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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 7:35 am Reply with quote
What are your 10 favourite manga you've ever read? And which 5 left you wanting to get your wasted time back? This is the place to share.

Like the thread over in the anime forum, this thread is to let everyone get a better idea of the tastes of others as well as get you thinking about your own list. Don't worry if you can't get to 10 right away or even at all, or if you don't want to do a worst list, this is all in the name of fun.

I'll be doing my best to keep the index below updated, so if there is a user you are particularly interested in, you can check it out. And if you want to see what you yourself said a some point in the future, you can do that too (and let us know if your tastes have changed and I'll add a secondary list in there).


classicalzawa - May 2013


marie-antoinette - May 2013


Princess_Irene - May 2013


RAmmsoldat - May 2013
rheiders - May 2013


sakurai16 - June 2013


willag - May 2013

Last edited by marie-antoinette on Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:17 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 8:06 am Reply with quote
Yeah, I've only ever seen a top 3, but there's so much more manga than anime that my list is so much longer for manga. Of course, I just take the numbers as a suggestion, so long as I don't go too overboard. Also, that top 3 isn't sticky.
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 8:09 am Reply with quote
I'll try and come up with a personal top ten but its quite difficult to rank em. As for top 5 worst that wold be even more difficult as I tend to drop ones i dislike and never I've em another thought.
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 8:47 am Reply with quote
Yeah, I don't like doing the 5 worst because if it's terrible, I drop it, and I don't really feel comfortable ranking things if I haven't seen a good amount of it. But that's how the anime thread is laid out so I figured just copying it over here was best and then people can choose to not include a worst if they don't want to, as I did with my anime list.
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 8:52 am Reply with quote
I never thought of my top 10 manga. Although I pretty much have an idea which series are in my list. The only problem though, there are some series that are still ongoing. It'll be quite tricky, since an ongoing series I consider top worthy right now might eventually be just alright after its conclusion. That will be a little problematic for me.. But anyway I'm up for it!

Even ranking worst manga is a challenge as I wouldn't be able to justify why them series are worst, because of lack of further knowledge about the series I dropped within a few volumes..
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 9:32 am Reply with quote
I hope we all realize that this thread only works if we actually post top lists in it instead of just speculating posting top lists in it? Anyway, it's May 2013 so here's my current list!

Top 10 Favorite Manga
This list is so much easier for me, probably because I own most of these. Limiting it to 10 though? Gah. Well I have 6 that are pretty regular, it's those last four. i'll just go with listing 6 and then a bunch of honorable mentions?

6) Twin Spica- I do love a good scifi series, be it realistic or fantastical. This is one about even before space, simply trying to get the necessary qualifications to get there. Thus, we are following school students in a special space training school. There are some strange challenges that they face, but it's mostly about the characters and seeing them go through this school. It also has this strange feeling of intense nostalgia to it, it's an absolute delight to read!

5) Firefighter Daigo- This is pretty much action shonen done to perfection. Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga makes mention of this thing called a "shonen shiskakob", and this series certainly has one. It's usually highly improbably rescue situation followed by Daigo in the hospital. Despite its pretty clear formula, the rescues are intense page turners that are easy to follow, and then the exciting rescues are usually followed by a heartwarming "thank you" from the people rescued, genuinely thankful Daigo saved their lives. It's the perfect balance for cracktastic shonen and it's done perfectly.

4) Flower of Life- I do adore Fumi Yoshinaga's every work, but this one is my favorite! It has her normal trademark charms of great expressions and paneling with great characters, but this time, they're all nerds, so the manga is a bit self aware (and references Banana Fish and Rose of Versailles), so as a manga fan, this manga is like hanging out with friends. And of course, she can switch from comedy to drama in an instant without it being at all weird, but instead, awesome.

3) Hikaru no Go- I do enjoy shonen, but I am not a fan of sports manga for the most part. Not only does Hikaru no Go totally go into sports territory, it's awesome for it. It focuses on characters instead, which is what makes it so awesome! There are a lot of characters, they get a lot of development, and they're all very interesting to spend time with, it's a winning combination in every sense. Especially because it doesn't spend a lot of time on the games, just enough to make them look cooler than they probably are (this is the same artist who made eating a potato chip look so epic).

