This was really good.
I watched the anime for No. 6 over a year ago, and except for the very end - like, the last five minutes - I liked it. I always intended to read the manga and the novels, if I could. And really? I should've gotten around to it a long time ago.
The manga so far is much better than the anime. The story is a lot more concise, there's none of that superfluous Safu stuff that I didn't care about....wait a sec. I don't dislike Safu. She's okay. It's just that she had almost half the camera time in the anime, and I really didn't care because all of it was boring. But anyway, back to the subject: without all the Safu stuff, the story really comes through a lot more quickly and has a lot more punch to it. Also, when they're not wasting their storytelling time on people and places I don't care about, they seem able to do a much better job of explaining things that actually matter.
The manga's just more intelligent in every way. Nezumi actually uses his brain instead of smashing headfirst into walls without looking first. The world-building is set up much more smoothly and quickly, and the governmental stuff is handled a lot better.
I like Shion a lot, he's a good main character. He's not too completely stupid, he has a family and friends that he actually cares about, he's sweet and sympathetic and his naïveté is frustratingly adorable....although since he's voiced by Kaji Yuuki in the anime, obviously he has a mean streak somewhere in there. He's a bit of a doormat, but I really don't mind too much.
Side note: I don't like the spelling Sion, even though it's official - I prefer Shion, so that's what I'm going to use.
Nezumi is awesome. Seriously. I liked him in the anime, but in the manga he's just amazing. He's actually smart, he's sarcastic and funny and nasty in all the right ways. And he does it all without being an indestructible ninja or a suicidal driver. He's easily my favorite.
Side note: I really hate it when they translate his name into "Rat" in English. Ugh. His name might mean rat to us, but it's Nezumi, when people speak his name they pronounce it as Nezumi. Calling him Rat is just silly.
Back to the manga - the story is really good, which surprises me since I avoid the "Dystopian" tag like the plague. The artwork is gorgeous - I can't believe how the artist draws those roomfuls of books. The two main characters are both great.
Other random thoughts:
A) Nezumi's little mice are too adorable. I want one. Or five.
B) Nezumi's room is awesome. Good grief, how can anyone draw so many books like that? I want to evict him and steal his room for myself.
C) Poor Shion has trouble with his eyes. Specifically when it comes to white hair. (He didn't notice the white hair hanging into his eyes, but he noticed the couple of strands that came free in his fingers after he rubbed the back of his neck....)
D) The covers on these volumes are gorgeous.
Anyway. I really enjoyed this volume, and I'm looking forward to the next one. I'm officially a fan of No. 6.
(Not the city, the story. But you get the idea.)