I’ve been fan of Rave when the anime series came out in 2001. Rave is your typical Shonen series typically characterized by high-action fights between good (Rave) and bad (Dark Bring) and often humorous plots featuring Haru Glory our hero protagonist with his friends Plue (unknown being) and Ellie. The general plot from Wikipedia:
“In 0015, fifty years before the story’s start, the world was being corrupted by Dark Bring, evil stones that bestowed incredible powers to their owners. The Dark Bring were used by the Raregroove Kingdom, and the Symphonia Kingdom fought against them with their Holy Bring.
Shiba, the first RAVE Master, attempted to destroy Sinclaire, the “mother” of the Dark Bring, with his Ten Commandments Sword. The aftermath caused the massive explosion known as “Overdrive” that destroyed one-tenth of the known world. Shiba, protected from the disaster by Plue, a special guardian “dog” who shielded him from the blast, held onto the RAVE required to power his sword. Plue and the five remaining fragments of RAVE, however, scattered around the world.
Fifty years later Haru Glory, a teenager living on the peaceful Garage Island, fishes Plue up by accident. Several events soon follow, including Shiba’s arrival and his desire to reclaim Plue, as well as the appearance of a mysterious organization known as Demon Card, whose members possess Dark Bring and aim to rule the world. After Haru battles one of its members, Shiba discovers he is the second RAVE Master, and entrusts his RAVE, Plue, and the Ten Commandments Sword to Haru. Haru embarks upon an adventure to find the other fragments of Rave and to save the world.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rave_Master#Anime)
The draw for shonen series for me has alway been the sense of adventure out and discovering new things good and bad. I’ll also admit the simple slapstick plots are a guilty pleasure for these series. When Rave the anime series ended leaving the story open ended, I was quite saddened. A few years later I was reading the manga and wanted something similar to it. I was then informed by Ayane_e that mangaka, Hiro Mashima, made a new series “Fairy Tail”.
From what I’ve observed, Hiro Mashima tends to put a group of three main protagonist together much like Rave had with Haru, Ellie and Plue. In Fairy Tail’s case the group is Natsu, Lucy, and Happy (a flying cat). This is set in a fantasy world where magic is not too uncommon. This brings the nostalgia of a hint of D&D where there are guilds, jobs, and adventure. Basically everything a boy would enjoy… or girl. There’s no hunting for particular items as in Rave to start an adventure but having jobs to take in a guild gives Fairy Tail a more robust and dynamic story for the manga to develop in my opinion.
Unique characters also gives the series a delightful range. Fairy Tail’s unique character reminds me of One Piece and its gamut of unique and interesting characters. Now the only thing that really carried over to Fairy Tail is the inclusion of Plue. That has been the Mashima’s character that is near and dear to him. Also the styling of the art reminds me of One Piece.
The biggest draw is the camaraderie between the friends and loved ones in Fairy Tail are very similar in One Piece. Definitely give Fairy Tail a read or watch. You might be surprised.