Manga Similar to Mushishi and Planetes
Both mangas sent an inexplicable tingle down my spine as I was reading them and when I finished them, I knew that I had read something amazing.
To make my criteria more specific, I am looking for profound story lines filled with deep characters. I am looking for mangas which make me think and which invite me to re-read them again and again. They should have good artwork, thought-provoking storylines and excellent character development. Although both mangas have stand-alone stories, I don't mind an overarching narrative as well.
I seem to be looking at a sub-set within the seinen and josei catergories as there are lots of mangas in both genres that don't fully satisfy me. In fact, I think that both these mangas transcend the two genres!
Really high expectations? Haha, here are some other mangas which I enjoyed reading as much as the three mentioned above:
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou
Children of the Sea
Sexy Voice & Robo
A new manga which is being released is Shoujo Nemu which I think is very promising. Will have to wait and see ...
Recommendations highly appreciated!
Try in anime Kino no Tabi and Aria.
In manga form there is the really brutal yet very deep Battle Angel Alita. You WILL reread it.
Firstly, those are some fantastic manga there, especially Witches, Children of the Sea and Sexy Voice & Robo. Incidentally, Ikki, the same magazine Children of the Sea runs in also has quite a few interesting releases as well, so you might want to check them out.
I've always found Victorian Romance Emma to be similar in terms of atmosphere and pacing with Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou. This goes the same as well to Yuki Urushibaraís one-shots
Thereís, of course, Iou Kurodaís Japan Tengu Party Illustrated and Nasu. Similar to Kurodaís heavy art style is Baka to Gogh, though a bit more idealistic and goofy but no less charming.
The Yellow Book is a fascinating read as well, filled with subtelties and heartwarming range.
Kyoko Okazaki's works are some of the most ambitious ones I've ever read, though they could be a bit dark and grotesque for some, namely Helter Skelter and River's Edge, which are filled with nuanced characters and provoking themes.
Wow, thanks a lot for all the reccs. Thatís an interesting list jedinat. Iíve read Hyakkiyakou, Koi Kaze and Otoyomegatari. I liked them all although I found that Otoyomegatari hasnít quite reached Victorian Emmaís level yet. The artwork is gorgeous of course but the story-lineís moving a little too slowly at this stage.
Hyakkiyokou is somewhat similar to Mushishi but I find that the impact of the stories to be rather inconsistent. Having said that, I thought Story 17, which dealt with the lives of 2 hospitalized women, was simply fantastic. Iíll check out the others which I havenít heard of. Ashita no Ousama seems promising.
There are several popular josei titles that havenít impressed me yet such as Nana and Honey & Clover (although Iíve heard the anime version was very good) but I do like Aoi Hana, find Nodame Cantabile charming and enjoy anything by Yamaji Ebine.
I do like stories where romance doesnít have to be non-existent but is tangential to the plot. I guess I prefer deep and subtle friendships to outright romance but I know that drastically reduces my list Ö :)
Glad to hear that you like some of the mangas in my list too Fevvers! The mangas youíve listed are all fascinating as well. Iíve read Japan Tengu Party and Nasu and I liked them both a lot although I think Sexy Voice remains his most inspired work yet. I havenít read Baka to Gogh and the Yellow Book but Iíll definitely check them out. Baka to Gogh sounds particularly intriguing.
I love Urushibaraís one-shots and Iím convinced that anything she produces is gold. Other than Daisuke Igarashi, I havenít met anyone else quite like her. Thereís a subtle depth to their works thatís just awe-inspiring. Iíve heard of Helter Skelter and Riverís Edge but never read them. Iíll definitely check them out.
Oh, and other mangas that I like but which are not mainstream:
1) Me & the Devil Blues
2) Hiroki Endoís One Shots and his Eden
3) Mangas by Taiyo Matsumoto (Black & White, No 5)
I did like Kino no Tabi, roriconfan, although I donít watch anime anymore. Keep the reccs coming, everyone. I know I have particular tastes but Iím always looking out for more. Also, jedinat and fevvers, I liked your lists a lot so if you have more, would love to hear them.
Natsume Yuujinchou exudes a similar feel to Mushishi. It's about a boy who can see supernatural/mythical creatures. It has both manga and anime.
Hava to add a few recs myself:
Vinland Saga, the new manga of Planetes' (I really enjoyed this one) writer YUKIMURA Makoto. Ongoing, had a very good 'Prologue', whose ending was amazing. :D
The Nausicaa manga, 'The' classic masterpiece, leaves the Nausicaa movie far behind. I own this one.
KAWAGUCHI Kaiji has done some fine Seinen manga like 'Seizon', 'Spirit of the Sun' and 'Zipang', unfortunately the scanlations for the latter two's have stalled. :upset:
Works of Asano Inio are also worth a try, 'Nijigahara Holograph' is quite a bleak ride and 'Wonderful World' isn't much 'nicer' either. :D
For something crazy you might have a look at the 'Shigurui' manga, but I doubt you will like it. Have a puke bag aside when reading it, you may need it, not kidding here. ;)
I have read BAA, roricon, it was promising but didn't progress anymore somewhere in the middle of the story. :(
BTW, this seems a good thread for me to find new, interesting stuff. :)
@upiro: If it means anything I, too, wasn't as impressed with Hyakkiyakou (the same goes for Natsume, which has always played it safe with their potentially-intriguing themes) as I could have been, especially if you're going there after reading the likes of Mushishi.
