8 Best Manga of All Time: Any Fan Should Check Out

Are you interested in stepping out of your comfort zone when it comes to reading? If so, picking up a manga could be a great place to start. But you may not know which manga to choose. Read on to learn what makes a manga great and what the 8 best manga of all time are.

What Makes a Manga Great

great manga

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If you’re wondering what the best manga of all time is, you probably want to know what makes a manga great in the first place. The best mangas grip you with their interesting storylines. However, you keep reading because you empathize with the characters and want to see what happens to them. Additionally, any contender for the best manga of all time must have these three qualities:

1. Display of Emotion Through Art

Since there is no sound as a way to display emotions, manga has to rely on text and facial expressions. Every best manga of all time does so with ease, conveying anything from excitement to confusion and sadness through the animation. Additionally, the animation style of mangas is quite similar across the board. Hence, the mangas that stand out must have a unique approach that will differentiate them.

2. The Internal Logic and Consistency of a Manga

Most mangas contain aspects that aren’t found in reality. Still, if the story doesn’t make sense within the world the manga is set in, reading it will just leave you confused. Similarly to a good book, a good manga must have internal logic and consistency in order to be considered the best manga of all time.

That means the author must respect the limits he put in place. For example, if the established magic system changes halfway through the manga, it would make for a bad read. On the other hand, it’s good for characters to change their motivation or gain new powers from time to time. Still, if they stray too far away from their original selves, the storyline may leave you confused and disinterested.

3. Thorough Storytelling and a Satisfying Closure

Getting a satisfying answer to your questions about the world and character’s motivation is one of the main qualities of the best manga of all time. A good manga must be concise and provide at least some closure with each volume.

Although it’s expected to keep the big mystery unanswered until the last episode, the manga must answer some questions sporadically. Deepening storylines with a lot of pending mysteries will annoy the reader after a while.

Additionally, a good anime must tell a good, thorough story. If a manga is better the second time you read it, that means its storytelling was precise and purposeful.

Why You Should Read a Manga

Why You Should Read a Manga

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Although they remain the most popular in East Asia, you can find manga fans all over the globe. These are the four reasons you should give mangas a try:

1. You’ll Surely Find a Manga That Fits Your Preferences

There are so many genres of manga that you’ll surely find one that resonates with you. Firstly, a lot of mangas contain a kind of magic or ability system. Within this category, you can find mangas that are more focused on action and battle scenes. Alternatively, you can opt for mangas that are more thought-provoking and focused on a battle of wits between the main characters.

Still, you may want a storyline that’s grounded in reality. Don’t worry, you can also find mangas with plenty of romance and drama. All in all, there is a wide array of mangas to choose from. Try out a few genres and see which one you like the most.

2. The Manga Art Styles are Unique

The art style that’s featured in many mangas is quite different from art styles found in Western comic books. The main features of manga art are big, expressive eyes. Manga art is much less in-your-face than comic book art. It features softer colors, and it’s all-around easier on the eyes than most comic book art.

Although manga art styles have diversified over the last few years, they still pay homage to the classic style everyone equates to manga. Therefore, you’ll be able to recognize the exaggerated facial features that you likely won’t find in Western media.

3. Most Mangas Wrap Up Quickly and are Quick to Read

Mangas don’t contain too much text. Therefore, they make for a fairly quick read. You can go through several volumes of manga in just a day and still have time for the rest of your responsibilities.

Additionally, you won’t have to wait several years for the next volume to come out. Unlike book series and even comic books, mangas are usually released extremely quickly. Some mangas even wrap up the full series in just one or two years. Therefore, you’ll be able to finish the story and get the answers to all your questions.

4. You’re Familiarizing Yourself With Another Culture

One of the main qualities of the best manga of all time is the unique insight into Eastern culture. Mangas are a great way to learn more about certain cultural traditions and how they differ from Western cultures. For example, a lot of mangas feature traditional East Asian food in their art. Hence, they are a great way to familiarize yourself with the unique cuisine.

Additionally, great mangas explore topics such as gender roles, religious practices, and more. If you’re planning on visiting Japan, reading manga can be a great way to get to know the culture. You may learn a proper way to serve food and eat, saving yourself the embarrassment of having to learn it while in the country.

Best-Selling Manga

naruto

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The manga market is huge. With so many choices, you may not know which manga to read first. Although the number of sold copies doesn’t necessarily equate to how good the manga is, the best manga of all time will generally sell more. Therefore, one of these best-sellers can be a great place to start your manga journey.

One Piece is the best-selling manga of all time. Since 1997, it has sold over 480 million copies. As of 2021, One Piece has 98 volumes and is still being released, with no signs of slowing down.

The second, third, and fourth place goes to Golgo 13, Dragon Ball, and Naruto, respectively. Each of these mangas has sold over 250 million copies worldwide. Golgo 13 is still in production, while Dragon Ball ended in 1995, and Naruto in 2014.

Best Manga of All Time — Top 8 Choices

Mangas cover a variety of topics. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can opt for a manga with Sci-Fi elements, one with fantasy elements, one with both, or with neither. These are the top 8 best manga of all time choices you must check out:

#8. Attack on Titan (Hajime Isayama, Kodansha, 2009 – 2021)

attack on titan

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Attack on Titan is a rather new manga. Still, it holds a high ranking at number 58 on MyAnimeList and has a score of 8.65. Attack on Titan follows Eren Yeager, Armin Arlert, and Mikasa Ackerman, three children living in a world where titans rule over humans.

