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The 15 Best Manga of All Time


Over the past 60 years, manga has evolved from relative obscurity into one of the world’s most well-known and respected art forms. Manga creators continue to produce countless masterpieces still discussed today, ushering in new generations of avid readers and fans.

Considering the incalculable amount of manga in circulation, it should come as no surprise that some franchises are more well-received than others. Regardless, many series have profoundly impacted the genre, influencing new artists and veterans alike. Whether you’re a new reader of manga or an avid Otaku, these are the 10 best manga of all time, according to the Sakuron Japan team.

List of the 15 best manga of all time

#1 One Piece
Written by Eiichiro Oda
Buy from Amazon: Print | Kindle Version

#2 Naruto 
Written by Masashi Kishimoto
Buy from Amazon: Print | Kindle Version

#3 Fullmetal Alchemist
Written by Hiromu Arakawa
Buy from Amazon: Print | Kindle Version

#4 Dragon Ball
Written by Akira Toriyama
Buy from Amazon: Print | Kindle Version

#5 Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Written by Koyoharu Gotoge
Buy from Amazon: Print | Kindle Version

#6 Beserk
Written by Kentaro Miura
Buy from Amazon: Print | Kindle Version

#7 Steel Ball Run
Written by Hirohiko Araki
Buy from Amazon: Print

#8 Vagabond
Written by Takehiko Inoue
Buy from Amazon: Print

#9 Monster
Written by Naoki Urasawa
Buy from Amazon: Print

#10 Oyasumi Punpun
Written by Inio Asano
Buy from Amazon: Print

#11 Grand Blue
Written by Kenji Inoue
Buy from Amazon: Print

#12 Slam Dunk
Written by Takehiko Inoue
Buy from Amazon: Print

#13 Tokyo Ghoul
Written by Sui Ishida
Buy from Amazon: Print | Kindle Version

#14 Death Note
Written by Tsugumi Ohba
Buy from Amazon: Print

#15 Akira
Written by Katsuhiro Otomo
Buy from Amazon: Print

You can get a short review and some basic information about each book in the following section.

1. One Piece  [Sakuron Rating: 9.9/10]

One Piece
Photo: One Piece

Written by: Eiichiro Oda
Published from: 1997 to Present
Volume: 101
Manga Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
Recommended for: Beginners / Manga Fans

One Piece is one of the most well-known manga and anime franchises to date. The manga was first introduced in 1997 and has since sold over 430 million copies, spanning over a remarkable 67 volumes, making it the highest-selling manga ever. The total known sales value of the manga is more than $5.514 billion.

In One Piece, a notorious “Pirate King,” named Gol D. Roger, tells of an unrivaled treasure called “One Piece” before being executed for his crimes. The story begins twenty-two years later, where the protagonist, Monkey D. Luffy, sets out to find the elusive treasure and become the next “Pirate King.”

Check out volume 1 from here:

Use the following URL to get the first 23 volume set:

2. Naruto [Sakuron Rating: 9.8/10]

Photo: Naruto

Written by: Masashi Kishimoto
Published in: 1999-2014
Volume: 72
Manga Genre: Adventure, Fantasy comedy, Martial arts
Recommended for: Beginners / Manga Fans

For one of the most famous and popular manga worldwide, a huge range of manga fans and otaku agree with Naruto, the Ninja-themed manga. Naruto was serialized on Weekly Shonen Jump for about 15 years from 1999, and a total of 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 in the first place but gradually develops his skill repeatedly suffering setbacks. In addition to the young boy, many of his friends, teachers, and even enemy characters are featured in Naruto. Naruto and other Ninja characters battle with various Ninja techniques using chakra energy. The legendary manga is being followed by the sequel titled “Boruto”, which is the story of Naruto’s son named Boruto.

You can buy the first volume from here:

You can buy the second volume from here:

You can buy the third volume from here:

You can buy the fourth volume from here:

You can buy the fifth volume from here:

3. Fullmetal Alchemist [Sakuron Rating: 9.7/10]

Photo: Fullmetal Alchemist

Written by: Hiromu Arakawa
Published in: 2001-2010
Volume: 27
Manga Genre: Adventure, Dark Fantasy, Steampunk
Recommended for: Beginners / Manga Fans

Fullmetal Alchemist, one of the top-rated modern manga around the world. It is also one of the best-selling manga all over the world, which has sold more than 64 million copies. It 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.

In Fullmetal Alchemist, two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric attempt to bring their mother back to life using the forbidden art of human transmutation. However, their attempts fail, resulting in Alphonse’s soul being ripped from his body. Fortunately, his brother Edward can seal Alphonse’s soul in some armor; though, the pair’s lives become irreparably changed.

You can buy Fullmetal Alchemist complete box set from here:

You can buy Fullmetal Alchemist volumes 4, 5, and 6 (3-in-1 Edition) set from here:


You can buy Fullmetal Alchemist volumes 10, 11, and 12 (3-in-1 Edition) set from here:

You can buy Fullmetal Alchemist volumes 16, 17, and 18 (3-in-1 Edition) set from here:

4. Dragon Ball [Sakuron Rating: 9.6/10]

Dragon Ball
Photo: Dragon Ball

Written by: Akira Toriyama
Published in: 1984-1995
Total volumes: 45
Mange genre: Adventure, Comic Fantasy, Martial arts
Recommended for: Beginners

Speaking of the history of manga, you cannot avoid talking about Dragon Ball. 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 the 1990s and even the whole manga industry.

