Top 10 Fantasy Manga of 2001
1. Fullmetal Alchemist
In this world, alchemists are those who study and perform the art of alchemical transmutation—the science of manipulating and transforming matter. They are bounded by the Law of Equivalent Exchange: in order to gain something, one must sacrifice something of equal value.
Young Edward Elric, nicknamed the "Fullmetal Alchemist", is a State Alchemist working for the government of Amestris. As a child, Edward and his little brother Alphonse attempted the forbidden art of human transmutation to revive their late mother. In the accident that ensued, Edward lost his left leg and right arm, and Alphonse's soul was sealed in a large suit of armor. To reclaim their original bodies, the Elric brothers embark on a journey to find the Philosopher's Stone, a mythical object said to allow its user to perform alchemical miracles.
2. Zatch Bell!
Kiyo is a brilliant junior high student whose inflated ego (and tendency to blow the grading curve) has made him a major target for teasing at school. So his father sends him a bizarre birthday present - a strange little boy named Zatch Bell - to help him make friends and reform his bad attitude. Zatch brings with him a mysterious red volume of spells, and Kiyo discovers that Zatch has magic powers that are unleashed by reading from the book! But there are more surprises to come, and Kiyo's destiny is about to change forever!
In a world constantly haunted by demonic predators known as "Youma", the everyday life of humans is full of fear and suspicion, as these monsters easily blend into human society to hunt their hapless prey. However, in this world, there is also a mysterious organization, employing half-human, half-Youma warriors to effectively track down and kill the demons. Called "silver eyed witches" or "Claymores" after the huge Claymore swords they carry, these female warriors are eyed with suspicion and distrust by most because of their inhuman powers.
But there are many currents flowing in the shadows, from the mysterious machinations of the Claymore "Organization" and the twisted ambitions of the powerful "Abyssal Ones" to the hopes and desires of each Claymore warrior. This story follows the fate of Clare, one of the Claymore operatives as she sails deeper and deeper down the currents of conspiracies and revenge.
Volume 13 contains two extra scenes "Senshi no Kyouji (戦士の矜持, A Warrior's Pride) and "Genei to Kyou Senshi" (幻影と凶戦士, The Phantom and the Wicked Warrior).
Volume 14 contains two extra scenes "Kita no Kaikou" (北の邂逅, A Chance Encounter in the North) and "Sabinaki Kakugo" (錆なき覚悟, Untarnished Resolve).
4. Shin Angyo Onshi
In Jushin, there once lived secret government agents called the amen osa (or angyō onshi in the Japanese version), who traveled the countryside in disguise. They were charged by the king with finding and punishing corrupt government officials, and bringing justice to the country's citizens.
5. Full Moon o Sagashite
Young Mitsuki loves singing and dreams of becoming a pop star. Unfortunately, a malignant tumor in her throat prevents her from pursuing her passion. However, her life turns around when two surprisingly fun-loving harbingers of death appear to grant Mitsuki a temporary reprieve from her illness and give her singing career a magical push start.
(Source: Anime News Network)
Volume 2: Ginyuu Meika
6. Twin Spica
In a Tokyo of the not-too-distant future a young girl looks up to the stars with melancholy in her heart and hope in her eyes. Thirteen-year-old Asumi Kamogawa’s life has been tied to those stars; her future may very well be among them. And she is not alone... Asumi is one of many young people with ambitions to some day head off to space for Japan’s first manned mission.
Before liftoff, like any true astronaut she must show the right stuff and overcome odds to pass numerous physical and mental trials if she even wants to be considered in the running for a rare spot in the elite Tokyo Space School.
7. O-Parts Hunter
In the not too distant future, mankind battles over O-Parts, relics from an ancient civilization. It takes a special kind of person to unlock the full potential of these remnants from the past, and a unique breed of humans known as O.P.T.s (or O-Parts Tacticians) become a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, O-Parts can be used for good or evil purposes.
Jio is a young boy with a tragic past who only trusts one thing in the world: money. Little does he suspect that he is actually a very powerful O.P.T., and inside him sleeps a demon of incredible ferocity. He meets up with a girl named Ruby, and together they decide to embark on a dangerous quest to discover as many O-Parts as they can. Will Jio help Ruby realize her dream of becoming a world famous treasure hunter? More importantly, will Ruby help Jio realize his dream of--world domination?!
(Source: Viz Media)
Volume 6: Trigger
Aoyagi Ritsuka is one troubled 6th grader. Two years ago, he mysteriously lost his memory and developed an alternate personality. His mother constantly berates (and occasionally beats) him, asking what happened to the "real" Ritsuka, and his only defender and friend, his older brother Seimei, was recently killed.
Suddenly, Seimei's apparent "friend," Soubi, appears. Soubi tells him that Ritsuka's true name is "Loveless," and that Soubi was assigned by Seimei to take care of Ritsuka and protect him. Ritsuka soon gets sucked into a bizzare underground society where teams of people, a "Fighter Unit," and a "Sacrifice," battle using elaborate and beautifully-phrased spells.
He seeks both acceptance of himself, and the answer to the mystery of who killed his brother and why.
9. King of Hell
Majeh was a great swordsman in life but in death he is merely an envoy to the next world for the King of Hell. It is later discovered that he is a legendary swordsman who was placed in a magical realm called the Moorim where the fiercest warriors stayed.
When a disaster occurred in hell where the most wicked demons escaped into the world of Mortals, the King of Hell sends Majeh out to capture these escape demons...
10. Alice 19th
The story follows Alice Seno, a 15-year-old girl forever shadowed by her older sister Mayura, who is good at everything she does. At school she is known as "Mayura's little sister" and is relentlessly tormented by the older girls who know that Alice is too week to fight back.
Alice harbors a deep affection for Kyo Wakamiya, a handsome upperclassman who is on the archery team with Mayura. On the way to school one day, Alice rescues a white rabbit from the road despite the danger to herself, but gets rescued by Kyo and receives a bracelet with a single red stone. The rabbit she saves, however, is no ordinary rabbit. She reveals her true form to Alice and introduces herself as Nyozeka. Alice is told that she is destined to become a Lotis Master. The Lotis Masters use the power of words and communication to enter the Inner Heart of others. It is a powerful ability to be used carefully as Alice soon finds out.
Using the power of the Lotis Words, which reveal themselves to be in the form of runes, Alice accidentally makes her older sister disappear during a dispute over Kyo, whom Mayura had begun dating. Alice then must use the Lotis Words to try and bring her sister back from the dark. She is joined by Kyo who proves to have the Lotis powers as well, and by Frey, another Lotis master who had trained with the masters and arrives with the intention to marry Alice. Unfortunately, Mayura has been taken by the power of the Maram Words, the dark reflection of the Lotis Words. Their only hope lies in Alice and Kyo becoming the legendary Neo-Masters to discover the lost word bonding both Maram and Lotis.