Hey there! Today, we will be talking about the 18 best manga with the best art, yeah let us show you those good Japanese manga – the ones that boast jaw-dropping animation style on every single page.
So, if you’re a fan of not only a great story but also visually stunning artwork that will make you say Oh My God! then this is the best manga list you’ve been looking for.
Let’s jump right in!
18. Tokyo Ghoul
Starting off our list of the top manga with the best art with Tokyo Ghoul, a cool series from 2011, mixing action, fantasy, and horror genres. The detailed drawings and the overall art styles by Sui Ishida are just amazing.
The story is about scary creatures called ghouls lurking in Tokyo. They come out at night to hunt humans. The Commission of Counter Ghoul (CCG) fights against them. The tricky part is, ghouls can look like regular people, blending in.
Ken Kaneki, a regular university student, ends up in this mess on a date gone wrong with a ghoul. He barely survives and learns he’s become a half-ghoul. He can’t eat human food anymore, so kind ghouls help him adjust. But life isn’t all peaceful. He’s dragged into a war between his new ghoul pals and the CCG, and now all ghouls in Tokyo know about him.
17. Ran and the Gray World
Ran and the Gray World is a finished manga series of 2008 that spans genres of drama, fantasy, romance, and supernatural stuff. The Mangaka who made it, Irei Aki, has a really awesome art style. I highly recommend checking it out!
The story is about a young sorceress named Ran Uruma. She’s looking for her special shoes that let her turn into an adult, even though she’s just a kid in elementary school. Ran has a lot of magic inside her, but she’s still learning how to use it properly. Her big brother Jin, who’s also a sorcerer, hides the shoes from her until she finishes cleaning their house, to teach her a lesson.
Ran’s mom, Shizuka, is a really powerful sorceress, but she has to live away from home to take care of the city. The head of their family and all the sorcerers is Zen, and he’s often away for work, leaving Jin in charge. Ran is a bit of a handful, and keeping an eye on her isn’t easy. When she’s free to roam, she discovers all the magical things she can do, leading her on exciting adventures.”
16. Death Note
First published in 2003, Death Note is a suspense manga with one of the best art of all time. The creators are Takeshi Obata (art) and Tsugumi Ohba (story). The story starts when Ryuk, a god of death, drops his Death Note into the human world for his own amusement.
A smart high school student named Light Yagami finds it in Japan. Inside the notebook, he discovers a creepy message: writing someone’s name in it means they’ll die. Light is intrigued by its strange power and tests it by writing a criminal’s name, and the criminal mysteriously dies.
Seeing the immense power of the Death Note, Light begins a series of dark killings under the name “Kira.” He wants to rid the world of corrupt people and make a perfect society without crime. But the police catch on and bring in L, a brilliant detective, to uncover the mysterious killer.
Death Note unfolds the thrilling battle of wits between Light and L as they try to outsmart each other, determining the fate of the world.”
15. Blade of the Immortal
Back in 1993, Blade of The Immortal hit the stores, and man the art is breath-taking. Hiroaki Samura crafted this sword fighting saga that’s an absolute masterpiece. It’s all about Manji, the infamous swordsman in feudal Japan known as the Hundred Man Killer for taking down a hundred innocent souls. But what’s really chilling is his immortality, thanks to the ancient nun Yaobikuni and her bloodworms that can heal any wound.
In an attempt to make amends, Manji sets out to end the lives of a thousand wicked men. Yaobikuni agrees, offering to lift his curse of immortality if he succeeds. And right after this pact, Manji crosses paths with Rin Asano, a 16-year-old seeking his help to avenge her parents.
At first, he hesitates, wrestling with Rin’s desperate plea. But seeing her determination and recognizing her lack of strength, Manji has a change of heart, committing to protect Rin for four years. And so, their alliance is sealed, sending them on a dangerous journey of revenge, redemption, and a quest to find purpose in their own lives.
Written by Hiroya Oku, Gantz is an action-horror adventure of 2000 that will grip you. It’s got not just an engaging plot, but the characters are something else, and the art style is absolutely impressive.
The story follows Kei Kurono, a high school student grappling with loneliness and losing faith in humanity due to its cruelty. His life takes a wild turn one day when his classmate, Masaru Katou, jumps onto subway tracks to save a drunk man. In an uncharacteristic move to help someone, Kei follows Katou and, unfortunately, they both meet their end under the train.
