Manga have been the fastest growing segment of the German-language book market for several years, and there is no end in sight to the boom in Japanese comic series. Now the German manga publishers are preparing to further increase the popularity of their publications: On August 27, Manga Day will take place for the first time, a joint campaign by eight publishers and labels based on the model from the USA a few years ago successful free comic day imported to Germany.

On this day, more than 700 bookstores in Germany and Austria are giving away 25 manga titles that were specially printed for the campaign.

Joachim Kaps, publishing manager at altraverse and coordinator of the event, explains that there is now a separate Manga Day alongside the Free Comic Day: “The Free Comic Day and its booklets with 32 to 48 pages are for American topics optimized format. However, a manga story unfolds too little in so few pages to give a real impression. Manga need space to unfold their fascination and the paperback is the ideal form for this.” The Manga Day books with their 96 to 128 pages take this into account.

“Manga are also the driving factor in the comic segment in the book trade, but were naturally only represented by a few titles in the free comic tag,” adds Kaps. Now both forms of storytelling in pictures have their own day. “You both deserve it.”

According to him, the first Manga Day will take place in 727 bookstores and comic shops in Germany and Austria. In addition, almost 40 Thalia Austria bookstores will catch up on Manga Day in October with a slight time lag. According to Kaps, the free comic day had 707 participants this year. “So both days prove how important comics and manga are in the book trade today.”

The circulation of all titles that will be available on the day totals around 400,000 paperbacks. “These are made up of a motley cross-section of the current catalogues,” explains Kaps. The question of how many books will be handed out per fan will be decided by the local dealers on Saturday, explains Kaps: “The dealers know their customers best and don’t need the advice of the publishers on how they can best use the day for themselves. “

Legoshi is a lanky. Insecure and shy, he shuffles across the schoolyard. The male wolf is bursting with strength. But in the anthropomorphic animal world of “Beastars”, stereotypes are repeatedly turned on their head. The animal world consists of carnivores and herbivores, hunters and prey sit peacefully side by side in Legoshi’s school. Until an alpaca is killed on the school grounds and fear spreads among the herbivores. Legoshi wants to clear up the case – and falls in love with Haru, the dwarf rabbit of all people.

The award-winning series by artist Paru Itagaki (19 of the 22 volumes have been published in German by Kazé so far) is a mixture of high school thriller and coming-of-age story. The depictions of animals are convincing in terms of drawing, while the many graphic elements are rather unusual.

But above all, “Beastars” scores with the sensitive treatment of issues such as the search for identity and discrimination, as well as the depiction of a society that threatens to be torn into two classes. This is what the competition from Legoshi and Hirsch Louis stands for: both of them are not only courting Haru, they also want to become Beastar, the most popular student. But their instincts keep getting in the way. And finally, Louis’ dark past gives the series a surprising twist.

Sort of like Harry Potter, except that the hero is a slightly dimwitted knight – that’s how a British reviewer once described “Black Clover”. Asta, the protagonist of this manga series, doesn’t have it easy, because not only is he, as a poor orphan, quite far down in the hierarchy of his magical world – he is apparently also the only person living in it who lacks any ability to use magic.

This is particularly noticeable since his best friend Yuno seems to be the most talented young magician of them all. But anyone who thinks that Asta is giving up because of this doesn’t yet know his will to persevere. On the contrary: Asta wants to become king of magicians, whatever the cost. On the way there, he meets a whole series of bizarre companions who also don’t seem to fit into the grid of their world, but don’t want to be defeated either.

In terms of graphics, you can see from the series that author Yuki Tabata was a mangaka at work who has a lot of talent and experience. The series scores particularly well in its impressive battle scenes, which, thanks to their wealth of detail, develop a high degree of speed and excitement.

In Japan, “Black Clover” now comprises 32 volumes and is currently one of the most read manga in Japan with more than 17 million copies sold. With its sophisticated character design, the varied storyline and the raven-black humor, it is reminiscent of series such as “Naruto”, “Fairy Tail” or the classic “Dragonball”.

The fans’ fascination stems from the author’s exciting idea of ​​turning famous Japanese writers into action heroes in eccentric outfits reminiscent of bygone eras, whose supernatural abilities are also inspired by the works of these same authors. For example, one of the main protagonists, suicide fanatic Osamu Dazai from the “Office of the Defensive Detectives”, can use his “Inhuman” power to render all the gifts of others ineffective.

He meets Atsushi Nakajima while working on a case. The orphan boy is said to be being hunted by a giant white tiger that Dazai is tasked with disabling. He is also not a normal person, as his name already implies, which comes from a famous contemporary of the poet Dazai.

