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.
An extra story called Bokurano ~Mō Hitotsu no Bokurano~ (Yet Another Bokurano) will run in Ikki the issue after the end of the main story.
5. 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.
6. 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.
Chiaki Sakaguchi appears to be a sociable, popular high school senior, but he carries a dark secret with him that he can tell no one about – not even his closest friends. When Chiaki meets fellow student Eiji Yukimura – an under-achieving social misfit – for the first time, he believes he’s found someone who can understand his inner pain. As the two become closer, Chiaki learns that Eiji has a secret also – a secret so dark, it threatens to overshadow his own. United by common dysfunction and angst, Chiaki and Eiji begin to search for pleasure together beyond their pain. Will the pair’s growing bond enable them to break free of their troubled pasts and create a brighter future? Or is the damage that’s been done to both of them beyond any healing that love can provide?
(Source: Juné Manga)
A rather morbid, sombre manga about two high school students, Kamiyama Itsuki and Morino Yoru, who have a peculiar interest in deaths and especially in murders that are committed near to them. Due to their strong fascination with murder and highly-developed analytical skills(along with some luck), they manage to solve the murders that have even eluded the authorities. However, acting on their own sense of justice and in self-interest, the murderers are often able to escape with the murders that they have committed. Often, it is Kamiyama that solves the cases even to the most subtle of details, but he is only interested in one thing, and that is the method to which Yoru Morino should be killed.
9. Ghost in the Shell 1.5: Human-Error Processor
Ghost in the Shell 1.5: Human-Error Processor presents the "lost" Ghost in the Shell stories, created by Shirow Masamune after completing work on the original Ghost in the Shell manga and prior to his tour-de-force, Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface, but never collected until now. Focusing on Section 9 agents in their daily battle against technocrime, Human-Error Processor has all the mind-twisting cybermadness you've come to expect from Ghost in the Shell but set in a more police-procedural context with action and suspense galore.
(Source: Dark Horse)
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.