But that’s not the end of their story. They wake up in a strange apartment surrounded by other deceased people, furnished by a giant black orb. Turns out, they’ve got a new mission: hunt down bizarre creatures. This black ball, named “Gantz,” equips them with gear and sends them off to this dangerous mission.
As Kei dives deeper into this perilous mission, he realizes it’s far deadlier than he imagined. He somehow survives and is sent back to the apartment. Here’s the kicker—despite being dead, he’s allowed to return to his normal life with a condition. He could be summoned back to Gantz’s apartment at any time for another mission.
While Katou fears the return, Kei, on the other hand, starts living for these missions. The adrenaline, the battle, the camaraderie—they make him feel alive. He’s on a journey battling monstrous threats, and it’s not confined to Gantz; it starts seeping into his everyday life. It’s a wild story to read, for sure!
13. Vinland Saga
Vinland Saga hit the scene in 2005, and all i can say, it’s a stunner in the action manga world. Makoto Yukimura, the author, has drawn something special, especially with the art—it’s top-notch.
The story revolves around Thorfinn, the son of a legendary Viking warrior. He’s quite the fighter, among the best, really, in a crew of mercenaries led by the cunning Askeladd. Well, that’s an achievement for someone as young as Thorfinn.
But his motive for being part of this group is different—he’s not in it for the plunder and riches. Instead, he’s there seeking revenge for the great tragedy inflicted upon his family, vowing to kill Askeladd in a fair duel. He’s not yet skilled enough to beat him, but he can’t let go of his thirst for revenge. So, he spends his youth with this mercenary crew, honing his skills on the brutal battlefields with the Danes, where killing is just another part of life.
Then comes a pivotal day. Askeladd gets word that Danish prince Canute is held captive, sparking an ambitious plan—one that will determine the next King of England and change the fates of Thorfinn, Canute, and Askeladd. Set in 11th-century Europe, “Vinland Saga” unfolds a brutal epic in a time where violence, madness, and injustice are everywhere. It’s a paradise for those obsessed with battle, but an utter hell for the others just trying to survive.
Coming up, we have Akira manga—oh boy, the art here is mind-blowing. Katsuhiro Otomo, the genius behind it, really knows how to picture his imagination with surreal visuals.
This manga is a 1982 release that takes us into a dystopian 1988. World War III left Tokyo in ruins, hit by this mysterious black explosion of unfathomable magnitude.
Jump ahead 31 years to 2019, and we find Neo-Tokyo hastily constructed upon the ashes of its predecessor. Picture a cityscape full of neon lights and towering skyscrapers, infused with cutting-edge tech, but soaked in a volatile mix of biker gangs, poverty, and revolutionaries.
Tetsuo Shima and Shoutarou Kaneda, two bikers, epitomize this world—best friends yet fierce rivals in their gang. Tetsuo, yearning to match Kaneda’s prowess, sets off a chain of events awakening something cryptic, a force that threatens to reshape Neo-Tokyo and the lives of its inhabitants. They call it Akira, a government secret waiting to unravel.”
A unique manga that you wouldn’t see twice is Inuyashiki, a dramatic and gory Japanese comic from 2014 by Hiroya Oku.
With an expressive art style, the story is about Ichirou Inuyashiki, an old father who’s really been through the wringer with life, making him feel powerless and frail. Even though he’s lonely, not cared for by his family, and battling cancer, he decides to turn things around and give life another shot by adopting a dog.
One night, while out walking his dog, the harsh reality of his bleak situation hits him, and he breaks down in a park. But this moment of sadness doesn’t last long, because a strange encounter with an extraterrestrial object transforms him, giving him a healthy yet mechanical body. This leaves him feeling disconnected and thinking he’s lost his humanity, especially when he realizes he can’t shed tears anymore.
However, a turning point comes when he saves a homeless man from death one night. Seeing the man’s happiness and gratitude moves him to tears, proving to himself that he’s still human. After this, Inuyashiki decides to use his newfound power to help people in need.
But happiness isn’t the end of the story. Inuyashiki soon realizes that there’s a new threat out there, reveling in its own dark power through horrifying means. So, his mission changes from being a neighborhood hero to a guardian against this menacing monster.