2) Maison Ikkoku-I'm overall not a big fan of Rumiko Takahashi because I think she tends to repeat herself, but Maison Ikkoku kept the humor fresh the whole time. Not only that, but pretty timeless as there's no annoying Japanese play on words or pop culture references. Now the romance tends to run around in circles, but since time actually passes, it does subtly evolve. And I love the characters, for a housing complex populated almost entirely by joke characters, they're lots of fun, despite being people I would never want as roommates irl. I feel like every romcom since has been trying to catch up and hasn't.

1) Banana Fish- Anyone who knows me knows this is my favorite manga of all time. Heck, favorite out of anime and games and stuff too. It's an epic story of action and politics following an incredibly broken human being, what's not to love? But ok, to go into it more, I love the relation between Ash and Eiji, the action scenes are practically story board, and the story is always edge of your seat and hard to put down even when it's just talking heads. And it's so well plotted with no holes that I find it hard to believe it was done over the course of years and not all at once.

Honorable Mentions
Ah, the section that lets us ignore the number 10!

Lots of Osamu Tezuka-because it's unfair to pick just one. There's MW, the psychotic thriller; Ode to Kirhito, the adventure drama; Phoenix (specifically, Karma, Resurrection, and Sun), Tezuka's lifelong epic; Black Jack, the awesome doctor drama; the epic classic Buddha; the depressing yet awesome Message to Adolf, and I haven't even read them all yet!

Basara-I really must re-read this, it just keeps turning in my mind what a fantasy epic this is! It's damn dense too! Loads and loads of characters, lots of plot lines, it reminds me of Game of Thrones actually. There's epic action and political talk, and a war, what's not to love?

From Far Away-A bit like Basara-lite when it comes to the politics department, but it's another great shojo adventure with an actually ordinary girl who could've been made so annoying, but luckily avoided that pitfall.

Fruits Basket-The first few volumes come off as a pretty simple romcom, then the drama finally starts, and it is awesome!

Please Save My Earth-such a hippie title, but nary a hippie thing about the actual content. Awesome scifi shojo, a genre I always like, with an interesting plot, it's a definite classic.

Kekkaishi-seems to be mostly shojo around my HM list. So I'll go with a shonen written by a woman! Starts off pretty simple, but adds lots of layers to the story. And the action scenes are marvelously drawn.

5 Worst Manga
Hey, I actually have 5 worst! Mostly because they're short, or they're episodic. Or I was young and stupid and willing to read lots of garbage.

Teacher's Pet- I read this expecting it to be terrible, but wow. It's by the creator of Hot Gimmick, so there's a bad sign for me. But it's about this student teacher with no self esteem who falls in love with her rapist, and this is somehow seen as a charming and good thing.

Black Magic M-66- I have no clue if the anime is decent (people seemed happy about the license rescue), but this manga is simply impossible to follow. It's an absolute mess in every sense, I couldn't follow the story, the art, nothing.

Peach Girl-I don't honestly understand why girls would want to read about a girl with no self esteem and the most horrible "friend" on the planet. It's not charming or shojotastic, it's just painful. The only reason it is here instead of Hot Gimmick is because I only read 3 vols of HG, but my stupid childhood self finished this.

Yotsuba&!-I'd expect this one to be on many favorite lists, but I personally cannot stand it. I don't find Yotsuba charming, I don't find the stories interesting, and it's just a painful experience for me.

Martian Successor Nadesico-this is more of a stand in for adaptations that were anime first, then became manga. But this one I probably read the most of. It was like it was going through all the motions without any of the heart or personality of the show. I loved the show, seeing it reduced to this mess was just sad.
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 9:37 am Reply with quote
I was mainly not posting my list because I was hoping we might get a mod in here and get a stickied thread with a cleaner opening to it. But I suppose it if is approved the first posts can be deleted and I would be willing to put an index in my opener and keep it updated, since I'm around a lot.

I do have my top ten decided on, I just need to shorten it and since I'm at work right now, I'll have to actually post it later.
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 9:42 am Reply with quote
Ah, well are they able to sticky existing threads like this? Still, I can always copy and paste my post on here for later!
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 10:16 am Reply with quote
fine fine, Top 10 list subject to change considering the majority of these are ongoing.

