My RL animu-knowledgeable friends will be interested to hear that shortly after the Pain arc finished up, I dropped Naruto for reals. I did this a few months before with Bleach. Both of these pretty much bored me to the point of not caring. No, I don’t care that Naruto became GARuto or whatever. I don’t care that the Vaizards might do something in the near future. I don’t care that Sasuke is still being whiny. I don’t care that Bleach has moved less than 24 hours in the last two years.
So what am I caring about?
As far as manga goes, Bakuman is pretty meta. It is a manga running in Shounen Jump by an artist/writer duo (of Death Note fame) about a manga running in Shounen Jump by an artist/writer duo. The good things about it are great writing and pacing (stuff actually happens and is interesting) and pretty neat art. The unique things that it brings are an inside look at the manga serialization process and a number of pretty cool original manga concepts that make up the manga series that are featured in that universe’s Shounen Jump.
Cross Game is a baseball and romance manga. It has a pretty heavy emphasis on the characters and their development outside of baseball, which is the most interesting part. It’s a pretty realistic and moving manga about some kids who play baseball. D’awwwws and BAWWWWWs all around.
You should know pretty damn well why I care about this.
Hayate the Combat Butler!
An impoverished, almost indestructible guy gets hired as the butler of a rich little girl. This is a comedy series that likes to transform into a harem series at times. The characters are all fun and the parodies and references come fast. Knowing that the mangaka is a student of the mangaka who did Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei explains a lot.
A guy gets hired to protect the daughter of a rich, powerful family, at least in the beginning. I really liked the anime, but the abrupt ending made me seek out more. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be as updated as frequently as I’d like, but I’m up for more of Shinkuro’s and Murasaki’s adventures.
A naive, honest girl gets tricked into joining a game that risks bankrupting her, so she gets the aid of a con-artist with an M.A. in psychology. This is all about mindgames and psychology. In fact, the entire macguffin is to win mindgames. Of course, this means seeing the trickery that we’ve become so enamored with from Code Geass and Death Note.
Mahou Sensei Negima!
A ten year-old wizard in training is assigned to be the teacher of a class of middle school girls. It sounds pretty terrible and it starts off pretty terrible. The mangaka wanted to do a shounen battle manga, but was forced to do another harem series, since he did Love Hina. He basically tricked them by starting out like that but about 40 chapters in and 250 chapters later, we end up in a very different place with an unlikely and absurdly powerful shounen protagonist.
God is dying so he gives twelve people a diary that reveals a selective near-future and tells them to kill each other so he can determine who gets to be God next. On the surface, we’ve got mindgames. However, a very whiny protagonist and his psychotic yandere makes this three times as entertaining than it would have been otherwise.
Saijou no Meii
This isn’t being regularly scanlated, but it is still being serialized. If it got regular updates, I’d be all over it so hard. This is essentially the shounen version of Team Medical Dragon by the mangaka who did Yakitate!! Japan. This contains the usual surgeries and hospital politics.
Shinigami students collect bad souls in master-weapon partnerships. It’s not the most original series by any metric, but it does manage to be pretty cool. Don’t let the weak anime ending fool you. Much like the FMA anime, the direction that the manga takes is far more interesting. The nice thing about monthly serializations is that stuff tends to happen each chapter.