Manga is more than comic books and graphic novels. These Japanese animations are actually a cultural phenomenon that originated in Japan back in the Heian Period and evolved in what we recognize today as manga in the 19th century.
Manga refers to cartooning and comics in Japan, where there are manga readers of all ages – from young children to adults and elderly males and females.
There are multiple genres in the manga medium, including adventure, action, comedy, historical, drama, romance, mystery, sci-fi, horror, fantasy, sports, erotica, and others.
At the beginning of the 20th century, various publications began publishing serialized manga comics. Some of these publications are Weekly Shonen Magazine, Weekly Shonen Jump, Weekly Shonen Sunday, and many more.
The collections of the popular manga comics are published in books known as tankobon volumes.
Many of them have been adapted into TV anime series and live-action films as well.
As a result, countless fans of manga began following their favorite stories, and gradually the unique Japanese animated cartoons gained popularity around the world too.
In Japan, manga magazines and books hold a large share of the entire publishing market and sales.
Today, there are manga and anime fans all over the globe, and now that manga and anime are being translated, this art has become even more accessible to new and long-time manga fans from all over the planet.
Since there are thousands of manga series and publications, finding where to start can be confusing for newbies.
We have collected the greatest manga, which you should read, no matter whether you are a manga freak, fan, or a complete beginner in the genre.
Here is the complete list of the top-ranked manga books which you should read in 2021.
Fist of the North Star, written by Buronson and illustrated by Tetsuo Hara, was one of the most popular shounen action manga comics, which was published from 1983 to 1988 in the longest-running and bestselling Weekly Jump magazine, which is a staple in the manga industry.
The manga comics, which were published every week for 5 years, follow the story of Kenshiro, a deadly martial art master who battles with gangs of villains in a post-nuclear war world in the 1990s.
The weekly manga comic includes 245 chapters in 27 tankobon volumes published by Shueisha.
Tokyo Ghoul is another famous dark manga comic that was published in Weekly Young Jump magazine from the period 2011 to 2014. It was then followed up with a sequel titled Tokyo Ghoul: Re, which was published in 2018.
The story is set in Tokyo, where a young student Ken Kaneki turns into a hybrid between a human and a Ghoul. Ghouls eat human flesh, and Ken Kaneki needs to learn how to live with his new powers and needs and takes part in the Ghoul wars and in their society.
This is a much-loved manga written by Sui Ishida, which was serialized in a TV series and in a live-action film, and has a huge fan following in Japan and around the world.
You can buy the complete box set, including all of the original volumes from 1 to 14.
Rave Master is a superb manga to start with if you are new to the genre.
It includes 35 volumes written by Hiro Mashima, which were published in Weekly Shonen Magazine from 1995 to 2005.
The long-running manga is a fantasy adventure about Haru Glory, who is on a quest to find all five pieces of the Rave sacred stone.
It is a beautiful and captivating manga that even newbies will enjoy binge reading and is one of the greatest comic books on this list.
Written by Junji Ito, Uzumaki was published from 1998 to 1999 and has become a favorite manga of fans in Japan and around the world.
The manga has three volumes that explore the weird and supernatural experiences and incidents which occur to Kirie Goshima and Shuichi Saito in a cursed town called Kurouzu-Cho.
The horror manga will keep readers on edge from page one to the last page.
The title of the manga Uzumaki means “spirals,” and you will soon find yourself spiraling into the terrifying world of the main characters.
It is a bizarre and terrifying tale and is recommended for all manga fans, and is a top-recognized series in the manga industry.
The captivating adventure manga written and illustrated by Yoshihiro Togashi was and still is one of the most popular manga books in the 1990s.
The story is about a teenage boy named Yusuke Urameshi who dies in an accident while saving the life of a child. After his death, the afterlife gives him another chance because of his selfless act.
Yusuke becomes a ghost on a mission to perform good deeds.
The adventure comic follows Yusuke and all of the strange adventures and experiences he goes through in this middle ground between life and death.
The manga was originally published from 1990 to 1994 and is still one of the favorite comics of manga fans from all over the world.
