My Top Fifteen Favorite Manga Number 5:
Please Save My Earth by Hiwatari Saki
I was first exposed to PSME via the anime back in the late 90’s. It was beautiful and amazing, but I always felt that there was much more to the story than that. Eventually I found out about the much longer manga and ended up buying the graphic novels when they were released in English (though it took me a while to round them all up).
PSME is just stunning from beginning to end. It’s a sci-fi story with a surprisingly rich and developed alien culture as the back story for the main characters (who are reincarnated as Earthlings). There are intense (and often brutal) psychic battles, giant cats, and shocking betrayals. But at its core, PSME is about learning from past mistakes and then putting that past behind you in order to have a brighter future.
The characters are awesome all around, but I was especially drawn to Shion. His story is heartbreaking. He’s a bit of a controversial character, because he does some terrible things over the course of the manga, but he is ultimately interesting because he’s so damaged. And unlike a lot of damaged male characters in shoujo, he’s pretty much beyond repair.
The art of PSME evolves quite a bit from the beginning, as is the case with a lot of longer shoujo series. It’s a little cartoony at first, but it’s always charming. The writing is top notch throughout. This is one of the deepest, most touching and affecting stories I’ve ever read. It’s the kind of story that stays with you, because it means something.