The 30 Best Manga For Beginners To Check Out

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It’s always hard to know where to start when you want to get into manga.

There’s tons of comics to choose from, but some of them are over 1,000 chapters long, and others are tragically unfinished.

Do you want to crack up, get hype, or get hit with the feels? How about all of the above?

Decisions, decisions!

Luckily manga has it all.

And here’s some of our recommendations to kickstart your journey into the endlessly inventive and always exciting world of manga.


30. Inside Mari

Inside Mari Volume 5 Manga Cover

Body swapping stories are everywhere nowadays.

But if you’re looking for an entry point to the more mature side of manga, Inside Mari has it all.

Its author Shuzo Oshimi is famous for showing readers a darker side of everyday life – and this series does not disappoint.

It’s a transformative story about an unlikeable and frankly gross man making sense of his new life in the body of a popular high school girl, Mari.

It’s definitely cringe-y at times, but its cringe has purpose.

It puts its body swappers through the ringer of emotional self-discovery and leads to one hell of an ending.


29. Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer

Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer Manga Cover

Famously without an anime adaptation, Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer is a short-ish series with lovable characters, fun super-powered action, a healthy amount of world-building, and an unhealthy amount of world-destroying.

It takes a bit to ramp up.

But once all the characters are introduced and the stakes are clear, this cult classic becomes an emotional journey full of twists and turns that perfectly showcase what makes manga so special.


28. The Promised Neverland

The Promised Neverland Manga / Volume 5 Cover

Featuring super-smart orphans trapped in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with their caretaker, this massively popular mystery-thriller is the definition of bingeable.

Each chapter crams in thrilling plot developments, breadcrumbs pointing to an intricately considered world, and somehow always manages to end on a cliff-hanger.

And best of all, it’s over!

All its loose threads have been tied up and its burning questions have more or less been answered.

Fans were split over the direction and pacing of its conclusion. But if you enjoy the first chapter, chances are you’ll read to the end.


27. The Hunter’s Guild: Red Hood

The Hunter’s Guild: Red Hood Cover

Red Hood is a newer series with stunning artwork and features a fresh take on monsters and the folk heroes who hunt them.

Its monstrous werewolves are as cunning as they are ugly, and boy are they ugly.

This is a great starting point to get into the rhythm of keeping up with manga since there’s only a handful of chapters out so far.

Like a lot of other manga, Red Hood releases a new chapter once a week.

As you catch up on the longer in-progress series, you can get in on the chapter release-hype right away with Red Hood.


26. Genkaku Picasso

Genkaku Picasso Vol 2 Manga Cover

This manga is drawn and plotted so plainly that you might be caught off guard at that first peek of Hikari Hamura’s sketches.

His drawings are straight-up nightmare fuel – and look nothing like the rest of the series.

It bothers everyone, including Hamura himself.

Genkaku Picasso searches for meaning in those freaky drawings over three volumes that bridges the gap between a run-of-the-mill series and the horrific sights of Junji Ito.

This is an all-ages manga that intentionally pushes the boundaries for what an all-ages manga can safely explore.

Which makes sense, given that its author Usamaru Furuya is much better known for his manga dealing with mature themes and shocking artwork.


25. Hunter x Hunter

Hunter x Hunter Vol 1 Manga Cover

One of the all-time greats deserves to be read.

But first, a word of warning.

This unfinished masterpiece walks you through a fantastical world of crazed people hunting down rarities.

The first few arcs are a great introduction into the world of shonen manga, with a band of scrappy heroes scraping through a series of grueling tests and barely coming out on top.

But once the tests end, Gon and company are thrown into the real world without a safety net.

As the story ramps up in intensity, so does its reading level.

Character motivations are harder to understand and the rules governing the battles nearly spirals out of control.

Hunter x Hunter may seem unassuming. But be prepared for a truly wild, perplexing, and challenging ride.


24. Claymore

Claymore Vol 3 Manga Cover

With clear inspiration from Western sword-and-sorcery stories and an impressive art style, Claymore is a great series for fantasy lovers.

