Your Guide to the Manga Crunchyroll is Putting in the Vault

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Well, it was only a matter of time, but it looks like Crunchyroll’s manga service is losing its first set of titles on May 19th. Thankfully, none of the popular series that the service offers are going; in fact, all 7 titles being removed are within the bottom 11 in popularity (or the bottom 9 if you don’t count the 2 original-to-Crunchyroll manga, which are obviously not being removed).

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But just because they’re not popular, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t necessarily worth reading. So, here’s a quick primer of what to expect from each series, and which ones I think are worth checking out before the 19th. They’re roughly ranked best to worst here. It’s also worth noting that all 7 series are either completed or presumably canceled, with no new chapters expected anyways.

Japan Sinks

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To be completely upfront with you, this is probably the best of the bunch. This manga is based on a famous Japanese novel published after many years of extensive scientific research, and it shows. The premise is that a massive series of earthquakes is about to cause the entire island of Japan to start to slide under the ocean, like Atlantis, and a few scientists can see it coming and must convince the rest of the country. And then the sinking starts earlier than they predicted...

This series was covered on ANN’s House of 1000 Manga in more detail if you want to know more.

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The author is Sakyo Komatsu, a well respected science fiction author, but the artist is Takako Saito, who wrote/illustrated Doll: The Hotel Detective, Barom One, and The Shadowman, all also being removed, though he’s most well known for Golgo 13 (not on Crunchyroll). It was first published in 1973, and the art has not aged as well as the story.

Length: 4 Volumes

Recommendation: Read For Sure

Present For Me

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This is a short story collection which, as you can probably tell by the image, is sci-fi. If any series here can give Japan Sinks a run for it’s money, it’s this one. Most of the stories are comedies (some so short they’re just setup and punchline), but a couple are more heartfelt and serious. The only one that really flopped for me was chapter 4, Countdown. The rest were all quite enjoyable. None of them outstay their welcome, and they’re the better for it.

The author is Masakazu Ishiguro, who is best known for his work And Yet the Town Moves (which is on Crunchyroll, and totally recommended). This collection is some of his earlier works, including his debut story Hero.

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Length: 1 Volume (7 stories)

Recommendation: Read For Sure

The Shadowman

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I know what it looks like, but this series isn’t actually racist. This is a superhero manga, where the main character has been given superpowers that turn his entire body black (aside from his hair) when they’re activated. He finds out that he’s a pawn in a battle between two organizations, one good and one evil, and decides to fight for justice. The ending is a tad rushed, but at least it has one.

The author/artist is Takako Saito, who also wrote Doll: The Hotel Detective and Barom One, and illustrated Japan Sinks, all also being removed, though he’s most well known for Golgo 13 (not on Crunchyroll). It was first published in 1967, and has not aged particularly well.

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Length: 3 Volumes

Recommendation: Give it a Try

Days of the Dam

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This one is just as fascinating as it is disappointing. The series is about a civil engineer who must build a dam. It seems like it was going to be a pretty serious look at being a civil engineer (it reminds me of Space Brothers), but it looks to have been canceled after only 2 chapters. I was pretty hyped for it, but there’s almost nothing there.

The author is Haga Shoichi, who isn’t very well known. If you’ve heard of his series Inchiki-kun (not on Crunchyroll), more power to you.

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Length: 2 Chapters (no ending)

Recommendation: You’ll Just be Sad it’s Cancelled

Barom One

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This is a superhero manga, where two boys gain the power to defeat evil by combining into one body through the power of friendship. There’s a lot of heart in this series, but it doesn’t go very far because it was canceled, just stopping in the middle of the story. Zero resolution at all. The bad guy is introduced, they fight a couple of times, gain some allies, and then... nothing.

The author/artist is Takako Saito, who also wrote Doll: The Hotel Detective and The Shadowman and illustrated Japan Sinks, all also being removed, though he’s most well known for Golgo 13 (not on Crunchyroll). It was first published in 1974, and has not aged particularly well.

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Length: 3 Volumes (no ending)

Recommendation: Skip It

Doll: The Hotel Detective

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This is a globe-trotting series, where the main character is a “hotel detective” named Doll, whose job it is to investigate and prevent crimes committed in the hotel chain that she works for; she’s also super OP. This is a weird world where the police defer to these hotel detectives. The series is an anthology, so each chapter is a self-contained story, with very little connection between them, though there is the occasional reference. Being an anthology, the need for an ending is pretty low, and it manages to make do with what it has.

The author/artist is Takako Saito, who also wrote Barom One and The Shadowman, and illustrated Japan Sinks, all also being removed, though he’s most well known for Golgo 13 (not on Crunchyroll). It was first published in 1984, and seems a bit dated now.

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Length: 3 Volumes

Warning: This series contains nudity and rape.

Recommendation: Skip It

Kippo

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This series is about a weak kid and the gang/family thing that takes him in. It looks at the issues that some of the members have, as they all struggle through life together. Or, that’s what it seems like that’s what the story will be. It doesn’t really have time to get into that because it ends right away with a “to be continued” that will presumably never be fulfilled.

The author/artist is Hiroshi Tanaka, most well known for the Bad Boys series (not on Crunchyroll), which this may be a spin off of. Not really sure.

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Length: 1 Volume (no ending)

Warning: Contains nudity

Recommendation: Skip It

So, there you go. You’ve got until the 19th to read... maybe 8 volumes or so. Get to it before they’re gone!

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If you want to see my brief thoughts and ranking of most of the series on Crunchyroll Manga, I keep an updated list on Anime Planet.

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