Manga recommendation thread

…because sometimes the anime isn’t as good, or there just isn’t one.

The anime recommendation thread has been up for a while, and the form we’re using there should be fine here too: Title, maybe genre, and a couple paragraph description.

Death Note (complete)
Genre: Mystery, supernatural

A <strike>Greek shepherd</strike> brilliant Japanese high school (later college) student named <strike>Gyges</strike> Light Yagami finds a <strike>ring</strike> shinigami’s notebook that <strike>can turn the wearer invisible</strike> kills any person whose name is written in it, which he uses to <strike>seduce the queen and murder the king</strike> try to create his utopian world by murdering all criminals.

Unfortunately for Light, the international community does not approve of “Kira” and his vigilante activity, so the legendary detective known only as “L” is assigned to apprehend the killer.

Death Note is an interesting story due to the intellectual combat between Light and L, and the progression of Light’s moral corruption (after learning that “L” is hunting him, Light gradually begins killing various authorities that pursue him) as he becomes more resolved that he achieve his ideal world. While I personally feel the manga is too long by half (many readers feel that after a certain spoilerific event, the series declines), once you get into the story, you’ll have to find out how it ends. Then, when it does, there’s still the argument as to whether or not Light was right or wrong to use the Death Note as he did.

Negima! (ongoing)
genre: harem, comedy, fantasy, action

Ignore the initial impression that this series is Harry Potter meets Love Hina. The similarities to Harry Potter don’t extend much beyond the hero being a glasses-wearing under-aged British wizard orphan in a world where normal people don’t know about magic.

Negi Springfield, son of a famous mage known as the Thousand Master, after graduating from wizard school a year early at the age of 9, and armed with a degree from Oxford (or Cambridge, the point is, he’s a genius) is assigned to continue his magical training by teaching English in Japan. At an all-girls highschool. <strike>Hijinks ensue.</strike>

The class of 31 girls covers most of the typical harem stereotypes: the violent, abusive one who really cares; the other violent, abusive one that might care way deep, deep down inside; the shy, quiet girl; the annoying little-sister type (doubling as the twins); the scheming one; the bisexual/mildly lesbian one; the bisexual/mildly lesbian one’s childhood friend who’s embarrassed about reciprocating such feelings; the spoiled, rich girl (who is actually a really nice character); and more. Then there are other, less romance-oriented stereotypes: vampire, ghost, robot, nun, assassin, ninja, mad scientist, swordswoman, cheerleaders, athletes, etc.

The underlieing story is that Negi is searching for his long missing and supposedly dead father, but even 17 volumes into the series, he hasn’t had much time to look. The story has a nice blend of romance and action, and neither bog down much. There is a large fighting tournament at one point, but plot and character development are interspersed among the matches, and only two fights in last more than 2 chapters (some last only a few pages, one lasts only a single frame).

Perhaps the most amusing aspect of Negima (barring the panty-stealing talking ermine) is Negi’s constant and increasing failure to hide his wizardry from his students. What’s more, under the proper circumstances, by kissing Negi, the girls are permanently granted the ability to summon a unique magical artifact.

One final note: this is a Ken Akamatsu series; expect the girls (and Negi) to be disrobed and naked frequently (although details aren’t drawn).

I’ve got a lot to add, but it’s late so this’ll do for now:

Gantz (Ongoing. Really Slowly. Artist-is-a-lazy-bum slowly)
Genre: Action, Horror, Suspense

Kei Kurono is a reasonably normal high school kid. Sulky, perpetually angry with the world, rude and virgin (Read: Horny). One day he meets an old friend, Masaru Kato, who apparently admired him when they were young for his outgoing and fearless attitude, something Kei even barely remembers. By reluctantly helping Kato save a homeless drunk who fell on the subway trail, they are both ran over and killed by the train. The surprise comes when they appear in a perfectly normal apartment in Tokyo, with the exception of being unable to exit, being surrounded by several people who also apparently “just died”, and a big black ball in the middle that orders them to use some special weapons and suits to hunt and kill aliens, or be killed themselves. The ball’s name is Gantz.