If you're going the josei route, then yeah, Kyoko Okazaki is a MUST. (And yay Ebine Yamaji!) Along with Kiriko Nananan who is so far the only josei artist Iíve read who has mastered the art of minimalism. Check out Blue, Pumpkin and Mayonnaise, and her various one-shots. Thereís Moyoko Anno as well even if I havenít read all her works yet, but I found Hataraki Man and Sakuran enjoyable and relatable.
SignorRossi gave some good recommendations there as well (though I must admit I havenít yet read Nausicaa, which I swear will be remedied veeeery soon). However I much prefer anime Shigurui over the manga (despite not being complete though I found the journey more than made up for that) if only for the directorís particular brand of melancholia, claustrophobia and symbolism.
For other manga you might like:
Hiroaki Samuraís Blade of the Immortal, Bradherley's Coach and Ohikkoshi.
Jiro Matsumotoís Freesia and Keep on Vibrating
Tatsumi Yoshihiroís Push Man, and Abandon the Old in Tokyo
Music of Marie
A House in Venice Ė not sure if this is OEL or whatever it is the cool kids prefer to call it, but itís very western in its art and execution.
The Town of Evening Calm, the Country of Cherry Blossoms
Must second Fevvers rec 'Blade of the Immortal', how the hell could I forget that one... ;)
Good to be back again after a long break!
Thanks Fevvers and signorRossi for your reccs. I've read Blade of the Immortal before and really enjoyed it. I never knew that he had done other works and I checked out Bradhley's Coach in trepidation, since its description was ... disturbing. But, it was surprisingly good and profound although several scenes were definitely nauseating. I'm looking forward to Ohikkoshi.
I like Vinland Saga and it had a delightfully loooong Prolouge but it still can't compare to the sheer depth of Planetes. Each chapter of Planetes was amazing and deserved re-reading in a way that Vinland doesn't quite manage.
I've read Coo's World and Music of Marie before and I'm looking forward to the stories completing before I can fully judge them. But, so far, they're both really good. Unfortunately, Jiro Matsumoto is too disturbing and sexually explicit to appeal to me.
Looking forward to reading A House in Venice and Town of Evening Calm!
One new manga I'm enjoying is Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer which is a lot les sillier than it sounds and keeps getting better and better. I can tell that the author thoroughly enjoys overturning stereotypes :)
And definitely read Nausicca Fevvers! The storyline goes into much greater depth than the anime and Nausicaa herself is less perfect and more flawed in the manga. Having said that, she's still an amazing heroine. I thorougly enjoy stories where the female characters are depicted as emotionally mature and independent in a very un-selfconscious way.
Thanks again for all the reccs!
Crest of the Stars would be a storyline you would probably like alot. Unfortunately, I've never read the manga version. I've only watched the anime and read the light novels, but unless the manga completely murdered the material it should be good.
I would also recommend Fullmetal Alchemist. I know it's listed as shonen but it does have a lot of depth and character development. The manga even more so than the original anime.
You might like Cross Game, although it is a romance, the romance is more muted then most.
If you are willing to give romance a try I'd suggest something like Maison Ikkoku, although it is a bit slow to take off it has great character development.
Glad to know you liked some of them, especially Bradherley's Coach. Definitely read Ohikkoshi next, though it is very different from his longer works, it has more crack and romance to name a few. Funny stuff.
I have been meaning to read that Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer; I found the author's Sengoku Youko to be quite the enjoyable read. Similarly (in terms of humor at least) you might like Dorohedoro as well; its art style is reminiscent of Tsutomu Nihei's (which means it's dark though not as filled with ominous architectures like Blame's), but it is hilarious... and bizzare (to put it mildly)
And yes, I will read Nausicaa. Good to know she's not as perfect as she appears in the movie. :)
Natsume Yuujinchou has a similar, standalone-story-of-spirits-and-humans feel to it, but note it is also more directly emotional and sentimental than the more detached Mushishi.
Dorohedoro is fantastic!! It's so creative, weird, funny and scrumptiously addictive! I just read it and can't believe I've never heard of it before. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the plot and connect the pieces together.
Also, Sackett, I've watched Crest of the Stars before back when I used to watch anime and I really liked it. The chemistry between the 2 lead characters was intriguing and the plot was quite intelligent too.
Similarly, I'm an Adachi fan and although Katsu is my personal favourite, I like Cross Game too. I'm not a big fan of the sports genre but then, I don't think that's why people read Adachi :)
Natsume is alright but I'm waiting for the story line to pick up as it keeps exploring the same themes again and again to the point that it's getting less creative.