Written and illustrated by Kentaro Miura, Berserk is among the longest-running manga, which has been published in Young Animal ever since 1989, and today in 2021, it is still ongoing.
The story is about Guts, the Black Swordsman who is fearless and leads to endless battles in medieval Europe.
The main character is marked by an evil symbol that draws dark forces to him, but he is not ready to surrender to them.
This manga series is everything that a true manga freak wants – it includes sword-fighting scenes, some horror, and thriller elements and is also funny.
Today, this long-running manga has been adapted into an anime series and in multiple games.
One-Punch Man is another great manga, which is suitable both for die-hard manga fans and for complete newbies to the genre.
The ongoing manga has been published in Tonari no Young Jump magazine ever since 2012.
It is written by ONE and illustrated by Yusuke Murata and tells the story of Saitama, who has superpowers and can beat each and every adversary with a single punch. This may be considered a superpower to others, but for the main character, it causes boredom.
The fun-filled adventure and action manga is still being published, and meanwhile, it was turned into a hugely successful and hilarious TV anime series by Madhouse, with two seasons released in 2015 and 2019.
Oyasumi Punpun by Inio Asano is the story of young Punpun Onodera who is facing all kinds of family and romantic troubles. It is a coming of age story of an average high school kid looking for happiness and for a way out from his daily problems, such as his parents getting a divorce and having a crush on a girl who is in a weird cult.
The manga includes 13 volumes published in Weekly Shonen Sunday from 2007 and then in Big Comic Spirits from 2008 to 2013.
It is not so well known outside of Japan, but it is a true treat to read for all die-hard manga fans around the world.
Slam Dunk, written by Takehiko Inoue, was published from 1990 to 1996 in Weekly Shonen Jump and quickly became one of the most beloved and popular sports manga series in Japan.
The sports manga story follows the life, sports ambitions, and the quest for becoming a champion of young schoolboy Hanamichi Sakuragi and his relationship with his crush Haruko Akagi, and his sports and love rival Kaede Rukawa.
The story about sports, friendship, high school life, and compromise will keep you wanting to read more and more.
It was adopted in one of the most popular sports anime TV series by the same name too.
If you are now entering the wonderful world of manga, then Bleach is another excellent place to start.
This exciting action-adventure manga written by Tite Kubo was published from 2001 to 2016 and includes 74 action-packed volumes.
The story is focused on Ichigo Kurosaki, who is a student and, at the same time, a Soul Reaper Samurai.
The boy receives his powers while defending his family from an evil Hollow spirit.
From then on, the mission of Ichigo Kurosaki is to protect the innocent and to help good tortured spirits to find peace by battling off the monstrous evil Hollows.
The manga was adapted into a successful anime series that ran from 2004 to 2012. You can also take a look at our top anime series list.
This manga written and illustrated by Gosho Aoyama is also known as Detective Conan. It has been published since 1994 and is still ongoing, with over 100 volumes released so far.
The manga is often compared to the Japanese version of the Sherlock Holmes stories.
The main character of the story is a detective named Shinichi Kudo, who gets transformed into a child but goes on resolving crimes under his new identity under the fake name Conan Edogawa.
The manga is suitable for manga fans as well as for beginners alike and is a fun and exciting read.
Illustrated and written by Takehiko Inoue, Vagabond is a manga series that was published in Weekly Morning from 1998 until 2015, when the author stopped writing it. Vagabond is still one of the top 10 bestselling manga series of all time in Japan, with over 100 million volumes published.
The story is about a Japanese samurai named Musashi Miyamoto, who lived in the mid-17th century and who grew up from being an underprivileged poor boy to a young brutal killer and eventually into one of the most notorious samurais.
The story is based on the novel Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa and is one of the most popular samurai themed manga series in history. It is beautifully drawn and is full of action, adventure, sword fights, and intriguing stories.
This ongoing manga has been published in Weekly Shonen Jump since 2014 and is still among the most popular superhero-themed manga in Japan and around the world.