In the first place, the main character Son Goku begins his adventure to search the world for the Dragon Balls which grants a wish to those who collect all of the seven Dragon Balls. The story proceeds with Goku’s growth through 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 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 from 2015.

5. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba [Sakuron Rating 9.5/10]

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

Written by: Koyoharu Gotoge
Published in: 2016-2020
Volume: 23
Manga genre: Adventure, Comic Fantasy, Martial arts
Recommended for: Beginners/ Manga Fans

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba 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.

Here is the URL for this book.

6. Beserk [Sakuron Rating: 9.4/10]

Photo: Beserk

Written by: Kentaro Miura
Published in: 1989-Present
Volume: 41
Manga genre: Dark Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery
Recommended for: Manga Freaks

Berserk , 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 survive the world in fictional medieval Europe with his large sword. Berserk has been also made into an anime adaption and game. Unfortunately, the manga artist Kentaro Miura passed away in May 2021 before Berserk is completed.

Though the franchise hasn’t sold as many copies as some of the other entries, Berserk is widely considered one of the most critically acclaimed and influential manga of all time. After publishing in 1989, Berserk has won numerous awards and translated into countless languages, establishing its global appeal.

7. Steel Ball Run [Sakuron Rating: 9.3/10]

Steel Ball Run
Photo: Steel Ball Run

Written by: Hirohiko Araki
Published in: 2004-2011
Volume: 24
Recommended for: Manga lovers, Students, Teens, Kids, For School, College, University, and Home, Gift

In 2004, Steel Ball Run was first published as part of Weekly Shounen Jump magazine, originally intended to be separate from the original Jojo seriesHowever, following its popularity, Steel Ball Run was eventually included as Part 7 of JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure).

Steel Ball Run follows Johnny Joestar, who travels to San Diego to watch a highly anticipated race across six thousand kilometers. During the race, Joestar witnessed a contestant using two magical steel balls. After touching one of the balls, Joestar is mysteriously able to walk again after being previously disabled. As a result, Joestar becomes obsessed with the steel balls’ power and decides to join the race himself.

8. Vagabond [Sakuron Rating: 9.2/10]

Photo: Vagabond

Written by: Takehiko Inoue
Published in: 1998 to 2015
Volume: 37
Manga genre: Epic, Historical, Martial arts
Recommended for: Manga Fans / Manga Freaks

Vagabond is an incomplete epic and historical manga, started to be published on Weekly Morning in 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. Set in 16th century Japan, Vagabond is a historically based manga that revolves around Shinmen Takezou. Tired of the provincial small-town life, Takezou and his close friend decide to explore the world outside their village.

Takezou and his friend, Matahachi Honiden, eventually enlist in the Toyotomi army to quench their thirst for adventure; however, the pair are nearly killed in a battle against the Tokugawa Clan. When Shinmen returns home, he is wrongfully accused of the murder of his best friend, Honiden.

9. Monster [Sakuron Rating: 9.1/10]

Photo: Monster

Written by: Naoki Urasawa
Published in: 1994 to 2001
Total volumes: 18
Recommended for: Crime, Thriller type manga lovers

Monster  is an award-winning manga first published in 1994 and has since been translated into five different languages. Most notably, Monster was awarded the grand prize at Tokyo’s annual Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize event in 2000. The plot follows Kenzou Tenma, a former neurosurgeon during World War 2, who was disgraced to operate on an orphan boy rather than the mayor of Düsseldorf. Eventually, however, Tenma can get his position back, soon after a series of murders begin to ravage a post-war Germany.

10. Oyasumi Punpun [Sakuron Rating: 9.0/10]

Oyasumi Punpun
Photo: Oyasumi Punpun

Written by: Inio Asano
Published in: 2007 to 2013
Total volumes: 13
Mange Genre: Coming-of-age, Drama, Slice of life
Recommended for: Manga lovers

Oyasumi Punpun is a highly stylized coming-of-age manga set around Punpun Onodera, an 11-year-old boy who lives with his parents in Japan. Though the series begins on a comedic note, it soon dives into darker thematic elements based on real-life issues.

One day, Onodera meets a new classmate, Aiko Tanaka, and soon develops a relationship. However, Onodera succumbs to the complexities of a mature relationship, causing him to question his fleeting childhood. His naive adolescence is forever shattered one day when he witnesses his father physically abusing his mother.

11. Grand Blue [Sakuron Rating: 8.9/10]

Grand Blue
Photo: Grand Blue

Written by: Kenji Inoue
Published from: 2014-present
Total volumes: 17
Mange Genre: Comedy, Slice of life
Recommended for: Manga lovers, Adult

Grand Blue ,or Grand Blue Dreaming, is known to Western readerswas first published in 2014, and has gained a significant fan base since its release. This comedic manga follows Iori Kitahara, a college freshman at Izu University.

