Best Manga of All Time

Looking for the best manga of all time? Check out our list of the top Mangas, including classics like "One-Punch Man," "Nana," and "Kingdom."

Best Manga of All Time

Manga is a vibrant storytelling medium, born in Japan, and has captivated readers worldwide with its dynamic artwork, engaging narratives, and diverse characters. From action-packed epics to heartwarming slice-of-life stories, manga offers something for everyone. But when it comes to the best manga of all time, the question becomes quite complex.

There's no single, universally accepted answer.  What resonates deeply with one reader might not be another's cup of tea.  Genres and styles are vast, ranging from fantasy and science fiction to historical dramas and romantic comedies.  Critical acclaim and reader popularity also play a role in shaping perceptions of "greatness."

This blog post explores various criteria, iconic titles, and the ever-evolving landscape of this art form. Both newcomers and seasoned manga enthusiasts are sure to find something for themselves.

Criteria for Selecting the Greatest Manga

Before diving into specific titles, let's consider some key factors that contribute to a manga's greatness:

  1. Artistic Innovation: Does the artwork push boundaries? Does it effectively capture emotions, convey action sequences, and create a unique visual world?
  2. Narrative Depth: Is the story well-paced and engaging? Does it explore complex themes or offer a fresh perspective on familiar tropes?
  3. Character Complexity: Are the characters relatable and well-developed? Do they undergo growth throughout the story?
  4. Impact on Popular Culture: Did the manga influence other works, inspire adaptations, or leave a lasting impression on the manga community?

These are just some of the benchmarks for considering a manga's greatness. Remember, it's ultimately a subjective experience, and what resonates most with you might differ from others.

Ready to dive into some iconic titles? Let’s start with Shonen manga.

Iconic Manga Titles: A Glimpse into Greatness

Dive into a selection of iconic manga, showcasing narrative depth, complex characters, and the qualities that define "best manga." Explore this diverse glimpse into the captivating world of manga!

Shonen (targeted towards boys):

One-Punch Man by ONE and Yusuke Murata 

One punch man
  • Rating: 8.7/10 (Myanimelist) 
  • A hilarious and action-packed satire of the superhero genre. Saitama, the protagonist, trains to such an extent that he can defeat any opponent with a single punch. The true story lies in the humor, world-building, and struggles of the supporting heroes, making it one of the best manga of all time.

Sousou no Frieren (Frieren: Beyond Journey's End) by Yumihiko Shibata and Asumiko Nakamura

Sousou no Frieren (Frieren: Beyond Journey's End) by Yumihiko Shibata and Asumiko Nakamura
  • Rating: 8.7/ 10 (Myanimelist) 
  • A more introspective take on the fantasy genre, following a seasoned elf warrior named Frieren and her companions years after defeating the Demon King. The story explores themes of mortality, legacy, and the passage of time with stunning artwork and emotional depth, securing its place among the best manga of all time.

Made in Abyss by Akihito Tsukushi 

Made in Abyss by Akihito Tsukushi
  • Rating: 8.7/10 (Myanimelist)
  • A visually breathtaking and hauntingly dark adventure follows Riko, a young girl who descends into a mysterious chasm known as the Abyss, accompanied by a robotic boy named Reg. The story explores themes of loss, the allure of the unknown, and the harsh realities of exploration.

Want to read manga online for free? Read more. 

Seinen (targeted towards young men):

Kokou no Hito (A Drifting Life) by Kazuyuki Kurashima

Kokou no Hito (A Drifting Life) by Kazuyuki Kurashima

  • Rating: 7.9/10 (Myanimelist) 
  • A captivating and introspective slice-of-life manga following the solitary life of Ganta, a middle-aged fisherman who travels the world on his small boat. The story explores themes of isolation, the beauty of nature, and finding peace in simplicity.

Space Brothers by Chōji Kowatari

 

Space Brothers by Chōji Kowatari
  • Rating: 8.7/10 (Myanimelist
  • A heartwarming and inspiring story about two brothers, Mutta and Hibito, who dream of becoming astronauts. The manga chronicles their journeys, setbacks, and unwavering determination to achieve their lifelong goal.

So, what about manga targeted towards girls? Let's explore some incredible shojo titles.

Shojo (targeted towards girls):

Nana by Ai Yazawa

Nana by Ai Yazawa
  • Rating: 8.8/ 10 (Myanimelist) 
  • A complex and realistic portrayal of friendship, love, and chasing dreams following two young women named Nana Osaki and Nana Komatsu who move to Tokyo to pursue their ambitions in music and fashion.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki
  • Rating: 8.8/ 10 (Myanimelist) 
  • A visually stunning and ecologically conscious science fiction epic from the legendary Studio Ghibli co-founder. The story explores themes of environmentalism, war, and the power of compassion in a post-apocalyptic world, cementing its status as one of the best manga of all time.

Interested in learning how to draw your comic book? Learn more. 

Other Demographics(targeted towards young women): 

Akatsuki no Yona (Yona of the Dawn) by Mizuho Kusanagi 

Akatsuki no Yona (Yona of the Dawn) by Mizuho Kusanagi
  • Rating: 8.8/10 (Myanimelist
  • A historical fantasy following Yona, a sheltered princess who must learn to survive and fight for her kingdom after her father is murdered.

