Best Manga About Music | TheReviewGeek Recommends

Best Manga About Music

Although many people cherish watching anime, they often forget that most anime serve as adaptations of the original source material. While there are some instances where the anime is better than the manga, those instances are few and far between. With the amount of manga released on a daily basis, it could be hard to cut through all those books to find the “Best of” for any chosen topic.

Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest, and unforgettable manga through the years. For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best manga, our attention this time turns to those with a music focus. From compelling romances to entertaining scenarios surrounding life, there’s a good choice to whet your appetite.

Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below and we’ll get them added on!

Nana — Ai Yazawa

For those looking for a manga with an alluring gothic aesthetic, Nana should satisfy you. This manga offers an intriguing story about two girls named Nana. They travel to Japan for different reasons and eventually forge a genuine friendship. Each Nana has an intricate background and personality. Side characters receive great development alongside both Nanas and come with their share of struggles.

As Nana navigates through the ups and downs of the music industry, readers become invested in their personal quests. Ai Yazawa realistically depicts the challenges and obstacles faced by these musicians, from financial burdens to creative differences. Through its detailed and insightful descriptions of the industry, Nana gives readers a window into this world. In addition to having stellar drama and romantic components, Nana’s a must-read for any diehard music enthusiast.

Beck: The Mongolian Chop Squad — Harold Sakuishi

Have you ever wondered what it’d be like to be a phenomenal musician? Beck: The Mongolian Chop Squad offers readers an answer to that question. It focuses on music education and appreciation. Beck explores a wide range of music genres and educates readers bout the history and evolution of each music style. Through the characters’ journeys, you’ll be exposed to different facets of the industry.

It follows Koyuki, a boy who lacks purpose. His life takes a turn for the better when he meets an emerging guitarist named Ray. Ray brings Koyuki to his hideout and performs a song in front of him. Koyuki performs a song afterward and Ray asks him to join his band. Along with Ray’s sister, the two men launch the band BECK and plan to become the great band ever.

The characters receive excellent development and undergo multiple struggles to reach the top. Many readers will enjoy seeing Koyuki transform into a figure with a sense of belonging, meaning, and an appreciation for music. His bandmates have fascinating backgrounds and personalities too, giving readers more people to root for until the manga’s conclusion. This is a must-read for anyone who adores music and wants to be inspired by a tale of triumph over hardship.

Kono Oto Tomare! — Amyuu Sakura

Kono Oto Tomare revolves around a club president named Kurata who can’t seem to recruit anyone to his dying club. Fortunately, Chika Kudou, a feared delinquent, wants to join the club but wants to become the new president. Despite the rumors spread about Chika, Kurata admits Chika into the club. A koto prodigy named Satowa helps Kurata by recruiting Chika’s friends.

With a good portion of members, the club members vow to become the best koto players in the nation. This manga offers a strong focus on the koto, a traditional Japanese instrument. It explores the history, culture, and significance of the koto in Japanese society, and educates readers about the different playing techniques and styles.

Readers will admire the passion our cast has for the koto, and readers will walk away from Kono Oto Tomare with a better understanding of its beauty and intricacies. The characters are relatable and diverse. For instance, Chika starts off as a mere delinquent, but by interacting with his classmates and the koto, he learns to work hard and cooperate with others. The same can be said about his companions in the club too. With its strong messages and themes, this is a music manga you don’t want to toss aside.

Given — Natsuki Kizu

Given is a great music manga because of its beautiful and poignant storytelling. It explores the personal journeys of its protagonists, all of whom are struggling with their share of inner demons and issues. Through their love of music and close relationships with each other, the characters learn to confront their fears and find solace through playing together.

The manga follows Mafuyu, a boy who’s going through a lot of inner and outer turmoil. One day, he meets Uenoyama, who is a leader of an instrumental-only band. Despite making it through without a vocalist, Uenoyama overhears Mafuyu singing and invites him to join. By joining the band, Mafuyu hopes to relinquish the saddening emotions that have a tight grasp on his heart.

This manga tackles themes like self-discovery and grief. It offers a realistic portrayal of the music industry. Natsuki Kizu delves into the challenges each musician faces from performing in small venues to dealing with how criticisms. For those looking for a manga that highlights how challenging it can be to stay true to one’s artistic vision, Given’s a must-read.

Your Lie In April — Naoshi Arakawa

Your Lie In April delivers a tale that will leave you speechless and mildly heartbroken by its conclusion. It touches upon romance, music, and loss. The story follows Kousei, a skilled pianist who dropped his hobby after his mother passed away. One day, he meets a talented violinist named Kaori, who plans to reignite Kousei’s passion for the instrument.

Readers will find this story’s themes about grief and the power of music moving. It will motivate them to root for Kousei as he navigates through his journey of self-discovery. This manga offers a great portrayal of classical music through an educational and inspiring lens. The characters’ passion will rub off on readers and you’ll love seeing them overcome obstacles to strengthen their craft.

