The story is set in "No. 6," a future model city in 2013. Raised as a top-ranking elite since the age of 2, a boy named Shion lives in an exclusive area in No. 6. On the night of his 12th birthday, he rescues a boy who calls himself "Nezumi" (Rat). Nezumi ran away from the city's Special Security Area. From that moment on, Shion's life is changed forever...
No. 6 was published in English by Kodansha Comics USA from June 11, 2013 to October 21, 2014. It was also published in German by Egmont Manga from October 2, 2014 to February 4, 2016, in Polish by Studio JG from October 22, 2014 to June 29, 2016, and in Spanish by Editorial Ivrea since July 2017.
The No. 6 manga is the only thing from what I've encountered so far that I've been able to give a 10 to. I'll do my best to refrain from any spoilers or summarizing the plot.
The Good: the plot is excellent and I thought it was extremely well paced. From the very first page you're transported into the fake world of No. 6. You're then taken for a crash course on reality in the Western District. You're swept away by the every line, every detail on the page.
When I first saw the anime, I was jaded. When I read the light
novels, I wept. It wasn't until I read this manga that everything felt complete. The execution of the plot was perfect. There was never a dull moment for me and I couldn't stop reading. In the end, everything came together in a way that exceeded every hope and every desire I could have had.
The Bad: I spent quite some time trying to come up with something to complain about when it came to this manga, something-anything- that irritated me. I found...nothing, much to my own amazement.
Wow, that art. What can you really say? The art was simply mesmerizing. You weren't just reading a manga. You were there. You were living it. Facial expressions, body language, backgrounds, panels, and bubble placement- it was all perfect and easy to follow. More than that- the art of the characters themselves were flawless. More often than not I found myself taking quite some time per page just to really appreciate the beauty of the characters and the fantastic details. I can't find a single thing about the art that I'd change.
This is where the manga shines brightest. The struggles of these characters are real. They've all been shaped by their experiences, and oftentimes not for the better. You end up at the edge of your seat with baited breath watching as these characters are forced to make decisions and how those decisions are going to effect their personalities. The more you learn, the more you eagerly wonder what will happen next.
With that said:
This manga does feature two 16 year old boys who are romantically attracted to one another. It is this relationship, this friendship, this bond that makes the story great. This manga is not about a gay couple having gay sex (which they don't, by the way). It would work just as well if Nezumi or Shion were a female. I love that it doesn't stereotype gay relationships. It shows two people who find each other against all odds and dares to take charge of their own lives.
Quite frankly, I don't think people should freak out over Nezumi and Shion's relationship. If you chose not to read the manga because of that, I certainly can't stop you, but if you like an amazing dystopian manga with lots of action, and character development that makes you think, then this isn't one you should skip over lightly.
This is about two boys, as different as night and day, who form a seemingly impossible bond and change everything. In their own lives and in the world around them. It's a story of personal growth. To be a ignorant or to be knowledgeable. To be conquered or to be the survivor. To be human or to be...something else. It's a plot driven by characters evolving and it's utterly amazing to behold. In light of that, so what if two boys like each other? It's their relationship that makes the plot all the more worth while, and every decision they make so much more intense because of how they force each other to change.
4. Enjoyment. (10/10)
I am enthralled with every single aspect of this manga. It glides effortlessly through the pages, engulfing you in a world of horror, action, despair, and hope where hope should only be done while dreaming (if even then). It makes you question what you'd do if you were in any of the characters' positions. How far would you be willing to go for someone else? How much horror can you see, hear, smell, touch, before it becomes a part of you? How deeply can you change, before you lose yourself completely?
You are put on a roller-coaster of emotion and the ride doesn't end just because the manga is over.
5. Overall. (10/10)
This was, quite simply put, a very outstanding and unforgettable manga. In fact, the only thing bad about it is that it ends.
After watching the anime, I was desperate to find more of Shion & Nezumi's story, and discovered the manga was being published in Japan. The anime was only a half season and truly lacks much of the depth and story that the manga and novel include.
note: I have not read the official English translation of the manga. I am reading the Japanese versions.
Deep and intriguing, as if the premise of No.6 wasn't interesting enough already, there are many underlying and interweaving layers of the story. Things are truly not as they seem, but go much further than many other "ideal but not so ideal
city" concepts there are out there. The story also leaves many opportunities for fan creations to be made - something I feel of great importance within anime and manga. As a result there are lots of lovely fanworks and doujins of No.6 to read and enjoy. I believe there are many parallels you can draw between No.6 and the real world and its happenings.
Along with each special edition of the Japanese manga, there are booklets called No.6+ which are little extra side stories to go along with the manga. (I'm sure you can find these online somewhere!) They don't run in tangent with whatever's happening in the current volume, but are just extra happenings in the No.6 universe. I personally love them, as they are often exploring and adding extra depth to Nezumi and Shion's relationship, and the world they live in.
