Features Lists

The 20 Best Manga and Manhwa Releases of 2023

These are the best Manga and Manhwa releases of 2023

Here at Asian Movie Pulse, we have had a fantastic year of covering manga and manhwa (and a healthy dose of light novels) as we continue to expand our coverage of the medium. 2023 marked a remarkable year of new titles that deeply engrossed us in the pages throughout the year. The most significant change is coming from the heavier move towards publishing Manhwa titles, marking the first year we include South Korean comics as a major consideration for what made the past year so memorable.

Counting down to our favorite manga release of the year, these 20 titles highlight the best manga and manhwa releases of 2023.

20. Pandora Seven by Yuta Kayashima

“Scale, wing, vine, hair…none of that mattered to Lia, because her friends and mother loved her. She lived happily and peacefully—an almost worry-free existence. As the sole member of humania on the island, of course she dreamed about meeting others of her kind. But she never really expected the joyous days to end…until they did. Until humans arrived and attacked her friends and family. Until she opened the box. And so began her lonely quest to save them all…” (Yen Press)

's “” is storytelling on a large scale, where humans have become the global enslavers of 6 other races and have shaped the universe around them with their dominance. The hatred of humans runs through the galaxy, and Lia being raised sheltered by beasts and plucked from her idealistic village into a vast universe crafted around turmoil packs a lot of content, emotion, and exposition into the inaugural volume. Admittedly, it can be slightly overwhelming, but the series' pacing manages to bring together elements of mythology, mysticism, and sci-fi with palatable excitement. This is one experience that dives in and expects you to keep up, rewarding those who can do just that.

19. #DRCL Midnight Children by Shinichi Sakamoto

“As Mina struggles to find her place as Whitby School's first and only female student, a devilish horror is unleashed upon the academy and its unsuspecting students: Count Dracula. However, when this unspeakable evil lays claim to her beloved Lucy Westenra, Mina stands ready to join forces with her fellow students and fight against it with everything she has.” (Viz Media)

In terms of visuals, is a stunning read sure to captivate even the pickiest of horror enthusiasts. Sakamoto does not shy away from depicting the most gruesome of moments in great detail. Despite the manga's dark subject, the illustrations are still clear, vibrant, and easy to interpret. There's a noticeable difference between the more realistic panels featuring scenery or character expressions and the supernatural ones featuring creatures like Dracula, in which Sakamoto's drawings become more fluid and fantastical. It works especially well for a period piece like this, as he's constantly creating a clear separation between the real and the supernatural. (Nubia Jade Brice)

18. Boys Abyss by Ryo Minenami

“Reiji's mother is checked out, he's stuck caring for his grandmother with dementia, and his childhood friend treats him like a lackey. Then beautiful, big-city pop star Nagi miraculously shows up working the counter at the local convenience store. Reiji is starstruck. When she offers him the ultimate way out of his claustrophobic existence, will he succumb to temptation…?” (Viz Media)

Capturing the anxiety that can come with isolation and throwing in a teenage masturbatory fantasy turned nightmare, Ryo Minenami‘s “Boys Abyss” is an uncomfortable read. Yet, for those who seek challenging subject matter with a tinge of intense psychological drama (looking at you fans of Inio Asano & Shuzo Oshimi), the manga packs quite a wallop.

17. Tsugumi Project by Ippatu

“After being wrenched from his family and falsely convicted, a French soldier of fortune named Leon finds himself on a cargo plane to Japan. He and his fellow convicts are given one year to locate a powerful weapon from ages past-a weapon known only by the codename TORATSUGUMI-in exchange for their freedom. But what is the true nature of this weapon, and how is it connected to the taloned, half-human girl who swoops in to save Leon?” (Kodansha)

's art is simply stunning, coming from a unique history of working in manga and finding influence in European comics later in his career. The story here may be rough, but one can get lost in the visuals, with almost every page offering gorgeous detail.

16. A Business Proposal by NARAK, Perilla & Haehwa

“After being worked to the bone at her job, getting introduced to her longtime crush's new girlfriend, and dealing with her family's debt hanging over her head, Hari Shin's life seems to have hit rock bottom. Luckily, her friend Youngseo has a business proposal for her: go to an arranged date in her stead and Hari will receive a hefty compensation. Things grow complicated, however, when it turns out that the other party is Hari's new CEO—and he's dead-set on marrying whoever shows up to the date!” (IZE Press)

The comedic moments land incredibly well in every instance.  and , understand the timing to make every moment of discomfort and misunderstanding land. The inaugural volume leans heavily on the ‘misunderstanding' that tangles four different individuals into starting relationships, often under the confusion of who the person they are dating is. Moreover, each of the characters has their own quirks/charms that play idealistically into the rom-com formula. Is it a bit overly formulaic? Certainly, and while the predictability may deter those looking for unique tales of love, the writing perfectly matches what one would desire from a Korean rom-com.

