While anime is still king when it comes to entertainment from Japan, there are moments when it’s just not convenient to watch your favorite series—this is especially true when you only have small pockets of time to spare that is not sufficient for even one full 24-minute episode. This is where manga comes in to fill the void, easily available on a range of online manga readers. You can even advance the story of an anime that is adapted from manga. Without further ado, below are the 60 best manga series of all time:
60 Best Manga of All Time
- 20th Century Boys
- A Silent Voice
- Astro Boy
- Attack on Titan
- Black Butler
- Blade of the Immortal
- Blue Exorcist
- Cardcaptor Sakura
- Chainsaw Man
- Death Note
- Detective Conan
- D. Gray Man
- Dragon Ball
- Dr. Stone
- Fairy Tail
- Fist of the North Star
- Fruits Basket
- Fullmetal Alchemist
- Grand Blue
- Great Teacher Onizuka
- Hajime No Ippo
- Hana Kimi
- Hunter x Hunter
- Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
- Jujutsu Kaisen
- Kimetsu No Yaiba
- Made In Abyss
- My Hero Academia
- Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
- One Piece
- One-Punch Man
- Ouran High School Host Club
- Oyasumi Punpun
- The Promised Neverland
- Rave Master
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Sailor Moon
- Skip Beat!
- Slam Dunk
- Tokyo Ghoul
- Tokyo Revengers
- Vampire Knight
- Vinland Saga
- Yuyu Hakusho
Life is ordinary and uneventful for Kenji Endo, a convenience store manager in the 1990s. However, just as life seems to have stagnated, things take a turn when he discovers that his childhood friend had committed suicide. Afterward, as the events unfold, Kenji slowly understands that a cult led by “Friend” is targeting him and his friends. Can he and his pals save the world from certain doom? Find out in 20th Century Boys.
Akira is set in a fictional sci-fi world with Neo-Tokyo at its heart in 2019. It’s a desolate place, due in large part to an enormous explosion that happened 37 years before. In this place, we follow three heroes: Shotaro Kaneda, Tetsuo Shima, and the small Akira who has psychic abilities. Throughout their story, they tackle government conspiracies, social problems, and even the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
When Akira was adapted into an animated movie, it lost many of the nuances and storylines that the manga so masterfully portrays. If you want to take a deep dive, we highly suggest reading the manga itself.
A Silent Voice tackles heavy topics such as bullying, repentance, and redemption. It follows Shoya, a former bully who drove his mute classmate, Shoko, to leave school. Six years pass and he meets Shoko again. This time, he tries to repent and make it up to her. Can he redeem himself and gain Shoko’s forgiveness, or is he too late?
Losing a son isn’t easy, especially when they’re still young. Hence, Dr. Tenma tries to fill that void by creating Astro Boy: a robot made in his son’s image. However, no matter how much he tries, Dr. Tenma can’t love the boy.
As a result, Astro Boy is sold to a circus where he’s discovered by Dr. Ochanomizu. Soon after, Dr. Ochanomizu discovers Astro Boy’s special ability: to learn how to feel. Follow the story of this emotional yet powerful robot as he fights for justice and the greater good.
One of the best manga of all time is undoubtedly Attack on Titan. You may have heard of it because of its rise in popularity in recent years. However, it’s been around for over a decade and has grown to become an amazing series. The premise is simple: man-eating giant titans attack the final dregs of humanity who have holed themselves up within walled cities.
However, don’t think it’s a simple action series with endless violence and gory battles. There’s a lot of nuance to it: genocide, political strife, exploration, and more. All of these things paired with great story-telling makes it one of the best manga to date.
Berserk may seem like a simple action-packed manga at first, but it goes much deeper than that. On one hand, it’s acclaimed for its action and phenomenal fight scenes. On the other, it’s well-known for the sadness and hatred that torments its characters amidst the war-ridden land. The story follows Guts, a mercenary who’s sick of endless warfare and bloodshed.
As he becomes a wandering mercenary and meets Griffith, things take a turn when they encounter Nosferatu Zodd. Follow along his journey of hatred, war, sadness, and even despair.
