Top five manga you think more people should be reading
Hmm, wow, this is going to be a tough one! Mainly because I don't really have a good idea of what is being read outside of Japan. So this is just based on my impression of what doesn't seem to get a lot of notice in the English-speaking mangasphere.
1. Without question, #1 is Tamura Yumi's 7 Seeds. This is such an awesome, complex series. If you liked Basara, you will like this. It seems like a lot of people are down on her art as "old-looking" but I like it. Even if it were the fugliest thing on the planet, though, the story is just...wow. Basara was a post-apocalyptic world that had had enough time to form new societies and really feel separate from the present day. 7 Seeds, on the other hand, is a survival story. Knowing a meteor is heading for earth, the government comes up with several different survival plans, one of which is cryogenically freezing five groups of teenagers and having them auto-thaw when the sensors indicated the planet could once again sustain life. Oh, and they didn't tell these kids they were getting chosen. So the kids wake up and have no idea what the fuck happened, though each group has an adult guide who does know what's going on.
The series is currently on vol. 18 and there is just so much going on. These are teenagers, so there are crushes and some relationships going on, but romance defintitely takes a backseat here. This is an adventure story. I would talk about the fifth team and how their story blew my mind, but that is totally spoilery. I would talk about when some of the kids found a diary detailing some of the other survival plans and what had happened to those people, but that, too, is better read unspoiled. Tamura Yumi is awesome with her reveals. There have been so many times where I was just like "oh fuck!"
I don't know how well Basara did in the US and this is another long series, so I don't know if it will ever be released in English, but it should be. There are scanlations available
, though. I have no idea of the quality and they're only up through vol. 9, but the group currently working on it does seem to be putting new chapters out at the decent rate.
2. Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo (Kindaichi Case Files). This was partially released in English but I guess didn't do to well, so they dropped it. There is a ton of them in Japan, though. The original series is 27 vols., there's a sequel with 10 vols., 6 vols. of short cases, two vols. featuring Inspector Akechi, the current series of sporadically published stand alones (11 vols. plus one story that hasn't yet been released in tankobon form), and nine novels. Not to mention like three drama series and an anime! XD The mysteries are really well done and interesting. If you can find them, I encourage you to check out the English release. The cases really stand on their own and you can read them in any order, so it's not that big a deal that they didn't release them all. It's not like you'll be left hanging. (Unfortunately there really hasn't been much scanlated.)
3. Psyren by Iwashiro Toshiaki. This is supposed to be released in English soon, so I'm hoping it does well. There are also quite a few groups scanlating
and the scanlations are up to date with what's been released in Japan. Despite that, it doesn't really seem to have that big a following and I can't figure out why. It is really pretty awesome. It has loads of stuff that makes it feel tailor-made to me, like time travel and a post-apocalyptic world and psychic kids experimented on by the government and more! It also has lots of great female characters.
4. Tegami Bachi by Asada Hiroyuki. This has recently been released in English, so I hope it becomes popular! This is another one that has so much cool stuff that I love. It's a sort of fantasy/sci-fi series set on a planet with no sun and there's all sorts of government conspiracies and stuff going on. Really cool. The art is also just really beautiful.
5. Renai Catalogue by Nagata Masami. This is one of my favorite shoujo series (it's actually more towards the josei end of things as it's about college students, but it was published in BetsuMa). It's really long (over thirty volumes) and I doubt it will ever get lisenced, but it is being scanlated
and up through vol. 16 is available. It's a fairly ordinary story of a girl and guy who meet in college and fall in love, but there's also a lot of focus on friendship. One of the things I liked about this series so much is that one of the friends is fat (and actually drawn so) and yet she also gets her own romance...and not after she's slimed down and prettied up. Yes, she does have a diet storyline and struggles with her weight over the course of the series, but it doesn't end with her losing weight, but rather becoming more confident in herself and finding a guy who loves her as she is. If for no other reason, that would endear me to this series, but there's so much else that's great about it.
Another one that really went long. Man, it was hard to stick to just five manga! There are so many great series that are not that well-known outside of Japan (and so many overrated series that are...).