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Top 10 best / top 5 worst manga


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Merxamers



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
Posts: 460
PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:09 pm Reply with quote
This is a difficult list to compile; there are so many manga that i like or have fond memories of, but can't deny that they're inherently flawed in some way. I feel like i've forgotten about some that i loved while reading them, but here are the favorites that i can remember (in no particular order):

10. Mahou Sensei Negima lord help me but i like this series. It can be so exhilarating, hilarious, heartwarming, tense, and frustrating all at the same time. I'll tell anyone who asks that Akamatsu can be a brilliant writer; reading this a second time, it's astounding how many hints of epic future battles and arcs are hidden and foreshadowed in its innocuous, humble beginnings. The action scenes are great, with a great sense of dynamic action and martial arts, and nearly the entire cast get moments of development or story focus. The absurdly lengthy "School Festival" arc is one of the best i've ever read in terms of how many stories and plot elements it balances, and its villain is one of my favorites. Unfortunately, Akamatsu just can't resist countless opportunities for raunchy "jokes" and scenes, made especially uncomfortable by the age of the protagonist. If you can get past that, it's worth a read.

9. GE: Good Ending One of the rare shonen romance series where the characters feel like real people. Maybe it was because it was one of the first series like this that i had read, but i was immediately captivated and engrossed by this series on my first read, and immediately re-read it when i was done. It has melodrama out the wazoo, but i love it as a romance series. I recommend it over Suzuka, if only because the female lead of Suzuka is so inexplicably unlikeable

8. Cross Manage this is a close personal choice for me (i'm allowed to have my favorites, dang it!) A sports series about a former soccer player becoming the manager/coach for the girls lacrosse team, it has a great sense of humor and fantastic artwork. The ending felt a little rushed, but at 4 volumes and over 50 chapters, it tells a complete story. (This one is available digitally from Viz, can't recommend it enough)

7. The World God Only Knows This was adapted into a (pretty darn good) anime a few years back, but unfortunately, the anime skipped about 80 chapters of content to get to the popular (and extremely good) "Goddess Hunt" arc. The lead character Keima is coerced into saving girls from ghostly possession by filling the "holes in their hearts" with love. However, he only has experience with dating sims, so he approaches each "conquest" as if it was one of those games, using all of his knowledge of dating sim tropes to give himself a chance. I only summarize the plot in order to say that, while that can sound a bit sketchy, the actual story itself is sincere and heartfelt (with plenty of humor, too). There are at least a couple moments in the goddess hunt arc that are heartbreaking, and the ending is one of the best i've ever seen in a manga, no hyperbole. Without spoiling it, Elsie gets the happiest ending i've ever seen for a manga character, hands down.

6. Kimi Ni Todoke This is, and has been, the best shojo manga running for many years now. It's sweet, cute, funny, and grabs your emotions in ways only the best shojo manga can. Anyone reading this has surely heard of it, so if you haven't read it already, go check it out!

5. World Embryo I've had some discussions recently with friends about what exactly counts as a "deconstruction"; is Madoka Magica one? Are Mob Psycho 100 and One Punch Man? It's a bit complex, but what i can say is that the only true deconstruction of shonen manga tropes i've ever read is World Embryo. Story elements that are usually taken for granted (why the battling characters are always so young, origins of the opposing monsters, etc.) are put in full, uncomfortable light here, and uncomfortable tropes that are usually played straight are used with full awareness of how creepy they are (sorry to be vague, but i don't want to spoil anything). The main character is deeply flawed, and those flaws lead to choices and tragic consequences for him on multiple occasions. It's a shame this one was never licensed in english, because it's a great one.

4. One Piece yeah it's a boring choice, but i can't help it. One Piece just does everything so well! It's shocking how consistently great One Piece has been for it's 20 years of existence. Even its inferior arcs are merely average; it's consistently fun, wacky, sincere, and each page is dripping with love and enthusiasm from Oda. All this, combined with surprisingly deep, patient, and well executed world building, makes One Piece the top shonen series.

3. Good Luck Girl!! (aka Binbougami Gah!) This is another sentimental favorite for me. It's a zany, looney tunes-esque comedy with heart and strong emotional payoffs. The art is great, there are a ton of hilarious references to other series, and i appreciate how the artist approaches fan service; while it is common and prevalent, the characters never seem like they're "posing" for the audience, and he became relatively infamous for refusing to draw a single panty shot (this may be splitting hairs, but it mattered to me at least). The character arcs and relationship between enemies-turned-gradual-friends Ichiko and Momijo is a heartwarming one, and it's rare that a series treats its large cast of minor characters as well as this one; unlike some other series finales (Bleach, Naruto), each character has a special moment or something important to do in the final chapters. I absolutely adore this series; it's not available in english, but the anime is available, and it's a great adaptation.

2. Dorohedoro This is a weird one, and i usually don't enjoy series that can be as gruesome and dark as Dorohedoro can get. HOWEVER, this series is unique in that while the humor can be absurdly black, and the violence extreme, the characters themselves are loveable and charming. The story primarily follows two pairs of characters; Kaiman (an amnesiac lizard-headed brick house of a man who's on a mission to find out which magic user gave him his lizard head) and Nikaido (his butt kicking female chef best friend), and Shin & Noi, the two hyperviolent magic-using enforcers for local mob boss En (basically if "The Monarch" from the Venture Bros had terrifying mushroom powers). This is a weird series in an even weirder setting, but the relationships between these characters ground us in their conflicts. As the series goes on, the mystery of Kaiman's past and how it ties into hinted previous events becomes more engrossing, and the way the story paces itself is well done. It may not be for everyone, but I love Dorohedoro.

1. Claymore This was the first manga i ever read, and as time goes on i become more and more glad that it was. I've yet to see a manga series treat its female characters with the respect and agency that Claymore does, but even beyond that, it's a great series. I've rarely admired a character as much i have Claire, the lead character of this series. The world of Claymore is brutal, filled with cannibal monsters, fearful humans, and even worse monsters that the characters believe they are doomed to become. Claire's struggles to survive in that environment, with her courage and, eventually, with the friends she acquires, is one that resonated with me as i stumbled my way through college and grad school. The art quality progresses an amazing amount as well as the series goes on; the monster designs rank with Berserk's in terms of quality. If you want a great girls-with-swords series that treats the female characters right, check this one out.

Other series i love but couldn't fit on the list because i'm only human: Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer; Berserk; High School Debut; Vinland Saga; Vagabond; Shin Angyo Onshi; Basara; Magi; Bride's Story; Jojo's Bizarre Adventure; My Monster Secret
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