The turbulent story thus imaginatively integrates prominent personalities and their work and is dressed by artist Sango Harukawa in a very dynamic, dense and high-contrast artwork with many rough edges in the truest sense of the word.

In this country, many of the great Japanese writers are less well known and getting started with the introduction of the numerous characters is a bit tough. Nevertheless, not only fans of Japanese literature should read the entertaining mystery series beyond the reading sample that will be available on Manga Day.

He has the looks of a schoolboy and comes across as a dreamy child with his laconic manner. But whenever an evil spirit needs to be fought or a curse broken, Kitaro’s superhuman powers come to the fore. The fact that the actually good-hearted guy tends towards brute methods may irritate new readers of this comedy horror manga series from the 1960s.

But the crazy worlds in which Kitaro moves require unusual methods – and thanks to original twists, ambivalent characters, casual dialogue and masterful drawings, they are highly entertaining for the audience. Half spirit and half human, Kitaro acts as a mediator between the two worlds.

Mangaka Shigeru Mizuki (1922-2015) drew inspiration from paper theater fairy tales and traditional tales of demons, witches and other ghostly figures for his series, which has achieved cult status in Japan. His figures, drawn with clean lines, have a slightly caricatural, occasionally grotesque look. This contrasts with hyper-realistic backgrounds bursting with details that bring fantastic worlds to life.

All nine anthologies of the genre classic, which has been filmed several times, are now being published in German for the first time, and the seventh has just been published by Reprodukt.

He is familiar with murder and manslaughter, even if he is only an inconspicuous employee of a toy company. In his spare time, 47-year-old Tetsuo writes online crime novels. When one day he is unexpectedly involved in the machinations of a criminal gang that has his daughter in their sights and shortly thereafter the first blood sheds, his theoretical knowledge pays off.

In clear, realistic black and white images, the draftsman Masashi Asaki has implemented a story by Naoki Yamakawa, which is about how the life of a previously blameless family gets out of control – and how those affected try to regain it with all their might. Asaki’s uncluttered imagery conveys a sense of order, a notable contrast to the increasing escalation of the situation.

Tetsuo tries to counter the course of events with almost scientific precision, which is illustrated by passages reminiscent of non-fiction books, in which, among other things, it is explained how to dispose of a corpse without a trace. This gives the story, of which there are three volumes in German, a macabre undertone.

Thanks to many small cliffhangers and increasingly complex characters over the course of the story, it is above all quite exciting and even funny in places – albeit more for readers with a hardened sense of humor.

As the only doctor in a medieval fantasy village, Colette is busy around the clock. Eventually, she feels so overworked that she jumps into a well to finally rest in the afterlife. Instead of dying, however, Colette only ends up temporarily in the underworld and is promptly appointed King Hades’ personal physician. The ruler of the dead suffers from a mysterious feverish skin disease. Gradually, the human woman and the immortal god develop romantic feelings for each other.

The manga artist Alto Yukimura tells the morbid romance in a sugar-sweet style of drawing that is a bit schematic at times. Instead of a detailed drawing of the outside world, nuanced facial expressions focus primarily on the inner life of the protagonist.

When it comes to character design, Yukimura uses a lot of clichés: The childlike, wide-eyed protagonist self-sacrificingly takes care of everything and everyone around her. The edgy drawn, extremely attractive hero, on the other hand, is taciturn and unapproachable, but of course has a soft side under his hard shell.

As unsurprising as this distribution of roles may be, the offbeat humor of the fantasy manga always loosens up the atmosphere when it threatens to get too cheesy. Colette Decides To Die was originally published in the Japanese shojo magazine Hana to Yume, between 2013 and 2020 the manga was then published in Japan in a total of 20 paperback volumes. altraverse has been publishing the series in German translation since April of this year.

Compared to other manga romances with a big age difference, the Japanese illustrator Akira Nitta dedicates herself to many fine nuances in addition to the obvious. Despite the underage toyboy’s love and approval, it becomes clear that abuse and dependency play a part in the area of ​​responsibility of the insecure and immature protagonist Wako.

At the same time, the critical audience learns that in patriarchal Japan, an unmarried woman in her thirties who is unemployed except for a part-time job has to shoulder an almost overwhelming burden of prejudice and disappointed expectations.

In 2018, the provocative melodrama was turned into a real-life TV series in Japan, which can currently be streamed on Netflix with German subtitles. In moving images, the narrative attains even greater intensity. Small, symbolic details such as Wako’s childlike enthusiasm for short-term happiness from capsule machines are given more weight here.