Before I start this review, I must admit that this is one of my favorite manga, and it might seem a bit biased. Petshop of Horrors tells the story of Count D, the owner of a mysterious petshop that sells strange and oftentimes dangerous animals.
For the vast majority of the series, each chapter serves as a self contained story. Almost each chapter deals with a random person finding D's shop, obtaining an animal that will help them with their life (and I use the term animal very loosely), and then we see the results, good or bad, of their behavior. There is an overarching story line, mostly dealing with a cop, Leon Orcot, investigating Count D and his shop and trying to discover any illegal actions he may be participating in. This story provides a lot of humor along with an extremely interesting story, which improves as the characters' relationships grow.
The art in this manga is usually very good. The pets sold by Count D are all illustrated beautifully, as is Count D himself, who is almost always wearing a kimono in his androgynous glory. There are times, however, when the art can appear a little unpolished. Sometimes, a characters eyes will seem to be a little off, and some of Count D's customers can look very strange. All in all, it has some amazing art, which suffers at the hands of a few little quirks here and there.
The characters in this manga are very well done. Count D has what I feel is a very deep personality. Leon develops in an interesting way, and the change in his view of Count D is one of the things that makes this manga so great. Most of the recurring cast all have original and dynamic personalities. The customers serve their role in the story well, but can sometimes be a little flat (though they are almost never mentioned past a single chapter, so I feel this flatness can be overlooked). As I mentioned earlier, this manga is by far one of my favorites. I feel that everything is beautifully done, and a it deserves a 9.5/10 in my book, with just a few minor flaws keeping it just short of perfection.