Set in Victorian England, Black Butler follows the story of Ciel, the sole member of the Phantomhive family. Despite this, his family’s duty is resolute: to serve the royal family in the shadows. However, while Ciel is one of the main characters, the story follows Sebastian Michaelis, Ciel’s butler, more closely. He becomes the Black Butler after Ciel makes a pact with a demon who becomes Sebastian.
If you’re a fan of historical samurai tales, then Blade of the Immortal is a good manga for you to explore. It has everything you love from this genre, where historical samurai culture is portrayed with traditional aesthetics and customs.
However, the manga adds a twist by introducing modern speech and fashion that makes the story feel refreshing. It’s certainly a change from traditional samurai manga like the Lone Wolf and Cub or Lady Snowblood. Nonetheless, it carries the genre tastefully with a complex tale that revolves around the violent desire for vengeance.
At first glance, Ichigo Kurosaki seems like a temperamental and impulsive young man. However, he’s set apart by one unique ability: the ability to see supernatural beings. This leads to Ichigo meeting a Soul Reaper named Rukia Kuchiki, who guides souls to the afterlife. After Rukia’s unexpected death at the hands of monstrous Hollows, Ichigo is now set to replace her position as a Soul Reaper. With a compelling storyline, great action sequences, and beautiful art, Bleach is certainly one of the best shonen manga to date.
Blue Exorcist follows Rin and Yukio Okumura, twins raised by a mighty exorcist. However, when their adoptive father passes away, Rin discovers an unexpected fact about his past: he is a child of Satan. As a result, Rin resolves to become an exorcist, but can he beat Satan despite his true nature?
Magical girls have been around for quite a while and many magical girl series have been quite popular. Cardcaptor Sakura is one of the earliest pioneers of the genre. It depicts the story of Sakura Kinomoto, a middle-schooler who discovers her magical abilities when she accidentally unleashes Clow Cards across Japan. Follow her story as she captures cards, meets enemies and allies, and becomes the new cards’ master.
When Denji hunts devils to repay his debt to the Yakuza, he is killed by his creditors. However, things don’t end there for Denji, as he merges his body with Pochita, his friendly devil dog.
Once the two merge, he becomes a human-devil man with Pochita’s chainsaw powers. This plot feels almost too absurd to be real, but the author executes it very well to give rise to a slightly comedic series with dark undertones.
Claymore isn’t your ordinary shonen manga due to its wonderful cast of characters, surprisingly filled with women. However, these are no ordinary women, mind you. They’re half-demon warriors protecting society from demonic forces.
If you could take justice in your own hands and punish evildoers as you please, would you? This is the moral dilemma that the villainous protagonist, Light Yagami, grapples with when he discovers the titular Death Note with the sinister ability to kill people through any means. All you need is two things: a name and a face. Frustrated with Japan’s justice system, Light accepts this power to bring peace and justice to Japan. However, like any path to utopia, Light goes down a dark path to pursue his form of justice.
One of the best manga for mystery lovers is undoubtedly Detective Conan. It’s a famous series with over 100 volumes, a strong fanbase, and solid storytelling. Join Shinichi Kudo, the high school detective-turned-child, as he solves crimes, mysteries, and cases.
D. Gray-Man follows a boy named Allen Walker who becomes an exorcist as part of the Black Order. The story takes place in the 19th century as Allen and his organization combat demonic forces. Throughout the series, they also battle Millennium Earl, a man with an army of Akuma bent on destroying humanity.
This one’s a real blast from the past: Dragon Ball. You may be familiar with it if this series was part of your childhood. However, don’t think that because you’ve grown, you’ve also outgrown this manga series.
That’s because it’s still a wonderful tale revolving around Son Goku, a martial artist alien looking for dragon balls. These dragon balls are powerful and important. Why? Well, because they can summon dragons that can grant any wish you Son Goku has.
Dr. Stone is a solid shonen manga that features a more unique spin on the genre and adds some education to the entertainment. This page-turner features an arrogant and brash genius scientist who navigates a post-apocalyptic setting.