No.10: Hajime No Ippo
A manga I've been reading for a long time, I really like the "wimp finds out he's actually a wrecking machine" kind of manga and this one does that well. Its kind of a typical sports story but the characters are great. It can be a bit cornball like how respectful the crowds at the boxing matches can be and all the comments from them but overall i really enjoy it and even though some of the fights of late have been kinda bad there have been some epic battles in it that endear the series to me.

No.9: Great teacher onizuka

I find the comedy in this top class (and some of those faces onizuka can pull are priceless) I just love the way onizuka turns people to his side with his antics and sheer stubborn determination (or when that fails just beatings). Seeing how his crazyness can get him out of tight spots is always fun to see and can be quite creative too.

No.8: Boys on the run

I was tempted to put I am a hero in this spot but out of the two works by Hanazawa i read I give this the slight edge. Im finding some kind of perverse pleasure in watching tanishi get trampled on and beaten down to the points where he's had enough and fights back, things never go smoothly but that's what make sit so good and his relationships with women are so complicated it adds a nice kind of realism to it all. I've seen people comment that they have dropped this series because they find it too depressing but I admire the guy for fighting on despite being weak.

No.7: Genshiken

There's not really a lot to my love of this series, its just a great cast of quirky characters having some interesting interactions. I think as manga and anime fans there's a little bit of us in at least one of the characters. There are funny and touching moments in the series and the second series seems to be carrying on nicely despite the large shift in the character roster.

No.6: Battle angel Alita

I love gritty manga and this was one of the first ones I properly set out to collect all of. This series has top notch action and some really brutal moments depicting a society where life is very cheap. The artwork is gorgeous and the cyberpunk setting is pretty cool. I was turned on to the manga by the short anime OAV from back in the day and it was one of the series that turned me onto manga over anime as when i read it i saw how much more story you get in mangas.

No.5: Yotsuba&

No matter what mood im in or how bleak things can seem some time I can read a volume of yotsuba and smile, I loved Azumanga daioh but this has that beat hands down. Love the characters and the artwork and I love the way yotsuba reacts to every day things and how people around her pander to her odd behavior and join in with some of the fun.

No.4: Honey and Clover
I like a good romance story and this had a few all rolled into one but it was also a good setting as I seldom see stories set in college and i also dug the characters. I could especially relate to Takemoto being unsure about his future and what exactly he wanted to do so his Bike trip was a part of the story that sticks with me hard. I also enjoyed some of the humor such as DIY twister and Ham senpai (come baaaaack ham senpaaaaaai!!)

No.3: Dorohedoro

I love the characters, the setting, the story, the artwork. The way there are 2 worlds and the citizens of 1 kinda prey on the other was quite interesting and the whole world of the Magic users was cool too, and the way magic users can become devils is something id love to know more about. The artwork is fantastic, for me its just the right balance of thick and messy linework with finer detail thrown in and lots of darkness, real grit and it really appeals to me. I love the humor and i love the OTT violence that can kick off. I really regret not having picked up this manga sooner than I did but im up to date with current releases from Viz now so its not so bad.

No.2: One piece

The scope of the story is huge, i really really love the way that things mentioned or characters introduced many years back have relevance down the line, it really speaks to me as a story that has been well planned out. I like shonen type stories but for me this one is the best I've read there's just so much to enjoy and its one of the few really popular things in media I've seen and totally get why its so popular. There's fun and frolics, lots of adventure, some real silly stuff and some powerful moments too.

No.1: Berserk

As a fan of action, gore, fantasy and gritty settings this really hits all my sweet spots but i also love the adversity. I love how complicated the characters are and how under all the shallow stuff the manga has real depth. I saw the tv anime back in the late 90's and thought to myself that it was the best anime id ever seen so when i heard the manga was going to be released i was so made up and after having read the manga and seeing all the real brutal stuff they left out it just blew me away. People like to say that it has declined in quality but i feel that its just as good as ever but people are unhappy with the slow down in publishing it has gotten.
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 1:07 pm Reply with quote
At very least, if this topic becomes stickied, the first post needs to be edited so that the first thing you see is a bit more relevant to the thread itself, rather than a question about if we could get an "official" thread going.

Anyway, here's my top 10 favourites, which is, of course, not what I would say the top 10 best manga are as far as quality goes but are the ones I enjoy reading the most:

10. Clover

I've read a lot of CLAMP manga and I enjoy it well enough but Clover is the only one that I really love. I think the art style has never been better in one of their manga plus I like the simpler story, in comparison to some of their other works. Also, even though it is technically unfinished, Clover doesn't feel unfinished and so even if they never write any more of it (which I doubt they will), I'm perfectly satisfied with the book staying as it is.

