25 Best Manga of All Time

Check the greatest manga ranking with the latest trends

Best Manga of All Time

Countless comic books are released everyday all over the world, and Japanese comic books, which is known as manga, are what you read at first. Manga is one of the most famous Japanese pop cultures as well as anime.

It is said that the oldest manga originated in Japan in Heian Period (794-1185), which is known as Chojugiga where frolicking animals are depicted. In the 19th century, a traditional Japanese Ukiyo-e (pictures of everyday life) flourished in the country.

In the middle of the 20th century, the famous Japanese weekly manga magazines started to be published including Weekly Shonen Magazine, Weekly Shonen Sunday, Weekly Shonen Jump, etc. On the other hand, American comic books with the theme of superhero, which are also one of the most popular comic book categories, got were gaining popularity among American people.

Manga has got much more popular recently around the globe since anyone can access the Japanese entertaining contents easily. Popular manga are sold in various countries and regions translated into many languages soon after they are published in Japan. Additionally, digital technologies like e-books and online manga services have spread worldwide.

Then, what on earth should you read? Today, I’d like to introduce 25 best manga of all time including classic series and recent and ongoing books. This best manga lineup will help beginners to find the first manga to read and manga fans to dig the manga world deeper. Manga otaku and geeks will enjoy controversial discussions about this manga list.

Of course, you can read the greatest manga in English and other languages.

Let’s start a countdown!

25. Fist of the North Star

Fist of the North Star
Fist of the North Star

Fist of the North Star (北斗の拳), was published on Weekly Shonen Jump between 1983 and 1988, is one of the most famous action manga in Japan in 1980s. The setting is the deserted world after the nuclear war in 1990s, and Kenshiro, the successor of an ancient martial art of assassination called Hokuto Shinken, survives the world battling with villains.

Written by Buronson / Illustrated by Tetsuo Hara
Published in 1983-1988
Recommended for Manga Freaks

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24. Tokyo Ghoul

Tokyo Ghoul
Tokyo Ghoul

Tokyo Ghoul (東京喰種トーキョーグール) is a popular dark fantasy manga, serialized on Weekly Young Jump from 2011 to 2014 and followed by the sequel title Tokyo Ghoul:re (東京喰種トーキョーグール:re) until 2018. The setting is Tokyo where the creatures called Ghouls live in the human society. They look like a normal human but subsist on human flesh as food. Its anime adaption is also loved by the fans all over the world.

Written by Sui Ishida
Published in 2011-2018
Recommended for Manga Fans/Manga Freaks

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23. Rave Master

Rave Master
Rave Master

35 volumes of Rave Master (Rave) were written by the popular manga creator Hiro Mashima who is also known for another his masterpiece Fairy Tail. Rave Master was serialized from 1999 to 2005 on Weekly Shonen Magazine. The fantasy adventure manga follows the main character Haru Glory in search of the five pieces of the sacred stone Rave.

Written by Hiro Mashima
Published in 1999-2005
Recommended for Beginners / Manga Fans

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22. Uzumaki

Uzumaki
Uzumaki

Uzumaki (うずまき), which consists of three volumes of manga, has been popular among not only Japanese but also international fans since it was published in 1998-1999. The horror manga has the theme of Uzumaki which means spirals in Japanese. In the fictional cursed town named Kurouzu-cho, the main character Kirie Goshima and her boyfriend Shuichi Saito experiences strange supernatural incidents.

Written by Junji Ito
Published in 1998-1999
Recommended for Manga Fans/Manga Freaks

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21. Yu Yu Hakusho

Yu Yu Hakusho
Yu Yu Hakusho

Yu Yu Hakusho (幽☆遊☆白書) is one of the most popular adventure manga in Weekly Shonen Jump comic books in 1990s. The main character Yusuke Urameshi dies in a car accident and revives after a challenging time. He investigates supernatural incidents as an Underworld Detective with other unique characters including Kurama, Goki and Hiei.

Written by Yoshihiro Togashi
Published in 1990-1994
Recommended for Manga Fans

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20. Berserk

Berserk
Berserk

Berserk (ベルセルク), a dark fantasy ongoing manga, has been published on Young Animal since 1989. The story focuses on the journey of the main character Guts, who survives the world in the fictional medieval Europe with his large sword. Berserk has been also made into an anime adaption and games.

