Paisley's Top 5 Favorite Manga
This one will be much shorter than my first post, I hope. (Probably not tho) I have seen all these series in their anime forms so don't get me wrong they're just as good, they just were lacking that special something that made me fall in love with the manga in the first place. All of these series I think needed to be held off making an anime series until they were fully complete. I own the manga for all these series and I can't get enough of them!
FULL METAL ALCHEMIST
Favorite Character: Alphonse Elric
Favorite Volume: volume 13, such an important turning point in the series.
Ongoing or Complete: Complete. You can buy the manga from Viz Media or watch Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood on Netflix!
Summary: After losing their mother, Alphonse and Edward Elric attempt to bring her back using the forbidden science of human alchemy. However, alchemy operates on the theory of equivalent trade and breaking the human alchemy taboo carries a heavy price.
My first introduction to Full Metal Alchemist was the first original anime series. I remember watching the whole thing in about two weeks. WOW I was hooked! I watched it on those old Chinese bootleg DVD sets with bad subtitles. I decided randomly at Anime Expo one year that I was going to start reading the manga and bought the first four volumes. I literally couldn't even watch the original series anymore, the manga was already so much better in such a short time. How could that even be possible?!
Everyone on this planet, anime fan or not, needs to read the manga for Full Metal Alchemist. Every single plot line gets answered, every character gets so fleshed out, the story is gripping, beautiful and so full of heart. Doesn't help the art stands on its own and can age well. It's perfectly paced and everything is done with so much purpose. I personally prefer the manga only because it perfectly showcased Hiromi Arakawa's story as she wanted it told, straight from the source. She did so much research on alchemy and science and put so much detail into the story. Besides it being an anime, it's an amazing original story.
Full Metal Alchemist, the first series only follows the manga for the first couple episodes and beyond that is completely not canon. Characters origins are changed, relationships are a little different, the plot is a bit out of order and the ending is a complete disconnect from the main story. It was then followed up by a movie that also didn't make much sense. A few years later, when the manga was complete they made Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood which completely follows the manga almost to the panel and is definitely worth the watch, even if you've read the manga.
BOYS OVER FLOWERS/HANA YORI DANGO
Favorite Character: Tsukasa Domyoji
Favorite Volume: All the ones Rui and Tsukushi aren't together.
Ongoing or Complete: Complete You can find the manga and anime both released by Viz Media. I believe the anime DVDs are out of print though as are the earlier volumes of the manga.
Summary: Tsukushi Makino, a girl who comes from a poor family and just wants to get through her 2 last years at Eitoku High, quietly. But she makes herself known by standing up for her friend to the F4, the 4 most popular, powerful and rich boys at the school. She gets the red card: F4's way of a "Declaration of War."
I am such a fucking ride or die fan of Hana Yori Dango. Like, it's unbelievable how much I love this series. I have watched all the live action dramas based off of it (Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese), I own all 32 volumes of manga and the entire anime series on DVD. I LOVE Boys Over Flowers. I LOVE BOYS OVER FLOWERS. However, the manga remains my favorite medium. Tsukushi and Tsukasa, the main couple in this series just floor me with their up and down romance so much so I really felt like I was in actual pain. I think I lost years of my life. I think I've lost friendships. I've missed important life moments. I don't care. Boys Over Flowers.
However, the anime just falls short for me. There's small arcs, important characters and scenes that weren't showcased but were so needed in the anime to allow it to be fully fleshed out. Plus, the ending was changed to a scene that was not originally supposed to be the end and icing on the cake, the final episode was so differently animated from the rest of the series it was hard to take it seriously.
This shoujo series brought a lot of new elements into shoujo manga and was a true pioneer in the genre. Coming out in the late 80's the plot itself was totally fresh and new. No shoujo series has come close to the inventiveness of this plot structure. Tsukushi could easily be a feminist icon, as she's extremely strong, tough and brave, not your typical leading lady in this genre. If you love shoujo and haven't read this, you're missing out greatly. Change your priorities.
CHEEKY ANGEL / TENSHI NA KONAMAIK
Favorite Character: Genzo
Favorite Volume: 18-20
Ongoing or Complete: Complete You can find the manga released by Viz Media. The anime has never been licensed, but you can usually find manga at used bookstores like Book Off.
Summary: Megumi used to be a boy until he met a person he thought was a wizard. The wizard gave him a magical book from which a genie appears to grant one wish when blood is applied to it. Megumi made the wish to be the manliest man. But the genie thought Megumi was a girl and turned him into the most beautiful woman. Years later, now in high school, she is looking for that book to be able to reverse the spell placed upon her.
So I'm probably one of like seven people on this earth that has read Cheeky Angel. I never see it recommended or mentioned at all. It's got action, comedy, mystery, gender-swap, romance, slice of life, literally touches on EVERY genre in its 20 volume story. But the amazing thing about it is everything is so weaved together and effortless. This manga was a complete turning point for me as an anime fan and I'll explain why.
