Top 10 Manga With The Best Worldbuilding

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A great man once said that a manga is only as good as its worldbuilding.

Yeah, no, I don’t think anybody actually ever said that. But it’s often true.

Manga is, for many of us, an escape from reality. And what better place to run off to than a place of wonder? (and despair sometimes, I guess)

No matter their setting or level of realism, these series and their creators prove how much of the story can come through lore and worldbuilding.


10. One Punch Man

One Punch Man Vol. 21 Cover

Writer: ONE
Illustrator: Yusuke Murata

In OPM we get to see a world that’s a relatively normal…

For approximately 10 seconds, when there’s not a crab monster or a giant centipede leveling the entire city.

Thankfully, the Hero Association is there to at least alleviate those inconveniences.

Comprised of multiple cities with incredibly complex names (City A, B, C, D…), the world of One Punch Man is vaster than it seems at first.

While being somewhat regular, the Tokyo-like setting adds to the modern atmosphere and manages to humanize the citizens, whose protection is quite literally the objective of the manga.

The monsters are not only fun and well designed, but also given intricate backstories that contribute to the worldbuilding.

Nothing’s ever boring in that place.


9. Gin Tama

Gin Tama Vol. 1 Cover

Writer & Illustrator: Hideaki Sorachi

Gin Tama’s world is… kind of all over the place.

But in a good way.

I mean, the series is set in alternate 1800s Japan with aliens and samurai, with a tense political situation that makes people’s lives a little hard sometimes.

And in the middle of that is Gin, an eccentric dude who runs around with a wooden sword, completing odd jobs for money.

As the volumes pile on in this lengthy series, the world of Gin Tama becomes increasingly rich – and, of course, insane.

But to be fair, with a premise like that, there’s no way anything can feel remotely normal.

And that right there is what makes it so charming and interesting.


8. Magi: The Labyrinth

Magi: The Labyrinth Vol. 27 Cover

Writer & Illustrator: Shinobu Ohtaka

When any manga is based on Middle Eastern mythology, you know it can’t be anything but fascinating.

Shinobu Ohtaka’s Magi follows the story of an 11-year-old Aladdin in a world where people are able to harness the powers of Djinns.

Despite his frail appearance, the boy is extremely strong. Mostly thanks to his mythical tools, a flying carpet, and a magical flute through which he summons his djinn.

Along with his friends, Aladdin takes immense pleasure in exploring the land that stretches out in front of him – from the hot sands of the desert, to wonderful oases.

Whenever our characters feel like they’ve found everything, a new tomb uncovers under their feet, or another treasure begs to be retrieved. It’s always an adventure.

And it all takes place in a beautifully crafted world as far as the eye can see.


7. Shokugeki no Soma: Food Wars!

Shokugeki no Soma: Food Wars! Vol. 1 Cover

Writer: Yuto Tsukuda
Illustrator: Shun Saeki

Yes you read that right.

Food Wars! may not have magical beings or monsters the size of skyscrapers.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t build an awe-inspiring world!

Through its 36 volumes, the series unveils the incredible realm of cuisine which spans the entire globe.

Despite its modern setting, this cooking series is set in a completely exaggerated industry that keeps on giving with every arc.

What Soma thought was perfectly normal from the comfort of his family restaurant kitchen takes on a much more grandiose feel.

Definitely a manga world that’ll make you go “That’s absolutely insane, and I’m all for it.”


6. Naruto

Naruto Vol. 70 Cover

Writer & Illustrator: Masashi Kishimoto

Here’s a universe you’re already familiar with, I’m sure.

What starts off with a simple village with a couple of weirdos doesn’t take long before expanding beyond our imagination in Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto.

As the chapters go by, our protagonists are taken on adventures throughout the continent, learning its history and many conflicts with the reader.

On top of its sheer size, Naruto’s worldbuilding spans over centuries, answering every question you might have regarding the origins of the world and of chakra.

When it’s not about blasting enemies through mountains with rasengans, this series has everything that makes for a fascinating world: from politics to spirituality.

A true icon of manga.


5. The Promised Neverland

The Promised Neverland Vol. 13 Cover

Writer: Kaiu Shirai
Illustrator: Posuka Demizu

Here’s a manga that’s all about worlds, literally.

The Promised Neverland revolves around a group of children whose existence, so far, has been restricted to an orphanage on a beautiful little plot of land.

Sounds cozy, right?


As it turns out, the rest of the world isn’t as nice – and it happens to be run by a complex hierarchy of flesh-hungry aristocratic monsters.

Horrified after learning of their nature, the kids (led by Emma, Norman, and Ray) escape from their captors and leave on a quest towards revolution.

The world of Promised Neverland is an unbelievably fascinating one, with a complicated history of war and betrayal.

It’s definitely not your usual monster manga.


4. Hunter x Hunter

Hunter x Hunter Vol. 2 Cover

Writer & Illustrator: Yoshihiro Togashi

Here’s a world so vast and elaborate that you’ll never get bored. I promise.

Gon Freecss is a 12-year-old kid whose goal in life is to become a “hunter,” an official job that grants a ton of advantages throughout the globe.

And when I say globe, I mean it.

Google the map of Hunter x Hunter, you’ll get my point. That thing is huge!

Of course, not every square mile of it is explored. But just the thought is enough to give Yoshihiro Togashi’s series an air of grandeur you don’t get too often.

There’s really nothing that can’t be done with this world, either.

From political machinations to world wars with criminal organizations, it’s all here. And the series isn’t even over yet!

So who knows, we might see a lot more of HxH in a near future.


3. Fairy Tail

Fairy Tail Vol. 1 Cover

Writer & Illustrator: Hiro Mashima

I’d be willing to bet that very few series can make you wish you were living in a fantasy world more than Fairy Tail.

It’s not the deepest or most complex manga ever. But it’s fun, light-hearted and makes you wanna go on an adventure.

That’s all I can ask for.

Comprised of various kingdoms and nations, this world is an ever-expanding one that keeps giving us wonder after wonder.

Who hasn’t dreamed of joining a guild and having a good time here? Especially with this world’s numerous friendly faces, all ready to gon out on ton of dangerous (but not too dangerous) quests.

If that’s not awesome worldbuilding, I don’t know what is.


2. Fullmetal Alchemist

Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 18 Cover

Writer & Illustrator: Hiromu Arakawa

There are many reasons why Fullmetal Alchemist is among the most revered manga of all time.

And one of those reasons is its deep and fascinating world!

Set in the nation of Amestris, Hiromu Arakawa’s acclaimed series always keeps you on the edge of your chair.

With compelling lore and endless mystery pulled from the country’s intriguing and bloody history, you’ll constantly find yourself wanting to delve deeper.

And before you realize it, the stakes are higher than ever.

With its political and sociocultural aspects, this manga’s fantasy world will surprise you with how real it can seem.


1. One Piece

One Piece Vol. 1 Cover

Writer & Illustrator: Eiichiro Oda

I mean, come on. What else am I gonna put here?

Eiichiro Oda’s work represents, without a shred of doubt, the pinnacle of worldbuilding.

Granted, he did have over 1000 chapters to do it…

Riddled with small and big islands, towns, and seas, One Piece is a seemingly endless universe in which pretty much anything could happen.

Giants? Sure, there’s a place full of them.

A geopolitical conflict revolving around samurai? Yep, that’s here too.

And the beautiful thing is how all the ridiculously complex and in-depth ideas blend together perfectly to make for a coherent and engaging world.

And you know what?

We haven’t even seen half of it yet.

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