The art for this manga is possibly my favourite of all time. Sharp, crisp and flawless, emotional and just wonderful. Kino has a wonderful way with expressions and eyes. As an artist I can really appreciate so many elements of Kino's work. As a fairly new artist, it's incredible she can deal with many types of panels so well - panels with action and fighting never become confusing (something that fighting and shounen manga often falls victim to) and the lighter, more casual panels are equally pleasing. In the No.6+ booklets aforementioned, there are full colour illustrations included that are just beautiful.
The biggest drive of this series for me are the characters. I truly love the characters in No.6. Shion, Nezumi, Inukashi and others too are fabulously written with depth and meaning and are inseparable from this story. After reading this manga almost in its entirety (volume 9 was released yesterday, and has not shipped yet), I really feel as though I know the characters, like I met them. There are very few manga that have given me this feeling after reading! No character was wasted, none are flat or worthless. Every character serves an absolute purpose, and without which the manga would suffer greatly. I also think that the characters in No.6 represent many things in the real world too.
I could not give this a full 10, as like with many manga, there are moments where the plot switches to the side characters, and while reading I feel like saying "Come on! Hurry up! I don't care about you, I need to see if Nezumi and Shion are okay!" and I would often skim-read or read super fast to get further. Perhaps that's silly, and perhaps that wouldn't be the case if I liked the side characters more, but I feel it's something to note! Other than this, I endlessly relish in this manga! I'm always finding myself picking up volumes and randomly flicking through them and just poring over the pages.
This manga is an exemplar of its genre and is perfectly written and executed. Beautiful art and well paced, deep storyline and wonderful characters. I guarantee this manga is worth your time!
No. 6 may be overlooked but after getting a glimpse of its world, you can say it’s worth your time.
I can’t say the story is unique but it is well written and delivered that the flow is, without a doubt, fluid. The manga has its share of gore, thrill, and sometimes humor and every mood was well-balanced to the convenience of its reader. The only problem is that the plot isn’t shown in a particular light whereas it appears mysterious or suspenseful. You may be thinking, ‘does that mean I can easily tell what’s going to happen next?’ and, somehow, yes but not exactly.
You may be able to guess a portion of it but No. 6 has its own way of telling the story. Simply put, the story was very good!
Shion and Nezumi, being the main characters, were amazingly portrayed. For some reason, the personalities of these characters didn’t appear to be clichéd. The track of development of the characters weren’t predictable and you can easily have second thoughts from time to time. Shion and Nezumi developed in a good way that I found their actions and thoughts based on their experiences were convincing and even natural.
However, I wasn’t able to feel a strong connection with the characters because there were still gaps in between – there wasn’t enough depth in their personalities. To point out, it looked like the story didn’t really have a main antagonist that stand out among the challenges faced by our main cast.
I have to commend the artists for their brilliant work with the illustrations! The graphics seemed sharp and detailed, not to mention it looks very clean even with all the action going on. The frequent and well placed appearances of artistic touches such as unique speech balloons, expressions and emphasizers were all appealing but most importantly, the totality of the art did really good in extending the story – giving us a better perspective of it.
Being the first manga I’ve completed, I am very satisfied that I chose a good one. I enjoyed all the thrills the manga had to offer that I wasn’t expecting to find myself unaware of my surroundings for moments – seriously, it wasn’t likely for me to lose focus that the person beside me had already called my name three times (two would have been acceptable). In the end, No.6 isn’t one of your mangas worth missing!
No.6 follows two boys from opposite ends of the socioeconomic ladder as they try to reveal the secrets behind a so-called utopia. Although it's only 35 chapters long, I'm giving it a 10 because it's incredibly well-done despite its length. Read below for the full review.
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To some extent, No.6 is just another dystopian story--perfect society with a dark secret, disillusioned citizens, etc.--but the inner workings of its dystopia are both unique and unexpected. Its plot is well-developed and easy to follow. The only reason why I don't give a perfect score for this category is because some moments within the
manga feel a bit rushed.
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Characters: 10 (Mild spoilers below.)
The backstories and personalities are well-crafted, and everyone who is introduced has a role within the story. Character development is executed well. The issues that the protagonists face, as well as the personality changes they undergo, are believable and never left unexplained.
I also have to give props to this series for being one of the few I've read that aren't exclusively BL, but portray a same-sex couple as realistically as they would a heterosexual couple. (Note: No.6 is not a yaoi manga. It does, however, have shounen-ai elements.) It doesn't dole out fanservice. Nezumi and Shion's relationship isn't established to pander to BL fans; it's there to represent a legitimate bond between two characters--one that develops over time, and through mutual understanding of each other's strengths and weaknesses. There's no masculine or feminine binary, no "husband" or "wife" imposed upon Nezumi and Shion. They're just two characters that happen to fall in love.
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No issues here. No.6 is beautifully illustrated and skillfully paneled. As well, the character designs are memorable and unique without being over-the-top.
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All the factors mentioned above culminate in a series that's difficult to stop reading once you start. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a good action/adventure/sci-fi manga.