And as an added plus, it follows an almost entirely female cast of well-developed and 100 percent kickass demon slayers.

The series starts with a good mix of knightly battles and touching character development, but takes an intense turn with plot twists out of left field and larger-than-life battles between deranged monsters.

It doesn’t have a huge audience or fan-base – but its Western-styled action and intricate plotting make for a great read.


23. Hikaru no Go

Hikaru no Go Manga Volume 2 Cover

Never heard of the game Go?

Funny enough, neither has the main character in Hikaru no Go.

After meeting up with the spirit of a long-gone Go master, Hikaru is begrudgingly dragged into the world of the rarely played and super complicated strategy game.

Like chess, Go is played between two people on a board. Also like chess, it’s easy to learn but difficult to master.

At first, the manga is an engaging tour of Go through Hikaru’s novice eyes.

But as Hikaru becomes more invested in Go, the story explodes with strong personalities, intense tournaments, and a thorough exploration of what it takes to win.


22. Bakuman

Bakuman Volume 2 Manga Cover

Once you’re fully hooked on manga, take a peek behind the curtain with this series focused on two young manga creators striving to go pro.

It’s got some dramatic plots and schmaltzy romance, but the heart of Bakuman is its love of manga itself.

Once the creators get a handle of the creative process, the story explores how manga is published, for all its ups and downs.

Written and illustrated by the team behind Death Note and Platinum End, this is an expert look at all things manga.


21. Blue Flag

Blue Flag Volume 2 Manga Cover

Blue Flag seems like a classic love triangle at first.

It’s charming and silly, but there’s always something bubbling just under the surface.

There’s a lot of pain, repression, and self-hate with its rare depiction of LGBTQA characters.

It’s pretty much high school to a T.

Getting to know the would-be lovebirds is a lot of fun, but learning about their traumas and struggles make it feel so real that you’ll turn page after page until this eight-volume series reaches its end.


20. YuYu Hakusho

YuYu Hakusho Manga Volume 1 Cover

Yusuke Urameshi is the definition of a bad boy with a heart of gold.

Despite his legendary delinquency, Yusuke manages to get himself killed in the very first chapter by heroically saving a kid from certain death.

But of course his story doesn’t end there.

Ghosts, psychics, and demons all make appearances in this character-rich and battle-heavy romp.

This easy-to-read classic was written by the same author behind Hunter X Hunter and is, thankfully, complete in 19 volumes.


19. Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku

Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku Volume 1 Manga Cover

If you can stomach the high-intensity and ultra-violent world of Hell’s Paradise, you’ll be treated to a wholly unique and unforgettable story.

While there’s a heavy focus on savage fights between violent criminals and brutal monsters, everyone involved has more to them than meets the eye.

With its large cast of complex anti-heroes and an intriguing amount of drip-fed lore, Hell’s Paradise tells a cinematic story that will keep you reading til the end.


18. Ajin: Demi-Human

Ajin: Demi-Human / Volume 1 Manga Cover

Being immortal ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

With a recent spate of unkillable freaks popping up, Japan is on edge.

Our hero Nagai Kei isn’t particularly concerned with any of that – until he realizes that he’s one of those freaks, an Ajin.

This series is easy to follow without relying on any tired tropes.

There are no tournaments or training arcs, and there’s no grand conspiracy behind Kei’s immortality.

Instead, Ajin is a compelling story of Kei navigating a government that sees him as both a threat and an ideal test subject.


17. Spy X Family

Spy X Family Manga / Volume 2 Cover

As another recent breakout hit, Spy X Family is just a delight.

It’s a hilarious story of international intrigue that follows a trio of misfits pretending to be a family.

And the family’s not just fooling their neighbors, they’re also keeping secrets from one another.

With a series of secret missions, planned hits, and stressful entrance exams to a top academy, Spy X Family is a fast-paced romp filled with comedic misunderstandings and hilariously exaggerated reactions.


16. Orange

Orange Manga Vol 1 Cover

If you cry easy, you might need a box of tissues at the ready when you read Orange, an emotional romantic story with a sci-fi twist.