Dr. Stone is set in a world where people have turned to stone so that nature can reclaim the land. After over 3,000 years, Senku is one of the first to return to human form. Thanks to this, Senku sets out to reverse human petrification and find more answers to its mysteries.
Are you looking for adventure with a hint of comedy and a ton of chapters to sink your teeth into? Then look no further than Fairy Tail. It features the Fairy Tail guild of wizards known for their quirky and crazy members. Join Lucy Heartfilia, Natsu Dragneel, and the rest of the gang on their crazy yet epic misadventures. Who knows? They might even end up saving the world and becoming legends in the process.
Post-apocalyptic settings aren’t new in the world of manga. In fact, Fist of the North Star was one of the oldest to be set in this context. In this world, only 30% of mankind remains after a nuclear explosion devastated the world. Experience this world through the eyes of Kenshiro and Rin, who go on adventures, finding resources and fighting enemies along the way.
Fruits Basket is a classic manga that is beloved by many. It features Tohru Honda, a young girl struggling with her mother’s loss and a difficult living situation. Thanks to a series of events, Tohru ends up living with the most popular guy in school, Yuki Sohma. However, little does she know that the Sohma family has a secret: they’re all cursed members of the Chinese Zodiac. What follows is a series of lighthearted yet sinister events in this well-paced romantic comedy.
Fullmetal Alchemist was one of the top-grossing anime and manga series when it debuted, and for good reason: its skillful approach to heavy topics like genocide, war, and corruption, along with its strong cast of characters, was able to capture the hearts of many a fan the world over.
Fullmetal Alchemist follows the story of Edward and Alphonse, two alchemists who, because of a failed experiment, end up with disabilities. As they search for methods to become normal again, they go on to investigate numerous state issues. Eventually, they uncover hidden organizations, mysteries, and government conspiracies as they continue to push the boundaries of alchemy.
Most people think they go to the afterlife after they die. However, in the world of Gantz, the dead, including protagonists Kei Kurono and Masaru Kato, are forced into a game. They, along with other recently deceased characters, now have to hunt and kill aliens as their post-death mission. Thankfully, they have capable, futuristic weaponry to aid them in their task. It’s certainly a unique premise and the story itself is compelling, blending psychological thriller, sci-fi, and action into one.
If you’re looking for something more laidback and fits into the slice-of-life genre, we suggest taking a look at Grand Blue. It features a young Iori Kitahara who moves into Grand Blue, a scuba diving shop managed by his uncle. After moving in, Iori realizes he’s plunged into a world of fun, parties, and swimming.
Many teachers live as public servants, selflessly giving themselves for the betterment of their students. However, not all teachers lived the most honorable lives before their profession. Eikichi Onizuka is certainly a testament to that, as he used to be a delinquent before becoming a teacher. Throughout the story of Great Teacher Onizuka, Onizuka has to face various trials and challenges. These include rebel students, a distressed principal, and even his demons from his previous life.
If you’ve never liked volleyball, then you might change your mind by reading Haikyuu!! It’s a tale about Shoyo Hinata who loves the game and wants to become the best of the best. To him, it doesn’t matter that he’s not as tall as he could ideally be. That’s why, when he enters high school, he joins the volleyball team to bring them to victory. However, he does have to face Tobio Kageyama, a former volleyball enemy now turned teammate.
Even though Hajime No Ippo is one of the longest-running manga, it still holds well after over 100 volumes. It follows the story of young Ippo Makunouchi, who faces bullies at school every day to the point of collapse. Thankfully, a pro boxer named Mamoru Takamura takes him in to nurse him back to health. Afterward, through a series of scenes, Ippo decides he wants to learn how to box.
How far are you willing to go to follow your sports idol? In Hana-Kimi, Mizuki proves her dedication by going as far as transferring schools—even an all-boys school. She follows Izumi Sano, a high jump athlete, successfully as she enrolls. However, fate brings them together as more than just classmates but roommates, too! Will she be able to keep her secret from Izumi and her other classmates? We guarantee you’ll fall in love with its story, characters, and heart-pounding romance.
