Top 10 Psychological Manga of 2003
1. Death Note
Light Yagami is a brilliant 17-year-old student, one of the top scorers on his exams in all of Japan. One day as he leaves school, he finds a mysterious black notebook on the ground with "Death Note" written on it. The first thing written inside: "The human whose name is written in the notebook shall die." Light decides to use this to cleanse the world of evil by killing all the criminals. On the scene comes L, ace detective, who's determined to find Light—who the world now calls "Kira"—and track him down, thus bringing us an epic psychological thrill ride.
Trepanation is the procedure of drilling a hole in the skull. It is said to increase the blood circulation and improve pressure inside the skull. It is also said to bring out a person's sixth sense, the ability to use ESP, see ghosts, move objects with one's mind. This is speculative fiction based on the concept of trepanation.
3. Saikyou Densetsu Kurosawa
44 years old, single, working in a construction company for his entire life. All Kurosawa wants is a little respect from his co-workers. And a little popularity won't hurt. Unfortunately Kurosawa's plans fail miserably from time to time and one day, he finds himself right in the middle of a fight against...delinquent middle schoolers?
4. Bokurano: Ours
During a summer camp, 15 children, 8 males and 7 females, find a grotto by the sea. Deep within they discover working computers and some electronic equipment, and later the owner, a man called Kokopelli. Kokopelli claimed to be a programmer working on a brand new game, in which a large robot has to defend the Earth against fifteen alien invasions. He persuades the children to test the game and sign a contract. All but one of them signs, barely a moment later they mysteriously awaken on the shore believing what happened was just a dream.
(Source: Anime News Network)
The extra story Bokurano: Mou Hitotsu no Bokurano (Yet Another Bokurano) ran after the completion of the main story.
5. Me and the Devil Blues: The Unreal Life of Robert Johnson
A combination horror story and re-telling of the mythologies of the American South, "Me and the Devil Blues" features RJ, a man who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for the devil teaching him to play the blues. The story features many elements familiar to American readers but not much featured in Japanese comics, including the practice of lynching and the sharp racial divisions in the south around the time of the story.
6. Nijigahara Holograph
Even as butterflies ominously proliferate in town, the rumour of a mysterious creature lurking in the tunnel behind the school spreads among the children. When the body of Arie Kimura's mother is found by this tunnel's entrance, next to apparently human traces, the legend seems to be confirmed. Is the end of the world coming? In order to appease the wrath of the beast, the children decide to offer it a sacrifice: The unfortunate Arie, whom they believe to be the cause of the curse, is shoved into a well that leads to the Nijigahara tunnel—an act that in turns pushes Komatsuzaki, the budding thug who has carried a torch for Arie for a while already, entirely over the edge.
But this is only the beginning of the complex, challenging, obliquely told Nijigahara Holograph, which takes place in two separate timeliness and involves the suicidal Suzuki; Higure, his stalker-ish would-be girlfriend; their teacher Miss Sakaki, whose heavily bandaged face remains a mystery; and many more―brothers, sisters, parents, co-workers, teachers, aggressors and victims who are all inextricably linked to one another and all will eventually―ten years later―have to live with what they've done or suffered through.
The story of Ciguatera follows Ogino, who is bullied in high school along with his friend Takai. The two rely on their passion towards motorcycles and desire to get one to add some hope and vigor to their otherwise bleak lives.
The two are learning to drive in secret at a driving school, and it is there that Ogino's life begins to change forever. The manga follows a variety of characters through their high school and working lives, through their struggles, their triumphs, their dreams, their futures, their love, life and loss.
Ciguatera is a mature manga from Minoru Furuya, author of Ping Pong Club and Himizu.
8. Dear Friends
There's the affectionless father and the overly affectionate mother, and then there's the beautiful 18 year old high schooler Rina.
"Friends are just meant to be used," is what Rina says when she is caught having sex with her friend's boyfriend. Rina has such a low opinion of friends, but when she is hospitalized her classmate from elementary school, Maki, appears before her, wanting to continue their free-of-charge friendship from long ago. In this day and age, just what is the meaning of friendship? A tale of friendship based on a true story, as retold by Yoshi (the same author as Deep Love).
9. Mikai no Hoshi
From the author of Freesia comes a story of three childhood friends - Nicolo, Cookie and Naomi - who grew up in a sleepy backwater town on an uncivilized planet. They struggle to get by while holding on to their dreams of leaving town and finding a better life... but can their friendship endure the tests of time? Can it withstand invading armies, broken dreams, conflicting ambitions, divided loyalties, jealousy and even betrayal?
10. The Day I Became a Butterfly
The Day I Became a Butterfly is a volume which contains six chapters, each a different story:
1) The Day I Become a Butterfly
There is a rumor going around school that Mikami can “hear” when one’s death is near. Uka has just turned fifteen, but doesn’t know how much longer he’ll live… Will the budding love between Mikami and Uka have a happy ending?
(Source: Juné Manga)
2) You At the End (Hate Ni Aru Kimi)
A short story about a guy sick of this world and the silent, unlikely boy who anchors him to it.
3) The Lonely War
Can men and women have platonic friendships? Suzu is determined to try.
4) Blue Cat's Tunnel
A story about one girl's hope to find a way out of her life...
5) Tokyo Alien Yulala
A young student's trouble understanding his classmate makes him think the boy may be an alien.
6) Planet Yours
An abused boy has trouble relying on his friends.