Well, in June, I did my top 5 favorite finished manga… but I want to do more. And I don’t fully agree with what I said back then (other than Yu Yu Hakusho, I just really enjoy those others equally), so here is my top 6-10 favorite finished manga.
6. Eyeshield 21
It’s not a secret to anyone that sports manga are usually overblown and exaggerated… and this one is too. And I really do believe that American football is a drag, but still… this manga rocks. It’s about a short kid that was always bullied to do stuff for bullies called Kobayakawa Sena that, by running away from bullies, developed a super speed… kind of. For what I could gather, he’s only slightly above average (40 yards in 4.2 seconds). When he’s running from three bully “brothers” (the Hah brothers), quarterback wannabe Hiruma decides to have Sena as his runningback. What Sena realizes quickly is that Hiruma is basically a devil in disguise and only built an American football team with blackmail. Not to worry: we also have the kind hearted and completely stupid Kurita as a linemen, and the team is set. What I love about this manga is the fact that, mid-game, the characters go through transformations: the Poseidons team become a huge wave, the Pyramids team defense is like a huge pyramid… but that doesn’t have any real impact on the game, as it’s kind of like “in the mind of the players”. 37 volumes.
7. Love Hina
…okay… I really like Love Hina. And I know that I’m somewhat alone on that account. Let’s cover the basics: when a kid, Urashima Keitaro made a promise to a girl that when they grow up they would go to Todai (Tokyo University) together and love happily ever after. 15 years go by, Keitaro is an unemployed, flunked two times out of Todai’s exams, being sort of deserted by his parents. He proceeds to go to his aunt’s inn to freeload here, but when he gets there, two big surprises: his aunt is on a worldwide travel and the inn is now a women’s dorm. So, Keitaro has to live as manager while avoiding confusion with the girls and… it’s basically a straight forward fan service manga. Lots of nudity, lots of archetypically made women… but I like the writing and I like the fact that the girls act like they should. Okay, it basically turns into a harem manga. Nonetheless, I still read it for the humor, which is greatly delivered, and the characters, that are a blast to watch doing stuff. Only 14 volumes.
Fuck, yeah! xxxHolic fucking rules! For those of you that do not know, XXXHolic is Clamp, and Clamp is known for having the worst anatomy and the cheesiest fluffy characters… point in case, Card Captor Sakura, Magic Knight Rayearth, Angelic Layer, Chobits… they have some mature manga, but that’s the ones they are most famous for. In 2003, Clamp decided on an ambitious and somewhat conservative move: two parallel mangas: xxxHolic and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle. Tsubasa is the adventure of characters of other Clamp manga on different worlds. xxxHolic is something of it’s own. Kimihiro Watanuki is a kid that was always chased around by spirits and one day he finds a strange shop. In this shop, she finds the with Yuko, that promises to take away his “likeness” to spirits in exchange for work at the shop. The setting is quite bizarre, as is most of their adventures, but it’s heartfelt. You feel like every chapter is a travel to wonderland and back, as the protagonist is quite new to this world as well. They have a lot of references to Tsubasa, but I don’t think you have to read Tsubasa to get this one… maybe at some points, but you can connect the dots. 19 Volumes.
9. Death Note
Did I already say that Takeshi Obata could make grass grow interesting? I did? Well… this isn’t grass growing… at all. Yagami Light (stupidest name ever) is a kid (I think I said that in every single installment in this list) that thinks he’s the best his generation has to offer: incredibly smart, good-looking and charismatic. One day, while he daydreamt, he sees a strange notebook on the floor outside. The title on the notebook is “Death Note”, and whoever’s name he writes on the note, while thinking of the name’s guy’s face, will die, simply dead. What could be a boring plot of a guy killing people left and right becomes a police suspense quite quickly, as Light only kills what he considers bad people, so the population rather like Light (or as they call him, Kira). On the other side, we have L, a genius that already showed his abilities on other important cases, but never showed himself to the public. The story becomes a battle of wits, as Light and L study carefully every single next step, and every manga like this should be commended. Only 12 Volumes.
10. Violinist of Hameln
If you ever felt that manga isn’t a musical media, look no further, as Violinist of Hameln will be that manga. We follow the steps of Hamel, a violin player with a huge violin, Oboe, a talking and voice of conscience crow, and Flute, a tomboyish orphan girl. With the aid of music, Hamel can inflict to others the pain the writer went through, freeing towns of monsters… and charging the villagers for ever more money, against Oboe and Flute’s intentions. He’s a lovable asshole and he shines. Every single ability he uses is a song, and while the whole feel of the panels give the sensation of the musical flow, Oboe gives us a history lesson on who the composer was and what effects this has on the enemies. Make no mistakes: this is a comedy that will make you laugh hard… but it’s also heartfelt and fantastical.
This is JotaKa, signing off.