15. How to Grill Our Love by Shiori Hanatsuka

“Dating can be tough when you nerd out over barbecue. Kenta, a practical pitmaster, looks for a grill-friend in Chihiro, an aloof and faultless business babe…or is she? Scared of being rejected for who they really are, the two of them find comfort in food and each other…and all is well until Kenta must transfer away. With their developing relationship at steak, Chihiro proposes they tie the knot and they marry for better or wurst. Winging a long-distance marriage is one thing, but here's the rub—they barely know each other! It's a rare marriage where all the awkwardness of dating meets a sizzling passion for grilling!” (Kodansha)

The romance depicted is enticing enough reason to indulge in the series, but the element of food is similarly explored in a way that reflects the character's ages. Notably, Kenta's love of food, specifically BBQ, comes from a long-standing passion for the culinary art of BBQ and the time and patience it takes to master the skills. As a result of the precise explanation of Kenta's grilling, from the ingredients to the passion he expresses in explaining the process to Chihiro, the enjoyment of a shared meal comes across as utterly endearing while simultaneously informative.

14. Akane-Banashi by Yuki Suenaga & Takamasa Moue

“Akane unintentionally stirs up a scandal when she's discovered taking informal lessons from her father's former teacher, Shiguma Arakawa. And she's about to make even bigger waves because she is about to begin her first steps in climbing the ranks of a rakugo performer from zenza opening act to shin'uchi headliner is exchanging her secret lessons for formal training. But she'll still have to finish high school and navigate her relationship with Shiguma's existing apprentices, all while learning that becoming a stellar rakugoka takes much more than just being good at performing!” (Viz Media)

” nails that balance of informative introduction and engaging storytelling. This is wonderfully set up by creating a legacy of storytellers as Akane takes up the art to honor her father, who was ousted from the community unfairly and unceremoniously. Through Akane, the reader gets an engaging story of redemption and a crash course into the world of Rakugo and how the student/master system works. Moreover, this approach evokes a youthful enthusiasm to give needed liveliness to traditional performance art to have it connect with a broader readership.

13. Ms. Itsuya by Mizu Sahara

Ms. Itsuya isn't your average substitute teacher, her teaching method can only be described as “magical”. Meet her and her unique cast of students as she teaches them lifelong lessons and helps them work through complex family issues.” (Coamix)

The visual stylings of are lush and expressive in a way that instantly draws one into the manga. Even from the first chapter, “Ms. Itusya” has exemplary panel work that explores the idea of art coming to life to interact with the environment. For example (see above), Toki breathes life into a school of fish in honor of his grandmother, who clings to the fish as a memory of her late husband, offering a beautiful sequence despite its tragic undertones. Ultimately, this is where Mizu Sahara thrives, understanding the profundity that images can hold to compliment the story and give moments for meaningful pauses where the art expresses that beyond words.

You Can Read on Azuki

12. Terror Man by Han Dongwoo & Ko JinHo

“Jungwoo Min has a special ability, one that lets him see when a path leads to a misfortune, or disaster. He uses his “Eyes of Misfortune” to spot these unfortunate events and stop them. Disguising himself as a terrorist, he begins using his power to save people from certain danger. This leads him to become feared by the people he is looking to save. Soon he discovers that the more he saves others, the unhappier he becomes. Thus unfolds the story of a hero and his struggle between happiness and despair. And the unfortunate reality of saving the world, even while becoming a supposed terrorist…or !” (Abalze)

Capturing the beginnings of a new hero,  & 's “Terror Man” is one of the most explosive and exciting manhwa titles to come to print. While this is largely due to the eccentric characters and the special abilities of its protagonist Jungwoo Min, the series excels thanks to its sleek artistic vision–a testament to the ability of digital art to be utilized in intriguing ways beyond the formulaic approach often seen in WebToons.

Read our interview with  Han Dongwoo & Ko JinHo

11. Doomsday With My Dog by Yu Ishihara

“A single teenage girl journeys through the crumbling ruins of civilization—the last human on Earth, exploring the concrete jungle that has outlived mankind. Keeping her company is woman's best friend—the ever-adorable and quick-witted Shiba Inu Haru, who is ready to stick with her through thick and thin! With such a pleasant conversation partner to keep the postapocalyptic doldrums at bay, the end of the world might not be so bad after all!” (Yen Press)

Ultimately, those who have formed strong bonds with ‘wo/mans best friend' will find “” a cathartic and entertaining journey through both the lighter and challenging moments that come with pet ownership. This sentiment should ring true for plenty who admire their furry friends and celebrate seeing those relationships celebrated meaningfully.

The article continues on the next page

About the author

Adam Symchuk

Adam Symchuk is a Canadian born freelance writer and editor who has been writing for Asian Movie Pulse since 2018. He is currently focused on covering manga, manhwa and light novels having reviewed hundreds of titles in the past two years.

His love of film came from horror and exploitation films from Japan that he devoured in his teens. His love of comics came from falling in love with the works of Shuzo Oshimi, Junji Ito, Hideshi Hino, and Inio Asano but has expanded to a general love of the medium and all its genres.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter