Category Archives: Manga Ranking Countdown

Manga Ranking Countdown – Ending Words and Full List

It’s been a exhilarating ride writing this series. At first, it was just something to do for fun. Then, it becomes a good way to maintain my composition ability while I am not taking any humanity courses. In the end, it has become a habit and something to look forward to at the end of a busy day.

It would not be possible without my subscribers and anyone who has read my posts. Without you guys, I would not have the incentive to keep up writing.

So I would like to say, Thanks. Thank you, for taking your time reading these posts.

Anyways, my next project would be top 20 anime countdown. It will have a format similar to the manga countdown. Please check it out.

Again, and sincerely,

THANK YOU on speech bubble price labels

Here is my full list:

  1. Rave Master
  2. Tower Of God ^
  3. Kimi no Iru Machi ^
  4. Naruto ^
  5. Bleach ^
  6. Future Dairy
  7. Psyren
  8. Fairy Tail ^
  9. The Breaker (+ New Waves ^)
  10. Trace
  11. Witch Hunter ^
  12. Break Blade ^
  13. Velvet Kiss
  14. Btooom! ^
  15. Immortal Regis (+ Cavalier of the Abyss ^)
  16. Full Metal Alchemist
  17. Ga-rei
  18. One Piece ^
  19. Onani Master Kurosawa
  20. Defense Devil
  21. Rosario + Vampire (+ II ^)
  22. Black Cat
  23. Mx0
  24. Soul Eater
  25. Watashitachi no Tamura-kun
  26. The moment a fox becomes a Wolf
  27. Hanged Doll
  28. 20th century boys (+ 21st century boys)
  29. Beelzebub ^
  30. Melo Holic
  31. La Mosca

note: ^ denotes on-going manga/manhwa

Your Favourite Manga Poll


No. 1: Rave Master

By Hiro Mashima

Rave Master 1

Genres: Adventure, Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Shounen, (Romance), (Mystery)

Status: Completed!

The Continent of Song is in chaos. The sinister secret society known as Demon Card is using the power of Dark Bring to destroy everything in their path. The only things capable of stopping Dark Bring are the Rave stones. Unfortunately, the Rave Stones were scattered around the globe in an explosion 50 years ago, so now they must be collected by the Rave Master in order to stop Dark Bring once and for all. This new task has been given to Haru Glory; a sixteen-year-old boy from Garage Island. The World’s fate now rests on the new, young Rave Master. (Source: Tokyopop)

Thus begins the epic adventure of our favorite rave master, Haru Glory!

So, what factors compel me to pick this one above all other Action Shounen manga (ie. Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Psyren, Fairy Tail, Black Cat, Soul Eater)? Indeed, after thousands upon thousands pages of manga experience, the best I can do is to pick a Shounen manga? Allow me to enlighten you.

Exemplary Shounen-ness

First of all, Rave Master is Shounen. There is no dispute about it. It is also a good Shounen, and that means that every once in a while, readers starts to feel blood rushing into their heads. Or, as I would like to put it, it is epic. In this regard, it is on par with Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, etc. As we will soon see, though, Shounen is definitely not the only strength it possesses.

Amalgam of Genres

Another noteworthy trait about Rave Master is that expands its territories to encompass more elements than what a standard Shounen would include. Of course, all topnotch (popular) Shounen has shown this characteristic to some extent, but rave master has done this especially well. Other than action, fantasy, and comedy, RM puts a heavy emphasis on adventure (much like One Piece), drama, and even romance. Granted, the romance aspect is nowhere as explored as it is in romance-oriented manga. It is still a respectable amount of other elements added to this epic Shounen saga without ruining the Shounen aspect of it.

Moreover, while RM has more in variety, it cuts down on fan-service. This is a fantastic news to most of the readers who are tired of freakishly common occurrence of boobs on manga pages, but maybe bad news for those of you who find an excessive fan-service enjoyable. Nevertheless, the romance in RM makes up for a lack of fan-service.

World Construction

It is among some of the best world construction pieces ever found in fantasy manga, probably because the mangaka is a huge fan of Eiichiro Oda, creator of One Piece. Readers who appreciate a frequent change of setting throughout the narration of a story will surely love this.

Art

Depending on how much the readers like the art in One Piece, or a more direct comparison, Fairy Tail, there will be different opinions on the quality of art. Personally, I found this kind of a style quite different from a majority of other manga, in a refreshing and enjoyable way.

Rave Master 2

Character

Instead of talking about all the characters, I will only talk about the male lead, Haru Glory, which is, again, what sets this manga apart from all other Shounen.

Typically, male lead (in Shounen) is a bold, determined, adventurous, righteous individual in the manliest way. Obviously, there is an underlying flaw to this setup. It requires the male lead to be also a bit slow in the head and sometimes an EQ way below that of an average person. If I have to state one reason that a lot of people hate Shounen, this is why.

Fortunately, Haru Glory defies this rule. Sure, he has the typical boldness, an adventurous spirit, and determination, but in moderation. On the other hand, he is thoughtful, sensitive, and knows when to give up. Somehow, he seems like more like a person one can relate to instead of just an icon of justice (like Naruto).

Story

Where this manga truly shines. I said in previous posts that Psyren is a case of good brain-storming. Then, RM must be an incidence of phenomenal overall planning.

Let me remind you of another illness that befall most popular Shounen, the story will slow down between different arcs, and will almost come to a halt before the grand finale. For the most parts, this doesn’t apply to RM.

I will give you a succinct summary of my experience reading this manga:

Slow Start –> Gradual intensifying plot –> Epicness –> building up intensity –> Epicness

… … [repeats cycle]

(A few slowdown in between)

… … [repeats cycle]

FLASHBACK -> MIND-F*CKED in an amazing way -> Grand Finale Battle -> Epic Ending!

And this, readers, is why Rave Master is number one on my list. 
 
Rave Master 3
 
 
Much thanks. It’s been a ride writing this countdown/recommendation/review series.

No. 1(.5): Tower of God

By SIU (Slave. In. utero)

Tower of God 1

Genres: Fantasy, Adventure, Mystery, Action, Webtoon

Status: On-going

Summary:

What do you desire? Fortune? Glory? Power? Revenge? Or something that surpasses all others? Whatever you desire, ‘that’ is here, at Tower of God. Join Twenty-Fifth Baam as he climbs each level of the Tower to find his beloved friend, Lahel. Not daunted by anything, he is determined to reach the top.

Sounds epic? Hell yes. This webtoon is every bit as epic as its introduction. In fact, it had only taken four chapters to have me completely captivated, and only thirty-two chapters (at that time it was the newest update) to have me fallen in love with webtoon in general. Indeed, after that, Tower of God only becomes better and better.

What’s more amazing is the writer/artist of this webtoon. He is actually a college student in Korea. Yet, he manages to release a new chapter almost every week, always fraught with twists, turns, and refreshing yet familiar ToG-styled art. Here is a person who knows how to do great brainstorming before drawing. The result? A mixture of remarkable story design, colored-panel pages, awesome characters, and many Sundays spent waiting for the new update of ToG to come out.

So, with all those praise about Tower of God, exactly why is it so good?

 

ART

If you have read some of my previous reviews on manga/manhwa so far, you might have noticed that I don’t usually factor in art quality as a large part of my evaluation. In the case of Tower of God, I must make an exception. For full quality whole-strip webtoon of ToG, please go to www.batoto.net to read The Company’s translation of Tower of God. Not only is the background beautifully and vibrantly designed, but the characters designs also are effective and never adhering only to any one type of character models. Tower of God is a prime example of how the panels of webtoon can be supremely elegant and entertaining if the coloring scheme and perspectives’ angles are chosen thoughtfully.

Having said all that, it is not surprising that I give a score of 10/10 for art.

tog art

a snap shot from chapter 1

 

PLOT

I am not claiming that Tower of God is perfect in terms of plot by any means, since it is a little bit long (150 chaps) and would probably be on-going for quite a while yet. However, if you are looking for a plot that …

A)     Takes place in a purely imaginative and immensely creative world

B)      Shows outstanding consistency in that every arc moves the story closer to the next step (so far)

C)      Twists and turns and coils and bends and unwinds, and still manages to proceed smoothly like it was all planned beforehand

D)     Starts out from one of the most used tropes in any medium, that of a powerless guy who is “somehow special”, and create an original story out of it

E)      Has hot-blooded, awe-inspiring fight in an epic proportion that rivals even major Shounen manga

Give the story section a solid 10/10.

CHARACTER

Tower of God has a large and well-made character cast. It is hard to not like the main characters. One little problem stands out, though, that the webtoon introduces too large of a cast in such a small period of time. A lot of characters have preciously little “screen time”. Still, many characters made a large impression on me, always a good mark of well-built characters.

9/10 (so far)

Tower of God 2

Overall

An amazing piece of work! It’s a relief seeing the artist and his work being more recognized now than when I just started reading.

Would recommend this to most everybody, except for people who absolutely hate anything having to do with fantasy.

Note:

Here is a link to Tower of God Wikia: http://towerofgod.wikia.com/wiki/Tower_of_God_Wiki

I used to be involved with writing articles on this Wikia. It has great information on Tower of God, and would help answering any questions that you still have about this webtoon.


No. 2: Kimi no Iru Machi (A Town Where You Live)

By Kouji Seo

KNIM eba 1

Genres: Drama, Romance, School, Shounen, Ecchi

Status: On-going

Summary:

Kirishima Haruto lives in a small town in Hiroshima and is just about to enter high school when Eba Yuzuki, a mysterious girl from Tokyo suddenly decided to go to high school in the countryside. Despite his objections, she moves in to his home. Haruto must now put up and take care of this clumsy freeloading city girl and at the same time, make sure his long time crush Kanzaki Nanami doesn’t get the wrong idea!

And so, one of the greatest love stories ever to be drawn in manga was born!

Now, let me explain to you why this manga is so great, in terms of story, character, art, and enjoyment.

KNIM 4

Story:
For all its greatness, it starts out with a typical romance story setup: a boy meets girl scenario. The story soon becomes intense, in a way that is indescribable. The relationship of Haruto and Eba, and with other people are so well portrayed that I experience what the characters did vicariously while I was reading it. Talking about anything in the plot will spoil the manga. Just trust my words on it. This manga is epic.

Art:
I myself am not a huge art person, so I can’t give you the details. What I can say is that the girls in the manga have incredibly slim figure and beautiful features, enough to make male readers fall in love with them.

KNIM1

Character:
The main characters are realistically portrayed through “mundane” incidents in the manga. Almost every major character in this manga is likeable, even though they make mistakes and hurt other people’s feelings. This is why this manga is one of the best coming-of-age story. However, a significant flaw should also be pointed out. All the minor characters have flat personality, a trait that is quite annoying sometimes. This only gets worse and worse as we approach the later chapters.

Enjoyment:
I thoroughly enjoyed this manga. A word of warning, though, this manga turns into a romantic-comedy with occasional seriousness toward the later chapters. I have to blame this on the manga becoming so popular that this trend is almost demanded by populace.

KNIM 3

Nonetheless, for boys and girls who would like to read a superb romance manga, this will not disappoint. Personally, nothing (unless it turns into complete rubbish, which is not happening) will stop me from associating KnIM with the title of “The Best Manga Love Story Ever”.

Overall: 
This is an incredible romance, drama, slice-of-life manga that realistically portrays the relationship between a high-school boy and a high-school girl (a relationship that is extended in university). You may not agree with my giving it the title of “The Best” in romance category, but it is an undeniable fact that reading this manga is a hell of a ride.


No. 3: Naruto

By Masashi Kishimoto

naruto

Genres: Action, Adventure, Martial Arts, Shounen, Super Power, Military

Status: On-going

Synopsis:

Before Naruto’s birth, a great demon fox had attacked the Hidden Leaf Village. A man known as the 4th Hokage sealed the demon inside the newly born Naruto, causing him to unknowingly grow up detested by his fellow villagers. Despite his lack of talent in many areas of ninjutsu, Naruto strives for only one goal: to gain the title of Hokage, the strongest ninja in his village. Desiring the respect he never received, Naruto works towards his dream with fellow friends Sasuke and Sakura and mentor Kakashi as they go through many trials and battles that come with being a ninja.

Ah, finally, Naruto, the most controversial manga in this day and age. Along with Bleach and One Piece, Naruto has become the very definition of Shounen: action-adventure mixed with hot-blooded fights with occasional slap-stick comic relief. Also, as I mentioned before in my Fairy Tail review, the theme of friendship and good versus evil is illustrated again and again to draw out all kinds of emotions from the readers. Now, most people who have read this manga have a love-or-hate relationship with it. They either hate it to the core, or love it as the most avid fan boy or fan girl would.

As you might have guessed from its rank in my favorite manga list, Naruto is one of my favorite manga, for various reasons. Granted, it does not have the best plot, nor do the characters exhibit many traits other than that of determination, loyalty, sense of justice, or fool-hardiness. However, it does define the Shounen genre, the single most popular manga genre, for two decades. And, looking at it in an objective light (as a whole manga), it does have a pretty good overall story progression, a great and likable character cast, an art-style that  is suitable for the manga, and most importantly (also arguably), a story that makes sense*.

A story that makes sense is important, and despite Naruto-haters’ constant rebukes, I think Naruto makes sense as a whole. Again, the same argument applies. If one actually read Naruto from chapter one all the way to the most recent, one probably would not give Naruto a ten out of ten, but definitely not a low score either.

naruto 2

My first contact with Naruto was when I was in grade four of elementary school, which is ten years ago. Since then, I have continued to follow Naruto. There were definitely chapters or arcs when Naruto is not as good, but I have endured, and still manage to find enjoyment in it even today.

My hope for Naruto right now is that it end soon and in a manner that does not make the story fell apart. Then, I can still with good conscience give it a fairly high score, even without my personal attachment factor.


No. 4: Bleach

By Tite Kubo

bleach 1

Genres: Action, Adventure, Shounen, Super Power, Supernatural

Status: Ongoing

Synopsis:

Ichigo Kurosaki has always been able to see ghosts, but this ability doesn’t change his life nearly as much as his close encounter with Rukia Kuchiki, a Soul Reaper and member of the mysterious Soul Society. While fighting a Hollow, an evil spirit that preys on humans who display psychic energy, Rukia attempts to lend Ichigo some of her powers so that he can save his family; but much to her surprise, Ichigo absorbs every last drop of her energy. Now a full-fledged Soul Reaper himself, Ichigo quickly learns that the world he inhabits is one full of dangerous spirits and, along with Rukia—who is slowly regaining her powers—it’s Ichigo’s job to protect the innocent from Hollows and help the spirits themselves find peace.

(Source: ANN)

Honestly, do you guys really need me to review this manga? Published since 2001, Bleach has acquired so much popularity that even people who never read a single page of manga in their life might know of the title. While some love it with strong passion, others hate it just as strongly. Undeniably, though, Bleach earned itself the title of being one of the “Shounen Big Three”, with thousands of fans who eagerly read Bleach updates every Wednesday.

bleach 2

Personally (and obviously, or else it wouldn’t be listed here), I love Bleach, but with some qualifications. As a whole, Bleach is a manga with amazing quality. Its art is dazzling. Its characters, though somewhat flat, serve the purpose of a Shounen manga. Its fighting scenes are beyond epic. The overall progression of story, though not impeccable, is quite ingenious. Then, something must have happened in the plot somewhere that made the manga drastically decline in quality, or else there wouldn’t be that many Bleach haters, right?

In fact, I have graphed (arbitrarily, using my own personal judgment) a Bleach quality of story vs. chapters chart. I hope this will clearly illustrate why some people would hate Bleach.

bleach quality chart

Conclusion from graph? Bleach haters either didn’t like Bleach from the beginning (theseries start off somewhat slow), or started to hate Bleach ever since 3-4 years ago (when the quality of series, undoubtedly, declined by a huge margin). However, if we take out the anomaly, which is, for the main part but not limited to, an arc that just randomly popped up from nowhere and is not really related to the story, we would find that the overall quality of Bleach for 550 chapters is extremely high. Besides, currently, it is going strong, and likely to finish as a solid manga worthy of being called “The Big Three”.

Bleach is a mainstream Shounen manga that one have a love-or-hate relationship with. Even though I currently belong to the lover category, I completely understand the haters. It is frustrating to see a manga that one has been following for years to temporarily turn into a shadow of its former glory, especially since updates come only once per week. It is easy to turn over to the hater group.

However, were a person who never seen Bleach before to marathon it right now, I bet he will love it, as he sees the big picture much more than blunders made in some arcs. So hopefully, Bleach will stay strong for another 50 episodes, and end in a manner that connects the story as a whole (which is quite possible, I think) and with an ending that readers find satisfactory.

And certainly, I never figured out as to why the English translation of Bleach is a synonym for detergent!

Note: I am quite sorry that what could have been a review turned into a stream of argument of “why people hate bleach” and “why it is overall a good story”. I frankly think that this mini-thesis paper would be a more appropriate blog than another generic, boring Bleach review.


No. 5: Mirai Nikki (Future Diary)

By Sakae Esuno

future diary 1

Genres: Action, Mystery, Supernatural, Psychological, Thriller, (Romance)

Status: completed

Summary:

Middle school 2nd year, Amano Yukiteru, is a boy who has problem making friends. He thinks of himself as a bystander and will always write down everything he sees in a cell phone diary.

Tormented by solitude, Yukiteru began to imagine things like a friend called Deus Ex Machina who is apparently the Lord of Time & Space. Seeing Yukiteru’s miserable state, Deus gives him a new ability. His diary will now record events that will happen in the near future. Yukiteru is then forced to participate in a game with 11 other participants. The winner will become Deus’ successor.
(Source: MU)

Undoubtedly, Mirai Nikki (Future Dairy) is one of the best survival-game manga in existence, along with Battle Royale, Btooom and such. The main reason that it is ranked so high on my list is that, unlike most other mystery manga, it accomplishes what a mystery thriller is supposed to do:

  1. start out with confusing yet attractive premise;
  2. then, slowly uncover the mysterious shrouds of the plot;
  3. finally, come to a dramatic and satisfying conclusion without compromising any of its previous assumptions.

Usually, numerous manga managed to do the first criteria. Some manga of superior quality managed to fulfill the second criteria. However, virtually none in this genre hit home on the third criteria (Battle Royale didn’t; and I doubt Btooom! can do it, either). Arguably, Mirai Nikki did.

To be honest, I don’t remember much about the quality of artwork in it. Since I don’t remember having any problem with its art style while I was reading it a while back, I would assume that the art is at the very least sufficient for setting a creepy mood, like at every moment something scary would jump out and attack our MC.

future diary 2

At this point, a word of warning must be brought to light. This manga is filled with blood and gore. Especially, at the most unexpected moments, people would appear and try to murder our MC. Mirai Nikki is not for the weak-hearted individuals! I will quote holdenn’s review on My Anime List, in order to give an accurate impression of what makes Mirai Nikki so ridiculously enjoyable.

“It is deliberately paced, but endlessly creepy, horrifying manga. Suspense is a key element in the manga. There is a sense of walls closing in, something approaching, getting closer and closer. An atmosphere of deep foreboding emanates from each diary holder, unaware of what each identity and motive are, it is disturbingly stirring for both Yuki and the reader.”

Finally, the characters. I think there is a character that deserves a special mention, Yuno (female MC). She is probably the most psycho, the most unstable character out of all manga that I have seen. This is contrasted by the fact that she also has a kind, gentle side, coupled with her fast thinking and meticulous logic deduction. She is definitely a fascinating character, and readers who love crazy psycho bitch might just fall in love with her!

mirai nikki 3

Overall, Mirai Nikki is an impressive manga that manages to succeed in where others failed. As a Mystery, Survival Game, Thriller manga, it is a master piece that will be remembered.

Note: There is also an anime adaptation of this title, having the same story (and ending), and I heard it is well done as well. You can check that out if you tend to like the anime version of the same story better.


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