The artwork can be as immaculate as its storytelling. Its portrayal of music performances is visually stunning, capturing the dramatic and emotional intensity of music through its dynamic panel layouts and use of color. This is a beautifully crafted manga that celebrates the power music has on the human spirit.

Kids On The Slope — Yuki Kodama

Kids On The Slope is a great music manga because of its unique approach to storytelling. The manga follows the lives of three high school students who come together through their love of jazz music. The music becomes a driving force for the characters, and the author Yuki Kodama uses jazz to explore themes such as friendship, love, and self-discovery.

The manga’s use of music helps to convey emotions in a powerful way that is unique to the medium. The manga is also excellent because of its representation of jazz music. Kodama’s extensive research into jazz is evident in the detailed and accurate depictions of music performances, terminology, and history.

The manga provides readers with a greater appreciation and understanding of jazz music, its significance, and its evolution over time. Additionally, the vivid artwork captures the energy and passion of jazz performances, making the manga a visual treat for music enthusiasts. While the story moves at a slow pace at first, it picks up near the middle half and leads into something truly astonishing. For those looking for a fabulous coming-of-age tale with an appreciation of music, check out Kids On The Slope.

Blue Giant — Shinichi Ishizuka

Blue Giant delivers a narrative about Dai Miyamoto, who dreams of becoming the greatest saxophonist in the world. This manga details Dai’s journey of self-discovery as he struggles with problems involving self-doubt, discipline, and relationships while pursuing his passion for music. This is another manga with a fantastic portrayal of jazz music and culture.

Shinichi Ishizuka’s detailed and accurate depiction of jazz music highlights its complexities, from its history and evolution to its technical aspects. Readers will obtain a deeper appreciation for jazz and understand the music’s impact on society over time. Additionally, Blue Giant portrays the relationships between jazz musicians and the struggles they face while pursuing their goals.

The artwork is phenomenal. The black and white illustrations capture the energy and emotions of jazz music concisely. The author’s attention to detail in the instruments and musical notation adds to the authenticity of the manga. Those looking for a tale with great character development, remarkable artwork, and splendid storytelling, should give this a read.

Solanin — Inio Asano

Solanin explores the challenges of growing up and finding one’s place in the world through the lens of music. The manga follows Meiko Inoue, a recent college graduate who struggles to find a fulfilling job, and her boyfriend Taneda, who is contemplating quitting his band to pursue a more stable career. Music is a significant theme in this story, from Meiko’s love of singing to Taneda’s passion for guitar.

The manga excellently portrays the joy and struggle of creating music and how it can be a source of comfort and inspiration during difficult times. The manga’s effortless blend of humor, heartbreak, and realism is what makes it stand out. Inio Asano captures the ups and downs of the characters’ lives, making them feel relatable.

This feels like an honest depiction of young adulthood, with its joys and disappointments. The relationships between the characters are delicately portrayed, and the readers are invested in their growth and development throughout the tale. The manga’s melancholy yet the hopeful tone and beautiful artwork are what make it a standout music manga. Give this a read if you find the time.

Forest of Piano — Makoto Isshiki

Forest of Piano presents a narrative about friendship, rivalry, self-discovery, and music. The story follows Kai, he lives a problematic life and finds himself defending a transfer student named Shuuhei from bullies. Shuuhei’s an excellent pianist and his talent for the craft rubs off on Kai. Kai seeks help from his teacher, a former pianist, in hopes of becoming Japan’s best pianist.

Makoto Isshiki develops the characters’ relationships with great depth and nuance, showing how their music affects not only themselves but also the people around them. The manga excels in its portrayal of classical music. Through the characters’ performances, the author showcases the technical principles and stylistic differences between different composers.

This helps the manga feel more educational. The manga conveys the emotional power of music, as the characters express their struggles and desires through their playing. This is a must-read for fans who want a story that powerfully depicts the beauty of classical music and the human story and struggle that accompanies it.

Whisper Me A Love Song — Eku Takeshima

Whisper Me A Love Song is a story filled with wholesome situations and pleasant characters. It not only explores the themes of romance and youth but also portrays the life of two musicians working together to achieve a common goal. The manga follows two high schoolers, Yori and Himari, who come from different backgrounds but have a genuine love for music.

Yori and Himari’s relationship becomes more intimate over time. As their relationship develops into something grander, so does the narrative as it transforms into a tale of romantic self-discovery through music. You’ll adore the heartwarming interactions between Himari and Yori as Eku Takeshima places them in down-to-earth situations.

The side characters receive some development but act more like wing women to our protagonists. Some do get roped into their own romantic quarrels and many readers will enjoy these cast members the most. The artwork is beautiful and can appear cinematic at times. Give this a read if you love romance stories and want something with a pinch of music.

So, there we have it, our picks for the best manga through the years about music!

What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!

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