Top 10 Drama Manga of 2004
1. JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Steel Ball Run
Originally presented as an unrelated story, this series was later officially declared a part of the JoJo storyline. The series stars Gyro Zeppeli, who uses a set of steel balls that spin incredibly fast, and Johnny Joestar (Jonathan Joestar), a former hot-shot jockey who was crippled by an ambusher and lost his fame and fortune. They race, along with others, in a mad-dash across America for 50 million dollars, reminiscent of The Cannonball Run.
2. Molester Man
Based off a real story which was posted on 2ch, Molester Man is the story of how Molester Man is mistaken for a stalker by Miss Understanding, and how they overcome their personal challenges while slowly growing closer to each other.
Includes chapters 14.5 and 21.5
3. Welcome to the N.H.K.
Sato Tatsuhiro is a drug-addled "hikikomori" (a Japanese shut-in) who thinks a sinister organization, NHK (Nihon Hikikomori Kyoukai), is the cause of all his problems! He falls in love with a girl, Misaki, who he thinks is trying to assassinate him, but doesn't know how to talk to her or if he can trust her. The more he stay in his house watching anime porn, reading manga and doing drugs, the harder it is for him to leave. Only Misaki can keep him from rotting away in his own apartment!
4. Cat Street
The story centers around Keito Aoyama, a former famous child actor. Due to a childhood incident, she retired from her career early and withdrew from normal society. Now 16, she passes her days in boredom and without purpose. But one day she runs into a stranger who takes her to El Liston--a free school for high school students like herself, who don't have a place where they belong. Though hesitant at first, Keito decides to enter El Liston and subsequently, she begins a new stage in her life. With the help of her only remaining childhood friend, Taiyou, and her new classmates Rei, Momiji, and Kouichi, Keito slowly finds the courage to open up to others and to accept their support. Will Keito return to acting? Will she find true friends? Love?
5. Tobaku Datenroku Kaiji
Itou Kaiji, now free of debt but without a penny is leeching himself in Mr.Sakazaki's new house, despite all the flirtings (extreme torment for Kaiji) from Sakazaki's daughter, Mikoko. Sakazaki attempts to kick Kaiji out, even by offering a farewell 'we never knew each other' money of 3000000 yen. While Kaiji ponders himself on the decision, he is visited by Miyoshi and Maeda, two of his 'allies' he had saved from the last part of the series.
6. Voices of a Distant Star
To what distance would you go for your one true love? In the midst of an alien invasion, Mikako joins the resistance, leaving behind the one young man she loves. As she goes deeper into space, Mikako's only connection with her boyfriend is through cell-phone text messages. The war rages on and years pass, but Mikako barely ages in the timelessness of space while Noboru grows old. How can the love of two people, torn apart by war, survive?
7. Nabari no Ou
All Miharu Rokujou wishes for is a simple life. Unfortunately, he soon learns that he is in possession of a sacred and secret ninja art, the "Shinra Banshou". With this ability, Miharu is more likely to become the king of the hidden world, Nabari, than remain a normal high school student! He must also deal with daily attempts against his life and, ironically, his sensei's efforts to convince him to join the nindo club.
Having this "omnipotent" ability will test Miharu's chances of survival, and the world of Nabari is his only hope. Will he ever acquire the simplistic life he wishes for?
Yamato is ready for a fresh start. So when his aunt invites him to stay rent-free in her big-city boarding house in hustling, bustling Tokyo, Yamato jumps at the chance. There’s just one teensy-weensy catch: It’s an all-girl housing complex and spa! Things get even more nerve-racking when Yamato meets his neighbor Suzuka, a beautiful track-and-field star. She’s not just the cutest girl Yamato’s ever met, she’s also the coolest, the smartest, and the most intimidating. Can an ordinary guy like Yamato ever hope to win over a girl like Suzuka?
(Source: Del Rey)
Note: After story specials are included in Kimi no Iru Machi.
A genius bartender known as Ryu Sasakura helps customers by mixing the perfect cocktail for them.
10. Sweet Blue Flowers
Fumi and Akira were best friends when they were little, with Akira always looking after the crybaby Fumi, but that all ended when Fumi's family moved away. Several years later, Fumi's family returned, and she and Akira happened to bump into each other on their way to school. They became friends again, quickly slipping back into old patterns. Shortly after, Fumi began dating a cool, attractive upperclassman who, coincidentally enough, had ties to Akira's current school, the prestigious Fujigaya Girls' Academy.
(Source: Lililicious; updated from an early misreading of the school name Fujigaya, called Fujigatani in initial translations of the first chapters)