The Top 10 Best Manga of All Time
By: Preston Simmons | Written: February 4, 2022
From Webnovel to Manga
“Just read the manga. It’s so much better” is a common phrase you’ll often hear if you are a fan of anime. Though anime may be the more accessible format to experience a story, reading manga is often a much better experience.
A few steps usually occur before an author’s work is turned into an anime. First, the author writes what’s known as a web novel, or WN. The WN is the raw form of the story, without any edits and usually without any artwork. The WN is posted online on either the author’s blog or many amateur writers’ websites. If the WN becomes popular enough, a publisher might ask the author to create a Light Novel.
The Light Novel, or LN, is the edited form of the story, usually without artwork besides the covers. This step is the most similar to a classic literature book. The LN is the long, final draft of the story the author has planned. This LN is then published in physical forms and found in your local bookstore. Many times, this is where the journey ends for the story. However, if the LN becomes popular enough, the author may turn that story into manga.
It’s at the manga stage that things get interesting. Many authors skip the above steps and go straight to making their story in manga form. It’s a lot more work for the author, considering manga requires both art and writing skills. However, if the author is confident enough, the author can find the largest audience to consume their work.
Thousands and thousands of manga artists, or mangaka, take their shot at getting their story widely published in the hopes of one day being known as the author of the best manga of all time. However, the best manga of all time surpasses typical tropes found in this form of literature. Instead, the best manga of all time can be compared with the greatest stories ever told in literature altogether.
These mangas are literary classics known for their fantastic artwork, cultural impact, and genre-defining stories.
Here are the top 10 best manga of all time!
#10 – Kingdom by Yasuhisa Hara
Kingdom by Yasuhisa Hara is one of the best manga of all time due to its massive cast, epic battles, intelligent writing involving political intrigue and military tactics, and having unforgettable characters.
Kingdom is about two ambitious boys, one with a dream of becoming China’s greatest military general ever to live and the other with a vision of uniting China under one banner. It is their story of how they made their dream a reality.
Kingdom is an epic coming-of-age tale of tragedy, joy, success, and failures filled with inspirational and heartbreaking moments. It’s one of the best manga of all time, with little to no flaws. In addition, this manga is loosely based on actual events and real people.
Where to find: You can find Kingdom on Amazon!
#9 – Slam Dunk by Takehiko Inoue
Considered one of the best manga of all time for its comedy, drama, and hype moments, Slam Dunk by Takehiko Inoue takes the number nine spot on the list.
Slam Dunk follows Hanamichi Sakuragi, a boy who wants to impress the girl he likes by joining the Shohoku Highschool basketball team, even though he doesn’t know anything about the sport.
At its core, Slam Dunk is about the characters. Throughout the 276 chapters, you will learn all about the team’s characters, as well as the opponents they play. It may be hard to know who to root for at times because you’ll find yourself wanting both teams to win. It’s an incredible manga (with a great anime as well) that’s worth reading if you are a fan of sports, drama, comedy, and amazing character-building altogether.
Where to find: You can find Slam Dunk on Amazon!
#8 – Oyasumi Punpun by Inio Asano
Oyasumi Punpun, or Goodnight Punpun, by Inio Asano, is one of the unique coming-of-age stories ever created and one of the best manga of all time.
In the most basic of descriptions, Oyasumi Punpun is about a boy’s transition from childhood to adulthood and the struggles he faces in the process.
Oyasumi Punpun is unique because of how realistic the manga is without holding anything back. In many coming-of-age stories or slice of life in general, there is usually some fantastical element that fulfills the reader’s heart with happiness or joy.
Oyasumi Punpun forgoes all of that because, in real life, not everybody’s story is a happy one. Life is hard, brutal, and sometimes cruel, and Oyasumi Punpun shows that life is often the cruelest to the most innocent of people, the ones deserving the most happiness. This is one of the best manga of all time, and it’s sure to be one you will never forget.
Where to find: You can find Oyasumi Punpun on Amazon!
#7 – Grand Blue by Kenji Inoue and Kamitake Yoshioke
Grand Blue is one of the best manga of all time because it is a masterclass of slapstick comedy and over-the-top humor.
At first glance, Grand Blue looks like a typical slice of life manga focused on diving. Technically, it is a manga about diving. In reality, it’s a manga about a diving club and the insane antics that happen in college.
