Top 10 Supernatural Manga of 2002
1. Gakuen Alice
For Mikan, there was no better friend than Hotaru (though Hotaru sometimes seems to have other sentiments). They often played together. But Hotaru is a very special child, and she agrees to go to a school in Tokyo which the government reserved only for geniuses. This left a very lonely Mikan at home. When Hotaru fails to keep her promise and come home for holidays, her young friend is very disappointed and rather angry. But upon overhearing a conversation between Hotaru's mother and a teacher, Mikan realizes that her friend's reasons for leaving might not have been what they seemed. So Mikan takes it upon herself to run away and go to Hotaru's school. There she discovers the so-called "genius academy" is actually a school for people gifted with special powers called "alices". Her friend Hotaru is one of these, and after a chance encounter with a teacher, Mikan suddenly finds herself enrolled. Finally, the two friends are reunited, but is Mikan actually one of those so-called Alices?
(Source: Aerie Scans)
2. Hotarubi no Mori e
A collection of four one shots, one for each season.
1) Hanauta Nagaruru (Overhearing a Flower Song)
At Shima's school, there is an old, abandoned building, and for the past few days, she has been hearing guitar music coming from within. The source of the song is a student learning the guitar from Fujimura, a boy who constantly gets into fights but is kind at heart. Shima is entranced by the melody and soon begins taking lessons from Fujimura as well.
2) Hotarubi no Mori e (Into the Forest of Fireflies' Light)
When she was six years old, Hotaru Takegawa got lost in the woods. A strange masked man named Gin led her out of the forest, but he told her that if a human ever touched him, he would disappear. She vowed to visit Gin the next day and ended up spending the rest of her summer with him. Every summer since then, Hotaru has come to visit him, and while she ages, he stays the same. But as she grows, so do her feelings.
3) Kurukuru Ochiba (The Fallling of Autumn Leaves)
Tsubaki Kemumaki has been friends with Kaede Kirisato for the past 11 years. Kaede's wealthy parents were usually away, so he was often lonely, but Tsubaki kept him company during those times. Kaede was also nearly kidnapped as a child, and since then, Tsubaki has vowed to protect him. But soon, she realizes that her feelings for him are more than just a desire to protect her childhood friend.
4) Hibi, Fukaku (Deepening the Scar)
When they were children, Ritsu Jinnai and her brother Sou were inseparable. But due to their parents' constant fighting, Sou moved away with their father. Eight years later, they are reunited, and the siblings are overjoyed, but they don't feel the same connection they did before. And what's more, Ritsu begins to feels an ache in her heart when she looks at Sou...
Jin is a strange kid with an angel mark on his hand. He lives a poor but peaceful life with his grandfather, along with the other destitute and abandoned vagabonds near the river. One day, his peaceful life changes when a strange monster named "player" appears, chopping off heads and killing everyone who appears in front of it.
4. Rozen Maiden
After a traumatic incident, Jun Sakurada refuses to interact with the outside world and return to school—he even shuts out his sister, his closest friend. Jun spends most of his time online buying spiritual items that are obvious rip-offs. One day he finds a website that curiously enough asks him to put his order in his desk drawer. Thinking it's a joke, Jun plays along. The following day a suitcase arrives containing a doll named Shinku... that comes to life before his very eyes! Welcome to the world of Rozen Maiden, where Jun must enter an all-new reality to protect and serve a living doll...
5. 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?
6. Saiyuki Reload
The fearsome foursome continue their journey west towards Shangri-La, encountering new challenges and new adventures along the way. Their legend precedes them, but not always in the way one might expect. The Minus Wave that apparently drove all the youkai in the land mad looks like it might have missed one, as Sanzo, Gojyo, Hakkai and Goku meet a lone guardian and the band of children he cares for. Fear and misunderstanding run throughout this particular leg of the journey, including between the members of the Sanzo group! (Source: Tokyopop)
7. 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.
8. Mimi no Kaidan
A series of stories that follows Mimi, a girl who can't seem to escape the supernatural occurrences that continue around her.
The stories themselves weren't originally written by Ito Junji. Rather, they were originally popular urban legends ("Kaidan"), which were collected by Ito Junji and edited by him.
(Source: Junji Ito Wiki)
Michiru Kita’s a weak-spirited girl who has a hard time saying what’s on her mind. One day, she notices mysterious, ring-like markings around the necks of two of her classmates, Chika Akatsuki and Shito Tachibana — two boys who miraculously survived a horrible accident six months before. Michiru, possessing the rare ability to see these rings, knows that they warn of impending death. Thinking that, perhaps, she can do something to save her classmates’ lives, she approaches them... but it seems the boys have already made a different kind of deal and garnered themselves a heavy debt
(Source: Yen Press)
10. Fuan no Tane
It's a collection of very short and mostly atmospheric stories dealing with urban legends, ghosts and superstitions all organized around a specific theme (School, Visitors etc.).Some are just two pages long.