This afternoon I wanted to take a break from the heavy reviews and analyses of my favourite things and just indulge in a bit of aesthetic fun! Maybe it’s the ridiculous heat making me feel lethargic or just the whimsical side of the bed that I woke up on—either way, I wanted to do something a bit silly and chill while appreciating an element that I tend to take for granted with manga: the beauty of covers.
The last favourite manga covers post I did was back in 2018 with a focus on shōjo manga. This time around I’ve returned with a spotlight on one of my favourite manga demographics to read from, shōnen! Seinen and shōnen manga and anime have some of the most enticing stories and characters for me, and the covers for their serials are almost always a huge appealing factor. I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but when it looks so badass or vicious or just outright hilarious, it’s difficult not to formulate some minor specks of expectation at the very least.
So, here are five manga volume covers that had me completely hooked from the moment I first laid eyes one them! They are also from franchises that I have enjoyed quite immensely and recommend to any and all looking to engage with something from these specific demographics.
Naruto Volume 27 by Masashi Kishimoto
I’m going with a rather simple one for my first pick with Naruto Volume 27. When I first came across this volume and saw that cover, my instant thought was that Sasuke finally loses his shit because of Naruto’s uncanny ability to adapt and get stronger. The volume ended up housing one of my favourite fights from when they were all kids. It was drawn so incredibly well, had great pacing and tension, decent character growth—I just adored all of it. So now whenever I look at this cover, I’m reminded of that first-time excitement when reading about this particular fight, and since then it has become a favourite.
A Silent Voice Volume 7 by Yoshitoki Ōima
This is one of my favourite shōnen manga serials and I actually appreciate just about all the covers for all seven volumes. In every instalment, it looks like they characters are posing (usually quite awkwardly) for a photograph, which makes them feel personal and candid, and Volume 7 is my favourite because you can see the peace and the joy that they have found in one another as well as with themselves in the smiles they have on their faces. Plus, that ending was perfect for the series and I loved it with all my heart.
Attack on Titan Volume 13 by Hajime Isayama
Okay, I have to admit that I’m pretty behind in the manga series (paused somewhere around Volume 20), so I haven’t seen every currently released cover. Even so, this one is my favourite because of how much it reminds me of a Hollywood action flick, like they’re all super cool and know it but are totally nonchalant about it while they walk away from giant exploding things in the background. Plus, I’m basically a ho for Levi Ackerman and on this cover he’s yummier than ever. (Sometimes there’s nothing more profound than just “Damn, he looks goooood.”)
Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 21 by Hiromu Arukawa
The first time I saw the cover for this, I remember my mouth fell open a little bit. It was the very first cover in the series where we had Al all by himself wearing an expression of solemnity and malevolent fierceness that isn’t too typical with his personality, and in the background with the creepy eyes, it made everything feel so sinister and dark and daunting. The revelation of what caused him to look so frightening was also a great and exhilarating read as well. All in all, it was an excellent volume.
Buster Dress Volume 3 by Ryūichi Sadamatsu
This cover looked badass to me as it spoke of some cool mecha action to come. It’s been so long since I’ve read this that I can’t really remember too well what the specific volume entailed, but I do remember there being some intrigue and political tension in the series that I enjoyed a lot. The cover reminded me old school mecha anime and that nostalgia was what drew me into the series initially. While the story wasn’t the greatest thing, I did love the artwork as the artist did a marvellous job with creating the giant robots, as you can see with this cover, and that political stuff had some pretty fascinating points to it that I only wish were further fleshed out.
Doing this write-up has shown me that I actually read far more seinen manga than shōnen, although my TBR for it is gigantic. I’m going to have to start working a bit harder to dive into more shōnen titles as there are very few within the category that have disappointed me thus far, even with the little that I have read.
Which manga have some of your favourite covers or artwork? Are there any that look fantastic, but you haven’t had a chance to read it yet?