House of Five Leaves. I am currently rereading the manga series House of Five Leaves by Natsume Ono, which is a historical story about an awkward ronin who bumbles his way into a group of criminals who call themselves “The Five Leaves.” When he stays (even after learning that they’re kidnappers who live off ransom money), he becomes their fifth member.
I first met Ono’s work as an anime, which I’ve watched countless times. The music, the voices, the ambiance … I find them calming. So I’ll often have House of Five Leaves playing on the side while I’m writing. Last year, I picked up the manga. Mostly to see if there was more to the story. Much to my amazement, the story diverges at Volume 4. Not only does the anime edit out an entire (main!) character, the ending is different. (Not in a bad way, simply different.)
Anyhow! These two screenshots are from the first and last episodes of the anime. And I think they sum up my storytelling style quite neatly.
House of Five Leaves (the manga) is complete in 8 volumes. The anime is complete in 12 episodes. Also by Natsume Ono: Gente (the manga) which was made into Ristorante Paradiso (the anime) and ACCA-13. Both are excellent. I really hope more of their works are translated into English.