Top Ten Rating
Domu (manga) Masterpiece

#7

(Review pending.)

Hanaotoko (manga) Masterpiece

#3

(Review pending.)

Historie (manga) Masterpiece

#4

(Review pending.)

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (manga) Masterpiece

#10

(Review pending.)

Nijigahara Holograph (manga) Masterpiece

#2

(Review pending.)

Ping Pong (manga) Masterpiece

#9

I hesitate to call this a sports manga, because that will inevitability be taken by some as a mindless shounen series series that's just an excuse to show off ridiculous acrobatics and little regard for proper characterization past the first volume or two. Yet that is what Ping Pong is: a sports manga.

But it should be kept in mind that Ping Pong is not a series aimed at the Weekly Shounen Jump mindset. No, its audience is older and aspirations higher. What readers are treated to is one of the most kinetic, believable and exciting sports stories in fiction.

The action is very impressionistic, but that is for its benefit: ping pong is, after all, an incredibly fast sport. Panels are littered across the pages with snapshots of a match, and not only do they maintain clarity, but you feel them. Taiyo Matsumoto's worst-kept secret is his astounding artistic abilities, and because of this he makes no attempt to hide just how invigorating and pulse-pounding the sport of ping pong truly is.

Even so, the manga wouldn't be as half as compelling were it not for the characters. Again, no exaggerations and cop-outs here; Matsumoto creates characters as plausible as the games themselves. In fact, he uses stock scenarios to his advantage, and develops a story that progresses with the characters: starting out with potential, yet somewhat aimless, gradually growing into stern focus and conviction.

Ping Pong isn't my favorite work by Taiyo Matsumoto -- the exuberance of Hanaotoko and the fantastical nature ofTekkon Kinkreet appeal more to my sense of aesthetics -- but that it is an accomplished work by a master also means it is far above most comics out there. Absolutely recommended.

Tekkonkinkreet (manga) Masterpiece

#6

(Review pending.)

Witches (manga) Masterpiece

#8

(Review pending.)

(The) World is Mine (manga) Masterpiece

#1

(Review pending.)

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou (manga) Masterpiece

#5

(Review pending.)