Uzumaki, a supernatural horror manga from 1998, was recognized by the American Library Association (ALA) in 2009, making it to their list of the Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens.
The story unfolds in Kurouzu-cho, where Kirie Goshima leads a seemingly ordinary life with her family. During her walk to the train station to meet her boyfriend, Shuuichi Saito, she spots his father fixated on a snail shell in an alley. Not thinking much of it, she mentions the incident to Shuuichi, who reveals his father’s recent strange behavior. Shuuichi expresses a growing urge to escape the town with Kirie, explaining that the town is consumed by a spiral infection.
As the obsession with spirals intensifies, particularly in Shuuichi’s father, it triggers a series of horrifying and inexplicable events, plunging the residents of Kurouzu-cho into a spiral of madness.”
Next up, we have Otoyomegatari, a historical romance manga series that made its debut in 2008. For fans of heartwarming tales coupled with top-notch artwork, this one is a must-read. The story unfolds in the 19th century within a tribal town near the Caspian Sea, set along the Silk Road in Central Asia. Life in this town is simple, steeped in age-old customs and traditions passed down through generations.
Meet Amir Halgal, a remarkable 20-year-old woman skilled in archery, hunting, and horseback riding. Hailing from a distant village, she embarks on a journey for an arranged marriage with the charming 12-year-old boy, Karluk Eihon. Initially, their significant age difference makes their relationship a bit awkward. However, as they engage in everyday interactions, their feelings of love and respect for each other blossom, ultimately strengthening their bond.
Otoyomegatari offers beautiful pictures that highlight the daily lives and trials of Amir and Karluk, as well as other couples in Central Asia during this era. It provides a fascinating glimpse into the culture and traditions of the brides of that time.
8. Goodnight Punpun
Goodnight Punpun is a manga that really tops manga websites. With a high score on myanimelist, this drama and slice of life series stands out with its beautiful and outstanding animation. It was first published in 2007, and buddy, it is a must read.
The story revolves around Punpun Onodera, a seemingly regular 11-year-old boy living his life in Japan. He’s full of idealistic dreams and romantic notions, eager to take on the world. But things take a turn when a new girl, Aiko Tanaka, steps into his class. That’s when Punpun begins to see the complexities of adult life, especially when it comes to relationships. An incident at home, witnessing his father’s actions, shatters his perception of those he looked up to.
As the challenges pile up, Punpun’s once-shy nature turns into a chosen seclusion. But instead of solving his problems, it only makes them more intense. The story takes us on a dark journey through his coming-of-age, showcasing the struggles of transitioning from childhood innocence to the harsh realities of adulthood.
Innocent is a manga that truly captures Aesthetic Beauty. Set in the 18th century during the onset of the French Revolution, a significant event in shaping modern French society, the story sheds light on a lesser-known protagonist, Charles-Henri Sanson.
He was the fourth generation family head of the Sanson family, serving as the executioner of Paris. The manga eloquently portrays his journey as he bravely confronts his challenging destiny.
6. The Climber
One of the top sports manga with gorgeous artwork is The Climber. It takes us into the exhilarating journey of striving for the top of the world through pain and relentless determination. Mori Buntarou’s life revolves around this aspiration.
His quest begins when he enrolls in a new high school. Despite his solitary nature, his classmates encourage him to climb the school building. Without a harness or any hesitation, he embarks on the ascent. As he pushes past his limits, he faces a daunting challenge—a horizontal overhang. The surge of adrenaline fuels him, and with a bold leap, Mori grabs the final hold at the peak.
This moment reveals a sight he wouldn’t have seen otherwise—a new peak, a fresh goal. Fueled by passion and a renewed sense of purpose, Mori dives headfirst into the captivating world of rock climbing.
If you’re a fan of good mangas with cool historical art and detailed sword fighting, look no further than Kingdom. Set in ancient China, where wars and battles dominate the landscape, the story unfolds during the tumultuous Warring States period. Xin and Piao, akin to brothers, harbor grand ambitions of becoming esteemed Great Generals, a dream that seems distant given their lowly status as orphaned slaves.