I've recently read Until Death Do Us Part and it's surprisingly good considering the cliched premise it starts with. Doesn't remotely resemble Mushishi or Planetes though ... :P
Must ... read ... Ohikkoshi and Nijigahara Holograph ...next ...
Seirei no Moribito is an amazing, amazing amazing series. I can't emphasize that enough. It can be a bit slow if you're expecting more action, but in terms of character development and interaction, it's stellar. It's a quasi-historical setting in the time when people still rode horses and the mikado was the God-blessed leader of the kingdom -- part adventure, part bildungsroman story line.
It's available on Netflix and is actually based on a series of (non-manga) books (2 currently translated for the US market) written by a Japanese anthropologist.
@upiro: Haha, I'd read Dorohedoro for the dark humor alone! Though as far as recent chapters have been released, we're finally getting some much needed answers.
Curious to hear your thoughts on Until Death Do Us Part. I couldn't get pass the first chapter! =/
And yay, Nijigahara Holograph! Check out Asano's Solanin as well while you're at it!
I feel slightly bad about digging up a relatively old thread but since I've 'discovered' a new manga that fans of Mushishi (and Planetes) might like, I thought it would be best to mention it here. The author of Mushishi has started a new manga called Suiiki and it looks very promising. I'm personally excited as it contains many of the elements that made Mushishi so fascinating while presenting a completely different story. I've created a thread in Animesuki here for those who might be interested.
Also, I do want to at least provide a sliiiiightlyyy delayed response to some of the earlier recommendations. (Blame my flitting in and out of the manga world this December!) I did like Serei No Moribito, caracantible, and it's one of my favourite animes. Interestingly enough, many of my top anime and stories in general have very anthropological themes to them (Twelve Kingdoms in anime, Song of Ice and Fire in Fantasy). I'd love to create a new thread one of these days asking about anthropologically oriented anime and manga (Mushishi fits this sub-genre as well).
Also, Fevvers, I've finally read Ohikkoshi and it's hilarious!! Can't believe that he's the same guy who did Bradhley's Coach. Hiroaki Samura definitely has the golden touch and I hope he makes many more new mangas :)
Nijigahara Holograph was excellent and I had to re-read it to fully appreciate it. Solanin was enjoyable but its effect was blunted when I read it immediately after Ohikkoshi :P
Will re-read it again in the future sometime!
As for Until Death Do Us Part, gosh, this is a late defense but I just liked the way the characters behave in a very un-stereotypical manner. The young girl isn't constantly helpless but gets more and more useful and she's suprisingly courageous for her age. The main hero acts dark and mysterious, true, but he's not one of those Shoujo-type anti-heroes :P
And the villains are pretty smart though they lose a suprising number of limbs :) Haha, this manga isn't literature but depicts a fairly engrossing and intelligent action and adventure story!
I'd like to recommend another manga though which fits the ones above better. Takemitsu Zamurai by Taiyou Matsumoto is a very unique samurai story with fascinating, unkiyo-e style art that's very visually pleasing to the eye.
Thanks again for the reccs everyone! Always great to discover new works ...
Keep the recs coming, I and surely others too are still watching this thread. :-)
Glad you liked 'Nijigahara Holograph', 'Solanin' was too tame for me as it was a genre I didn't expect from Asano Inio.
BTW, new chapter of 'Blade of the Immortal' is out. :-)
@upiro: Haha, had a feeling you'd be reading Suiiki. It does give out Igarashi vibes, what with the sea (or in Suiiki's case, the lake) carrying such a mysterious and significant role, which is a huge plus in my book.
Glad you liked Ohikkoshi, such a fun read, that one. Makes you crave for more Samura crack/romance, eh? Which is where Halcyon Lunch might come in, if only some kind soul woul scanlate the rest.
Will check out Until Death Do Us Part again, we seem to have similar taste when it comes to characterization, especially with female characters.
Will check out the Matsumoto one, wasn't a very big fan of Black and White (or the anime at least), but the ukiyo-style art is very tempting. Speaking of samurai stories, have you checked out Vagabond yet? --->*mynotsosubtlewayoftellingyoutodoso* I doubt you'd like Shigurui though I believe the anime is one fine, albeit violent, masterpiece.
Dragon Head's really interesting as well; it's unflinchingly dark and cerebral but not as fatalistic as it may appear. It's a survival manga that focuses more on the characters and atmosphere instead of the gore (though it does have some violent scenes in it, but nothing gratuitous, I think).
@signorRossi: Whee! BotI! XD
Would love to hear more reccs from you as well. I'm running out of things to read, which I suppose is a reminder to finally finish Parasyte and start out Sidonia no Kishi (though I heard the style has been a drastic change from Nihei's earlier cyberpunk output, don't know what I think about that yet). =/
Have only one rec atm, 'Real', good story and deep characters, while the setting isn't special (not meant in a negative way).
Besides this one you can look at the 'Hox' and 'Illuminati-Manga' homepages directly, you might be able to find a good one you like, as both groups have a very healthy taste.
EDIT: Read the whole 'Dragon Head' today, phew. By far the best 'survival' manga I read so far, it surprised me that it was interesting throughout 91 chapters.
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