Haikyuu!! by Haruichi Furudate 

Haikyuu!! by Haruichi Furudate
  • Rating: 8.8/10 (Myanimelist) 
  • An energetic and heartwarming sports manga following the journey of the underdog volleyball team, Karasuno High School. The story celebrates teamwork, perseverance, and the power of passion for a sport.

Monogatari Series (Bakemonogatari) by Nisio Isin and Vofan

Monogatari Series (Bakemonogatari) by Nisio Isin and Vofan
  • Rating: 4.1/ 5 (Goodreads)
  • A complex and dialogue-driven psychological drama with a unique visual style. The story follows Koyomi Araragi, a high school student who helps girls dealing with supernatural phenomena. Its unique storytelling and deep themes make it one of the best manga of all time.

Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice) by Yoshitoki Oima 

Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice) by Yoshitoki Oima
  • Rating: 4.5/5 (Goodreads) 
  • A poignant and emotionally resonant story exploring themes of bullying, guilt, and redemption. It follows Shouya Ishida, a high school student who seeks to reconnect with a deaf classmate he bullied in elementary school.

 Yotsuba to! by Kiyohiko Azuma 

Yotsuba to! by Kiyohiko Azuma
  • Rating: 4.5 /5 (Goodreads) 
  • A heartwarming and comedic slice-of-life manga following the adventures of a young girl named Yotsuba and her interactions with her new family and neighbors. It's known for its innocence, humor, and heartwarming portrayal of family life.

 March Comes In Like a Lion by Chica Umino 

March Comes In Like a Lion by Chica Umino

Rating: 4.2/5  (Goodreads) 

  • A coming-of-age story follows Rei Kiriyama, a young shogi (Japanese chess) prodigy struggling with emotional turmoil and societal expectations. It delves into themes of depression, grief, and the power of human connection.

 GTO (Great Teacher Onizuka) by Tohru Fujisawa

GTO (Great Teacher Onizuka) by Tohru Fujisawa

  • Rating: 4.3/ 5 (Goodreads) 
  • A comedic and heartwarming story about Eikichi Onizuka, a former biker gang leader who becomes a high school teacher to help troubled students. It tackles themes of delinquency, self-discovery, and the importance of education.

 Kaguya-sama: Love is War by Aka Akasaka

 

Kaguya-sama: Love is War by Aka Akasaka
  • Rating: 4.4/5  (Goodreads) 
  • A hilarious and romantic comedy following two high school student geniuses, Kaguya Shinomiya and Miyuki Shirogane, who are too prideful to confess their feelings for each other and engage in elaborate schemes to make the other confess first.

 Ashita No Joe (Tomorrow's Joe) by Asao Takamori, Tetsuya Chiba, and Yoichi Takahashi 

Ashita No Joe (Tomorrow's Joe) by Asao Takamori, Tetsuya Chiba, and Yoichi Takahashi
  • Rating: 8.3/10 (Myanimelist) 
  • A classic boxing manga, known for its gritty realism and emotional depth. It follows Joe Yabuki, a talented but undisciplined boxer, and his journey through the highs and lows of the boxing world. Its powerful narrative secures it a spot among the best manga of all time.

Real by Takehiko Inoue 

Real by Takehiko Inoue
  • Rating: 8.9/9 (Myanimelist)
  • A sports manga focusing on wheelchair basketball, following the story of a former basketball player who rediscovers his passion for the sport after an accident.

 20th Century Boys by Naoki Urasawa 

20th Century Boys by Naoki Urasawa

  • Rating: 8.9/10 (Myanimelist) 
  • A science fiction and mystery thriller following a group of childhood friends who reunite after receiving cryptic messages seemingly connected to a prophecy from their past.

 Houseki no Kuni (Land of the Lustrous) by Haruko Ichikawa 

Houseki no Kuni (Land of the Lustrous) by Haruko Ichikawa
  • Rating: 8.9/10 (Myanimelist
  • A visually stunning and thought-provoking science fiction story set in a world where sentient gemstones are the dominant life form. It explores themes of identity, beauty, and the fragility of existence.

Kingdom by Yasuhisa Hara

Kingdom by Yasuhisa Hara

  • Rating: 9/10 (Myanimelist
  • A historical epic set in Warring States China, following the rise of Xin, a war orphan who dreams of becoming the greatest general under the heavens. It portrays the struggles and triumphs of war, political intrigue, and the quest for power.

But what does the future hold for manga? Let’s dive into some exciting trends and innovations.

Conclusion

As the world of manga continues to evolve, let’s look at certain aspects: 

  1. A Changing Landscape: We'll explore trends within the industry, the rise of digital platforms like Dashtoon, and the impact of globalization on manga creation and consumption. Digital platforms empower creators, particularly independent artists, to self-publish their work and reach a global audience, bypassing traditional publishing hurdles. Dashtoon, for instance, offers a user-friendly interface and accessibility for international readers, fostering a diverse and innovative manga scene plus free content to consume as well. 
  2. Exciting Prospects: New and thought-provoking themes are constantly emerging in manga. Look for stories that tackle social issues, delve into fresh genres, or offer unique perspectives on classic tropes. 

Dive into the next manga wave! Explore a treasure trove of captivating stories on Dashtoon.