By no means is the art amazingly mind-blowing, and I was super hesitant to read it. However, the characters and the story totally sold it for me. I was never a picky anime fan in the sense of art or story but I had some standards. However, the completely opened my eyes. Art is nothing without a good solid story. I've read series with amazing beautiful art that bored me to sleep. This is the total opposite. And after awhile, the art totally grew on me and I think gives Cheeky Angel its own unique charm and really makes it different.
However, the anime just does not do it justice. My main upset was the last arc. Without spoiling too much, my absolutely favorite arc, that was the final one, was totally butchered. It was supposed to be the arc where everyone's growth gets fully rounded out and realized. I loved seeing all my favorite characters come to their conclusions and see their strengths and weaknesses progressed or were overcome. I was sorely disappointed with the anime version of it, as it wasn't nearly as impactful. Though A+ opening theme songs.
BLACK BUTLER / KUROSHITSUJI
Favorite Character: Grell Sutcliff.
Ongoing or Complete: Ongoing You can find the manga released by Yen Press, and the anime on Hulu!
Summary: In Victorian-era London, on the night of Ciel Phantomhive's tenth birthday a fire destroyed his manor and killed both of his parents. In a moment of death Ciel strikes a deal with a demon, his soul in exchange for revenge. This demon becomes his butler and calls himself by name of Sebastian Michaelis, to protect and serve Ciel until the deal has been completed.
Yeah I like Black Butler you wanna fight about it? I watched the anime series first, but before Black Butler II came out. I actually probably would have never gotten into the series had it not been for it being on Netflix, and I really owe it to Black Butler as it really re-sparked an interest to get into some newer series. Yes, I'm old and set in my anime ways. So not only is this series sentimental to me, but it's also got that equality I like in a series were it keeps me guessing and keeps me invested.
After finishing the first series I needed more, so I started from the beginning and I could swear maybe the first four pages actually followed the manga. HA. They took certain stories through about volume 5, but after that it was its own strange, strange story. Later on they ended up doing the Circus Arc, The Murder Arc OVA and are turning the Campania Arc into a movie. So even they realized their mistakes cause the manga stories are AMAZING. But due to that fact I'm going to compare the first anime series to the manga only.
The manga gives off a totally different vibe. The funny moments that are so needed in the series as a whole to cut through the deeper, darker story are weaved in so naturally while in the anime they're cliche anime gags. The manga also follows much darker storyline overall. Certain characters ended up lacking as well such as Elizabeth, Ciel's fiancé and Ciel's servants. Luckily with Black Butler I and II, they checked everything with the creator of the manga to make sure everything would be canon to the manga so there were no inconsistencies with the overall plot. The manga is just so GOOD. If you've ever been hesitant cause I know Black Butler gets a bad reputation at least try the manga.
OURAN HIGH SCHOOL HOST CLUB
Favorite Character: Tamaki Suoh
Favorite Volume:Ongoing or Complete: Complete. You can find the manga released by Viz and the anime by Funimation. Host Club is also available to watch on Netflix.
Summary: Haruhi is a poor student at a school for the ultra-wealthy, able to attend because of a scholarship, but unable to afford a uniform. One day, she stumbles across the very popular Ouran Host Club. She tries to leave, but accidentally breaks a vase, and unable to pay for it, she's told that she'll have to stay and work at the Host Club!
Oh god Host Club makes me feel old. So I bought this manga on a total whim thinking it was a yaoi series. Until I read that Haruhi is a girl. I was just as stunned as Tamaki. I started buying the manga from there and then they announced the anime would be released. I was NOT happy. I joined a livejournal community boycotting the anime. Thinking it would accomplish something. Turns out everyone in the group ended up loving the anime. I was alone, scared, didn't know what to do. I never watched it until they put it on Netflix a few years ago. I was a hardcore cool chain smoking (not really tho) manga only host club fan. I wasn't gonna change my ways.
Goddamn it the anime is good though! EVEN THE DUB IS GOOD. Goddamn it. I watched the whole thing in like a week. It doesn't help that Host Club in itself is also just a really good series. The only real issue I have with the transition from manga to anime is the fact they couldn't just wait and do the whole series at one time. The ending point they left at was convenient and a good place to end but now there's a solid 8 volumes of uninterrupted Host Club material for them to animate.
However, I do think that if even they had waited even just a little longer, they original storyline that they turned into the ending could have been perfect and more well rounded. With the addition of the Tamaki's arranged marriage seemed a little too dramatic for the overall vibe of Host Club. I think it would have been better off if they were simply saving Tamaki from his family's expectations without the romance. Plus the ending of the manga is so spectacular! It really needs a second season!
WELP and there's my babies! PHEW. I hope you stuck through till the end and I hope you might have found a new series to possibly enjoy regardless if you read it or watch it!