My Hero Academia is written by Kohei Horikoshi and is about a young boy named Izuku Midoriya who is striving to become a powerful superhero and fight off villains with other superheroes.
The manga is suitable for serious fans and for newbies alike, and now you can purchase a set of the first 15 volumes at a great price.
Written and illustrated by legendary director Hayao Miyazaki from Studio Ghibli, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is a beautifully drawn, epic fantasy tale, considered a true masterpiece.
The anime movie of the same name was the first one by Ghibli, but the manga is definitely worth reading – both the original and the sequel, which includes another 7 volumes.
The fairy tail story is about the princess of the Valley of the Wind, Nausicaa, who has a goal to find a way in which humans and nature can co-exist in harmony and peace.
The original manga was published from 1982 to 1994 and is now available in a full box set suitable for beginners and for manga fans.
Written by Makoto Yukimura, Vinland Saga is the story of young Thorfinn, who is the son of Thors the Troll, a legendary warrior who is on a quest to seek vengeance for his brutally murdered father by an adversary Askeladd.
The story is set in Viking-controlled England and is an enthralling historical action and adventure.
The manga was serialized in Weekly Shonen Magazine and later in Afternoon magazine and is still ongoing.
It has been adapted into a 24-episode anime series from 2019 as well and has won numerous awards for best manga through the years.
It is beautifully written and drawn and is a perfect read for any manga fan – old or new.
Death Note is one of the most popular horrors and mystery mangas of all time.
Written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, the manga includes 12 volumes, which were published from 2003 up to 2006 in Weekly Shonen Jump.
The story follows the life of high school student Light Yagami who stumbles upon a Death Note, which is a notebook that ensures that anybody who’s name is written in it dies.
Light Yagami begins a quest to kill off known criminals by writing their names down.
This attracts the attention of Police Detective L, who sets on a mission to capture the serial killer who is mysteriously killing off criminals.
The top manga story is absolutely enthralling, and the mind games portrayed will keep you wanting to read more and more.
The complete box set includes 13 volumes, which are suitable for newbies and for long-time anime and manga fans, and considered one of the most outstanding manga series of all time.
This manga, written by Nobuhiro Watsuki, was published in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1994 to 1999.
It is a beautiful action, historical and romantic tale of a wandering samurai Kenshin Himura in the Meiji era in Japan.
The young swordsman transforms from a ferocious assassin into an honorable samurai who is on a quest to protect the innocent and the weak in need.
The manga was followed by a sequel titled Rurouni Kenshin: The Hokkaido Arc, which has been published since 2017 and is still ongoing.
This is one of the most-loved, classic manga, which is written by Hirohiko Araki and has been published since 1987.
The ongoing action, mystery, and adventure manga is about the strange adventures of the members of the Joestar family.
The manga is filled with amazing adventures, battles, weird characters, and crazy humor.
Jojo’s bizarre adventure is a fun-filled manga recommended for all manga freaks out there, and is one of the funniest mangas on this list.
Attack on Titan is another hugely popular manga turned into a 4-season anime series and a popular live-action movie.
The manga written by Hajime Isayama has been published since 2009 and is the story of the endless adventures and battles of Survey Corp members Eren Yeager and Mikasa Ackerman who are on a mission to protect the world from the titans who are terrifying giant humanoids and to understand why they exist in the first place.
The manga is great for all fans of the series and the film but is also an excellent gift idea for children who are just getting acquainted with manga and who don’t like to read books as a whole.
Written by Hiromu Arakawa, and published in Monthly Shonen Gangan from 2001 to 2010, Fullmetal Alchemist is still among the top-rated and most popular manga and anime series in history.
The story is about brothers Alphonse and Edward Elric, who are on a quest to become alchemists in order to resurrect their dead mother and to break the curse which has been placed on them.
The famous manga includes elements of sci-fi, fantasy, adventure, and everything else a manga fan can expect.
Considered the best manga ever by thousands of fans, this comic series is suitable for beginners and die-hard fans alike.
