Top 10 Drama Manga of 2002
On the planet Aqua, a world once known as Mars, Akari Mizunashi has just made her home in the town of Neo-VENEZIA, a futuristic imitation of the ancient city of Venice. The technology of "Man Home" (formerly Earth) has not entirely reached this planet, and Akari is alone, having no contact with family or friends. Nonetheless, the town, with its charming labyrinths of rivers and canals, becomes Akari's new infatuation, along with the dream of becoming a full-fledged gondolier. Reverting to a more "primitive" lifestyle and pursuing a new trade, the character of Akari becomes both adventurous and heartwarming all at once.
2. Ouran High School Host Club
Haruhi sticks out like a sore thumb as a poor, smart girl who got into the hoity-toity Ouran High School on talent alone. When she mistakenly wanders into the meeting room of the host club and breaks a valuable vase, she's recruited to join the club. Realistic and sarcastic, Haruhi isn't used to being around crazy people like the princely Tamaki, scheming Kyouya, silent Mori, immature Hunny, and devilish Hikaru and Kaoru, but she's got no choice if she ever wants to pay earn what she owes. Too bad the club is made for girls to come and be entertained by gorgeous guys -- and Haruhi's been mistaken for a boy!
Includes chapters of the story "Romantic Egoist" in various volumes, starring a pair of twins who play matchmaker with their fellow students, teachers and the like. Note: The final volume contains a special bonus chapter where the group travels to Spain.
3. Skip Beat!
Kyoko Mogami followed her true love Sho to Tokyo to support him while he made it big as an idol. But he's casting her out now that he's famous! Kyoko won't suffer in silence--she's going to get her sweet revenge by beating Sho in show biz!
It's the spring of freshman year, and Kanji Sasahara is in a quandary. Should he fulfill his long-cherished dream of joining an otaku club? Saki Kasukabe also faces a dilemma. Can she ever turn her boyfriend, anime fanboy Kousaka, into a normal guy? Kanji triumphs where Saki fails, when both Kanji and Kousaka sign up for Genshiken: The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture.
Undeterred, Saki chases Kousaka through the various activities of the club, from costume-playing and comic conventions to video gaming and collecting anime figures--learning more than she ever wanted to about the humorous world of the Japanese fan . . .
(Source: Del Rey)
5. Wandering Son
Shuuichi Nitori is a 5th grade student who likes to bake and has always been something of a feminine boy. When he transfers to a new school, Shuuichi is mistaken for his 6th grade sister on his first day. Then he ends up sitting next to Yoshino Takatsuki, a tall, boyish girl who everyone calls "Takatsuki-kun." They both have secrets they can't let anyone know... (Source: Kotonoha)
The series deals with issues such as transgenderism, gender identity, and the beginning of puberty. (Source: Wikipedia)
6. 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.
8. 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.
9. Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin
Six minors (16 or 17 years) answering to the nicknames of Joe, Mario, Suppon, Baremoto, Biceps and Cauliflower are put into a reformatory for offences such as aggravated assault, swindle, flight, etc. Their stay in hell begins immediately. Accomodated by a doctor paedophile, they are placed under the monitoring of a despotic and brutal crew. Companions of cell of certain Sakuragi (called Anchan), the tension flares up between the band of buddies and their new "friend".
A brawl breaks out and our six prisoners are done rossés by mysterious young man thanks to his boxing talent.
The story will not only follow the lives of these seven characters surviving in their hellish environment, but also their disillusions due to the rejection by the outside world and by their close relations. This is about the extraodinary and invincible friendships between these young men.
10. 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)