Written by  Kentaro Miura
Published from 1989
Recommended for Manga Freaks

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19. One-Punch Man

One-Punch Man
One-Punch Man

One-Punch Man (ワンパンマン), one of the most popular manga worldwide, is a superhero and comedy title. It has been serialized on the free online manga magazine Tonari no Young Jump since 2012. The superhero-themed manga features the main character Saitama who looks a normal person but is the most strongest character. He can beat any enemies with just a single punch. It was adapted into an anime in 2015, which was followed by the second season in 2019.

Written by ONE / Illustrated by Yusuke Murata
Published from 2012
Recommended for Beginners / Manga Fans

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18. Oyasumi Punpun

Oyasumi Punpun
Oyasumi Punpun

Oyasumi Punpun (おやすみプンプン), a slice-of-life and drama manga, was serialized on Weekly Shonen Sunday in 2007 and on Big Comic Spirits from 2008. The manga is less known to manga fans outside Japan. The avant-garde story with 13 volumes focuses on the reality of human life though the chick-shaped main character named Punpun.

Written by Inio Asano
Published in 2007-2013
Recommended for Manga Freaks

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17. Slam Dunk

Slam Dunk
Slam Dunk

Slam Dunk (スラムダンク), a basketball-themed manga, is one of the most popular sports manga in Japan. It is looked on as the legend in the golden age of Weekly Shonen Jump in 1990s. The delinquent high schooler Hanamichi Sakuragi who has not played basketball begins the sports in the school club with unique team memberssuch as his rival Kaede Rukawa and Takenori Akagi.

Written by Takehiko Inoue
Published in 1990-1996
Recommended for Manga Fans

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16. Bleach

Bleach
Bleach

Bleach (ブリーチ), an action and adventure manga, started on Weekly Shonen Jump in 2001 and the story was completed in 2016 with the 74 volumes. Bleach centers on the Samurai protagonist named Ichigo Kurosaki, who fights with monstrous Hollows as a Soul Reaper. The anime adaption was aired between 2004 and 2012.

Written by Tite Kubo
Published in 2001-2016
Recommended for Beginners

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15. Case Closed

Case Closed
Case Closed

Case Closed (名探偵コナン), which is also known as Detective Conan, is the most famous mystery manga with about 100 volumes and sometimes regarded on as the modern Japanese Sherlock Holmes. The high school detective Shinichi Kudo is transformed into a kid by a poison, and he solves a variety of cases hiding his true identity from the opposite Black Organization.

Written by Gosho Aoyama
Published from 1994
Recommended for Beginners / Manga Fans

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14. Vagabond

Vagabond
Vagabond

Vagabond (バガボンド), an incomplete epic and historical manga, started to be published on Weekly Morning from 1998 but the writer has stopped writing since 2015. The story focuses on the life of the famous Japanese Samurai Musashi Miyamoto (who lived in 1584-1645). How the poor teenager grows and develops the sword skills as a Samurai is depicted in the manga.

Written by Takehiko Inoue
Published from 1998
Recommended for Manga Fans / Manga Freaks

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13. My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia
My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia (僕のヒーローアカデミア) is one of the most popular ongoing manga in Weekly Shonen Jump with the theme of superhero. A young boy Izuku Midoriya with no special ability called Quirks tries hard to become a powerful hero to fight the Villains with other various heroes. Both the manga and its anime adaption are rated by international fans around the world.

Written by Kohei Horikoshi
Published from 2014
Recommended for Beginners

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12. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

For Studio Ghibli fans, don’t miss the manga version of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (風の谷のナウシカ). It is mainly known as the first Ghibli anime movie, but it was the manga to be made first. And, you can read the sequel story with all of the seven volumes. The main character Nausicaä, the princess of the Valley of the Wind, seeks a way for both people and nature to co-exist harmoniously.

Written by Hayao Miyazaki
Published in 1982-1994
Recommended for Beginners / Manga Fans

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11. Death Note

Death Note
Death Note

For manga fans all over the globe, Death Note (デスノート) is the well-known mystery and horror manga of Weekly Shonen Jump. All of the 12 volumes were published in the mid 2000s. One day, the protagonist Light Yagami finds a Death Note: when a name of a person is written on it, he or she dies. He and another main character L fight with each other as if they played a mind game.