Like many first-year students, Kitahara has certain expectations about college life, which turn out to be quite different than what he experiences. However, he soon grows accustomed to the partying lifestyle while staying at his Uncle’s scuba diving shop called “Grand Blue.”

12. Slam Dunk [Sakuron Rating: 8.8/10]

Slam Dunk
Photo: Slam Dunk

Written by: Takehiko Inoue
Published in: 1990 to 1996
Total volumes: 31
Mange Genre: Comedy, Coming-of-age, Sports
Recommended for: Manga lovers/ Young generation

First published in 1990, Slam Dunk is a sports manga revolving around Hanamichi Sakuragi, a new student at Shohoku High. Rumors quickly spread around the school of his delinquent past, making it hard for Sakuragi to make friends.

However, a classmate, Haruko Akagi, notices Sakuragi’s remarkable height and asks him if he plays basketball. Though he doesn’t care for the sport initially, Sakuragi agrees to demonstrate his skills, ultimately becoming a member of Shohoku High’s basketball team.

You can buy Slam Dunk from here:

13. Tokyo Ghoul [Sakuron Rating 8.7/10]

Tokyo Ghoul
Photo: Tokyo Ghoul

Written by: Sui Ishida
Published in: 2011-2018
Total volumes: 14
Manga genre: Dark fantasy, Supernatural thriller
Recommended for: Manga Fans/Manga Freaks

Tokyo Ghoul is a popular dark fantasy manga, serialized on Weekly Young Jump from 2011 to 2014 and followed by the sequel title Tokyo Ghoul until 2018. The setting is Tokyo where the creatures called Ghouls live in human society. They look like a normal human but subsist on human flesh as food. Its anime adaption is also loved by fans all over the world.

14. Death Note [Sakuron rating 8.6/10]

Death Note
Photo: Death Note

Written by: Tsugumi Ohba
Published in: 2003-2006
Total volumes: 12
Mange Genre: Mystery, Psychological thriller, Supernatural thriller
Recommended for: Manga lovers/ Thriller manga lover

Death Note is also a popular thriller manga. Be it the anime or the manga version, this story is just too good not to mention. It’s a battle between good and evil, but with the lines between them blurred or even erased. Since you’re here reading this list, you’ve likely watched the 30-plus anime episodes or the 8 live-action movies it spawned. It’s a very successful series, and it’s all thanks to its well-written and well-received manga.

It’s undeniable that the main strength of Death Note is its characters. Light Yagami and L are deep, well-thought-out characters that are very dynamic and unpredictable. You, the reader, will still be surprised even when the story gives you an omniscient perspective. You can already tell the bad guys from the good guys, but there will be times where you’ll find yourself surprised with your mouth wide open.

15. Akira [Sakuron Rating: 8.5/10]

Photo: Akira

Written by: Katsuhiro Otomo
Published from: 1982 – 1990
Total volumes: 6
Mange genre: Cyberpunk, Political thriller, Post-apocalyptic
Recommended for: Manga lovers/ Young generation

Akira manga was published in the United States by Marvel Comics under Epic Comics, becoming one of the first manga ever to be completely translated into English. Set in a post-apocalyptic and futuristic “Neo-Tokyo”, more than two decades after a mysterious explosion destroyed the city, the story centers on teenage biker gang leader Kaneda, militant revolutionary Kei, a trio of espers, and Neo-Tokyo military leader Colonel Shikishima, who attempt to prevent Tetsuo, Kaneda’s mentally imbalanced childhood friend, from using his unstable and destructive telekinetic abilities to ravage the city and awaken a mysterious entity with powerful psychic abilities named “Akira”.

Otomo uses conventions of the cyberpunk genre to detail a saga of political turmoil, social isolation, corruption, and power. Widely regarded as a landmark work in cyberpunk and credited with pioneering the Japanese cyberpunk subgenre, Akira received universal acclaim from readers and critics, with Otomo’s artwork, storytelling, characters, and exploration of mature themes and concepts subject to particular praise. The manga also achieved international commercial success, selling millions of copies worldwide.

Even if you have already watched the anime version of Akira, the manga is still worth reading. It is excellent and, without a doubt, deserves to be at the top of this list. How good is it? It’s one of the first manga ever to be completely translated into English and was picked up and published by Marvel Comics. Yup. THAT Marvel Comics. Iron Man. Captain America, Hulk, Shotaro Kaneda. Kidding aside, AKIRA left an everlasting mark on those who’ve read or watched the series. The dark and gritty reimagining of Tokyo, the secretive government agencies, the biker gangs, and many other elements serve as a spice that kept the story fresh for its more than half-a-decade run. The characters, exaggerated as they are during those times, still have depth and dynamism. The antagonists’ evolution from a whiny powerless brat to a force of nature is amazing. Some story arcs tend to be long or dragging, but it’s packed with enough action to sustain your interest until the end.

The 35th-anniversary box set can be found on Amazon: Akira 35th Anniversary Box Set

You can also check the Amazon bestseller manga list:

Last update on 2024-04-13 .

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