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15 Manga Series You Should Read, Based On Your Favorite Books

Because pictures only make it better.

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1. If you loved Gone Girl, you should read Utsubora.

Complete in one volume, Utsubora is the story of a novelist whose writer's block leads to violent and unethical situations. Like Gone Girl, Utsubora is replete with confessional voice, temporal jumps, unreliable narration, and psychological pressure. Matched with her seamless yet jarring illustrations, Nakamura paints a portrait of obsession, ambition, and artistic sensibility at its ugliest.

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2. If you loved Eleanor & Park, you should read Nodame Cantabile.

Gleaming with an earnestness and character-propelled narrative like Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park, Nodame Cantabile follows the ever-evolving relationship between two virtuosic musicians: the arrogant perfectionist Chiaki, and the eccentric freestyler Nodame. Over years of friendship and no small amount of romantic tension, both musicians help each other escape their comfort zones and strive for higher goals and happier lives.

3. If you loved Ender's Game, you should read Death Note.

Death Note is a physiological, speculative thriller that pays homage to the trope of cat-and-mouse adversaries. The series pits high school genius Light Yagami, who comes into possession of a magical notebook capable of killing anyone whose name is written on its pages, against the mysterious, equally brilliant detective L. With equal amounts moral ambiguity, obsession, and sheer mental faculty, as well as stakes and motivations similar to what you'd find in Ender's Game, Light and L go head-to-head with the whole world as their pawn.

4. If you loved Gone with the Wind, you should read A Bride's Story.

Kaoru Mori's A Bride's Story is the beautifully drawn tale of Amir, a 20-year-old woman living in late 19th-century Central Asia who moves away from her semi-nomadic tribe and family to marry a boy 12 years her junior. Like Gone with the Wind, it's a tale of marriage, of strong personalities and even stronger beliefs, as well as a snapshot of a specific historical period. Mori's incredible attention to both visual and historical detail makes A Bride's Story an engrossing read.

5. If you loved Catch-22, you should read Cromartie High School.

A parody of gritty high school dramas and slum-to-savior stories, Cromartie High School is an uproarious comedy manga whose humor frequently stems from the seriousness of its art style and its characters. Set in the worst, toughest school in Japan, it chronicles the exploits of Takashi Kamiyama, whose above-average intelligence and nonviolent behavior sets him apart from the rest of the student body (which may or may not include a couple robots and a gorilla). Like Catch-22, Cromartie mocks the genre and literature of its inspiration, as well as the real-world institutions that provoke its satire.

6. If you loved The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, you should read Case Closed.

Long-running detective manga Case Closed follows the adventures of Shinichi Kudo, a high school super sleuth who, after being attacked and forced to swallow an experimental poison, becomes stuck in the body of a 7-year-old boy. Eager to return to normal but unwilling to give up his Sherlockian duties, Shinichi solves crimes and tracks down his attackers in pint-sized form (whose new alias is, in fact, "Conan" — a direct nod to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle).

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7. If you loved Bridget Jones's Diary, you should read Boys Over Flowers.

If you enjoy classic romantic frames laid against a modern landscape, you may want to check out Boys Over Flowers, a romantic comedy set at the pompous Eitoku High School. The manga's heroine, Tsukushi Makino, is one of the only girls in school from a working-class family, and she disrupts the academy's ecosystem by refusing to submit to its richest, most popular students. A battle of sides soon emerges, with Romeo and Juliet-style romances galore.

8. If you loved The Glass Castle, you should read NonNonBa.

A work of frank and heartfelt self-reflection in the vein of Walls' The Glass Castle, NonNonBa is the poetic memoir of Shigeru Mizuki, a titan of the manga and gekiga genres. It chronicles Mizuki's early 20th-century childhood, his relationship with the grandmotherly figure NonNonBa, and the beginnings of his lifelong interest in monsters, spirits, and the unknown.

9. If you loved 1984, you should read Eden: It's an Endless World!

A post-apocalyptic series with immersive world building and painfully human characters à la 1984, Eden is sure to appeal to any die-hard sci-fi readers. The series is set in the near future, following a health pandemic that killed and disfigured huge swaths of the human population. This new Earth is forced to rebuild in the face of physical and moral struggle; political and social pressures abound.

10. If you loved Julie & Julia, you should read What Did You Eat Yesterday?

Readers with an interest in cooking as well as slice-of-life humor and drama will enjoy the luscious drawings and detailed descriptions in What Did You Eat Yesterday?, a manga following the lives and meals of a middle-aged couple living in Tokyo. Shiro, a standoffish lawyer by day, is a creative and passionate cook at home by night; his partner, Kenji, is an outgoing hairdresser who appreciates a home-cooked meal. Each chapter features several panels of cooking instruction and advice from Shiro as he goes about fixing his nightly feast.

11. If you loved The Ghost Writer, you should read Bakuman.

Bakuman, written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata (the same team responsible for Death Note), is a manga about manga. Its protagonists, teenagers-turned-young adults Moritaka and Akito, decide in ninth grade to devote themselves fully to becoming a hit manga duo, with Moritaka as artist and Akito as writer. Bakuman is an unusually realistic and readable series, replete with details of the manga creation and editorial process, as well as a cast of (mostly) lovable misfits. If you enjoyed Philip Roth's The Ghost Writer, and all the meta, self-aware nitty-gritty that it encompassed, this would be the series for you.

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12. If you loved A People's History of the United States, you should read Showa: A History of Japan.

The Showa series of books by Shigeru Mizuki (author of NonNonBa) consists of several lengthy, scrupulously researched manga histories of 20th-century Japan, featuring Mizuki's usual eccentrics. The books blend photorealistic portraits with cartoonish caricatures, as well as a mixture of hard history with nostalgic autobiography. The result is an unorthodox but gripping account of one of history's most turbulent subjects, which, like Zinn's classic A People's History of the United States, focuses more on the masses than their leaders.

13. If you loved the His Dark Materials trilogy, you should read Fullmetal Alchemist.

Hiromu Arakawa's Fullmetal Alchemist is a manga and anime hit of global proportions, and for good reason. With themes of sin, redemption, and good-versus-evil similar to what you'll find in His Dark Materials, Arakawa's series features a rich and nuanced fantasy setting, alluring yet flawed protagonists, a detailed but not overly complicated system of magic, and a pounding plot driven by fraternal love and self-sacrifice.

14. If you loved Rabbit, Run, you should read Slam Dunk.

Slam Dunk is the story of Hanamichi Sakuragi, gang leader and all-around delinquent, and his introduction (and eventual commitment) to the world of basketball. Like Rabbit, Run, basketball in Slam Dunk often serves as the focal point through which larger, more complicated topics are introduced. The series features the passion and underdog characters you'll find in all good sports fiction, matched with well-paced, often cinematic illustrations of athletes in action.

15. If you loved Stargirl, you should read Yotsuba&!

Yotsuba&! is a cheerful manga centered around 5-year-old Yotsuba Koiwai, her adopted father, and their relationships with the members of their community. Much of the series' humor stems from Yotsuba's overeager nature and seemingly boundless energy, but Yotsuba&! also features a number of softer, warmer scenes, aided by author Kiyohiko Azuma's beautiful, sunbathed art. Those who appreciate original, out-of-the-box thinking, exhibited by characters like Stargirl's protagonist, will take similar enjoyment from Yotsuba's personality.

Do you have a manga recommendation we missed? Tell us in the comments below!

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