9. Imadoki

Fair warning, there will be a lot of Watase on this list because she is my favourite mangka (as many of you may already know).

Out of the Watase's licensed work, Imadoki stands out because it doesn't have any fantastical elements in it. And I really like that it doesn't. This is just a sweet story about friendship and love (and I especially enjoy that friendship is prioritized above love).

Tanpopo is also the character in all of manga (or anime, for that matter) that most reminds me of myself, though I'm not quite as strong as she is or as constantly upbeat.

This series really left an impression on me, which I mean in a literal sense because the tattoo on my left ankle was inspired by a quote from it: “A cherry blossom is a cherry blossom; a plum blossom is a plum blossom. They’re different but they’re both beautiful … Everything blooms according to its own nature.”

8. Ooku

I should not like this series as much as I do, since generally I am drawn to stories that prioritize characters over theme and Ooku definitely is the other way around. But it does a really good job of playing around with its theme and has such an interesting concept that I can get drawn into its world despite the fact that I do actually have trouble remembering who is who. It also has beautiful art and it's really just fascinating.

I even love the language used in the English translation, though I can see why it would be off-putting to some.

7. Saikano

The most frustrating thing about this series for me is that I started picking it up after the final volume had gone OOP, which means I have only read it in scanlations. But this series was worth reading on a screen (something I really don't like for manga) because it's just absolutely beautiful. The moments I remember best from this are those that pass without any dialogue, just showing the characters expression or emphasizing something dramatic or tragic. It really is the most heartbreaking manga I've ever read and one of the best as far as subjective quality goes (assuming such a thing exists).

6. Honey and Clover

In general, I'm not really a big slice-of-life fan. But I made an exception for this show because it really hits home in so many ways. I initially read this when it was running in Shojo Beat, after I had tried and given up on watching the anime. I'm very glad I did get a second chance with this one, since I came to love the cast dearly and really felt with them during all their highs and their lows. This is especially true of Ayumi, who I identify with strongly (I'm big on characters that this is true about).

5. Vampire Knight

I often think of this one as a bit of a guilty pleasure but, to be quite honest, I do actually think it's really well done. It can be very melodramatic but, at least for me, it never pushes the melodrama into the realm of it becoming ridiculous. And the art is just incredibly beautiful, with great character designs.

And, of course, it did create Zero, my favourite male anime character of all time, who is just a perfect mess of self-loathing and angst and all those wonderful things (at least in a fictional character).

4. Nodame Cantabile

It breaks my heart that this series will never be finished in English, though at least I have the live action drama to console myself with. This series has such great main characters and their development, particularly when it comes to their romance, is almost unparalleled in manga, at least based on what I've read.

Plus there's the fact that reading this manga always makes me want to go play the piano, which I appreciate since that's something I wish I did more of (I have, in fact, downloaded sheet music of pieces just because they were featured in this series and I now have a strong emotional attachment to them). Definitely a must-see for anyone who is a music lover.

3. Alice 19th

I'm a writer and, as such, Alice 19th's theme of the importance and power of words really resonates with me. I also do think that artistically, this book represents Yuu Watase at her best, even if it isn't her most recent series (I'll be getting to that one shortly though). It is also nice to see a Watase character who is decidedly different from the others, both in design and in personality, as Alice is very shy and reserved, unlike the other heroines who are usually pretty spunky.

2. Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden

While Alice 19th may have Watase's best art, Genbu Kaiden has her best story. Admittedly, I haven't yet read the end and so there's a chance I may change my mind, I really doubt that this will be the case, especially after reading the most recent volume.

Takiko also is a very awesome character, even though she is more like Watase's norm. But for me the real standout in this series character-wise is Limdo/Uruki, as the love interest has never before been my favourite character of the series and I just love him.

The Fushigi Yugi anime was my first introduction to Watase and its world will always have a special place in my heart. This manga takes that world and shows a whole different side of it and it's been a great ride.


I really wish more of Ai Yazawa's manga was licensed because the two of hers that I have read (this and Paradise Kiss) are series that I absolutely love (ParaKiss was #18 on my full 20 Favourites list). And NANA is easily my favourite because it just feels so real and is mature in a way that actually is mature, rather than just throwing in sex to make it seem adult. There's a raw quality to the series that just really makes me ache for the characters and the situations they end up in.

