In my quest for a long enough series to provide entertainment for the hours of downtime I have when my oft-ill boss is out sick for days on end, I came across Rave a while back on onemanga. It was incredibly enjoyable, but the scantalations weren't finished when I was reading; got to about chapter 250 or so and it stopped. ARGH! I enjoyed the theme, with most of the towns and random references named after songs or music of some kind. The story itself was pretty good, and the characters enjoyable. While there was a decent amount of fan service, it wasn't nearly as graphic as, say, History's Greatest Disciple: Kenichi or Love Hina. In fact, the fan service and romance frequently took a backseat to the action. And there was plenty of action.
A month ago I discovered that Rave had been finished, and I enjoyed the last few dozen chapters I had missed. The ending was pretty satisfying. Then I discovered the author, Mashima Hiro, had started another series after Rave called Fairy Tail. I sat down and starting reading that too.
While I really enjoy the story (even moreso than Rave, truth be told), I find myself... annoyed, for lack of a better word, by the fact that the characters are almost carbon copies of the Rave characters. I mean, granted, the drawing style is identical. But you have the same stereotypes and everything. I mean, you get the seemingly invincible main character (Haru versus Natsu... and yes, I realize the seasonal themes for their names), the large-chested female sidekick with a history (Elie versus Lucy), the antagonistic best friend (Musica versus Grey), and the lovable animal mascot (Plue versus Happy). Heck, let's not kid ourselves; Plue makes frequent cameos as one of Lucy's summoned spirits. It really is the exact same!
Again, I like Fairy Tail better, but I feel like I know the characters already due to Rave. The filler for fights is also annoying; it's just one after another after another. I feel kinda like I'm stuck in Dragon Ball.
How have others found these series? And are the anime any good? As said, Fairy Tale is coming out better than Rave, and I thought Rave was really enjoyable. I might do a separate review on the series themselves later.