Top 10 Sci Fi Manga of 2004
1. 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?
Set in the future, the plot follows Zouichi Kanoe and his AI companion Fuyu Kanoe, whose luminous form is integrated into the system of his motorcycle. They are agents sent by Toha Heavy Industries to retrieve humans with the ability to resist and transmute the N5S infection, which is spreading across the world, turning humans into "Drones"; disfigured, zombie-like beings.
3. Trinity Blood
The background is in the distant future, a post-apocalyptic world after the destruction brought about by Armageddon. The war between humans (Terran) and vampires (Methuselah) continues, as a struggle between two factions: the Vatican and the New Human Empire.
Yet, amidst the bloodshed and violence, many desire a peaceful co-existence between the two species. However, standing between them and this goal is the Rosenkreuz Orden, a group of vampire extremists who manipulate the two sides and pit them against each other. To combat them, the Vatican special operations group "AX," led by Cardinal Caterina, must use everything they have - even a vampire who preys on the blood of other vampires.
One day, the world found out about newly discovered star, that was "eating" other stars. At first, it was so far away, that it became just a nice curiosity entertaining people in their normal daily lives. Then, it begun to come closer and closer, finally eating some of the solar system's planets and taking a straight course for Earth itself...
Hellstar Remina is a spectacular tale of ultimate and unavoidable destruction of humankind, that came unexpected and without humanity's own "help". It's also a solid overview of how people can't cope with their own most primitive instincts (blind revenge), even in the face of final doom.
(Synopsis rewritten from a short note on one of the Junji Ito's fanforums & mentionings on 4chan's bbs)
Included one-shot: Okuman Bocchi (億万ぼっち, Army of One)
One cold morning, a missing couple resurfaces, floating dead in a lake, naked, and stitched together. Elsewhere, 19-year-old shut-in Michio is visited by his former classmate Natsuko, who invites him to an upcoming class reunion. Meanwhile, the murders start to rise, and the amount of people stitched together only grows in number. With this increase, the presence of a mysterious group known only as the "Army of One" grows more prevalent. As Michio starts to suspect that the Army of One could be behind the killings, he begins to fear that Natsuko may end up as a target.
After seeing her family slaughtered, Aiko is surprised to wake up on a laboratory table, apparently intact. But when she notices the horribly disfigured arm grafted onto her body, she soon realizes that life as she knew it before the attack is now over. Infused with the DNA of a mysterious monster known as Chimera, the arm acts on the urges of its master — leaving Aiko powerless to stop it. Alone and frightened, how will she deal with this horrible fate?
Takuro Sakamoto is a 30 year old loser still living with his parents. Fed up with his dead-end job and his life in general he's persuaded by a friend to try out virtual reality games. But even his virtual partner Tsukiko or simply "Moon" turns out to be more trouble than expected.
7. BLAME! Academy and So On
Welcome to BLAME! Academy and So On, the spinoff set in the same “City” as Tsutomu Nihei’s science-fiction manga classic BLAME! BLAME! Academy and So On is also a parody/comedy about various characters in the main BLAME! storyline set in a traditional Japanese school environment. Various elements of the main BLAME! story are parodied, including the relationship between Killy and Cibo, and Dhomochevsky and Iko.
A bloody war that spans millenniums. Two soldiers set out to kill each other. An encounter that could change their two species’ fate forever.
2. Blame Gakuen! (ブラム学園! , Blame Academy!)
Set in the same "City" as Blame!, it is a parody and comedy about various characters in the main Blame! story in a traditional Japanese school setting. Various elements in the main Blame! story are being parodied, including the relationship between Killy and Cibo, and Dhomochevsky and Iko.
3. Blame Gakuen! Kyoto Nara Aiai-gasa (Blame Academy! Kyoto and Nara Under One Umbrella)
4. Blame Gakuen! Sakura Saku Tou no Shita de (Blame Academy! Under the Tower of Blooming Sakura)
5. Kozutsumi (Parcel / Nihei: Abba) - A man looks for his brother.
6. BLAME! NSE (ネットスフィアエンジニア, NSE: Netsphere Engineer) The much-awaited sequel to BLAME! follows a man, called a Dismantler, who is in charge of sub-dividing the nexus towers that incur Safeguard interference upon its detection of humans without the net terminal genes. Although humans are once again able to reside in the Net Sphere, the Safeguard are still a threat. The Dismantler or NSE, or Net Sphere Engineer, goes on a journey to aid mankind in their survival.
8. BLAME!² Dai 8-keishitai Pcell no Toshi Kouzoutai Dasshitsuki (第八系子体プセルの都市構造体脱出記; Chronicle of the Escape from the Megastructure by the Eighth Incarnation of Pcell)
The protagonist is a descendant of Pcell. This story happens a long time after the events of BLAME!. This young silicon creature knows well the havoc that Killy brought and decides to move towards the end of the megastructure, to look for him.
9. Numa no Kami(God of Marsh)
10. Senshi Kouchuu Suzumega (Winged Armor Suzumega / The Armored Battle Insects: Sphingidae)
(Source: Kodansha Comics & MangaUpdates)
8. Kurogane no Linebarrel
The Linebarrels of Iron story takes place in a fictional alternate future, centering on a junior-high school student named Kouichi Hayase, who escaped his daily life of being bullied as a child by daydreaming about being a hero. His life was forever changed during a class trip in the year 2016 when an artificial satellite fell from orbit. Due to this "accident", Kouichi was left in a coma for half a year, and upon awakening, found himself with strange powers, including superhuman strength.
Yuuichi Tate is overjoyed: He gets to go to a brand new high school. Of course, then he just happens to find out the school he choose is under frequent attack by strange creatures called ''Orphans'', and the school set up a special task force of female members called ''HiME''s, using various elements as their powers, to battle these invaders. That's not all, though. Each member of the HiME task force has their own, unique ''Key'', another person whom, upon being discovered, can team up with the HiME to create a ''Child'', a combative unit specifically needed to effectively battle these Orphans. And with Yuuichi's luck, he just happens to find out he's not just the ''Key'' for one of the HiMEs, but for two... Two highly competitive, rival schoolgirls. And that's only the start of the trouble.
10. Muv-Luv Unlimited
One day, boarding school student Takeru awakes to find himself in another world, one threatened by mysterious invaders. He soon learns that his only chance of returning home is to join forces with a group of beautiful female warriors, most of them mirror images of classmates and friends.