Hosted by: The Broke and Bookish
Why?: Because it is practically peerless when it comes to character development, world building, and plot. This is also a great anime (and I'm assuming manga although I haven't read it yet) for someone new to anime because it is so strong as a show and because it doesn't have a lot of the quirks (that can often feel like an inside joke that you aren't getting when you first start getting into the medium) that many other animes have. I have a thing about anime opening themes, and this is definitely one of my favourites.
Why?: This would be good for a later class because you need to have at least a small understanding of shoujo manga for it to work. It's a great dissection of shoujo manga because it's a satire, but never in a way that ridicules the genre in a mean way, just playfully points out how ridiculous it sometimes can be.
While neither of these shows are really up my alley, nor would they be the ones I would generally recommend to a friend, they are incredibly important. These shows are what brought anime into Western culture. Without these shows, I probably never would have had the opportunity to even see an anime!
Why?: To show that audience divisions in anime/manga are not so clear cut (Hint: Despite appearances, this is not in fact a shoujo series). It would also be good to point out how powerful anime can be - they actually created a band for the show that went on tours. (Also, the music is AWESOME. I bought the entire soundtrack.)
This would be great for a discussion on what makes something anime or not (plus both shows are fantastic). Cowboy Bebop is Japanese, but feels very Western, while AtLA is technically not anime as it is not Japanese but actually a Western created show that relies heavily on Asian artwork.
Why?: For one, I don't have any other josei on this list. For two, it's one of the best anime/mangas I've seen. It's also pretty progressive as far as manga goes - it features a cross dresser and as far as I've seen it's done pretty realistically (as in the character isn't just used to be a punchline. In fact, he's probably the most normal character in the series). I'd recommend this one for newbies to anime/manga! Also, it has one of my favourite openings ever.
Hana Yori Dango by Yoko Kamio
Ok first let me get this off my chest. I much prefer Yoko Kamio's Cat Street. I think it is better in every possible way as I have some SERIOUS issues with Hana Yori Dango. But if we're going to talk about influential manga, it would be incredibly remiss of me not to look at this one. There's something to be said of a manga that is over a decade old and is still the best selling shoujo manga of all time. It has been adapted not only into a manga and two Japanese live dramas, but also three Taiwanese dramas, a Korean drama, an Indian drama, and even an American remake. It's influence on shoujo manga as a whole and on other cultures is immeasurable.
Too bad it couldn't have been Cat Street instead.
xxxHolic by CLAMP
Why?: The artwork is without comparison the best I've come across in manga, so this one would be a good one to focus on the visual aspects of the medium. It's also created by an all female group which is awesome. It's got a great opening as well.
Why?: I feel like it's impossible to do a class mentioning anime without looking at Miyazaki's work. Really any of his works would be great - most people I know found him through Howl's Moving Castle, and Princess Mononoke is I think one of his most iconic works, or there Nausicaa of the Valley, which is also a manga incidentally. (But I haven't watched/read either yet). Spirited Away is my personal favourite (closely followed by Princess Mononoke, or if we open it up to any Studio Ghibli work, then The Cat Returns), but really you could choose any of Miyazaki's films because they're all beautiful.
Skip Beat! by Yoshiki Nakamura
Why?: If I were going to try and get someone to read a manga, I'd do exactly what my friend did to me: trick them by having them watch this anime until they're hooked and HAVE to know what happens. I could wax poetical about how Kyoko is one of my all time favourite heroines ever, or how Ren and Kyoko are probably my ultimate OTP, or how as a musician I relate to the story line here about acting so much but those have less to do with teaching and more to do with me. So I guess really...it's because it's my favourite and just everyone should read it!