And again, there is a character I really identify with here hardcore, in Nana Komatsu (interestingly enough, I just realized that I identify one of my friends strongly with Nana Ooaki).

Great series and I am constantly praying that Ai Yazawa will make a full recovery so that she can not only finish this series but continue to write and draw many more because the idea that she wouldn't be able to come back is just too heartbreaking for me. So fingers crossed that the good news about her keeps coming.

Okay, wow, that was longer than I expected it to be, but still shorter than the original article I wrote (if anyone wants to read it, PM me and I'll send you the link, I've never quite felt right about posting links directly on ANN to one of there sort-of competitors Razz).
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 3:36 pm Reply with quote
I really almost didn't do this because I read so much that I seem to have new favorites all the time. I finally did manage to narrow things down to classics that have stuck with me for, if not years, then at least through constant reading of other titles. These are in no particular order, though - just as I thought of them.

1) Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi
As a kid who got bullied a lot from grade six through grade twelve, magical girls have always had a major appeal to me, and Sailor Moon was the first I encountered. The way that Usagi and co. never let anyone keep them down, even if it costs them their lives multiple times really spoke to me back when I first read the manga. I wrote my dissertation on magical girl manga as empowering literature for teen girls, and now as I'm reading the new translation (I don't even want to think about how many times I've read the series in general; my French books are falling apart), I find myself impressed and drawn in all over again. (But I promise I look for the flaws when I review them professionally!)

2) Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne by Arina Tanemura
None of her other series have had the effect on me that this one did. I trace it back again to my days of being bullied - when Maron tells Joan of Arc, "How can you believe in a god you can't even see and not believe in yourself?", it said a lot to me. I can't say I reread it a lot, but I think of it often.

3) Kagen no Tsuki by Ai Yazawa
Seriously, this needs an English-language release. The complex, intertwined stories, the love-after-death elements, and the quiet strength of the child characters, to say nothing of Yazawa's art, make this my favorite of her works. (Plus I have a thing for abandoned houses.)

4) 9 Faces of Love by Wann
Okay, so it's manhwa; I still love this book. The second volume in NetComix's short story line, all of the stories cover some aspect of romance in a non-rapey, alternately heartwarming and tear-jerking way. Wann's art is delicate, her stories creative, and none of them are at all similar, which is pretty impressive given that they're all variations on a theme. I teach stories out of this book every semester.

5) Chikyu Misaki by Yuji Iwahara
I love Iwahara's stuff in general, but Chikyu Misaki is just so damn cute on top of everything else. It has action, adventure, monsters, a dude who looks like Wolverine...and it's cute. Obviously I have no set reason why this is in my top ten. It just is.

6) Aisuru Hito by Yuki Yoshihara
The sheer lunacy of this series makes it a favorite. Sakiko is in love with her professor, but her professor's brother has a thing for Sakiko, so when she ends up living with them in what even Yoshihara admits is a contrived plot device, Natsuo (the younger brother) seduces her. This doesn't stop Sakiko from sleeping with her beloved prof, who, it turns out, sucks in bed. So she bounces between brothers in a story full of inappropriate chibis and terrible lines ("But there was a hole there!") in what is one of the funniest smut series I have ever read.

7) Land of the Silver Rain by Mira Lee
Crap, another manhwa. Ah well. The delicate fantasy setting and art of this story, plus my total lack of familiarity with Korean monsters, makes this one a standout. Misty Rain is a human child raised by dokebi (oni) until the day she is discovered and must be returned to the human world. But before that she has met and fallen in love with the prince of the single horned dokebi, who are at odds with the two horned dokebi, the ones who raised her. The whole series reads like a fairy tale or a Patricia McKillip novel, both things I love.

8) Clover by Clamp
I went through a major Clamp phase, but Clover is the only series I find myself still drawn to. I should specify that it's really only the first two volumes that I think of when I talk about the series - I love the quiet but urgent way Su's story unfolds, the integration of the song and the story, and the cyber punk aesthetic of the artwork. I also choreographed a dance to the narration of volume 2 in French when I was in college. It went over quite well, if you're wondering. Smile

9) Doll by Mitsukazu Mihara
I remember vividly when I first read Doll's opening story - I was just sort of reading along when all of a sudden I realized that I was crying. The ending of that story just left me a sobbing mess on the couch and I can't even tell you why. I can tell you that I love the way the stories slowly build into one cohesive narrative, the way Mihara plants twists and turns in every short story, and her stylized, Gothic art. Just don't ask me to re-read chapter one.

