Rumiko Takahashi is considered by many to be the best selling female comic artist in history, and her track record of internationally recognized work is enough to prove that. Since her debut she’s managed to sell well over 170 million copies of her works such as the popular InuYasha, to the classic Ranma ½, with the numbers growing consistently each fiscal year. Initially, Rumiko never really showed any interest in manga during her childhood, but eventually found her passion in drawing throughout her university years which eventually spawned into who she’s become today. In our top manga list, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of Rumiko Takahashi’s most notable works and providing some more insight as to why these picks were chosen. If you’ve never heard of Rumiko Takahashi or haven’t read any of her spectacular manga, then be sure to take notes and read on further for more juicy details.
5. Maison Ikkou
- Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Seinen, Slice of Life
- Volumes: 15
- Published: October 1980 - April 1987
There’s one apartment in Tokyo that’s home to some really crazy tenants who just can’t seem to get their head on straight: Kyoko who is the apartment’s new manager, Yuusaku who is a stressed out college student whose life is conflicted by constant exams, Mrs. Ichinose who can’t seem to keep her hands away from the alcohol, her rascal of a son named Kentaro, Akemi who serves up all of the drinks, and the peeping moocher known as Mr. Yotsuya. These wild characters are like something you’d find out of an American sitcom, with the apartment as the main location.
Rumiko had found some inspiration through watching American comedy during her youth and you can clearly see some similarities throughout the series. Yuusaku is just your ordinary college student who just can’t seem to get a break when it comes to living his life. Loads of studying and exams plague his daily life, and all he wants to do right now is settle down. Yuusaku finds himself falling for Kyoko and tries his best to work things out, but every time he attempts to, all of the freaks come out and see to it that he doesn’t. The poor guy just wants to be in a relationship, but people like Mr. Yotsuya always pokes his nose into his business when him and Kyoko finally get a chance to be alone, or Mrs. Ichinose fails to control her liquor intake and babbles for no reason. The whole concept behind Rumiko’s portrayal of a young man in love was that she wanted readers to realize that misunderstanding each other at times can cause a lot of tension, and even indecisiveness, that could potentially spell trouble for any relationship. It’s sort of a reality check for us but she does it in such an unorthodox and comedic fashion that you’re never really sure what to expect.
4. Urusei Yatsura
- Genres: Comedy, Ecchi, Fantasy, Harem, Romance, School Life, Shounen
- Volumes: 34
- Published: 1978 - 1987
Ataru’s life is constantly bombarded by an alien wearing a skimpy bikini known as Princess Lum. She follows him everywhere he goes and doesn’t seem to care how Ataru reacts to her. As if his life couldn’t get any worse, another annoying character enters the fray named Mendo, who creates more torment. His classroom is constantly bombarded by unwanted visitors and flooded with random educational materials such as cherry blossom spirits, nightmare eating tapirs, and a fourth-dimensional camera that can see beyond the current reality.
Ataru is just one unlucky fellow and it doesn’t help that he lacks sufficient brain power to complete tasks in front of him. Oni have come to planet Earth to take over, but instead of doing it the old fashion way by killing everyone, the oni decide to give humans a chance by taking part in their own unique game. Of course, Ataru was chosen as the main role and for some odd reason Princess Lum gets thrown into all of it, adding more misunderstanding to the entire scenario. Ataru had promised his girlfriend that he’d marry her, but Lum gets in the way of everything and takes Ataru’s proposal as her own, suddenly falling madly in love with him. It’s so funny watching the two go back and forth as Ataru desperately tries to avoid her, while Lum desperately tries to cling on. All of her admirers at Ataru’s school try to pry her away, while at the same time punishing Ataru for acting stupid. It’s all a romantic mess in this comedy as you’ll be laughing every time at all of the misinterpretations.
3. Rin-ne [Kyoukai no Rinne]
- Genres: Comedy, Romance, School Life, Shounen, Supernatural
- Volumes: 33
- Published: April 2009 - Present
Sakura Mamiya was nowhere to be found after entering the woods behind her grandmother’s residence during her childhood. Fortunately she was able to find her way out, but what she returned with was beyond her imagination as she could now see ghosts at any given moment. Fast forward to her teenage years, all Sakura desires is her freedom and for these ghosts to just leave her alone. They’ve become such a bother that they start to impact her school studies and personal relationships. Usually the desk next to her in class is empty, but one day the seat was surprisingly occupied by her classmate who’s generally absent and so she curiously inquires about who he is. Little does she know, this young boy is about to tip the scales and change her entire life forever.
