Top 15 Best Mystery Manga Of All Time (Ranked)

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If you thought mystery was only about searching clues with a magnifying glass and sending people to prison, you’re in for a surprise.

And in my opinion, the best medium to take advantage of the genre is quite possibly manga.

From adventure to horror, with a little comedy or political drama sprinkled here and there, these mystery-centric series will satisfy your every need.

(There’s gonna be a lot of Naoki Urasawa on this list, just a warning in advance).


15. Platinum End

Platinum End Volume 3 Manga Cover

Writer: Tsugumi Ohba
Illustrator: Takeshi Obata

Platinum End is about Mirai, a teenager who decides to commit suicide after years of abuse from his aunt and uncle.

But as he’s about to do the irreparable, he’s stopped by an angel who tells him the truth behind his parents’ deaths – and gives him powers to enact his revenge.

He also learns that he’s one of 13 candidates in a mysterious tournament where the winner will literally become God.

And if he doesn’t participate, Mirai will meet his originally intended fate.

So there’s not much of a choice here but to take part in this disturbing competition where only intelligence and determination can help you survive.

Fortunately, our MC’s got both of those.


14. Spy x Family

Spy x Family Vol. 6 Manga Cover

Writer & Illustrator: Tatsuya Endo

Here’s another more recent series, but with a much lighter tone!

Spy x Family revolves around a made-up family of whacky characters with ulterior motives in a fictional Cold War-like setting.

On the one hand, we have Loid, a famous spy who needs to get himself a fake family as cover.

On the other hand we have Yor, a beautiful hit woman with an inoffensive façade who becomes tangled up in Loid’s affairs.

And finally there’s Anya, the strange adoptive daughter of this “couple”. And she offers up some unexplained telepathic abilities.

This improvised household will desperately try to blend in as a normal family, all the while being up to no good.

The adults, that is.

Not that Anya minds having nefarious parents, though…

It’s a funny and smart series. And if you’re looking for a lighthearted read, this is one you need to check out!


13. The Drifting Classroom

The Drifting Classroom Volume 2 Manga Cover

Writer & Illustrator: Kazuo Umezz

Let’s delve a little into the horror genre, shall we?

The Drifting Classroom is about a group of children whose elementary school is suddenly transported to another dimension.

Obviously no one can possibly explain this phenomenon.

On their end, the students fight off bug monsters and deal with inner tensions while trying to make sense of everything.

Fair warning: not everyone will make it out alive.

This is definitely the creepiest entry on this list.


12. Moriarty the Patriot

Moriarty the Patriot Vol. 4 Manga Cover

Writer: Ryosuke Takeuchi
Illustrator: Hikaru Miyoshi

Sherlock Holmes is pretty iconic when it comes to mystery. So an eventual Sherlock manga was a given…

But this one’s about his nemesis.

Yes, you read that right.

Moriarty the Patriot revolves around the criminal rival of Mr. Holmes, James Moriarty.

United by their hatred of the nobility, Moriarty and his brother take on the task of committing crimes in a fight against corruption and inequalities.

This is something that quickly draws the attention of dear Sherlock.

With its fascinating antiheroes, this smart little series is one that’ll keep you more invested than ever – with great mystery and characters across every page.


11. MPD Psycho

MPD Psycho Volume 5 Manga Cover

Writer & Illustrator: Eiji Otsuka

Here’s more of a crime-solving for you – a little darker this time, though.

MPD Psycho revolves around Yosuke, a troubled detective suffering from a multiple personality disorder (MPD) since working on the case of a brutal serial killer.

It’s an ordeal that ended badly for a lot of people.

Having partly lost his mind, the protagonist remains semi-functional by adopting two personas: a collected investigator and an eccentric psychopath.

Despite this situation, Yosuke is still driven by the thrill of mysterious and gruesome cases.

It’s an extremely disturbing series that truly deserves its spot here.


10. Alice in Borderland

Alice in Borderland Vol. 3 Manga Cover

Writer & Illustrator: Haro Aso

When it comes to premises, Alice in Borderland is tough to beat.

It stars a trio of teenagers who are one day transported in a strange alternate reality where they’re forced to participate in twisted games based on card suits.

There are team challenges and individual challenges – but they will almost all inevitably lead to people dying.

Apart from its very engaging story as a thriller, Alice in Borderland’s mystery aspect stems from the origin of the various games.

Revealing the identity of their creator quickly becomes a main goal in this tense manga – a task that is definitely not gonna be easy.

It’s basically impossible not to stay until the end to find out what happens.


9. Doubt

Doubt Volume 4 Manga Cover

Writer & Illustrator: Yoshiki Tonogai

Ever played werewolves with friends and felt the thrill of getting away with murders or exposing the mystery behind them?

Well then Doubt is for you.

In it, five pals decide to meet up for a match of Rabbit Doubt, which is a usually inoffensive game that pits rabbits against one lone wolf.

Things take a dark turn real quick, however, when they wake up in an abandoned hospital.

It’s there that our group is forced to play a real-life game of Rabbit Doubt – with higher stakes than ever.

Together they’ll need to find the mastermind behind everything, who also happens to be the wolf trying to kill them, and then discover what’s going on in order to make it out alive.


8. Billy Bat

Billy Bat Vol. 6 Manga Cover

Writers: Naoki Urasawa & Takashi Nagasaki
Illustrator: Naoki Urasawa

Kevin Yamagata is a Japanese-American comic book artist who wrote a mystery series called Billy Bat after unconsciously taking inspiration from images he saw in Japan during WW2.

