Top 10 Drama Manga of 1998
1. Fruits Basket
Tohru Honda is a high school freshman who is having a serious bout of misfortune. Not only was she recently orphaned with the tragedy of her mother's death, but she also has no where to live and is currently residing in a tent! However, when her luck to seems to be at its worse, she meets the Sohma family - and is invited to stay with them in exchange for taking care of the household chores.
But it isn't long before Tohru discovers that the Sohmas have a deep secret. The family is cursed by the spirits of the Chinese Zodiac, and some of the children born into the Sohma family can be possessed by these spirits. When possessed, they cannot be "huggled" by the opposite sex, or they transform into their respective Zodiac animal!
However, this doesn't phase Tohru, who promises to keep their secret. She continues living with them, and her grave humbleness and thankfulness never wanes. As a result, they come to be very important people in her life, and the Sohmas begin to realize how very lucky they are to have her.
2. Eden: It's an Endless World!
In the panic surrounding a worldwide pandemic which kills 15 percent of the population and cripples many more, a secret organization, the Propater, topples the UN and seizes control of much of the world. A boy and a girl, raised in an abandoned virology research center, immune to the virus, are attacked by the Propater and escape. 20 years later the boy is the most powerful drug lord in South America. He aids his son from behind the scenes as he evades and eventually with the help of mercenaries from Nomad (some of them former Propater operatives) fights the Propater. As the plot develops focus shifts away from the main character and develops many sub-plots dedicated to terrorism, Human-improvement, the struggle of the developing countries and the power battles between the drug cartels and Propater.
Based strongly on Gnostic mythology, all major characters are named after gnostic deities, and have analogous roles.
Warnings: Eden contains a lot of very graphic violence and some sex scenes.
Killy is a man of few words. He wanders, seemingly endlessly, through a lonely, gargantuan labyrinth of concrete and steel, fighting off cyborgs and other futuristic nightmares, searching only for something called Net Terminal Genes. And he has a very powerful gun, which he uses without hesitation whenever anything resembling danger rears its ugly head.
Who is this quiet, violent, determined man and what are these Genes he seeks? The small communities he finds tucked into the crevices of this towering, dystopic ruin hardly give him leads on his treasure, driving him to find larger enclaves of civilization where people can reveal more about the world he lives in and the quarry he seeks.
4. Hikaru no Go
After stumbling across a haunted Go board, irresponsible Hikaru Shindo discovers that the spirit of a master player has taken up residence in his consciousness. In his pursuit of the "Divine Move," Fujiwara-no-Sai awakens in Hikaru an untapped interest and genius for the game, and soon the schoolboy is chasing his own dream--defeating the famed Go prodigy Akira Toya!
Note: There are 197 chapters total in the original release.
Kurozu-cho, a small fogbound town on the coast of Japan, is cursed. According to Shuichi Saito, the withdrawn boyfriend of teenager Kirie Goshima, their town is haunted not by a person or being but by a pattern: uzumaki, the spiral, the hypnotic secret shape of the world. It manifests itself in small ways: seashells, ferns, whirlpools in water, whirlwinds in air. And in large ways: the spiral marks on people's bodies, the insane obsessions of Shuichi's father, the voice from the cochlea in your inner ear. As the madness spreads, the inhabitants of Kurouzu-cho are pulled ever deeper, as if into a whirlpool from which there is no return... (Source: Viz)
Chosen by the American Library Association (ALA) as one of the Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2009. (Vol. 1)
6. The Perfect World of Kai
A tranquil tale about two boys from very different upbringings. On one hand you have Kai, born as the son of a prostitute, who's been playing the abandoned piano in the forest near his home ever since he was young. And on the other you have Syuhei, practically breast-fed by the piano as the son of a family of prestigious pianists. Yet it is their common bond with the piano that eventually intertwines their paths in life.
Professor Kawato is the new japanese teacher in the ill-famed Futagotamaga high shool, whose baseball club is composed by thugs and bullies who have been suspended for a year from all school competitions for causing a brawl during an official match. Now that the supension is over, the only club's members left are interested only in women, smoking and doing nothing until, under professor Kawato guidance, they discover a new dream called Koshien. The road to Koshien is far from easy, as they have to get back in shape, to learn how to play baseball and to win everyone else mistrust, including the principal's and other professor's one, with only a few months available. Sweating and fighting, the baseball club will find his determination and strenght, as they proceed towards their dreams, while Kawato's enthusiastic and non-conventional ways slowly change the attitude of everyone near them. (Source: ANN)
8. Chrno Crusade
America in the Roaring 20s. On the surface, it's a positive, peaceful time after the violence of the Great War. But lurking in the shadows is a dark element ready to snatch that peace away. Sister Rosette Christopher, an exorcist working as a part of the Magdala Order, has a duty to fight the demons which appear and cause destruction. But along with her companion Chrono, she usually ends up causing more destruction than the demons themselves! On one particular mission, they meet a young girl with a beautiful voice named Azmaria, who is being targeted by her own stepfather. As Rosette and Chrno work to save her, more is revealed about the relationship between them. There is more to these two than meets the eye.
9. Trigun Maximum
Much of the damage attributed to "Vash" is caused by the activities of bounty hunters who are after the 60,000,000,000$$ (sixty billion "double dollars") reward on Vash's head for the destruction of a city called July. Vash does not clearly remember the destruction of July, and only wants "love and peace", as he puts it; though he is a gunfighter of inhuman skill, he uses his weapons only to save lives wherever he can.
As the series progresses, more is gradually learned about Vash's mysterious history and the history of the human civilization on Gunsmoke, the desert planet the series is set on. The series is often humorous in tone, but at the same time it involves very serious character development and especially in later episodes it becomes quite emotionally intense. Vash is occasionally joined by a priest, Nicholas D. Wolfwood, who is almost as good a gunfighter as Vash himself, and later is targeted by a band of assassins known as the Gung-Ho Guns for reasons which are mysterious at first.
Trigun evolves into a very serious discussion of the nature of morality, posing questions such as: What is the nature of morality? Can we judge different moral codes? If a person is forced to betray their moral code, does that betrayal invalidate that moral code, and can the person still try to live up to that moral code? Can the person find redemption from their wrongs, and if so, how?
10. A Distant Neighborhood
On his way back from a business trip, the protagonist decides on a whim to take a train back to his old hometown. The moment he pays respects to his mother's grave in the transformed town, he is transported back to a summer when he was still in junior high school, only with all his middle-age consciousness, knowledge and abilities intact.
On this journey across time, he understands for the first time the burdens born by his father, and his mother's tears. This is the kind of fantasy manga were made for, executed by an artist of great talent. This is a serious, delicate, and ultimately moving time travel variation. (From Manga-Sketchbook)