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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Top Manga Rankings 2016 Version:

I just thoroughly reviewed my anime rankings, so I'm sure of the respective quality of those shows.  But looking through my manga rankings, they didn't reflect the quality differences I was sure of when speaking of their respective anime series.  It took a bit of effort, but now the two rankings are back in line with each other.

It's easy for manga rankings and anime rankings to differ.  One manga based anime can be fully adapted whereas the other isn't, for instance.  But in the case of both being fully adapted, it's unreasonable for the anime rankings to say "x > y" while the manga rankings say "y > x."  The only time that can happen is if the anime adapted x exceptionally well, (like in the case of K-On!), or if the original x manga was actually worse than the anime adaption (like in the case of Kobato or Usagi Drop).

Also, if a series isn't fully adapted but still ranks higher than a fully adapted anime source, the non-fully-adapted manga must be better than the fully adapted manga, except in bizarre cases like Usagi Drop's.

Working through all those wrinkles, here's my newly adapted top manga rankings to close out the year:

The year ends with just 98 top manga to choose between.  Hopefully 2017 will fill in the gaps and get us back to a full 100 top manga series.  The way for that to happen is bi-fold --  either a manga can independently catch my attention despite not having an anime adaption and be obviously great -- or a new anime adaption can bring to my attention its original great manga source, and if I rate the anime as great I would perforce have to rate the manga great as well.  The latter will almost always be the route to success, but there are cases of the former in my rankings as well.

Odds are, one way or another, 2017 will get us across the line to 100 great manga series.  For now we can just keep the seats warm.

While revising my manga rankings, I decided it was time to take Fairy Tail out of timeout and put it back in 1st place again.  The latest chapters of Fairy Tail have been very good, giving me a sense of optimism towards the direction of the story as a whole.  It feels like Fairy Tail is explaining its mysteries in a way I can understand, unlike UQ Holder which still leaves me totally confused.  I also think the characters of Fairy Tail measure up favorably compared to the characters of Naruto, both in quality and quantity of characterization.  The plot of Naruto is probably better but that can only take you so far, especially when you're so outclassed in terms of artistry.  If they ever announce their intentions to adapt the Fairy Tail manga in full, that will be the day it rises to the #1 ranking in anime as well.

Saki is in 3rd place under the provisional understanding that it will effectively close out the storylines of Toki, Shinohayu and the original Saki manga in a satisfying, closure-giving way.  That's probably still years down the road, but so far the series is a tour de force.  So many characters, with so many interesting relationships between each other, all fighting for their friends and dreams, just cannot be denied.  Because Saki is released monthly, its chapter count is lower than its peers, but the actual page count isn't.  Between the original series and all the spinoffs, this is one of the most epic tales ever told.

An amazing indicator of how bizarre the anime industry is -- the #4 manga Negima is #157 in anime, #7 Akame ga Kill! is #101 in anime, #8 Freezing isn't even ranked in anime, #9 Akatsuki no Yona is #102 in anime, #13 To Love-ru is #89 in anime and #22 Claymore is #90 in anime.  This is all due to the anime adaptions of these mangas falling well short of where they needed to be.  If anime would just do its job right the first time, the top anime rankings would look totally different than they do today.

Meanwhile, my Tales listening project has finished Vesperia and Vs. and is moving on to Xillia.  Xillia, Zesteria and Berseria will be the takedown targets reserved for 2017.  Afterwards, I'll switch the project from just listening to Tales to comparing Tales music vs. Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, Lunar and Ogre Battle.  From that battle royale only the strongest video game music playlist will emerge.

Bowl season begins in just four days, so football is back on the table.

Key has announced a new visual novel titled Summer Pockets.  The doomed to die Jun Maeda is working on it, so it should be good.  There's also a new Rewrite project being worked on.  I'd just be happy to get to read Harvest Festa already, but then what do I matter.

A funny visual novel game titled Amenity's Life that caught my notice is coming out on the 22nd, but only for Japan.  Let's hope it tickles the fancy of a fansub group someday in the future, or the Google Translate AI starts cranking.

Suicide Squad comes out today in blu-ray.  Rogue One, a Star Wars Story comes out in theatres in just three days.  Meanwhile, a sequel to Spiderman: Homecoming has already been announced, long before the first movie has even been completed.  Let's hope they know what they're doing with Spiderman this time.

Danmachi has an ova out in Japan, so hopefully that will get subtitled soon for the rest of us.

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