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20th Century Boys (manga)
Air Gear (manga)
Aquarian Age: Juvenile Orion (manga)
Azumanga Daioh (manga)
Bleach (manga)
Buso Renkin (manga)
(La) Corda d'Oro (manga) Good
La Corda D'Oro is based on a dating sim, and as a result both the dialogue of the manga and the anime tend to falter. The characters aren't particularly unique and neither is the premise, and as a musician I had a hard time liking this series in the same way that I liked Nodame Cantabile because La Corda D'Oro is a reverse harem that just so happens to be set in a music school. What could have been redeemed this music series for me is the theme the series attempted to push, which is that making music is much, much more than just talent and technique, but Kahoko's "magic violin" renders this theme almost entirely absent because part of learning to love music is the hard work that goes into becoming a musician. It's not a terrible title and I am all for anything that introduces or re-introduces more people to classical music and the world of music in general, but musicians looking for the emotional roller coaster that they went through to become a musician should shelve this in favor of Nodame Cantabile or Piano no Mori.
D.Gray-man (manga)
Death Note (manga)
Dragon Ball (manga)
Fruits Basket (manga) Masterpiece
Fullmetal Alchemist (manga) Excellent
Gin Tama (manga)
Gintama's humor tends to be hit-or-miss like that of Azumanga Daioh's, but whether one recognizes the references and the historical satire or not, this series is still a comedic goldmine. The characters are so ridiculous that if they weren't folks trying to make a buck or two in order to survive their antics wouldn't be believable, but the fact that they are folks trying to make a buck or two in order to survive makes it easy to relate to them because they're doing the same things everyone else does. But amidst the episodic plots are the occasional flickers of serious miniature arcs, of which some have a wonderful impact because it shows a side of Gintama that you weren't expecting.
Gun Blaze West (manga)
Watsuki continues to display all the qualities I liked about him as a manga artist throughout his works even though none of them are quite as epic as Rurouni Kenshin. The story and characters in Gun Blaze West are not too deep and, for that matter, never got the chance to become such because the series was cancelled early on, but the character designs are unique and intriguing and the story is just plain fun if you're looking for a good bout of action. The Wild West has a lot of great stories that naturally are not likely to be a common theme in Japanese comics, and it's another prime example of how Watsuki isn't afraid to try something new.
Happy Hustle High (manga)
Hetalia - Axis Powers (manga) Excellent
Hikaru no Go (manga)
Kamui (manga)
Kaze Hikaru (manga)
Liling-Po (manga)
Mahoromatic (manga)
MÄR (manga)
Midori's Days (manga)
Mr. Fullswing (manga) Very good
When one considers just how many baseball manga there must be, Mr. Fullswing doesn't sound like it has a very unique premise, but comedy seems to work well in a series' favor when it's used for tried-and-true manga plots. Saruno Amakuni is the typical dumb, perverted, big-mouthed shōnen hero who comes to the conclusion that girls only like athletic guys, and so, he tries out for several sports clubs in hopes that he'll become more popular with the ladies. The chaos Saruno brings to the baseball club is hilarious, and despite the fact that his baseball skills initially appear to be non-existent, Saruno actually has a lot of potential to become an excellent baseball player given the proper motivation and it's interesting to wonder whether or not he'll be able to truly make it as he claims he can.
Naruto (manga)
Negima! Magister Negi Magi (manga)
Neon Genesis Evangelion (manga)
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days (manga)
Nodame Cantabile (manga)
Nosatsu Junkie (manga)
Oi, Ryoma (manga)
One Piece (manga)
Ouran High School Host Club (manga)
Peace Maker Kurogane (manga)
Phantom Thief Jeanne (manga)
Piano no Mori (manga)
Pokémon (manga)
Pokémon Adventures (manga) Good
(The) Prince of Tennis (manga) Very good
Reborn! (manga)
Samurai Deeper Kyo (manga) Decent
Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei (manga)
Shaman King (manga)
Yakitate!! Japan (manga)
Yu-Gi-Oh! Duelist (manga)
YuYu Hakusho (manga)

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Afghanistan (manga) Good
Afghanistan isn't a manga that will blow anyone away but it's a very heart-warming series if you're looking for some warm fuzzies. The characters are all very charming personifications of the countries that they represent and, though they might seem like stereotypes at times, they also have traits similar to how the rest of the world views their country. Afghanistan, the main character, is adorable and works hard to make life better and make new friends. And once the series is over, it's hard not to feel the "best wishes" message the manga gives towards the actual country of Afghanistan as well.
Magic Knight Rayearth (manga)
Meteor Strike (manga)
Peace Maker (manga by N. Chrono) Good
Planet Guardian (manga) Not really good
Planet Guardian is a one-shot manga by the doujinshi artist Rito Kousaka. It is mainly a parody on the magical girl genre, but even as a parody, the characters and plot were generic and boring. The fact that it was a one-shot also doesn't allow the reader to expect much from it. I was sorely disappointed because I very much enjoyed Kousaka's work on her Harry Potter doujinshi and this manga is mostly something pretty to look at if you enjoy her art.
Rurouni Kenshin (manga) Masterpiece
If there's one thing I love the most about this series, it's Watsuki's devotion to his work, which is evident not only in his comments in the graphic novels but also within the manga itself. The theme draws itself away from the typical shonen ideals of strength and teamwork and presents the more serious idea of redemption. Each character has a purpose and pushes the story along in some way, even if what their purpose is is to reveal something about another character, and each character has a motive in addition to that purpose. And it's because of this that the characters in this manga seem very real and very human, no matter how bizarre their character design is, and allows readers to relate to and sympathize with them on a much deeper level. Watsuki's master storytelling (including his ability to intertwine fact and fiction), unique characters, and deep themes are sure to make Rurouni Kenshin a classic for years to come.
Saiyuki (manga by K. Minekura)
Saiyuki is yet another series based on the famous Chinese tale of Journey to the West, and while it seems to retain the original concept of the story a little more than Dragon Ball, the series doesn't offer anything unique and memorable and it feels like it's trying too hard to be cool. There are a few interesting twists from time to time, such as the gun-toting priest Sanzo, and it's a good series for people who like a lot of action, but Saiyuki is the kind of series that's best left to kill some time with if you want to take a break from serious character and story development, because Saiyuki offers neither.
Yahiko no Sakabato (manga)
Yokujō Climax (manga) Very good
Someone in a forum once described this manga as a Korean drama. I don't know about Korean dramas since I have only ever watched one Japanese drama, Nodame Cantabile, but it was true to an extent: Desire Climax is one giant soap opera. It's hard to believe that such a short series becomes as complicated as this one does, and while the characters aren't anything to write home about, what really made this series was the relationships between the characters. Ukyo likes to scramble things up just when you think you are finally beginning to understand everything. It's no masterpiece but, as someone who doesn't even like shoujo (and detests romance), I would definitely recommend Desire Climax to anyone who likes their romance with a lot of drama.
Yu-Gi-Oh! (manga)
The most disappointing thing about the Duel Monsters series is that Takahashi Kazuki really had a unique premise with the very first debut of Yu-Gi-Oh!. The idea of the characters playing different games every episode would make the series seem very routine after a first season but it's certainly a lot more unique than the tried-and-true shonen monster genre that had been done a million times before. The high stakes at which the games are played and the wild and violent characters, in addition to the new rules that come with each game, make the matches far less predictable and more heart-pounding than Duel Monsters. Those who didn't like Duel Monsters or Duel Monsters GX might want to give the original a chance.

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