It follows a tight-knit group of high schoolers who are woefully unable to support a new friend who is in dire need of help.

It’s a tremendous read thanks to the character dynamics that play out thanks to a series of helpful letters that are delivered from the future.

You’ll be rooting for everything to turn out okay, even as it becomes painfully clear that you don’t always get what you want.


15. Akira

Akira Manga Vol. 1 Cover

If you’ve only seen the legendary movie, you haven’t experienced all that Akira has to offer.

And as stunning as its adaptation’s animation is, the original manga’s art is simply on a whole ‘nother level.

It’s a treat to experience its clear and easy-to-follow action, masterfully drawn cityscapes, and hilariously insane characters.

If you have even the slightest bit of interest in manga, you will find a lot to love in Akira.


14. Dragonball/Dragonball Z

Dragon Ball Volume 3 Manga Cover

Just about everyone knows who Goku is. But do you know why Goku is the way he is?

To find out, check out chapter 1 of Dragonball… without the Z.

The series originally followed Goku as a young boy hunting down dragon balls with a teenaged Bulma.

Who knew, right?

Before it turned into non-stop battles between flying aliens, it was actually a pretty silly time with a healthy mix of martial arts, adventure, and some bad, bad dudes needing to be stopped.


13. Astra Lost in Space

Astra Lost in Space Manga Vol. 2 Cover

This dramatic and enjoyable romp through space is short and sweet.

Set in the far-off future, a group of high schoolers go missing during an interplanetary field trip and try their best to get back home.

Things aren’t as simple as they seem for the well-defined cast of characters as they bop from planet to planet.

With a healthy amount of intrigue and a great conclusion, there’s a lot to love in Astra Lost in Space.

And best of all, if you liked it, the author is plugging away at a totally new series, Witch Watch.


12. Assassination Classroom

Assassination Classroom Vol 2 Cover

Everyone’s had a bad teacher at some point.

But no one had to deal with a teacher quite like Koro-sensei, a yellow monster hell-bent on destroying the world.

On top of his evil plan, he also insists on instructing Class 3-E of Kunugigaoka Junior High School in both academics and the art of assassination. Surprisingly, their target is Koro-sensei himself.

Even with the grim plot and dire stakes, Assassination Classroom is extremely funny and reliably heartwarming.

With botched assassination attempts and inspiring lesson plans taking place side by side, this series is a unique treat.


11. Uzumaki

Uzumaki Manga Cover

Junji Ito is the master of horror, famous for creating tons of terrifying manga over the years.

Uzumaki is one of Ito’s best and scariest works, and should preferably be read late at night… in the dark… during a storm… right before bed.

It’s just that scary.

It doesn’t have many jump scares, but you will feel the growing sense of dread radiate out of the pages and its horrific imagery has a tendency to stick with you.


10. Naruto

Naruto Volume 5 Manga Cover

Naruto is one of the most-read manga in the last 20 years – and for good reason!

It follows teenagers dealing with loneliness and depression, and also their main thing is whooping ass with magical ninjutsu.

While it’s instantly recognizable, it’s also loooong, clocking in at 700 chapters.

You’ll have a great time reading through the first set of arcs, but might feel less interested as the world gets more confusing and the action gets less memorable.

Even if you don’t make it to the end, you will be hooked on manga.


9. Death Note

Death Note Vol 5 Cover

Light Yagami’s supernatural attempt at world domination reads like a Sherlock Holmes story told from the villain’s point of view.

With an unreasonable intellect and a spooky journal that legit kills people, Light barrels down a truly wild ride that’s never short on hype.

The one hitch is that it was written in that awkward part of the 2000s just before smartphones became a thing. The ever-escalating action might be hard to relate to today, especially when an iPhone probably could have sunk Light’s ship real early on.

Combined with a generally unliked final arc, Death Note is a for-sure classic that doesn’t always hold up.


8. Berserk

Berserk Volume 2 Manga Cover

Even though the decades-long story of Guts is tragically unfinished, it is so worth diving into.

Its characters are real, both deeply flawed and equally lovable. Each panel is legit a masterful work of art.