Unlike Oyasumi Punpun or a few more manga that will show up on the list, Grand Blue does not take itself seriously at all. Grand Blue is a manga that you are meant to turn off your mind, relax, and laugh harder than you have in ages for the unexpectedness, absurdity, and hilarity that the guys and girls of the club get into.
Where to find: You can find Grand Blue on Amazon!
#6 – Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa
One of the best anime of all time is unsurprisingly one of the best manga of all time. Number six is Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa.
Fullmetal Alchemist is about two brothers, Edward and Alphonse, on the quest to find the Philosopher’s Stone to return Alphonse to his original body after a tragic accident leaves his soul trapped in a suit of full armor.
Fullmetal Alchemist is a story about brotherhood, loyalty, and never giving up even under unimaginable odds. It’s filled with incredible action sequences, heartbreakingly tragic events, and unforgettable characters.
Though this is an article about manga, the anime adaptation Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is worth watching if you want to watch one of the greatest stories in media.
Where to find: You can find Fullmetal Alchemist on Amazon!
#5 – Monster by Naoki Urasawa
Monster by Naoki Urasawa is one of the best manga of all time. This manga is intense, complex, and intelligent. This manga requires the reader to think, as not everything is explained, but all the clues are there for the reader to put together and come up with the brilliant conclusion that is Monster‘s story.
Monster centers around Kenzou Tenma, a renowned neurosurgeon, who one day had to make a decision that would change his life forever.
This manga is best read entirely blind for the most fulfilling experience. It is one of the greatest thrillers ever told and a masterpiece in fiction.
Where to find: You can find Monster on Amazon!
#4 – Vagabond by Takehiko Inoue and Eiji Yoshikawa
From the creator of Slam Dunk (number nine on this list) comes Takehiko Inoue’s masterpiece and one of the best manga of all time, Vagabond.
Vagabond is the story of Japan’s most renowned swordsman, Mushashi Miyamoto. He goes from an immature man who only wants to be the strongest there is to a wise warrior who learns the meaning of bonds, unity, and life itself.
Loved for its breathtaking artwork, compelling characters, intense action set-pieces, and beautiful writing, Vagabond is considered one of the greatest samurai stories ever written.
Where to find: You can find Vagabond on Amazon!
#3 – One Piece by Eiichiro Oda
One of the greatest adventure stories ever written, One Piece by Eiichiro Oda is also considered one of the best manga of all time.
One Piece follows Monkey D. Luffy and his crew of Strawhats as they travel across the Grand Line searching for the legendary treasure left by Gol D. Roger, called One Piece. On the way, Luffy and his crew travel to different islands where they meet colorful characters and get one step closer to fulfilling their dreams.
One Piece is an incredible story of friendship, family, and adventure. Arguably the greatest shonen manga/anime ever made, you will be hard-pressed to find anything about One Piece to dislike. However, be warned. This manga is unbelievably long. It began in 1997 and is still currently being released today. There are well over 1000 chapters to this manga and many more to come.
Where to find: You can find One Piece on Amazon!
#2 – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure by Hirohiko Araki
The second-best manga of all time is Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure by Hirohiko Araki. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is a unique anime as each part follows a different cast of characters as they go on their adventure.
The main plot of Jojo is different in each iteration. However, the overall story follows the Joestar family descendants as they learn about their mysterious power passed down in their family through generations while fated to battle against the descendants of Dio Brando.
Each iteration is incredible in its way. However, the peak of the manga is in Part 7: Steel Ball Run. But Jojo as a whole is one of the most fun action manga (and anime) ever made. The over-the-top fight scenes and characters make this manga genuinely unique.
Where to find: You can find Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure on Amazon!
#1 – Berserk by Kentaro Miura
Berserk follows Guts, the Black Swordsman, on his quest for revenge against the one who betrayed him.
This manga deserves to be read without any prior knowledge of the series. Without spoiling anything, know that this is not a happy read in any way at all. It’s heart-wrenching and tragic, disturbing yet beautiful and complex in equal measure.
In terms of artwork, as the manga goes on, you’ll see how gorgeously detailed each panel is, as the renaissance paintings of old. In terms of the writing, this is some of the best storytelling in literature, up there with the greatest classics in fantasy and fiction.
Berserk is arguably the greatest manga of all time and should be read by all fans of literature at some point in their lives.
Where to find: You can find Berserk on Amazon!
These are the top 10 best manga of all time. Each of these mangas is worth reading at some point in time, whether you are a fan of anime or reading in general. Once you pick up one of these stories, you’ll realize that through manga, worlds you never even dreamed possible can become a reality.