Sparkletime wrote:Oddly, Monster by Naoki Urasawa definitely inspired me. The story is so haunting and yet I felt drawn to it. It forces the reader to think about things like destiny and assumed roles as well as personal responsibility for society at large. Are you responsible for all the lives lost if you save a serial killer? That question drives the human aspect to this manga. It's complete and definitely worth the read.
I can go on, I read manga like people eat pizza (at least once a week if not more and very happily). Slam Dunk, the classic basketball manga about a delinquent who redeems himself through helping the team, is another that comes to mind. More recently Koe no Kitachi just left me astounded by how wonderfully a story could truly be told. It's about a young man who bullied a hearing impaired student and seeks her forgiveness before he attempts to end his own life. It's powerful and shows both the ugliness and the beauty of humanity.
I second what you say about Monster completely and would add that it was one of the mangas that, for me personally, really elevated the medium. It's very common for people to dismiss manga as something somehow juvenile. But it really isn't! Anything by Naoki (also recommend Pluto and Master Keaton) has this realism to it, even more realistic than a lot of live action stuff. What really draws me about his style is not everyone is "Anime pretty". There are short people, fat people, people with thinning hair or bulbous noses. They look real, flaws and all. And while many mangaka choose a city or school theme to count down on elaborate backgrounds, Naoki ALWAYS opts for exotic locations. Italy, Great Britain, Japan, Africa. Some of the scenery is absolutely breathtaking! I very much appreciate that! He's also the KING of suspense! Really knows how to lure you in with just the right amount of pacing.
Can't recommend his work highly enough!