The Japanese school year starts in April, covering the path with cherry blossom petals and dreams of a fresh start, new friends, and new opportunities. Whether you’re still in school or you’ve long graduated, Manga Planet has some homework for you: For full marks, you have to read at least one school-based manga or light novel! Don’t panic if you’re unsure which story to pick, we’ve got a great selection of recommended reading right here!
Story & Art: Arakawa Naoshi
Kosei Arima was a rising star in the music world, known for his prodigal piano playing. His life took a turn for the worse at a young age after his mother-slash-teacher suddenly died, causing Kosei to break down under the spotlight. Now unable to hear the piano, he lives a bland and monotone life. That is until he meets the happy-go-lucky Kaori Miyazono, a unique and carefree violinist who decides to reintroduce him the joys of both music and life.
Your Lie In April shows that you can’t judge a book (or musician!) by its cover, with every character having reasons behind their actions. You might even be inspired to pick up an instrument for yourself!
Story: Hoshii Nanaoku
Art: Morishima Akiko
Mitsuki is devastated after her best friend Rin’s tragic death. Having crushed on her friend for so long, Mitsuki decides to follow her to the afterlife and heads to the abandoned Romero Private Academy… Only to find her beloved Rin in the old school building! Something seems off about her, though, and to make matters worse, she can’t even remember Mitsuki! What exactly is going on here?
This novel combines horror and GL to tell a unique story of unrequited love, acceptance, and regrets. You’ll find yourself rooting for Mitsuki as she puts on a brave face to confront her new reality and discover what regrets are holding Rin back.
(Warning: Suicidal ideation and death from the first chapter)
Story and Art: Peach-Pit
Hinamori Amu is famous at Seiyo Elementary for her Cool and Spicy outward appearance, but she’s actually a shy girl who dreams of discovering her true self. After following the instructions of a sketchy fortune teller, Amu is shocked to wake up with three colorful eggs under her pillow! Following the birth of her Guardian Characters, Amu finds her life-changing – New friends, new magical powers… and a mysterious dark plot that could threaten the entire of Japan!
Shugo Chara! is one of the most iconic magical girl manga of the 2000s and invites readers to join Amu on her journey of self-discovery, romance, and saving the world! Many of us struggle with discovering our “real self,” but with the help of Guardian Characters, the Seiyo Elementary kids can transform into magical girls and boys that represent their truest selves.
Story & Art: Yoimachi Meme
Ryugu is a futuristic town with a mall, train, and aquarium. What makes it special is the fact it’s completely underwater! Middle schoolers Masora and Sumire are best friends who love shopping and playing together after school. Masora dreams of seeing the sky, but Sumire isn’t convinced – Her memories may be murky, but she can tell that something isn’t right. Will the girls discover the dark secret behind Ryugu Town?
This manga may look sweet but don’t underestimate the dark plot lurking in the depths of Ryugu. Yoimachi Meme combines psychological elements with their cute drawing style to create an unsettling atmosphere that only increases as the story progresses.
Which manga was your favorite? Let us know on Twitter!
Subscribers get unlimited access to these chapters and more in the Manga Planet Library!
About Manga Planet: Read manga, support artists
In 2012, Manga Planet started as a joint project between Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. and FANTASISTA, INC. to research and explore the ways manga is read throughout the world. Aiming to bring new manga to fans from all over the world and support artists and the industry, Manga Planet pushes for affordability and access to manga through a subscription-based service.
Readers who subscribe to Manga Planet and pay a flat monthly fee of $6.99 will have access to our expanding library of English-language manga. To subscribe, please go to read.mangaplanet.com and create an account.