Feeling guilty, he returns to that country in order to set things right with the possible true creator of his main character.

But what awaits him there is a maze of lies, plots, and murders, all tying back to the Billy Bat persona.

The poor guy is immediately sucked in – and his only hope is to get to the bottom of it all.

This is an ominous series that will only become creepier with every passing chapter.


7. Made in Abyss

Made in Abyss Volume 2 Manga Cover

Writer & Illustrator: Akihito Tsukushi

Made in Abyss is a little more fantasy than it is a thriller.

But that doesn’t prevent it from delivering a captivating mystery.

Riko is an orphan in a small town on the edge of a gigantic hole leading deep beneath the earth. This hole is named “the Abyss”, filled with artifacts and riches.

Few dare go down, and even those who do (the Cave Raiders) sometimes delve too far and come back with curses and illnesses.

Riko’s dream is to descend into that darkness and walk in her missing mother’s footsteps, no matter the danger.

A whole veil of doubt surrounds the Abyss and its origins.

And that’s what makes this series such a compelling read.

Plus its extensive mix of many genres makes this series a must-try for any self-respecting manga fan.


6. Pluto

Pluto Vol. 4 Manga Cover

Writer & Illustrator: Naoki Urasawa

Now let’s check out a series like no other!

Based on the concepts and ideas of the famous Osamu Tezuka, Pluto is a sci-fi crime series that delves into the implications of artificial intelligence.

In this manga, humans are perfectly used to sharing their daily lives with robots.

So much so that the two groups are basically indistinguishable.

But this relationship gets put into question when our MC (a robot detective) is tasked with investigating the murders of prominent robotic figures.

Who? Why?

No one knows for sure yet.

But you should read and help them find out.

(It even has Astro Boy in it).


5. Beastars

Beastars Volume 5 Manga Cover

Writer & Illustrator: Paru Itagaki

I’m sure you’ve seen this title show up once or twice before.

Paru Itagaki’s Beastars is an extremely recognizable series, famous for its use of anthropomorphic animals in a seemingly regular society.

What people might not realize, though, is how dark this disturbing thriller is about to get.

Sure, it has cute moments, relatable slice-of-life content, teenage drama…

But there’s also murder, bloody action, crime syndicates, you name it.

With surprisingly deep themes and amazingly nuanced characters, Beastars makes for a perfect mystery manga that you just wanna binge-read at all hours of the day.


4. Monster

Monster Vol. 9 Manga Cover

Writer & Illustrator: Naoki Urasawa

Well it didn’t take us long to get here, huh?

It’s Naoki Urasawa again!

Though, this one’s not sci-fi.

Monster is a gruesome thriller series that’ll send chills down your spine.

The story follows Tenma, a successful surgeon who has his career ruined after he decides to operate a young child & things go south.

Afterwards, life goes on rather normally… until 9 years later, when people who were involved in the whole debacle are murdered.

The culprit?

Someone Tenma knows all too well.

From that point on, the series becomes a game of cat and mouse where the protagonist tries to take matters into his own hands, with the police on his tail.

There’s no way this all ends well for everyone.


3. Case Closed

Case Closed Volume 8 Manga Cover

Writer & Illustrator: Gosho Aoyama

Also known as Detective Conan, Case Closed is a witty manga series that has stood the test of time.

Still among the top-selling manga almost 30 years after its debut, Gosho Aoyama’s creation is a cultural phenomenon.

It revolves around Jimmy, a high-schooler and detective who sometimes helps out the police against a dangerous group called the Black Organization.

One day, things turn sour when Jimmy is fed an experimental drug that turns him physically into a child.

That doesn’t dissuade him one bit, though.

And he continues his job under the pseudonym “Conan.”

As you can guess, this one’s about crime-solving, which fits right into anything mystery-themed.

Don’t think of Case Closed as some purely light-hearted fun, though.

It might surprise you.


2. Death Note

Death Note Vol. 11 Manga Cover

Writer: Tsugumi Ohba
Illustrator: Takeshi Obata

We’ve started with Ohba and Obata, and now we’re ending with them (almost).

How fitting.

Honestly, I’d describe the plot of Death Note here… but I’m sure everyone reading this list has a pretty good idea already.

There’s a reason why this is one of the most iconic manga of all time.

Death Note doesn’t have flashy explosions or touching romance.

What it does have is a series of incredible battles of the minds, which might very well decide the faith of the world.

Between a megalomaniac teenager with a god complex and a mysterious detective with abnormal IQ, it’s hard to tell who’s gonna win.

Either way, this is definitely a story that keeps you on edge from start to finish.


1. 20th Century Boys

20th Century Boys Volume 7 Manga Cover

Writer & Illustrator: Naoki Urasawa

Honestly, I couldn’t not put this here.

20th Century Boys is a masterclass when it comes to storytelling, character development, and of course, mystery.

It’s an insane thriller about a group of friends who become entangled in a geopolitical plot that spans over decades, from 1969 to 2017.

With a plot that’s constantly going back and forth along the timeline, this series mainly revolves around Kenji, who’s hellbent on putting a stop to the machinations of an ominous organization.

He may be a simple convenience store owner – but he’s in too deep to back down.

Urasawa is the master of thrills and mysteries, and it shows.

If you like manga even just a little bit, you’ll need to read this.

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