When I was younger, I was really into anime and manga. This started at about the age of 14 or 15, and carried on until I was about 20 or so. Whilst I no longer read manga or watch anime on a regular basis, there are a few series that have really stuck with me, ones that I know I can go back to whenever.
My first ever manga series, and the source of my online name, I absolutely fell in love with Fruits Basket when I first read/watched it. It’s about a young girl called Tohru who, through various circumstances, ends up living with the Sohma family. However, the Sohmas have a slight problem – the family has been cursed for generations, with 12 members of the family at each time transforming into an animal of the zodiac when under great stress or when they are embraced by a member of the opposite sex. It sounds very silly – but it’s honestly one of the most heartbreaking and wonderful series ever. I love every character, and Tohru is an adorable protagonist.
Oh Death Note. I remember the day I first watched you – I popped on the DVD, and eight episodes later, I was still sat there. This series is about a young, highly intelligent student called Light who discovers that when he writes names in a certain notebook, those people die. He can also dictate way and time of death. What begins as a crusade to rid the world of criminals turns into a high profile police case, which Light himself becomes involved in as part of the investigation team. This series is so so wonderfully dark and amazing – and the manga artwork is just fantastic. In fact, since it’s on Netflix I may have to do a re-watch…
Azumanga Daioh is one of those series I can put on when I’m feeling down and it will pick me up. The manga is presented in comic strips of four panels (although some stories cover slightly more), with humorous little stories in each. The anime explores some of these panels further, but is generally very loyal. It follows a young girl called Chiyo, who enters high school at the age of 11. A child genius, she soon finds herself an eclectic group of friends, each with their own zany personalities. One of the funniest mangas I’ve ever read.
K-ON! was an absolute delight to watch – admittedly I haven’t read the manga. It’s about a girl who decides to revive her school’s music club, and the girls who end up joining. Together they form a band, and each episode pretty much revolves around their practice sessions – or lack of them. This series has produced some wonderful songs too.
The plot of Absolute Boyfriend is rather… well, typically manga/anime. A young girl accidentally orders an android boyfriend online, and after discovering she missed the deadline for the ‘trial period’, she has to pay for him. Okay, it sounds really really weird – but it’s actually seriously cute.