Whether it’s the one you were born with or one you’ve found along the way, family is precious to everybody. With August marking an important month for familial bonds in Japan, this uplifting roundup of Manga Planet titles will be all about families, both blood-related and found!
Obon Season in Japan
Obon is a festival held over three days during the summer season. During Obon, it is said that spirits return to visit the household altar and family graves. Families will often clean their ancestors’ graves and reunite with their living family members in preparation for this arrival.
It originates from the Chinese Ghost Festival, which is based on the Buddhist story of Maha Maudgalyayana, which is also where the concept of the Bon Dance (盆踊り, Bon Odori) comes from.
The festival is said to be held on the 15th day of the seventh month, but due to some complications from adjusting to the lunar calendar, the holiday has been split over three dates throughout Japan.
July Bon is celebrated throughout Eastern Japan and was based on the Solar calendar, while Old Bon is celebrated on the 15th of the ninth month on the lunar calendar, changing dates each year.
August Bon is based on the lunar calendar and is the most commonly celebrated date, held around the 15th of August.
Story & Art: Motomiya Hiroshi
Kintaro Yajima was infamous for his fighting prowess back in his younger days as a bike gang leader, ruling one of the biggest gangs in the Kanto region. However, after retiring from his gang and welcoming a son into his life, his beloved wife, Akemi, passes away. Kintaro decides to make the big move to Tokyo to become a salaryman and provide a stable life for his son, but things don’t go as smoothly as he expects when his history starts to catch up with him.
Parents often have to make big decisions for their children, and Kintaro is doing just that! Join Kintaro as he leaves his rural fishing life behind and becomes a salaryman, making new friends and meeting some familiar faces along the way – although not all of them are pleased to see him.
Story & Art: Yamamoto Rena
Young salaryman Mitsuki Hotei reluctantly joins his friend on a night out to the MATADOLL bar and is surprised to find out that it’s actually a cross-dressing snack bar! Not only that, but after listening to the beautiful hostess Ichiko’s singing voice, Mitsuki falls head over heels in love! As the regulars know, there’s never a dull moment at the MATADOLL bar.
This fun manga is both hilarious and heartwarming, cleverly working comedy into the trials of the real world, telling the story of a bar that comforts those who wish to escape society for a short while. The customers are all linked in some way, forming close bonds with the friendly hostesses. While snack bar culture may not be well known overseas, the Sunrise Snack Bar is one that you’ll quickly find yourself wanting to visit!
Story & Art: Sugisaku
At first, Professor the kitten views the new addition to her family as a rival – Why does the small, noisy human get so much attention! Despite their differences, the two quickly become firm friends and are inseparable for the 20 years following their meeting, always being there for one another throughout the good and bad.
Family isn’t always human – Your beloved pet counts too! My 20 Years with the Professor is a heartwarming trip through memory lane as Ota looks back on the precious years spent with his pet cat.
Story & Art: sajimakatana
Mitsuki Namikawa is a full blown otaku, but due to her mother’s disapproval, has to keep it a secret. After growing up and meeting people who accept her for who she is, Mitsuki decides to embrace her hobbies regardless, going to events and enjoying anime viewing drinking parties with her friends Atsuno and Madoka. It is at one of these parties that she discovers her new best boy – What she doesn’t know is how much her beloved Deke will change her life!
It’s hard when your real family doesn’t approve of your hobbies, but often there are two sides to the story. No Matter Where You Are, I Love You follows Mitsuki as she learns how to embrace her own interests despite the disapproval from her family, while her mother slowly tries to understand what makes her daughter truly happy.
Which is your favourite? Let us know on Twitter!
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