The only safe haven for humanity is within the large walls people built to keep the titans out. Once he sees a titan attack himself, Eren vows to destroy every titan on Earth, so humanity can live without fear once again.

The premise of Attack on Titan may seem simple. However, if you look beyond the surface, you can find intricate details and storylines that may surprise you. Among other topics, this manga explores genocide, discovering the unknown, and the power struggle between people in charge.

#7. Vagabond (Takehiko Inoue, Kodansha, 1998 – present)

Vagabond

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Vagabond manga holds a score of 9.11 and a number 4 rating on MyAnimeList. It follows Shimen Takezou, an aggressive young man. Due to his wild nature, his village fears him, which prompts Shimen to run away with his best friend, Matahachi Honiden.

In search of something new, the two friends enlist in the Toyotomi army. However, once the army suffers a devastating defeat, the two are separated and barely get out alive. Vagabond is a gritty manga that follows Shimen as he adopts a new name, Musashi Miyamoto, and becomes one of Japan’s best swordsmen.

#6. Hunter x Hunter (Yoshihiro Togashi, Shueisha, 1998 – present)

Hunter Hunter

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The Hunter x Hunter manga holds a score of 8.68 on MyAnimeList. It follows Gon Freecss, who wants to become a Hunter in order to find his father that left him. However, only one out of one hundred thousand people can pass the Hunter Exam, and that’s just the first step of Gon’s journey to find his father.

Since 1998, Hunter x Hunter has been praised for its fantastic character development. Each character has a distinct voice, and their actions push the plot forward. The manga is full of details you’ll be glad you paid attention to. Additionally, it contains many light-hearted moments that balance well with the action.

#5. Death Note (Tsugumi Ohba, Shueisha, 2003 – 2006)

Death Note

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Death Note is another all-time classic manga. It holds a number 43 spot on MyAnimeList and has a score of 8.72. Death Note follows Light Yagami, a high-school student who stumbles upon a notebook called a Death Note. Once he discovers that any person whose name is written in the Death Note dies, Light vows to cleanse the world of crime and corruption.

Death Note explores questions of morality, power, and whether anyone should give themselves the power of a God. Additionally, the characters are dynamic and well written. The battle of wits between Light and his adversary, known as L, will keep you turning pages with your mouth wide open.

#4. Fullmetal Alchemist (Hiromu Arakawa, VIZ Media, 2001 – 2010)

Fullmetal Alchemist

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Fullmetal Alchemist is a classic you must read if you want to explore the intricacies of what manga has to offer. It has a score of 9.08 on MyAnimeList and holds the number 6 spot in the overall score ranking. Fullmetal Alchemist follows siblings Alphonse and Edward Elric, who use forbidden alchemy powers to bring their mother back to life. However, the plan backfires, leaving

Alphonse’s soul stuck in a metal suit of armor and Edward without a left leg and a right arm.

Years later, the brothers undertake a cross-country trip, looking for the Philosopher’s Stone. The stone is the only way to recover their old bodies and get back to their normal lives. Fullmetal Alchemist is a dark Sci-Fi manga that deals with genocide, corruption, and war. The manga gets more mature as it progresses, and it features strong characters and occasional humorous scenes.

#3. Dragon Ball (Akira Toriyama, Shueisha, 1984 – 1995)

Dragon Ball

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You’ve probably heard of Dragon Ball before. Maybe you even watched the anime adaptation of this manga as a kid. Although it holds the spot number 165 in MyAnimeList’s best manga of all time, many still consider Dragon Ball the most beloved manga ever.

The manga follows Son Goku from his childhood until adulthood. Goku trains martial arts and explores the world, looking for Dragon Balls, seven magical orbs that can summon a dragon that grants wishes.

Although Dragon Ball wrapped up in 1995, it’s still just as popular as it was back then. The storyline is funny at times and action-driven, but it can also get quite dark and sinister.

#2. One Piece (Eiichiro Oda, Shueisha, 1997 – present)

One Piece

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One Piece is the best-selling manga of all time. With a score of 9.14, it currently holds the number 3 spot in the MyAnimeList ranking. The story of One Piece starts with a man referred to as the Pirate King. Just before he was executed, the Pirate King confirmed the existence of One Piece, a great treasure that can only be claimed by someone worthy.

After 22 years, a man called Luffy takes on the challenge of looking for One Piece. Armed with nothing but a small boat and a straw hat, Luffy undergoes a fantastic journey. One Piece is a great manga for all age groups. It mixes action and adventure with character development quite well, and the art style is easy to understand and enjoyable to look at.

#1. Berserk (Kentaro Miura, Hakusensha, 1989 – present)

Berserk

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With a rating of 9.36, Berserk holds the number 1 spot on MyAnimeList’s best manga of all time. This manga follows a former mercenary named Guts. Now known as the Black Swordsman, Guts is out to destroy someone he used to trust with his life. In a turn of events, Guts is also marked for death and condemned to a fate of being relentlessly pursued by demonic beings.

If you’re looking for a manga that mixes adventure and dark fantasy, look no further than Berserk. The manga is full of action and adventure. However, it features many touching moments, as well. Berserk explores concepts of war, sadness, hate, and revenge.

In Conclusion

If you want to try reading manga, you may not know where to start. With these 8 best manga of all time choices, you surely won’t go wrong. Each of these manga offers an interesting, unique plot, incredible character development, and an art style that will leave an impression for years to come.

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