At first glance, it’s your typical gory action series. It is, to a point, but the story keeps on taking unexpected twists, adding and removing characters as they are being killed, and the inclusion of a very unique aspect: That nobody, not even the main characters, are certain to come alive from a mission. You absolutely never know what is going to happen next. Kei has also one of the best character developments I’ve ever seen.

Sailor Moon:

Genre: …Sailor Moon mades its own genre. Schoolgirls with superpowers in color-coded sailor suits.

I’ll assume everyone is basically aware of what Sailor Moon is. The manga mirrors the anime in many ways, but there are also significant differences. For example, the five generals from the first arc of the anime never disappear for good, which I thought was nice. Plus, since it’s not bound to a monster-of-the-week pacing, the manga moves at a faster clip.

Card Captor Sakura
Genre: Magical girl fantasy stuff

“Oh my god, how could he recommend this?”, right? Card Captor Sakura is a product of Clamp known for its cutsyness and, some would say, deviancy. Well, I’ve read the whole thing, and the deviancy (certain attractions characters have for each other) has been overblown in discussion about the series.

CCS starts off as a young grade-schooler, the eponymous Sakura, accidently releases a bookful of magic, aspects of which materialize as cute magical creatures who go around causing havoc until Sakura, under the guidance of the guardian beast of the book, recaptures them and binds them into the form of cards, the powers of which she can then invoke for her own use. The series expands beyond merely capturing cards as how the magic was originally made is gradually revealed and the people closest to Sakura become wound up in unfolding events.

Now, why is this series any better than the billions of similar series out there? One, it’s drawn by Clamp, which does “cute-but-not-creepy” better than any group out their when they want. Two, unlike so many other series, it doesn’t start off light-hearted only to become dark and depressing to provide a reason to continue the series. CCS remains a blend of light-hearted innocence and serious plot throughout its entire run. It does NOT rely on Nazi vampires slaughtering thousands of innocents, 10 year-olds firing world-destroying laser beams, ridiculously empty-headed “romantic” interests, or compromising drawings of its characters to push along a mediocre plot. Its only gimmick is “cute.”

If you want to read something where there are actually innocent, pure-hearted characters for once (who aren’t exploited, damnit, Japan), where there’s a plot that is both satisfying and remains relevant to the characters the entire time (no end-of-the-world scenerios out of nowhere, for example), and comes to a satisfying conclusion, read CCS.

Personally, I’m a big fan of:

Ruronia Kenshin

Genre: Action/romance (mostly action)

I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but…
Ruroni Kenshin takes place in the eleventh year of the Meiji era (1878) in Japan. Kenshin, once known and feared as “hitokiri battosai,” (the manslayer) he was an assassin who fought for the revolution. However, he does not like what the government became and has hung up his sword and vowed never to kill again. Instead, he wields the sakabatou (reverse-blade sword) which he uses to protect. He wanders into dojo owner Kamiya kaoru’s life and stays with her while she tries to rebuild her school’s reputation (a former student of the Kamiya Kasshin style claimed to be hitokiri battosai to ruin the school). Eventually, other guests start staying as well: Miyojin Yahiko, son of a samurai and Sagara Sanosuke, hired thug; and Megumi, a doctor.

The story is full of action, some comedy and a lot of awesomness, as well as sorrow and romance. There are 28 volumes in the series, and the story gets very climactic near the end. There is also a lot of historical references in the series. The best manga series I’ve ever read, and I was sad when I read the funal volume, as it meant no more to look forward to.

It’s Rurouni Kenshin. Please try to get the names right, otherwise someone looking for the series might be really confused.

It’s Rurouni Kenshin. Please try to get the names right, otherwise someone looking for the series might be really confused.

I honestly do not know where that “a” came from. Nor do I know why i put the name in a quotation box. But still, given the description of the series, and the fact that i later do call it “Ruroni Kenshin” that someone should realize that it was a typo.

Naruto

Why am I recommending the manga? For starters, no filler (as opposed to the anime, +70 episodes of filler). Besides, even if you didn’t like Arc 1, Arc 2 is turning out to be seriously badass with a much more active Akatsuki and light being shed on some mysteries at last.

You are still missing an “u”, and you can fix those mistakes by editing your first post. Sorry for being so picky, but it does matter to a search engine.

