yaoi/yuri subthread, but I will also take recommendations for those.

I would also appreciate if the manga is done because I like to read it all in one go. I have a hard time keeping up with series that are not completed, but I will take every recommendation.

Post #683518
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7:34 pm, Aug 30 2016
Posts: 138

ASANO Inio's works tend to deal with heavy issues, even though not exactly the ones you specified. Oyasumi Punpun and Solanin are the most famous and well-regarded works of him.

Bitter Virgin may be a tad melodramatic, but it's a manga I really like that deals with at least some of the topics you mention.

And I haven't actually read this one, but it's my understanding that Hourou Musuko (and some other works by the author, SHIMURA Takako,I guess) deals with issues of gender, which you mentioned.

All of those are finished, I hope it helps.

Post #683526
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Lone Wanderer

11:54 pm, Aug 30 2016
Posts: 2096

I checked to see whether these were on your complete list, but may have missed some. Most are completely scanlated/published in English, but there are some incomplete titles mixed in here as well.

Abusive relationships --
Zankoku na Kami ga Shihaisuru, Kaze to Ki no Uta (+death affecting MC)
River's Edge
Coponicus no Kokyuu
Not Simple
Satougashi no Dangan wa Uchinukenai (child abuse)

Serious illnesses (+death affecting MC) --
Dear Friends
Iryuu - Team Medical Dragon

Gender Identity --
J no Subete
IS - Otoko Demo Onna Demo Nai Sei
Double House
Gold Rush 21

Death affecting the main character --
Seizon - Life
Thomas no Shinzou
Saiteihen no Otoko
Merikuron no Namida
Real Lies
Shin Angyo Onshi
Vampire Juujikai

A number of these topics are dealt with in: Confidential Confessions, Genkaku Picasso, the Skyhigh series, Bokurano, Vandemieru no Tsubasa, MIHARA Mitsukazu's works.

Will add more if I remember.

Last edited by calstine at 12:54 am, Aug 31

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Post #683529

12:48 am, Aug 31 2016
Posts: 22

I recommend:
Six Half:

Aku no Hana: This one gave me a sense of surrealism. I loved it quiet a lot. I can't exactly say what it's about since I will spoil it. A certain character has illness for sure.

FRUITS BASKET: Damn son! This one exceeded my expectations! If you want something heavy, heh, this one is DEFINITELY the right one for you.One of my personal favorites.

Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou: It is a lot like Fruits Basket, but I thought Fruits Basket was better executed. This one is good enough though.

Koe No Katachi: This one has the protagonist as the former bully. It gives an insight to bullies, and the characters that you'd see as the antagonists are actually the protagonists here. One of my personal favorites!

Orange: Just read it. This one was so good....SOOO GOOD...The ending was so satisfying. Reminds me of the manga above and Six Half, as they both deal with second chances.

Shino-chan wa Jibun no Namae ga Ienai: Anxiety, for sure! The girl is 100% anxious! I liked it. Same author as Aku no Hana.

Watashitachi no Shiawase na Jikan: This one is so heavy and sad! About the relationship between a suicidal woman and a convict.

Ani no Hanashi: Deals with sexuality and coming out.

Kamisama ga Uso wo Tsuku: Too lazy to write my thoughts about it, but it reminds me of Aku no Hana. It has a lot to do with coming of age, and with neglectful parents.

If you don't mind BL:
Sanin Gurashi: abusive parents and sexuality. Really good and well written. The flow and pace are very nice.

Super Lovers: they don't tell you the problem right away, but as you read more and more, you discover that some characters have issues. They're very complex. One of my favorites! Too bad it's ongoing, but you really shouldn't pass this one!

Yatamomo: Now...this one....includes rape. A lot of it. I think the story was well-written, because it really made me feel for the character, and it is understandable why a guy in this situation would act this way.

Last edited by Kurarara at 12:57 am, Aug 31

Post #683542
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3:34 pm, Aug 31 2016
Posts: 7

Thank you for the replies!

@Oniluap: I've heard of Oyasumi Punpun, but never looked into it, but definitely looks good and will be reading it in the near future (currently making my way through a long series and like to focus on one manga at a time). I've heard of Hourou Musuko and haven't read it either. Solanin and Bitter Virgin, never heard of those, but will definitely be adding them because they are what I was looking for, and I will also be checking out the other works from the authors!

@calstine: thank you for the suggestions! I've only heard of Vampire Juujikai, which I've read only a few chapters of, and Bokurano, which I haven't read. Definitely going to be reading quite a lot of those you listed! I have read some of Mihara Mitsukazu's works, so I will be looking at her other series as well.

@Kurarara: Oh, I've read some of these. I meant to put Orange and Watashitachi no Shiawase na Jikan as examples, but I was away for the rest of the day after I made this post. Orange is one of my favorite mangas. I also read Fruits Basket waaay back in the day. That's one of my childhood mangas I would religiously buy when each volume came out. I've also read Super Lovers, but stopped due to bad habits of mine. Definitely checking out the rest of these.

Again, thank you for the replies! Definitely appreciate the recommendations and will take my time reading them.

