I haven't reall read many Manga books. I read more of the Viz pulp graphic novels and even that is limited. It's pretty harsh at times and very violent, but I really like "Sanctuary" and "Strain" with art by the masterful Ryoichi Ikegami. I am not sure if I can name my fave Manga, but my fave artist is Ikegami. You really need to check out his attention to detail in some of the landscape drawings he does to know the upper end of magnificence in comic-book art
Yes, i read the novel, but it was a shortened german version. One day i'll try the japanese full version.
I've also seen the Mifune movies. They are really good, too. The "gorin no sho" is quite interesting, but i don't know anybody who understood the sword-technique part. I do Iaido and Aikido, but if you just read it it's very hard to understand.
Eiji Yoshikawa also wrote a niece piece on Toyotomi Hideyoshi. I think it shows the life in the sengoku period really good. Well, it's a novel.
Ikegami... love it! I have a few manga issues of Crying Freeman and the artwork is beautiful.
But my favourite manga has to be Ghost In The Shell by Masamune Shirow. The guy doesn't just draw, he writes some of the best sci-fi covert-ops stories I have ever read.
On a merit note, the first manga I read and still love was Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira. The movie didn't made justice to it.
I don't know if it's the best, but it's the funniest I've ever read
Inuyasha is great but it's almost identical to the anime, so there're no surprises. Rurouni Kenshi is a classic. Nah, I don't know, there so many great artwork that I can't nominate one.
Wait, wait! Just remembered, Crayon Shin-chan is the funniest manga ever
Hm....it's a toughy for me. I have a lot of favorites, but here's the short version:
Gravitation(the Remix, too *sly giggle*)
Card Captor Sakura
Ayashi no Ceres