Akira, written by Katsuhiro Otomo and published from 1982 to 1990, is considered a true masterpiece of manga and Japanese animation.
The manga includes 120 chapters, which were originally published in Weekly Young Magazine.
Based on the manga, the anime series bearing the same name gained international fame and a huge fan following.
The sci-fi manga is about fictional city Neo Tokyo which in 2019 is devastated by a third world war and a deadly blast.
Akira is the ruthless and insanely powerful leader of an agency that is set to demolish the city.
Teenage friends Tetsuo and Kaneda get drawn into this conflict and start fighting against the agency and Akira to prevent the destruction of Neo Tokyo.
This manga is filled with cyberpunk details, complex themes, sci-fi stories, and some fantastic ideas.
Hunter x Hunter is another manga masterpiece that is ranked among the top mangas to read and also one of the greatest anime series of all time.
The manga written by Yoshihiro Togashi has been published in Weekly Shonen Jump since 1998 and is still ongoing with some pauses by the author.
The story revolves around young boy Gon Freecss who is determined to find his father who abandoned him at an early age. He decides to become a “hunter” who is an elite warrior in search of treasures and bounty hunting. Along the way, he meets some amazing friends as well as foes.
The shounen manga is packed with action, adventures, fantasy, and tales about superpowers.
The top manga to read has been turned into one of the most popular anime series as well.
The Hunter x Hunter is suitable for newbies and for long-time manga fans.
Regarded one of the top manga of our century, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is written by Koyoharu Gotoge and was published in Weekly Shonen Jump from 2016 up to May 2020.
The story is about Tanjiro Kamado, who is on a quest to fight demons following an attack on his family. The story is set during the Taisho period in Japan, during which demons are threatening to destroy the world and humanity.
The adventures of Tanjiro Kamado and his friends are thrilling and will be loved by manga fans and beginners alike.
The top-ranked manga of all time, according to leading ranking and manga sites, One Piece has been published in Weekly Shonen Jump ever since 1997 and is still ongoing today.
There are more than 96 volumes of this manga by Eiichiro Oda, translated into over 40 languages, and nearly 500 million copies have been sold around the world.
One Piece is the enthralling adventure and action story about Monkey D. Luffy, who, along with his friends, decides to become the most famous pirate in the world and find the priceless treasure known as One Piece.
The good-natured and hilarious pirate and all of his friends get involved in all sorts of fun and thrilling adventures.
The famous manga has been adapted into a 950 episode anime series and into a live-action version, which is currently in the works.
If you are into manga, into treasure hunting adventures, and pirates, then One Piece is a great choice for manga to read.
The story of son Goku on a mission to find all seven Dragon Balls which can summon a magic dragon who can grant a wish may sound mundane, but this action-filled adventure with the most amazing martial art manga battle scenes is among the most famous and highly ranked manga of all time.
Written by Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball originally ran from 1984 to 1995 in Weekly Shonen Jump.
Its original completed first chapters are 519, published in 42 tankobon volumes by Shueisha.
After its huge success, this manga was turned into a successful franchise with four anime series and is followed by sequels of the adventures of Goku’s son Gohan titled Dragon Ball Z and then Dragon Ball Super.
It is one of the top 3 best-selling mangas worldwide and is considered to be among the greatest manga of all time.
Even if you have never read a single manga comic book in your life, you have probably heard of Naruto.
The ninja-themed manga, written by Masashi Kishimoto, has become the most popular and famous manga in the world.
The manga was published in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1999 to 2014 and includes 72 volumes with 700 chapters.
Over the years, over 250 million copies of the famous manga have been sold worldwide.
Naruto is the main character in the series and one who starts out as an inept boy but gradually manages to develop amazing ninja skills.
The story also focuses on Naruto’s friends, teachers, and adversaries, and includes amazing martial art battle scenes, adventures, and incredible humor.
The series is followed by the sequel Boruto which is a story about the son of Naruto.
This manga is definitely one of the perfect mangas ever to start if you are a beginner or if you are looking for ways to introduce your child to the magical world of manga.
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