Written by Tsugumi Ohba / Illustrated by Takeshi Obata
Published in 2003-2006
Recommended for Beginners / Manga Fans

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10. Rurouni Kenshin

Rurouni Kenshin
Rurouni Kenshin

Rurouni Kenshin (るろうに剣心 -明治剣客浪漫譚-), which is also known as Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story or Samurai X, was serialized on Weekly Shonen Jump between 1994 and 1999. The story proceeds with a Samurai named Kenshin Himura in Japan in the Meiji period (1868-1912). It is followed by the ongoing title Rurouni Kenshin: The Hokkaido Arc (るろうに剣心 -明治剣客浪漫譚・北海道編-) from 2017.

Written by Nobuhiro Watsuki
Published in 1994-1999
Recommended for Manga Fans

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9. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

The classic manga series JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (ジョジョの奇妙な冒険) started as the first season called Phantom Blood on Weekly Shonen Jump in 1987, and the latest part JoJolion is being serialized on Ultra Jump. The action and adventure manga depicts mysterious adventures of the Joestar family. It is interesting that a main character varies by part but they all are the Joestar family.

Written by Hirohiko Araki
Published from 1987
Recommended for Manga Fans / Manga Freaks

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8. Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人), which has been serialized on Bessatsu Shonen Magazine since 2009, is one of the hottest manga. For its enormous popularity, the dark-fantasy manga has been adapted into an anime with four seasons and a live-action movie. The symbol of the manga is titans that make humanity stand on the edge of extinction. The main characters Eren Yeager and Mikasa Ackerman with the other Survey Corps members battle against the titans investigating why the titans exist in the world.

Written by Hajime Isayama
Published from 2009
Recommended for Beginners / Manga Fans

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7. Fullmetal Alchemist

Fullmetal Alchemist
Fullmetal Alchemist

Fullmetal Alchemist (鋼の錬金術師), one of the top-rated modern manga around the world, was published on Monthly Shonen Gangan between 2001 and 2010. It can be categorized into various genres such as adventure, action, dark-fantasy, science fiction, etc. The story proceeds with the alchemist brothers named Edward Elric and Alphonse Elric, who can use alchemy to create anything they desire in exchange for something of equal value. Of course, some anime adaptions were created for the fans of Fullmetal Alchemist.

Written by Hiromu Arakawa
Published in 2001-2010
Recommended for Beginners / Manga Fans

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6. Akira

Akira
Akira

As the famous manga creator Katsuhiro Otomo and his works have lots of fans all over the globe, his masterpiece Akira (アキラ) should be listed in the best manga lineup. 120 chapters of Akira were published on Weekly Young Magazine between 1982 and 1990, and the anime movie adaption, which was released in 1988, has been worldly renowned.

The sci-fi and near-future manga is set in the fictional, catastrophic city Neo-Tokyo in 2019, which is deserted for by an enormous explosion 37 years ago. The two main characters Shotaro Kaneda and Tetsuo Shima are mixed up in the chaotic conspiracy of the government with Akira who looks like a small child and has the devastating psychic power.

Akira represents a variety of social problems, and surprisingly, 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are scheduled in this manga as well as the real world even though it was written from 1982. The fact became a popular topic among Japanese and international fans.

Written by Katsuhiro Otomo
Published in 1982-1990
Recommended for Manga Fans / Manga Freaks

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5. Hunter x Hunter

Hunter x Hunter
Hunter x Hunter

As the greatest mange in recent years, Hunter x Hunter (ハンター×ハンター) should be listed with admiration. The Weekly Shonen Jump’s adventure manga has been written since 1998 by Yoshihiro Togashi who is also known for Yu Yu Hakusho. The story centers on the young boy named Gon Freecss. He starts his journey to find his father Ging Freecss who left him at a young age. While traveling, he meets lots of attractive characters including Killua Zoldyck, Kurapika, Leorio, and so on.

What is interesting is that the villains are also unique and attractive as well as Gon’s friends. The writer stops creating the following story on and off, however, a large number of fans all over the world are looking forward to reading the mange until it is completed.