But you’ll have to read past some so-so chapters at the start to get all that.

After kicking off the series with freaky demons and even freakier humans, the story swings back to Guts’ harrowing but noticeably less mystical backstory. Once everything falls into place, Berserk becomes an unstoppable work of art.

But unfortunately, just as everything was finally coming together, its author Kentaro Miura suddenly passed away.

Even without a resolute ending, Berserk cannot be missed.


7. Jujutsu Kaisen

Jujutsu Kaisen Vol 1 Cover

Anyone who’s watched the Jujutsu Kaisen anime will be dying to know what happens next.

And luckily, there’s the original manga right there for you.

Even if you haven’t watched the anime, the manga is amazing from the get-go and is massively popular for good reason.

The story keeps doling out insanely hype fights and hilarious moments, but it also grows in complexity.

The crazier it gets, the harder it is to follow, especially if you’re used to watching its anime.

But getting up-to-date with the manga is well worth your time and effort.


6. One Piece

One Piece Manga / Volume 10 Cover

The best manga series of all time is well over 1,000 chapters at this point – and shows no signs of stopping.

Anyone who’s read all of One Piece will tell you each chapter is better than the last.

If you can say goodbye to your free time, the Straw Hat Pirates will keep you good company.

And if you want to go with a shorter series, no rush, One Piece will be there waiting for you. Forever perfect, forever extremely long, and forever waiting to be reread.


5. Chainsaw Man

Chainsaw Man Vol 2 Manga Cover

Our hero Denji is an idiot living in a world full of demons.

With the weirdly specific power of chainsaws at his disposal, Denji clowns his way through a terrifying world where devils are real and people are worse.

Crazy fight scenes come just as often as hilarious moments at home with Denji and his ever-shrinking cast of demon-fighting coworkers.

Denji might be dumb, but his author is anything but.

Chainsaw Man is populated with standout characters, features super tight plotting, and showcases an unexpected level of depth to Denji’s painful existence.

Come for the fights, stay for the feels.


4. COWA!

COWA! Manga Cover Preview

While Akira Toriyama is synonymous with Dragonball, he’s drawn more than just superpowered and super-ridiculous battles.

COWA! is a cute little vampire story and just an absolute treat to read.

Complete in a single volume, it shows off everything there is to love about manga in just under an hour.

It’s a tightly constructed adventure full of silly humor, memorable characters, unexpected twists and turns, and an instantly recognizable art style.

It’s not a lot of content, but it feels just right.


3. My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia Manga Vol. 3 Cover

There hasn’t been a hero like Deku for a long time, maybe not since Naruto.

From his humble beginnings to his newfound abilities, Deku means so much to so many of his real-life fans. And it’s not just his superpowers that people are drawn to.

With an admirable spirit and a seemingly endless amount of compassion, Deku is the rare hero we deserve and actually get.

And hey, all those other crazy superpowers and hilarious schoolmates certainly help move the story along!

It’s a wild ride that’s still building to bigger and better heights.


2. Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan Volume 2 Manga Cover

Attack on Titan is undoubtedly one of the greatest manga.

With a grounded perspective in a world full of man-eating giants, fans around the world loved piecing together its unique lore and freaking out over its exciting fights.

Hey, the artwork is a little iffy at first. But don’t let that scare you off.

Just like the story, it gets better and better over time.

And now that the series has ended with a remarkable and haunting conclusion, everyone and anyone will enjoy this jaw-dropping series from start to finish.


1. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Manga Vol.2 Cover

You can hardly hear about manga without hearing about Demon Slayer.

While it recently finished up its four year run, its action-packed demon-slaying adventure will be here to stay.

Its anime adaptation was massively popular. And the most recent arc was turned into a movie that broke all sorts of records at the box office.

It starts out as a simple story about demons and the few humans capable of taking them out. Its art style feels classic, but always pushes the envelope with its kinetic and wildly entertaining battles.

Easy to follow and even easier to enjoy, Demon Slayer is absolutely the best place to begin your never-ending obsession with manga.

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