10) Emma by Kaoru Mori
I have a Victorian problem. I love Victorian novels, Victorian dress, the weird customs and precise manners...the whole nine yards. It's like Emma was made for me. It helps that Mori mixed lavish period detail with a genuinely good story with characters it was easy to love (or hate) and that she made me think sideburns were sexy (go Hans!), but really? I was sold on two points when it was announced: it was Victoriana, and it had a heroine for whom I already owned cosplay clothes.
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 9:16 pm Reply with quote
Oh man. I just can't. That requires really intense thinking, and recollection, and reminiscing, and reliving bad moments, and even then, when I've somehow narrowed it down to 15, when I finally get it down to 10 I'll remember something I somehow forgot and then I'll have to go through an internal debate all over again and kick something out and...

I don't even want to think about the worst.

I'm going to have an internal battle now on my top 10 list. But Ai Yazawa, Mori, and CLAMP will sure be in there.
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 11:25 pm Reply with quote
Hmm... I don't know if I'll be able to fill all 10 spots. I've completed enough series to fill it, but I don't want to fill in the spots willy-nilly just because they're open. And I only want to include completed series (which leaves out Chihayafuru and 7SEEDS). So let's see what happens...

1. Chrono Crusade by Daisuke Moriyama

I fell in love with the series after reading the first volume when I realized exactly how much Rosette was sacrificing each time she released the seal. It made the events in the first chapter all the more impactful -- despite disagreeing with what the monster had done, she still felt sympathetic enough to sacrifice a bit of her time to return it home. She was someone who really treasured living life to the fullest, so each sacrifice she made really demonstrated how brave and generous of a person she was. Headstrong, plucky, ready for action, and with a strong sense of purpose, Rosette was determined to reach her goal no holds barred. She was the first character I really, really strongly admired and who I wanted to emulate, and to this day she is still probably #1 on my list of favorite characters.

There's a lot more to love about the series though than just Rosette. Chrono, her partner in crime, is easily just as interesting and gets equal development. While the manga's focus is Rosette's coming-of-age story, the story also follows Chrono's struggles, introspection, and self-realizations. As a couple, their dynamics work on several levels, from friends to dynamic battle duo to romantic couple. They are well-rounded and developed as individuals and well-round and developed as a couple. But even beyond the main pair, the series is not lacking interesting characters who grow and improve. Moriyama does a great job balancing the story and side characters while focusing on the main duo. Additionally, the art style he uses is one of my favorites.


2) Please Save My Earth by Saki Hiwatari

It was hard to decide between this series and the one in #3, but I think I'm going to have to give the edge to PSME for nostalgic value.

Normally, I become strongly attached to a series due to a certain character or couple. For Please Save My Earth, however, I fell in love with its large cast of characters, their interactions, and the storyline focused on two separate lives. The concepts of aliens and reincarnations are what drew my interest, but it was the twisted story and gradual revelations that kept me on the edge of my seat wanting more. The series is rich in themes, symbolism, and character interactions. And despite having such a large cast, it is still able to develop many of them, paying careful attention to a select few. The series allows the characters to flourish, and I became attached to several. What I particularly like is when a series develops its characters so well that despite them starting off annoying or uninteresting I am still attached to them by the end, and PSME does this with several characters. Switching between the two main casts (the moon scientists and their reincarnations on Earth) could have been handled poorly, but Hiwatari does a great job at choosing when to switch and how much to reveal, effectively building the suspense. This series is one of my favorite science fiction stories.

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Tony K.

Joined: 18 Nov 2003
Posts: 9864
Location: Frisco, TX
PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 10:18 pm Reply with quote
My blessings upon this thread for sticky status...

-_- (*right, left, up, down...*)
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Joined: 05 Jul 2011
Posts: 1137
Location: Colorful Colorado :)
PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 1:35 am Reply with quote
I like gushing about things I love, so just like the Top 10 Anime thread, I went a little crazy with the length =P Like other people, I just drop the stuff I don’t like, so I don’t have a bottom 5.