Hellsing (Ongoing. Even slower.)
Genre: Action, Horror.

In modern-day England, all incidents regarding attacks by paranormal creatures (Vampires) are secretly handled and hidden from the public by the Royal Order of Protestant Knights, more commonly known as the Hellsing Organisation. Their secret weapon and strongest hunter, or as he refers to himself, “trash disposal unit” is a man known as Alucard, an ancient vampire controlled by the organisation’s leader, Integra(L) Fairbrooks Wingates Hellsing, a direct descendant of Abraham Hellsing (Yes, there’s an extra “L”).

To sum it up: Everyone is bloodthirsty to the point of insanity. Bloody battles ensue. Thet’s the general scope of it, but it’s definitely not a typical shonen manga, the killing is grotesque to the point of looking artistic and the writing creates an spectacular atmosphere, especially in the latter volumes. The art style is very inconsistent and chaotic, but once you get used to it, it fits perfectly. And awesome piece, especially considering it started as a cheap ass hentai manga (And no, there’s no porn in it).

FMA(Full Metal Alchemist)[still ongoing]

Genre: action

As anyone who has watched the anime all the way thru, they could tell you about the change in the style of storytelling at one point within the second season. The reason for this was the fact that the manga wasn’t finished at the time(and still isn’t), and the series had to be completed based on what was already there. Plus it had to be done within 51 episodes, but anyway.

The first 7 manga strongly resemble the first season plus or minus a few filler episodes. At the start of the 8th manga the big differences really stand out with the introdutions of characters from a forign county (despretly trying to avoid major spoilers). Sadly, I still have volume 9 to read, and so I have nothing more to comment about.

All right people, listen up. I’m not a mod so I can’t tell you what to do, but at least hear me out. Only two of you made this mistake so far, but you can’t just mention a series and say “watch it” or rely on the assumption of pre-existent knowledge about the anime, you have to at the very least give a minimum amount of information regarding what it is about so those who have neither seen nor read it already can judge whether they are interested in it or not. Here are the rules Pierson set up for the anime thread, no reason for them not applying here as well.

Something like this:

Naruto
Years ago, the secret ninja hamlet of Konoha (Leaf) was attacked by an enormously powerful monster known as Kyuubi (Nine-Tailed Fox), but thanks to the sacrifice of many warriors and even the Fourth Hokage (The village leader, and the strongest), it was finally sealed within a young baby. The baby, Naruto Uzumaki, grew up alone being feared because of what he held inside, even though he himself had no idea of anything and eventually developed into a not-too-bright joker and troublemaker and one of the worst ninja trainees in the village. However, after a series of event, in order to make a place for himself and get others to recognise him, he decided to do everything in his power to become the next Hokage.

The series is more or less a typical shonen manga where characters grow stronger and stronger just for the heck of it. You won’t find any ground-breaking plot, but the characters are pretty charismatic and the techniques used are generally very original (although usually based on ninja folklore). It’s most definitely not a realistic piece, but it’s pretty fun to read.

Fullmetal Alchemist
In the science of Alchemy, there are three rules: Never transmutate humans, never create gold, and the most important, in order to get something, you must give something of equal value in return, that is the rule of Equivalent Exchange.

The two young geniuses, Edward Elric and his younger brother Alphonse, tried to break two of these rules with disastrous results. In order to recover what they lost, Edward enrolled into the army as a State Alchemist, becoming a pawn of the military in exchange for gaining access to secret files and archives regarding alchemy, where he was given the nickname “Fullmetal”. Along with Alphonse (“Al” for short), they search for the Philosopher Stone, an artefact that is said to ignore the rule of equivalent exchange and their only hope to restore everything to how it was.

A completely unique work. While it has it’s good share of humour and action, the real core of the story is in the character’s lives and goals, all very particular and different. The Elric brothers’ search is the driving motor of the story, but you soon get entangled into the political struggle for power, the appearance of a strange manipulator from the shadows and the fact that pretty much everyone is hiding something. It can be really sad and crude at times, dealing deeply with just how low a person is willing to go to accomplish his ambitions.

Definitely a must read.