Top 10 Action Manga of 2002
1. Black Lagoon
The story follows a team of mercenaries known as Lagoon Company, who smuggle goods in and around the seas of Southeast Asia. Their base of operations is located in the fictional city of Roanapur in Thailand, and they transport goods in the PT boat Black Lagoon. Lagoon Company does business with various clients, but has a particularly friendly relationship with the Russian crime syndicate Hotel Moscow. The team takes on a variety of missions - which may involve violent firefights, hand-to-hand combat, and nautical battles - in various Southeast Asian locations.
Nagasawa Shiina was just your average 3rd year high schooler when her father's company went bankrupt. To ease the strain on her family, she secretly begins prostituting herself. At her first job, a mysterious masked man crashes the party... and it's someone she knows...
Akumetsu is the story of Hazama Shou, who defends his own view of justice in a vigilante manner while wearing a mask and calling himself Akumetsu.
3. KenIchi: The Mightiest Disciple
The story is focused on Kenichi Shirahama, an average 15-year-old weakling, whose life turns to Hell with the appearance of the naive, beautiful, and strong transfer student, Miu Fūrinji. After Kenichi witnesses Miu's skills in martial arts, he joins the Ryōzanpaku dojo, the gathering place of those who are truly strong, which also happens to be Miu's home. After beating a karate student in a match, he is soon targeted by all the delinquents in the school. Since then, Kenichi's routine is divided between his hellish training with the masters of Ryōzanpaku, and his fights against the members of Ragnarok, a gang who views him as either a possible ally or an impending threat to their plans.
4. Gunslinger Girl
The Social Welfare Agency in Italy is not what it seems. Yes, it rescues young girls who have been brutalized, but it then brainwashes them and turns them into ruthless killers for an elite and secret counter-terrorism unit for the Italian government.
Enter a young girl named Henrietta. After witnessing the savage murder of her family and barely surviving, the Agency takes her in and repairs her injuries using the latest in cybernetic technology. All traces of Henrietta's past are wiped from her mind, as she becomes one of the Agency's most lethal assassins.
(Source: Seven Seas Entertainment)
5. Air Gear
Itsuki Minami needs no introduction – everybody’s heard of the “Babyface” of the Eastside. He’s the toughest kid at Higashi Junior High School, easy on the eyes but dangerously tough when he needs to be. Plus, Itsuki lives with the mysterious and sexy Noyamano sisters. Life is never dull, but it becomes dangerous when Itsuki leads his school to victory over some vindictive Westside punks with gangster connections. Now he stands to lose his school, his friends, and everything he cares about. But in his darkest hour, the Noyamano girls come to Itsuki’s aid. They can teach him a powerful skill that will save their school from the gangsters’ siege–and introduce Itsuki to a thrilling and terrifying new world.
(Source: Del Rey)
6. Elfen Lied
The story involves human mutations called "diclonii", who are born with horns on their heads and possess telekinetic powers, in the form of invisible "arms" called vectors. The power of these arms vary, but they can stop normal bullets and deflect some others. The number of them differ with each diclinous, as does their full range.
The tendency for violence among diclonii is high, especially as they grow older. As children, their violence stems from a certain playfulness, unlike the absolute hatred of humans in their later years. Diclonii are rare, as they are the members of their species that are able to reproduce naturally.
Silpelits are more common. They are the offspring of two humans, the male of which has been infected with the mutation. Interestingly, only males can pass on the genes, and all diclonii and silpelits turn out to be female. Certain scientists noticed an increasing number of babies with horns being born, along with those children murdering their own parents and others, and tried to contain the spreading and find out the cause by placing them in a Facility in cells where they are subject to inhumane experiments to test their abilities or where they await execution for being too dangerous.
The main non-mutant character in the story is Kouta, who ends up becoming increasingly involved with one diclonius in particular, the main mutant character Lucy, the only pure diclonius, as she seeks a way to infect or kill all of humanity. Lucy has a cruel and unsettling past, and she has long since lost her empathy for humans, except for Kouta.
However, Director Kakuzawa, who has diclonius ancestry although he doesn't have the vectors, has plans to mate with Lucy and start a true diclonius race. If Lucy is found and he manages to do so, humanity will be nonexistent.
Kouta and Lucy's lives have been intertwined since their childhood, but not necessarily in a good way. And after the virus is airborne and spread across all of Japan, what is the fate of humanity and who holds all of the answers?
Jin is a strange kid with an angel mark on his hand. He lives a poor but peaceful life with his grandfather, along with the other destitute and abandoned vagabonds near the river. One day, his peaceful life changes when a strange monster named "player" appears, chopping off heads and killing everyone who appears in front of it.
8. King of Thorn
Two twins, separated by fatal illness and a selective cure. Kasumi and her sister, Shizuku, were infected with the Medusa virus, which slowly turns the victim to stone. There is no cure, but of the two only Kasumi is selected to go into a sort of cryogenically frozen state along with 159 others until a cure is found. At some point in the undetermined future, Kasumi awakens to find herself and others who were in suspended animation in an unfamiliar world with violent monsters. Resolving to unlock the mysteries of her current situation and the fate of her twin sister, Kasumi struggles to survive in a treacherous world.
We find Chunwha in a world beyond his own... There he will struggle to find his own purpose among the many inhabitants of the new world including elves, dwarves, and even mages! As we watch him grow in strength and spirit, the mangaka creates fascinating characters out of his companions and adversaries and moves past the simple concept of the antagonist vs the protagonist.
To find out what fate has in store for our hero, follow Id in a fantastic adventure, exploring a world where anything is possible!
10. Saiyuki Reload
The fearsome foursome continue their journey west towards Shangri-La, encountering new challenges and new adventures along the way. Their legend precedes them, but not always in the way one might expect. The Minus Wave that apparently drove all the youkai in the land mad looks like it might have missed one, as Sanzo, Gojyo, Hakkai and Goku meet a lone guardian and the band of children he cares for. Fear and misunderstanding run throughout this particular leg of the journey, including between the members of the Sanzo group! (Source: Tokyopop)