1. Fruits Basket: Basically, number 1 is miles above number 2, and number 2 is miles about the other eight manga on this list. It’s completely irrational how much I love these first two series, this one especially. I’ve gushed about it enough, so I won’t waste too much of your time. This is one of my first manga and the first manga I was able to buy all the volumes for. The anime is the first anime I ever bought. I first read this manga in middle school, and, embarrassing as it is to admit it, it really helped me through some tough times. As such, I have a deep personal attachment to this series that is unlikely to be duplicated with any other manga. However, I do think it holds up very well even without that bias. Takaya is a remarkably talented comic artist in a way that not many other mangaka are (from this list, I would include Urasawa and maybe Arakawa in that distinction). Her character models aren’t anything special, but the way she uses the medium is masterful. Her creative use of shading, subtle expressions, and beautiful layouts make this one of the most visually lovely manga I’ve ever read. The drama of the story never becomes overwhelming because the characters are just so real. Each and every one of their stories contributes to the overall themes of the manga and just thinking about the last volume makes me cry. As an aside, I will defend Tohru’s worth as a heroine to the death. Razz

2. Fullmetal Alchemist: Again, irrational love. The conflict between the two brothers really makes this story work. I love the way the story starts out so small, then gradually becomes bigger and bigger until BAM! Right at the end, it is pulled right back to them in the most perfect and satisfying way I could have imagined. That ending was nothing short of beautiful, though the epilogue was a bit much (minus that proposal, because D’AWWW). The female characters in this series are incredible. I love all of them, including minor characters like Hughes’ wife. The art isn’t anything incredible, but it’s remarkably polished and coherent, which is a great thing for a shounen series. The action scenes in particular are well-choreographed and exciting. This is particularly impressive during the more complicated fight scenes later in the series. More women writing shounen, please!

3. High School Debut: Not entirely sure why I like this one so much, but I really, really do. It’s cute and girly and charming. I admire it for being one of the few shoujo series where the main couple gets together right away and the series actually gets better for it. Yoh and Haruna make a great couple and I love seeing them work out their issues together. I also like that Yoh’s stoicism and social phobia are treated as actual personality flaws that he needs to work on, unlike many other shoujo series where these would be treated as “sexy” traits. I really love that they make some very smart decisions as a couple. They decide spoiler[not to have sex at the first opportunity because neither of them is ready], and, more significantly, they decide spoiler[to go their separate ways at the end and try to make a long-distance relationship work, rather than either of them giving up on their future for a high school fling]. It’s kinda nice to see that.

4. Honey and Clover: As a current art student, this series rings very true to me right now. I love the way the series juggles comedy and drama, just like life in a way. Some things that are crushing now will be hilarious sometime down the road. The love triangles get a little annoying sometimes, but I always felt for the characters so much that I didn’t care. Some scenes really stick out in my mind, like Takemoto’s “Journey of Self-Discovery” and Ayu staring at that Ferris wheel. The ending still brings a tear to my eye.

5. NANA: Representative for Ai Yazawa, who never ceases to amaze me with her relatable characters and realistic drama. The two Nanas are amazing characters. Nana is really annoying at this point in the story, but I know exactly why she’s stuck in the hole she’s stuck in, and why she keeps digging herself deeper. Hachi was annoying at first, but has proven time and time again in the volumes since that she is the stronger Nana. I find her struggles inspiring. I love that Takumi is completely terrible, but that I can’t hate him no matter how hard I try. The story doesn’t try to justify his treatment of Hachi, but it doesn’t make him pure evil either. The same traits that make him admirable as a businessman make him terrible in any relationship, and I think that grey area is what makes this series great. Also, Shin is adorable. I’ll stop there because otherwise I’ll just go on and on xD It's a crying shame this series will probably never get a proper ending.

6. Mushishi: The backgrounds in this series feel alive. People complain about the samey-looking characters, but I honestly think it contributes to the feel of the work. The people in each individual vignette are not, themselves, individuals. They are representatives for humanity as a whole. Their anonymous faces reflect that. More than that, though, the humans were never the focus of the series, which is by and large about the mushi themselves, representatives of the natural world. Ginko is an interesting main character, a lot like the mushi but also vitally human. He is a detached observer, but he doesn’t necessarily want to be. Several individual vignettes stick out in my mind: “Inside the Cage”, “The One-Night Bridge”, “At the Foot of Lightning”, the final story “Drops of Bells”…and many others.