If you love action and everything supernatural, then Hellsing is certainly one of the best manga recommendations for you. It follows the Hellsing Organization, a secret organization that specializes in combating supernatural powers. These include ghosts, vampires, and everything in between that threatens to destroy England.
Hunter x Hunter follows Gon Freecss, a young boy on a quest to find his father, Ging Freecss. Despite his youth, Gon resolves to go on a search and meets multiple characters along the way. These include unique and attractive friends and foes like Kurapika, Killua Zoldyck, Leorio, and more.
Shonen fantasy manga series have been a hit since the 20th century. It’s thus unsurprising that Inuyasha became one of the best-known ones of all time. It follows the tale of Kagome Higurashi, a 15-year-old girl who fell into a well. However, instead of being a regular accident, Kagome soon finds herself transported into the Sengoku period. Here, she meets and befriends Inuyasha, a half-dog demon, half-human being.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is the subject of many memes today, and it’s not hard to see how it gained this reputation: the bizarre and peculiar Joestar family is well known for its exaggerated, over-the-top reactions to a variety of situations they find themselves in. Whether it’s a small town in Japan or Victorian England, you’ll constantly find yourself in different places with wonderful adventures with this strange yet lovable cast of characters.
If horror and gore pique your interest, then Jujutsu Kaisen is the manga for you. It tells the tale of Yuji Itadori, a physically adept high school student who unexpectedly becomes the host of an ancient malevolent demon named Sakuna after swallowing his finger. As a result, he now has to join Tokyo’s jujutsu school of sorcerers. What’s more, Itadori now has to find the rest of Sakuna’s 20 fingers. Will he reach his goal and survive?
Generally speaking, gambling isn’t good. However, when it comes to manga, it can make for a very intriguing premise. That’s precisely what Kakegurui offers: an entertainingly complex gambling system among the wealthy students of Hyakkaou Private Academy. However, these students bet not only money but also their futures for the sake of the game. What happens if you introduce Yumeko Jabami, a compulsive but brilliant gambler able to turn the school’s hierarchy upside down?
Rising up the ranks of the shonen genre is Kimetsu No Yaiba. Otherwise known as Demon Slayer, this manga follows the tale of Tanjiro, the eldest of his family living in Japan’s Taisho era.
However, while mountainside living might normally be peaceful, Tanjiro comes home only to find his family ravaged by demons. Only his sister Nezuko is left alive, but she is infected by demon blood, causing her to become feral and demonic. This prompts Tanjiro to set out to become a demon slayer and cure his sister in this epic narrative.
Although Kingdom is a Japanese manga, its story is surprisingly set in ancient war-torn China. This manga deals with political conflicts, strife, and overcoming personal struggles and weaknesses.
The protagonist, Shin, aspires to become China’s best general. However, the path to his dreams is one fraught with difficulty. As Shin struggles to overcome his physical and emotional boundaries and navigate political conflicts, he treads forward towards his dream.
Made in Abyss is filled with grand adventures centered around the Abyss, a giant hole in the ground that no one dares to mess with. It’s said that nobody ever survives once they go down inside. However, one day, an unexpected robot named Regu comes up from below.
When Riko, whose mother was thought dead after being swallowed by the Abyss, discovers Regu, she becomes hopeful. She’s convinced her mother is alive, and so she resolves to enter the Abyss. However, although Regu does spark hope, will Riko be able to make it to the bottom of the Abyss alive?
When faced with an ethical dilemma between saving a child or the Mayor, Dr. Tenma makes a choice. However, while the choice to save the child might seem like a noble decision, he’s soon faced with another dilemma. That is because the child quickly becomes the prime suspect of various murders.
What will Dr. Tenma do? Moreover, what will happen to him, the child, and the people around him? In Monster, you’ll face these kinds of dilemmas, interesting character interactions, and compelling storytelling that’s sure to captivate its readers. No wonder it’s considered one of the best manga of all time.
