Top 10 Psychological Manga of 2002
1. 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.
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. 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)
4. 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?
5. Iryuu: Team Medical Dragon
Dr. Katou is an ambitious woman who seeks to revolutionize the corrupt and inefficient Japanese medical system from within by becoming a professor in a teaching hospital. She enlists a maverick surgeon, Dr. Asada Ryuutarou, to help her with research that would catapult her to a professorship should they succeed and publish. However, Asada's refusal to conform to the system soon threatens to destroy not only her plans but her entire career. Katou is prepared to do anything, including going along with the system, in order to achieve her end goal, but she begins to question whether she has gone too far as Asada's actions bring many of the system's shortcomings to light.
Ayumu Shiiba is studying for the all-important high school entrance exams. She is struggling to get by, but thankfully has help from her best friend Shii-chan, who is at the top of their class. Test results come back and their friendship falls apart when Ayumu surpasses Shii-chan's scores and gets into her high school of choice while Shii-chan doesn't! Losing Shii-chan is so painful for Ayumu that she starts cutting her wrists for comfort. Hoping for a fresh start, Ayumu arrives at her new high school and finally opens up to a new friend, Manami. But will Manami prove to be the friend that Ayumu truly needs or send her further in a downward spiral?
Note: Won the Kodansha Manga Award in the shoujo category in 2006.
7. Give My Regards to Black Jack
Saito Eijirou is a newly established intern doctor, who is forced to take on a second night job at another, much smaller hospital because of the extremely low pay he receives. As he bounces between the two different hospitals, he is forced to dig deeper and deeper into Japan's largely corrupted medical society and starts to question even his own initial believes, as he asks himself just what being a doctor means.
This manga is a story based on a thriller by Keigo Higashino. The main protagonist, the shy Jun Naruse, is a rather average guy who works for a electronic company and loves to draw. He falls in love with Megumi whom he met at a shop selling drawing materials and an intimate relationship develops. A few days later the office gets attacked and when the criminal tries to shot a little girl he saves her by jumping in front of her.
A month pasts until he wakes up again and is told that half his brain got destroyed and he only survived because someone donated half a brain. Everything seems to be fine, he quickly recovers and is happy, however he begins to change...is the donated brain the reason for that? Or is it just a side effect of the medicine?
9. Copernicus no Kokyuu
The story happens in a circus in Paris in the 1970's. (...) Much is made of the romance of the circus atmosphere, of flying through the air on a trapeze, etc etc. Think cirque here, not circus. We're doing Old World riffs on the romance and tawdriness of the ring. There are no elephants in tutus walking on their hind legs; it's slit-eyed jugglers and daring death-loving trapeze artists and sad Pierrot clowns, even if the Pierrot clown - our hero, Torinosu, 'Bird's Nest' - has a false red nose. The tawdriness comes from the circus master pimping out his performers to anyone willing to pay. (...) And there's tanbi decadence - ghosts who wander into the action looking like teenaged girls even if they're the hero's brother, and abandoned neurotic women with a thing for inflicting pain, and buracon and possible murder and unspoken pining and a hero who looks about to perish at any moment from terminal angst.
10. Bakuon Rettou
Kazei Takeshi moved with his parents to a new house and new school.One of his new friends is a motorcycle enthusiasts and soon invites him to meet with his gang, the Zeros. Takashi comes to love motorcycles and soon gets involved in the gangs fights and issues. What has he got himself into and is he ready to face the consequences?