7. xxxHolic: My favorite CLAMP work by far. Can we just talk about the art for a minute? Because wow. This is one of the most gorgeous series I’ve ever read. Most mystery/horror manga drown their pages in way too much screen tone trying to look “mysterious”, so it’s refreshing that CLAMP was able to mimic that feel without using any screen tone at all. In fact, I think the high-contrast look actually adds to the ambience. Obviously, the swirling smoke and broody, heavy-lidded characters also contribute. The simple, flat artwork reminiscent of old woodblock prints lends a traditional feel to the series that fits the stories well. The story and characters are also very good. Watanuki’s development as a character has been brought up multiple times in the Most Improved Character Tournament and the manga includes his entire, incredible arc. It was inspiring to see him go from a whiny, insecure dweeb to a worthy shopkeeper, and spoiler[Yuuko’s inevitable disappearance] put a tear in my eye. The relationship between Watanuki and Yuuko is fascinating, as is the relationship between Watanuki and Doumeki. This series is a little held back by its ties to the inferior Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, but not enough to not make my list. Very Happy

8. Kitchen Princess, Natsume’s Book of Friends (tie): Both of these series give me the same warm, fuzzy feeling, so they’re tied. Kitchen Princess reminds me a lot of Fruits Basket, so it’s no wonder I love it so much! xD It starts off pretty mediocre, but becomes really great after a certain spoiler-y event. Suffice to say, the manga ends up detailing how various characters deal with loss and ultimately learn to move on, ending on a perfect bittersweet note. With Arisa I’m realizing more and more that, despite her mediocre art style, Natsumi Ando is someone to watch. Natsume’s Book of Friends is sort of like Mushishi, Jr. in a lot of ways, so I guess it makes sense that I like this one too xD It’s lighter and sweeter than Mushishi though, dealing with softer themes with a softer touch. Natsume reminds me a lot of myself. I love watching him slowly open up and learn to accept people into his life because I was much the same way once (minus the tragic past). I often find myself in tears after a vignette is finished, even if the story wasn’t sad. The designs for the youkai are very creative and the soft, wispy art style is perfect for the series. I’ve looked up a lot of Midorikawa’s older one-shots and while I’m afraid she might be a one-trick pony, I don’t really mind because it’s a damn good trick.

9. Monster: Naoki Urasawa is a true master and this is my favorite of his works (that I’ve read). The theme that nobody has the right to take another human being’s life resonates strongly with me, and for that reason I actually love the ending. The subtlety of this series is amazing. I love that it explores the complexities of whether any human truly deserves to die and considers both sides of the issue, making it impossible to tell which side of the fence it will end up on right up until the final confrontation. As for the characters, if you’re going to write a “purely good” character and a “purely evil” character, this is the way to do it. Tenma is almost unbelievably kind and selfless, but he’s still interesting and flawed. Johann is easily the best villain I’ve ever seen in any anime or manga. He’s fascinating and disturbing, heightening the tension in any scene with the mere mention of his name. I also like how he is given a tragic backstory, but the story never tries to use that to justify his actions, but rather simply to explain.

10. Ayashi no Ceres: I have a lot of issues with Yuu Watase both as an artist and as a storyteller, many of which are present here, but IMO this is her best series. I didn’t think this would be in my top ten manga, but when I really thought about it I realized how much this series spoke to me. Touya is the weakest link, being the same bland love interest present in every Watase series I’ve read, but I like how the series deconstructs his role in the end. Yuuhi is a really entertaining third wheel. He’s the perfect example of how this series can have me wanting to sock a character one minute and hug them the next. His flaws are realistic for a teenage boy, and the series neither excuses them nor makes him out to be a monster because of them. The moral ambiguity in this series is what I love the most. Ceres’ misandry is just as much of a problem as Kagami and the Progenitor’s misogyny and the manga presents a remarkably complex look at gender politics. Some of the side characters really stick out in my mind, especially Shura, and I think Kagami is one of the most interesting characters I’ve encountered in manga.

Runners-up include Flower of Life, Paradise Kiss, To Terra, A Bride’s Story, After School Nightmare, Buddha, With the Light, Yakitate!! Japan, Kuragehime, etc.
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