Written by Yoshihiro Togashi
Published from 1998
Recommended for Beginners / Manga Fans

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4. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (鬼滅の刃) is one of the best manga in the 21st century and many fans regard it as the best one of all time. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba started to be serialized on Weekly Shonen Jump in 2016, which was finally completed in May, 2020 while it’s at the peak of popularity.

The story is set in the fictional world of Japan in the Taisho period (1912-1926). Demons exist threatening human peace there, and selected demon slayers wipe out them. The protagonist Tanjiro Kamado decides to fight with demons after his family is attacked by demons. The growth of Tanjiro and his meeting with his friends are featured in the manga.

Some spin offs as short manga and novels have been published, and anime adaptions are being produced.

If you look for recommended manga like Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, check this list of manga for those who love it!

Written by Koyoharu Gotoge
Published in 2016-2020
Recommended for Beginners / Manga Fans

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3. Dragon Ball

Dragon Ball
Dragon Ball

Speaking of the history of manga, you cannot avoid talking about Dragon Ball (ドラゴンボール). The action and adventure manga was serialized on Weekly Shonen Jump for about a decade from 1984, which contributed to the flourishing age of the Japanese comic book magazine brand in 1990s and even the whole manga industry.

At the first place, the main character Son Goku begins his adventure to search the world for the Dragon Balls which grant a wish to those who collect all of the seven Dragon Balls. The story proceeds with the Goku’s growth though hard training and battles with various characters. As Kamehameha which is an energy attack the characters emit is well-known in the manga, Dragon Ball has led the martial-arts genre of manga with the unique battle techniques for a long time.

The two generations of Goku, his son Gohan and his second son Goten are mainly featured in the whole story. The second part of the story, which is also known as Dragon Ball Z, starts after Goku has grown up. Dragon Ball is followed by the official sequel Dragon Ball Super (ドラゴンボール超)  from 2015.

Written by Akira Toriyama
Published in 1984-1995
Recommended for Beginners

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2. Naruto

Naruto
Naruto

For one of the most famous and popular manga worldwide, a huge range of manga fans and otaku agree with Naruto (ナルト), the Ninja-themed manga. Naruto was serialized on Weekly Shonen Jump for about 15 year from 1999, and totally 72 volumes with 700 chapters were published. As of 2019, about 250 million copies were sold all over the world.

The setting of the manga is the fictional world of Shinobi (Ninja), and it focuses on the main character Naruto, who is hopeless as Ninja at the first place but gradually develops his skill repeatedly suffering setbacks. In addition to the young boy, many his friends, teachers and even enemy characters are featured in Naruto. Naruto and other Ninja characters battle with various Ninja techniques using the chakra energy.

The legendary manga is being followed by the sequel titled “Boruto”, which is the story of Naruto’s son named Boruto.

Written by  Masashi Kishimoto
Published in 1999-2014
Recommended for Beginners / Manga Fans

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1. One Piece

One Piece
One Piece

One Piece (ワンピース), which has been serialized on Weekly Shonen Jump since 1997, is the best manga of all time, which almost nobody can disagree with. 96 volumes have been published and totally about 470 million copies are sold worldwide. It has been translated into foreign languages in more than 40 countries and regions.

The action and adventure manga centers of a pirate Monkey D. Luffy with his crews sailing around the sea to seek the world’s ultimate treasure known as “One Piece”. In addition to the treasure, a Devil Fruit is one of the symbols of the manga, which give a supernatural power to those who eat one in exchange for an ability to swim. Luffy’s body is changed into the rubber one after eating the Gum-Gum Fruit. Every character including Luffy, his crews and other pirates and opposite marine forces is depicted powerfully and attractively.

One Piece consists of quite many important themes such as tight-knit crews, pure dreams, loves, histories, social problems, conflicts and so on. Any kind of fan can sympathize and enjoy the story and the personalities of the characters.

Written by Eiichiro Oda
Published from 1997
Recommended for Beginners / Manga Fans

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Did you enjoy this best manga list of all time? I tried to be objective as much as I can to complete this selection. Numerous recent manga are being published these days, and this list will be updated if a potential new manga appears.

▽Where to read manga legally? Here are best manga sites!▽

▽For the newcomers, check the best manga for beginners!▽

▽For manga lovers who want to learn Japanese, check these manga perfect for Japanese learners!▽

If you are interested in manga, it is highly recommended to check the best anime, too!

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