No. 6 is still, to this day, my favorite manga series. I've been meaning to sit down and write a review for this wonderful series for a while, and what better time to do it than now (you know nobody's actually doing anything right now). This manga just absolutely blew me away. I actually first encountered the series with the anime about a year ago, but it just didn't sit well with me; there were too many loose ends. That's how I ended up buying all the manga in one go.
The minute you open the first volume, you're swept into the carefully crafted world of No. 6. I was immediately enraptured by the way the mangaka revealed the real No. 6 little by little throughout the series. The pacing was perfect; it never dragged at all, unlike in the anime, and kept me turning the pages. The plot was also very intriguing. It was definitely not something you see everyday. In fact, I've never seen anything else like it. It also didn't go in the direction I was expecting, but I love where it ended up. I really liked how the author set the world of No. 6 in the future because it kind of makes you wonder if that's what our world could end up being.
There really was never a dull moment in this series. I will admit to crying multiple times while reading, but that just shows that the story is just that moving and will occasionally tug at your heart strings. I honestly don't have anything to gripe about plot-wise. Well, except maybe the bittersweet ending (If you've already read it then you know what I'm talking about). But overall, I really enjoyed the plot and the way it unfolded as the series progresses.
I don't understand how, but the mangaka manages to make even the most unimportant and uneventful frames gorgeous. I absolutely adore the art in this series. Half of the time I spent reading this manga was just me staring at every frame for a ridiculous amount of time, just admiring the art. She makes Nezumi so graceful but with tangible strength, and Shion both sweet and powerful. Sometimes there would be a frame that I couldn't stop looking at, and I would turn the page, but end up going back just to stare at it again. This manga was definitely easy on the eyes.
I'm giving the characters a 9/10 mostly because of the side characters, even though they were all great. But I'll start with bad first. And it's not "bad" per sae, just something I wish was there, but wasn't. I enjoyed Rikiga's humor, but I wish he had a bit more substance. The only things we really know about him is that he is (or was) a fan of Eve, and that he likes Karan. Other than that, his character was a little flat. And then there's Inukashi (for the purpose of this review, I'll refer to Inukashi as "they/them," although I have an inkling that they are a transgender male. Don't quote me on that though). I honestly really liked Inukashi because of their extremely real fear of dying. I think this is something a lot of us can relate to. Of course, they also had their funny moments, especially with baby Shion. That was adorable.
Moving on to the main characters, who, in my opinion, were the highlight of the series. Let's start with Nezumi. Nezumi is a very three dimensional character. He is both emotional and cold at the same time. I think he really hated No. 6, and that was what made him occasionally lash out at Shion. He couldn't understand that there was such a kind person living in a horrid place like No. 6, that hadn't yet been corrupted. But under his hard exterior, he had a big heart, and he really cared for Shion. Speaking of Shion, I both loved and hated his character development. I loved how he was a just a naïve boy in the beginning of the series, but he couldn't have grown without everything that happened throughout the series. He did become much colder as the series went on, but it was fitting for the plot. Overall, Shion was another interesting character that changed drastically during the manga.
It's time to get to my favorite part: the relationship between Nezumi and Shion. Now this definitely isn't a BL series, nor is it really shounen-ai, but it does feature a gay couple, although it isn't the focus of the series. Of course they kiss a few times, and maybe dance together for a while, but that isn't why I like this couple so much. I found the developing relationship between the two of them very natural and fitting. Even from the beginning you could tell that there was something between them. And it only progressed from there. Nezumi was obviously fed up with Shion's naivety early on, but I think he came to accept him for who he was, and also became a little more like him. They both grow to care for each other deeply throughout the manga, and you can see it in every scene they have together.
This manga was an extremely enjoyable read. The characters were believable, the story kept you on your toes and never disappointed, and the art was wonderful. There really isn't much to complain about. It was just straight up (straight lol) good. Now the only thing left for me to do is to read the novels. The manga didn't leave any plot holes, but I NEED MORE CONTENT!
From everything that I've said so far, I would hope that you can tell that I adore this series, but if you haven't, I'll say it again: I. Love. This. Manga. So if you've come from the anime hoping there would be something to fill in the gaps it left you with, the manga definitely delivers.