Do you dream of being a superhero? Izuku Midoriya certainly does, because honestly, who doesn’t? However, despite living in a world full of superpowered people, Izuku is distraught because he’s born as an ordinary human. It seems Izuku’s dreams are out of reach until an unexpected series of mishaps lead him to gain superpowers as well. Thanks to this, perhaps his dreams aren’t so ridiculous after all.
Nana follows the tale of two girls with the same name: Nana Komatsu and Nana Osaki. On one hand, Komatsu is a young country girl moving to Tokyo with the hopes of living her best life. She follows her college friends and boyfriend as she seeks to live her dream.
On the other hand, Osaki used to be a popular punk rock musician in a band. Now, going to Tokyo with the dream of making it as a singer, she meets Komatsu along the way. Through a series of events, the two decide to become roommates in one apartment. The story of the manga itself follows both of their stories, their friendship, and how their dreams unfold.
One of the longest-running and best manga of all time is undoubtedly Naruto. It’s set in a fictional world of ninjas with the aspiring village leader, Naruto, as the protagonist. However, as Naruto develops his skills to fulfill his dreams, he possesses a secret that even he is unaware of: the spirit of the nine-tailed fox that had destroyed his village 12 years prior.
Hayao Miyazaki is one of the industry’s leaders in terms of creating great films and stories. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is one such work, following the vein of many Studio Ghibli works to focus on the harmonious existence between humanity and nature. There’s also an animated movie of the same title, but reading the manga will definitely help you better appreciate it.
One Piece has been around for a long time, even producing 96 volumes since release. If you’re a fan of action, adventure, and sailing the seas hunting for treasure, then you should certainly consider it. The manga follows Monkey D. Luffy and his crew in search of the Devil Fruit. Throughout the story, you’ll find everything from lovable characters, powerful action, and everything you’d want from a shonen manga.
Satire and superhero aren’t genres that normally come together. However, they’re merged masterfully in the tale of One-Punch Man. If you’re unfamiliar, One-Punch Man is the story of Saitama, a regular guy who trains to become a superhero. While this may seem unlikely, he becomes the strongest superhero who can defeat anything in one punch. However, life has become dull and boring because he never finds anything challenging. Will One-Punch Man eventually meet a nemesis who’s a match for his skills?
One of the best manga in the shoujo romance genre is Ouran High School Host Club. It features Haruhi, a stoic girl with an enormous debt incurred from breaking a vase in Ouran’s Host Club. Thankfully, she has a way to pay it back by passing off as a boy and serving as a host. What follows is a series of shenanigans as both camaraderie and even love blossoms among them.
Despite its initial impression and the protagonist’s art style, Oyasumi Punpun is a deep dive into the darkness of humanity. It tackles multiple issues that are not common in most other manga. However, that’s probably why it can be regarded as one of the best manga of all time. The story delves into difficult — even disturbing — topics such as suicide, rape, violence, and domestic abuse. If you’re brave and up for something dark and thought-provoking, then this one is for you.
Horror and gore aren’t genres you normally pair with innocent children. However, The Promised Neverland doesn’t shy away from it. Set in a peaceful countryside manor named Grace Field House, don’t let this idyllic veneer of an innocent orphanage fool you. It is, in reality, a farm to raise humans as offerings for the monsters who live outside. Will the main characters, who discover this atrocity, escape their reality and survive?
Coming from the brains behind Fairy Tail, Rave Master follows the story of Haru Glory, who discovers Plue, the guardian dog of the Rave Stones. These Rave Stones scattered because of the war between two kingdoms 50 years prior. Now, Haru ventures on a journey to find the missing Rave Stones to become the Rave Master.
Rurouni Kenshin blends action, heroism, and romance together in a beautiful story. It starts with an unknown wanderer defending Kaoru Kamiya, a local kendo instructor caught in the hands of a murderer. However, little does the instructor or the murderer know that the wanderer is Hitokiri Battousai — the assassin of legend.
