Antique Bakery - This woman can write! :-) She doesn't believe in stock characters, that's for sure. Emma Hellsing - A bizarre choice on a list that also includes Aria! While there is humor in it, often it's from the over the top delight the characters are having in destroying the world and each other. Not your angsty cuddly vampires (like in Chibi Vampire and Vampire Game ;-) Inuyasha Rin King of Thorn What's Michael Vampire Game Vagabond Aqua and Aria - A gentle slice of life series about a girl who immigrates to be a gondolier in the Venice on Mars. The charm of the series is her delight in the world around her and appreciation for others. She's one who stops to smell the flowers :-) (It's actually one series but the mangaka changed publishers after the first two books of Aqua and she retitled the remaining books Aria.) Rurouni Kenshin - Saiyuki Mars Yotsuba Death Note (first half) Chobits Hikaru no Go Gerard and Jaques Shout Out Loud
Some guilty pleasures.
Iron Wok Jon
Oh, My Goddess
Ah, I had longer descriptions but I took too long and the 15 minutes I had to edit ran out.
Antique Bakery is hard to describe. At first it seems to be a slice of life of the 3 guys who work at the bakery/coffee shop. The first few chapters are amusing, as a way to bring out the characters. But then it starts getting into their interactions with each other, and their past lives and why they've all been drawn together. What seems random makes more sense later as you find out why they've been driven to be who they are and where they are. The first volume is good. The other three are wonderful. (The first volume is probably better the second time you read it.)
Marmalade Boy (the anime is great, too, with some wonderful music)
Paradise Kiss (fashion, love, transvestites)
Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou (also called "KareKano" or "His and Hers")
Mars (angst-ridden, but enjoyable)
Fruits Basket (though I only read the first 2 volumes)
Maison Ikkoku (A Rumiko Takahashi goodie)
I've read some others, but I haven't been keeping up for the last few years.
I sold my full sets of MB, PK, and Mars after I got married, then cried later. I miss manga a lot, but I saw a large mange section at a new library we visited the other day. I'll be scheduling some time to browse next time I'm there.
I posted earlier but decided to delete it to remove the titles that haven't been published here.
1) Kimi wa Pet (aka Tramps like us)
2) Skip Beat! (by the author of Tokyo Crazy Paradise, which is also very good)
3) Short Program by Adachi Mitsuru . Usually manga short stories are shallow, but his are amazing. Worth reading just to see a short story done really well. My favorite is the story about the high jumper. ANYTHING by Adachi is worth reading. I love his stuff.
4) Fruits Basket
5) Yakitate!! Japan
6) Lovely Complex
7) 7 Seeds
9) Vampire Knight (same author as Merupuri, also good)
10) Bride of the Water God
Other good ones:
Beck (Mongolian Chop Squad)
You're so Cool (I like other things by this manwhaga as well)
Hikaru no Go
Hana Kimi (dragged a little towards the end, but still good)
Sand Chronicles (Sunadokei)
Kiss Me, Kill me (first volume, primarily)
Demon Diary (first volume is good, goes downhill after that)
Other mangakas I like but haven't included in the list:
Mizushira Setona. She writes shounen-ai and shoujo... her work is very interesting.
I like Watase Yuu as well, but I can't think of any title in particular to recommend. They all seem nice. I've read Fushigi Yuugi and Absolute Boyfriend.
Joyce - I also liked Rin - there are several others in that genre that I like. Most of the ones I can think of are either very explicit or unlicensed (or both) so I don't have any good titles to recommend. Perhaps Desire.