The Manga Taishō is an annual Japanese manga award with the goal of promoting newer titles. All nominees to the awards must have eight collected volumes or less. The nominating committee, composed of staff members from bookstores, vote in two rounds: the first to determine the twelve final nominees, and the second to determine the winner. Some of the previous winners include hugely popular and highly-rated series such as Chihayafuru (2009), Thermae Romae (2010), and March Comes in Like a Lion (2011).
Other notable nominees include Yotsuba&! (2008), Ōoku: The Inner Chambers (2008), Kimi ni Todoke (2008), Natsume’s Book of Friends (2008), Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture (2008), Space Brothers (2009), Saint Young Men (2009), I Am a Hero (2010), Princess Jellyfish (2010), Bakuman (2010), Shingeki no Kyojin (2011), The Flowers of Evil (2012), Your Lie in April (2012), Hōzuki no Reitetsu (2012), Assassination Classroom (2013), Terra Formars (2013), Ajin (2014), One-Punch Man (2014), A Silent Voice (2015), Land of the Lustrous (2015), and Erased (2016). A few nominees from the 2017 list made it to the 2018 nominees as well.
Eigazuki Ponpo-san (Ponpo: The Cinephile) by Shogo Sugitani / Ningen Plamo
Joelle “Pomponette” Davidovich, also known as Ponpo-san, is a talented movie producer who lives in “Nyallywood” — the film capital of the world. Inspite of her talent, she has been relegated to making mostly B-class action flicks and pseudo-erotic films. When her assistant Gene — a self-described film buff, finds one of her unfinished scripts, he impulsively takes on his first directorial gig to turn the Ponpo-san’s script into a feature length film.
Eizou-ken ni wa Te o Dasu na! by Sumito Owara
“Settings are life” in the animation industry, if Midori Asakusa has anything to say about the matter. Joined by the charismatic producer and aspiring animator Tsubame Mizusaki, and the money-hungry but leggy beauty Sayaka Kanamori — no dungeon, no battlefield, no universe is too big to spread their wings of imagination, and make the best movie in the world!
Golden Gold by Seita Horie
A young girl named Ryuka Hayasaka lives on an island in the Seto Inland Sea. One day, Rika picks up a mysterious figure on the beach and brings it home. The inn and general store run by Ryuka’s grandmother begins to flourish after Ryuka brings home the figure, hence the figure was named “Fukuokami” (God of Good Fortune). It turns out that after being dedicated to shrines and prayed upon, the figures began to behave like living beings. Ryuka becomes increasingly suspicious of the “Fukuokami”, as she believes that it has begun manipulating the islanders for its own dark agenda.
Dungeon Meshi (Delicious in Dungeon) by Ryoko Kui
Delicious in Dungeon tells the story of a team of adventurers who wish to conquer the dungeon that claimed the life of one of their group. However, the group must consider the cost of weapons, supplies, and food — so to save money, their swordsman Laios suggests they find food to eat within the dungeons. Every chapter of the manga shows Laios’ team adventuring through the dungeons, the meals created by foraging for unusual ingredients, as well as the reactions of the traveling party to the dubious yet delicious meals.
Tongari Boshi no Atelier (Witch Hat Atelier) by Kamome Shirahama
Coco is a young girl living in a small village. She has always wanted to be a wizard, but children who cannot use magic since birth cannot become wizards, so she had given up her dream. One momentous day, a magician visited the village, and Coco becomes increasingly involved in magical affairs.
Nagi no Oitoma by Misato Konari
A spin-off of the equally popular manga series Nagi no Ohima, Nagi no Oitoma tells the story of Nagi Ojima, a 28-year-old woman who has the tendency to overthink things and try a little too hard to fit in. After quitting her job, moving away from her apartment, and even ghosting her current boyfriend, find out how everything turns out for the hapless heroine!
BEASTARS by Paru Itagaki
BEASTARS starts out sounding like the plot of a recent family film
called Z00TOPIA, but other than the key point of carnivores and herbivores living in a human-like society, the similarities end there. BEASTARS revolves around the lives of the anthropomorphic animals in Cherryton School, as well as their struggles with containing murderous urges, dealing with bullies who can do more than just tease you, and the questionable decisions of hormone-addled teenagers.
Fumetsu no Anata e (To Your Eternity) by Yoshitoki Oima
It, a mysterious immortal creature, is sent to the Earth with no form nor purpose. However, It has the ability to take the shape of any being with a strong sense of self. After a series of transformations, It gains consciousness and begins to traverse the empty tundra. It meets a nameless boy who lives alone in a ghost town, which was abandoned when all the adults went off in search of “The Promised Land”. Acquiring the form of the boy, It sets off on a journey in search of new experiences.
Made in Abyss by Akihito Tsukushi
Made in Abyss is centered around an orphan girl named Riko who lives in the town of Orth on an island in the sea of Beoluska. The city surrounds a strange, giant hole going deep into the earth, which is commonly called the Abyss. The Abyss harbors artifacts and remnants of a civilization long gone, and is therefore the popular hunting spot for so-called Cave Raiders, who undertake arduous and dangerous descents into the mist-filled pit to recover whatever relics they can find. Riko’s goal is to follow in her mother’s footsteps and solve the mysteries of the Abyss. One day she explores the caves and discovers a robot named Reg who resembles a human boy.
Yakusoku no Neverland (The Promised Neverland) by Kaiu Shirai / Posuka Demizu
Emma is an 11-year-old orphan living in Grace Field House, a small orphanage under the care of the much-loved “Mama Isabella”. The children live a charmed life, and are basically allowed to do whatever they want, except to venture outside of the orphanage grounds. When a fellow orphan named Conny was sent away to be adopted, Emma tries to track her down to return her stuffed rabbit — which Conny had inadvertently left behind. That’s when Emma and the other orphans discovered that the orphanage was basically a meat farm, where human children were being raised as livestock by Mama Isabella, to be delivered to demonic creatures who devoured them.
Runway de Waratte (Smile at the Runway) by Kotoba Inoya
Runway de Waratte revolves around the life of Chiyuki Fujito, an aspiring fashion model and daughter of the president of a fledgling modelling agency named Mille Neige. Unfortunately for Chiyuki, it’s a case of nature versus nurture when — despite her model-orientated upbringing — her height tops off at 158cm, 15cm short of the ideal 173cm. Her modelling hopes nearly dashed, she meets the handicapped yet talented Ikuto Tsumura, who dreams of being a fashion designer despite his deficiencies. Together, they come to rely on each other to fight for their dreams.
Warera Contactee by Rui Morita
Kanae Shinoki is an aimless office worker who was bullied by their company president during a drinking session. Worried about her future prospects, she goes to hang out at her favorite spot: a pedestrian bridge. There she unexpectedly reunites with a primary school classmate, Kazuki Nakahira. For some unknown reason, Kazuki is developing a rocket all by himself. Kanae soon becomes embroiled in Kazuki’s misadventures.