Their lives take a turn when they encounter a nobleman, granting Piao a chance to serve a crucial role in the royal palace of the state of Qin. As fate separates them, Xin and Piao make a solemn vow to rise as the greatest generals the world has ever seen. Tragically, a palace coup unfolds, and in Piao’s dying moments, he imparts words that ignite a fire within Xin, propelling him forward. This journey leads him to cross paths with Zheng Ying, the young and future king of Qin.
Regardless of a rocky start, Xin and Zheng unite as allies, embarking on a journey fraught with trials and bloodshed. Zheng’s ambition is to unite all warring states under Qin’s banner, while Xin aims to ascend the ranks within the army. Amidst constant strategic battles and political turmoil both within and outside the palace, the duo persistently strive toward their monumental ambitions, destined to alter the course of history.
Claymore is this incredible manga series set in a world where warriors armed with swords battle terrifying monsters. The main character, Clare, starts as a stoic and low-ranking member, seeking personal vengeance. Her journey unveils unexpected truths about the world, the camaraderie among her fellow warriors, and the dark secrets of the Claymore Organization.
The art in this manga is absolutely stunning, evolving beautifully. The characters, especially the Claymores and the monsters, have this unique design that sets the story apart, making it truly epic and keeping you asking for more till the very end.”
3. Sun-Ken Rock
Sun-Ken Rock is a manga that’s not only visually stunning but also tells a great story. The main character, Ken, had a tough start in life—losing his family early due to their Yakuza ties. He ended up as a high school troublemaker, known for his fighting skills. The driving force behind his actions? His deep feelings for a classmate named Yumi.
When Ken finds out that Yumi is leaving for Korea to join the police force, he decides to leave behind his life in Japan and follow in her footsteps. However, things take an unexpected turn, and he ends up accidentally becoming the leader of a local gang. Now, he’s faced with the challenge of hiding this from Yumi, all while trying to emulate her path. The gang even gets a new name under his leadership—the Sun-Ken Rock Group.
The standout feature of this manga is the extraordinary art and attention to detail in the drawings. Its visual really pleases the eyes, especially during the fight scenes where every move is brilliantly animated and pertinently depicted.
“‘Vagabond’ is really good manga that mingles the worlds of samurais and revenge, and what makes it even more awesome is its exceptional art style. Set in 16th-century Japan, where the story follows Shinmen Takezou, a young man with a wild and rugged appearance, matched by his actions. He’s not exactly the village favorite due to his aggressive nature, and this reputation pushes him and his best friend, Matahachi Honiden, to seek a life beyond the confines of their village.
They join the Toyotomi army, driven by the desire for glory, but fate takes a sharp turn when the Toyotomi army faces a crushing defeat at the Battle of Sekigahara by the Tokugawa Clan. Barely surviving, the friends are separated. Shinmen, now back home, takes it upon himself to inform Matahachi’s family of his survival. However, he finds himself falsely accused of his friend’s murder due to his violent past.
Caught and sentenced to die, a compassionate monk named Takuan Soho rescues him, giving him a new identity—Musashi Miyamoto—to help him escape authorities. ‘Vagabond’ weaves a fictional narrative around the life of Musashi Miyamoto, one of Japan’s legendary swordsmen, tracing his evolution from a swordsman thirsty for invincibility to a wise warrior who learns the value of true friendship, self-reflection, and the essence of life itself. This is a manga that really needs an anime as soon as possibile, because the level of detail in the characters and settings makes you feel like you’ve stepped right into that era.
All I can say is that Berserk is an absolute sword symphony. It starts strong and then blossoms into a true masterpiece. Kentaro Miura’s eye for detail, especially in creating monsters and backgrounds, is simply unmatched. Reading the Berserk manga series is like strolling through an art museum.
The story is all about Guts, once a mercenary but now known as the ‘Black Swordsman,’ seeking vengeance. His journey kicks off on a hopeful note but soon transforms into a chaotic odyssey. Miura intricately portrays Guts’ rough past and how he finds trust and respect in someone, only to have it all shattered when this person selfishly snatches away everything dear to Guts. Branded for death, Guts is now relentlessly pursued by demonic beings.
Therefore, our powerful swordsman Guts embarks on a harrowing quest filled with sorrow. He’s not letting anything stand in his way, not even death, until he gets to the one who took away everything meaningful from him and his loved one, stripping them of their humanity.