Sailor Moon is one of the best-known manga series in the magical girl genre, spanning both the manga and anime worlds. It has even made its way into modern-day pop culture. The story follows Usagi Tsukino, the heroine who unexpectedly discovers that she’s the titular Sailor Moon, tasked with the mission to protect the earth from evil threats.
Revenge plotlines make for great entertainment. Skip Beat! features such a storyline, where one Kyoko Mogami was used by her friend to support him to become an idol. However, after being tossed aside, Kyoko vows to get revenge and overshadow him in stardom. Of course, the path isn’t easy, but Kyoko soon discovers her talents and new love interest along the way.
Slam Dunk is a classic sports manga that features Hanamichi Sakuragi, a new student at Shohoku High School. However, school life isn’t easy because of Sakuragi’s past delinquency, from which rumors quickly spread. Thankfully, there’s hope for Sakuragi as his height catches the eye of Haruko Akagi. Sakuragi is then invited to play basketball and the rest is history.
Tokyo Ghoul follows Ken Kaneki, a college student who innocently goes out with a gorgeous woman. However, unbeknownst to Ken, the woman is a monster out to kill him. After an accident saves him from this near-death experience, Ken wakes up to find that he’s turned into a half-monster.
Tokyo Revengers tells the tale of Takemichi Hanagaki, who starts off lamenting his middle school years as an adult. He had great friends and a girlfriend so it was a fun time. However, that was 12 years ago, so those days have long gone. Right now, he’s living a mediocre life, always having to bow down to his younger superior. However, when he accidentally travels back to his middle school days, he uses the opportunity to save his now-dead ex-girlfriend. To his surprise, it works, and Takemichi discovers that he can travel through time to change the future.
If well-executed horror and suspense are the criteria for the best manga, then Uzumaki should certainly win the title. It’s a well-told narrative about a spiral (Uzumaki) curse swirling in a small town called Kurouzu-Cho. Within it, we follow the supernatural occurrences that happen to the protagonist Kirie Goshima and Shuichi Saito.
Japanese culture is well-known for samurai. However, not everyone knows or understands what it takes to become one. Vagabond is a story that explores just that as it delves into the life of famous samurai Musashi Miyamoto. It’s an epic, historical manga depicting the childhood, growth, and development of Musashi as he becomes a master samurai.
The vampire craze may have died down a bit. However, vampires and the supernatural have always been a staple in mangas. However, unlike other unsubstantial vampire stories, Vampire Knight presents a beautifully written story.
This manga follows Yuki Cross, a high schooler with amnesia who can’t remember anything from her past. All she retains are memories after being rescued by a Pureblood from a vampire attack. Now, because of that memory, she’s non-hostile to vampires and believes humans can coexist with them. Even now, she and her friend Zero keep the peace between the day (human) and night (vampire) classes. However, things aren’t always what they appear and many things disrupt this peace.
Set in England during the era of the Vikings, Vinland Saga follows the story of young Thorfinn who’s out to avenge his father’s death. However, while the story starts with this premise, it’s only the tip of the iceberg that is the Vinland Saga.
Throughout the story, you meet new and interesting characters, each with compelling character developments — be it good or bad. Moreover, the story also explores multiple plotlines and themes, including political power struggles, loyalty, and betrayal.
Slice-of-life stories aren’t always compelling due to their slow pacing and easygoing nature. Yotsuba&! reverses this with its heartwarming story. It features young Yotsuba, a young adopted girl who learns about mundane, everyday life and its affairs. While it may seem simple, the story is beautiful and a nice change of pace from the usual epic narratives.
Saving a child’s life might seem heroic, but not everyone would think it grants you a second chance at life. However, that’s precisely what happens to the main character of Yuyu Hakusho. Well, that is, if he can accommodate the spirit world’s request: to perform various acts of kindness.
Final Word on the Best Manga
There’s nothing like reading some of the best manga available to end the day. Not only are there tons of them, but they’re also fairly entertaining and thought-provoking. Hence, they’re the perfect pastime to explore unique genres and stories, especially when you’re bored of regular Netflix shows.