This manga is just funny in so many ways because there’s not really a cemented plot that takes you somewhere, it’s just Sakura and Rinne constantly bickering back and forth as they try to cope with their emotional disfigurement. Problems arise and the two must deal with them, especially when Sakura can’t seem to take care of himself and acts as if nothing happened. Their romantic relationship is often times full of laughter since Sakura always finds herself in some really odd situation, so Rinne always comes to her rescue to ensure her safety. Think of them like a typical wife and husband who deep down love each other deeply, but their random antics and goofy behavior always keep you coming back for more because it just feels so pure and harmonic. Rinne wants to come out and just say how much he loves her, but his pride and blockheaded ways cause him more grief than pleasure.
2. Ranma 1/2
- Genres: Action, Comedy, Ecchi, Gender Bender, Harem, Romance, Shounen, School Life
- Volumes: 38
- Published: August 1987 - February 1996
Ranma Saotome’s life changed entirely after enduring an incredibly challenging training mission with his father. After accidentally falling into a spring which is said from legend to be cursed, Ranma transforms into a woman every time he’s splashed with cold water. His life prior to all of this was already in shambles, as his arranged fiancee has no feelings toward him, at least that’s what she says. Combine that with this new form, Ranma has a lot more problems coming his way. His two forms are causing a lot of attention as now new candidates want to have a piece of the pie, and Ranma just doesn’t know what to do.
So you’ve now taken on the form of a male and female, with flocks of potential candidates running after you. Just what do you do with all of that? Ranma ½ is hilariously entertaining as you watch Ranma try to scoot away these random encounters as much as he can, while trying to hold onto his current relationship with his soon to be wife. Guys are constantly flirting with him, girls are constantly flirting with him, he can’t seem to wrap his around just how to act anymore, and everything is just one big mess. The series is so full of twists and turns that you’re constantly wondering what Ranma will do next, and how he’ll manage to get himself out of hot water. There’s plenty of action in the story since Ranma is a passionate martial artist, but it’s Ranma’s awkward transformations and Akane’s explosive temper that really spice things up. There’s simply no single word to truly define Ranma ½ so we’ll just say that you’ll be taken on a wild ride so be sure to strap yourself in real tight.
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Historical, Romance, Shounen, Supernatural
- Volumes: 56
- Published: November 1996 - June 2008
Kagome has never been the type to follow all of the myths and legends that many tend to fancy, but that all that changed one day when she’s thrown into a world apart from her own. Now situated in an ancient Japanese society, Kagome soon discovers that some of those legends she heard of were actually true, and that her destiny is tied to it all. One legend in particular is that of a dog-like half-demon called InuYasha who is tied to Kagome in some way, and now the two must roam the mysterious world together to uncover the truth behind the Shikon Jewel and it’s incredible powers.
InuYasha is an incredible love story that’s scattered with lots of laughter especially between Kagome and InuYasha. Their initial bonding was full of discomfort and awkward communication, but suddenly you start to see how compatible they truly are, with InuYasha acting like a complete moron most of the time. Kagome of course is the innocent bystander and most often you’ll see InuYasha risking his own life to ensure that Kagome’s life is unharmed, but InuYasha is completely defeated and exhausted by the end of it all. The manga is full of surprises as you’re never too sure where everyone will end up, and despite having fillers along the way, they actually provide a concrete backstory that fuses everything together to create a more enriching and comedic experience. There’s plenty of depth and complexity pertaining to the character’s developments, with Kagome trying to unlock the truth behind her fate and her feelings for InuYasha, while InuYasha battles with his inner demons and romantic displacement for Kagome which always ends up in the two bickering or InuYasha falling into a cliff somewhere.
While some may totally see eye to eye with Rumiko Takahashi’s books, you can’t argue that they have a very strong and engaging tale that somehow keeps you coming back for more. Her stories are unpredictable, over the top, but somehow it all makes sense because life itself is very much the same. There’s this certain perplexity that you’re left with after reading her books, because you often wonder what could’ve happened if this character did that, or if these characters ended up together. All of Rumiko’s manga leave a mark on your conscience and that’s exactly why she’s number one. If you have any other great picks from Rumiko Takahashi’s library, be sure to let us know in the comments section below! Also, share and tweet out your favorite articles to keep the audience buzzing!
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