Post #683605
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2:29 am, Sep 3 2016
Posts: 241

dammit, I can't believe someone's recommended IS Otoko demo Onna demo nai Sei and Ani no Hanashi before me! (those were the first two that came to mind)

I'd also recommend
1/11 for the Death affecting the main character part
Shimanami Tasogare for the sexuality theme
for didease, I'd recommend Perfect World (ARUGA Rie) and Real, which I haven't read yet, but it doesn't matter because I have faith in INOUE Takehiko (and I was told it deals more with disabilty than with basketball)
Azami is a oneshot that directly shows the abusive relationship mentioned in Sabita Yoru Demo Koi wa Sasayaku
maybe the "Deep Love" series, but the only one I actually enjoy is Deep Love - Real , so I'll leave it to you
Claudine...! - gender stuff
perhaps Onnanoko ga Shinu Hanashi , though I personally found it lacking
Forget - it's a oneshot about sexual abuse

Post #683610
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6:58 am, Sep 3 2016
Posts: 688

For serious topics, you can't really go wrong with autobiographies!

Hanayome wa Motodanshi. An autobiographical manga by a trans woman about her transition and eventual marriage.

The Private Report on My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness An autobiographical manga about depression (along with a few bits about queerness/sexuality). After reading the first chapter, I actually had to go and cry my eyes out a bit before I could do anything else. This one is super candid, and hits right at the heart.

Kakukaku Shikajika About how Akiko Higashimura/Hayashi, of Princess Jellyfish fame, became a mangaka. Also about her relationship with her late art teacher, who she regrets not seeing before his death.

And, some fiction...

Alive - The Final Evolution Been a while since I reread this, and I have mixed feelings about the ending, but it had a lot of great/interesting things to say about living/dying. And the last chapters were actually written on the author's deathbed, making them even more poignant.

Bokura no Hentai About the fraught friendship between three teenagers who met on a crossdressing forum online. One of the protagonists is a trans woman, but I felt the depiction of her gender identity, while occasionally hitting some great points, also messes up quite a few times. It tries, though, at least. (Another protagonist who is gay is also involved in an abusive relationship.)

Death Sweeper About those who have to clean up the scenes of death. It's a good manga, but I don't have any particularly strong feelings for it, whether good or bad. The premise itself lends it some kind of poignancy, though.

Double House A short one-volume manga about friendship between two women and gender fluidity. Features a trans woman as one of the protagonists.

Tokyo Babylon This doesn't exactly fall under the serious topics that you have listed, but it's definitely a manga with something to say about society. Lots of commentary here about bullying, treatment of the elderly, housing, suicide, etc.

Yuureitou A horror manga which actually features a lot of well-aimed points toward gender and sexuality. One of the protagonists is a trans man, and a minor character is later revealed to be gay (both of whom are given really great backstories/ambitions). The caveat is that the author tends to sexualize said trans man as a woman. And while it can be said he's making an explicit criticism about this precise sexualization, it still makes me uncomfortable.

I also second Bokurano with the light of a thousand suns. This manga actually directly influenced my life philosophy, and it's one of the few manga that I've given a perfect 10/10 to. I understand it might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it definitely has something to say.

And, seconding Shimanami Tasogare, since the author Kamatani Yuuki is actually genderqueer, and so I expect that the manga is coming from a lot of bitter personal experience.

Finally, not sure if these qualify under "serious topics", but Magical Exam Student starts out pretty whimsical but then actually goes into the harsh reality of an unforgiving education system based around exams. And ReLIFE has a nice look into an equally unforgiving job market that prioritizes productivity over the well-being of its employees. Oh, and Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms is about Japan post-WWII.

Post #683615
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8:16 am, Sep 3 2016
Posts: 138


Spoiler (mouse over to view)
Trigger warning: This manga contain a realistic portrayal of kidnaping and gang rape of 17-year-old girl. You've been warned. Based on true story.

Kami-sama ga Uso o Tsuku.
Kakukaku Shikajika
Bokura no Hentai
Yunagi no Machi Sakura no Kuni

Post #683661 - Reply to (#683615) by kamfreto

10:07 am, Sep 4 2016
Posts: 184

NoragamiWhile it takes a while before it becomes obvious Noragami could basically be subtitled Child Abuse: The Manga

Post #683714
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5:18 pm, Sep 6 2016
Posts: 7

Ooh more replies. Wasn't expecting more tbh, so thank you everyone!

@Andrez-ssi: Thank you! I will definitely be checking out real from your recommendations and other series by the author! Not saying I won't check out the other series, but definitely will give them a read as well.

@Suxinn: Thank you for the autobiographies. Didn't even think to check those out, but definitely will give them a read in the near future! My friend actually suggested Alive a while back, but I haven't gotten a chance to read it yet. Also thanks for seconding other recommendations. Definitely bumping those up on my list to read. Yuureito definitely sounds interesting so that one will also be up towards the top as well.

@kamfreto: Thanks for the recommendation. I usually take an objective look on these situations, but I will take that warning when I read it.

@animalia: I actually read quite a bit of Noragami, but it isn't really what I wanted, but still it does have those moments.

Thank you everyone for the suggestions! I think I have enough to read for now. Unless there is one that I definitely should read.

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