What originated as a way of converting everyday life in cartoons soon took shape as an alternative to comics. This centuries-old art which flourished during the late 19th century in Japan has slowly engulfed the entire world with some of the most intense graphic novels. Manga refers to both caricature and comics but for the outer world, this term is coined for all comics originating from Japan.
While many of these popular mangas have been converted into anime versions, the fun and excitement of reading manga can never be replaced by the anime versions. It has turned out into a popular digital media for people of all ages. These mangas range from the genres of action, thriller, science fiction, and authentic Japanese topics.
Most of these mangas are sold all over the world after translation into the native language of the country. For beginners, identifying and reading a manga series, at times becomes a complicated task. Let alone reading one volume could take days to complete one volume.
In this article, we bring the best selling manga series of all times with the intention of providing users with the best and most compelling mangas released so far.
One punch man is the story of Saitama who hails for city Z. He has trained to the extent that he can defeat any foe with just a single punch earning the title of one punch man. But being super powerful, it has turned Saitam’s life very boring. The manga has comedic action-packed stories, featuring outstanding graphics.
The story focuses on the time of supercontinent earth where powerful monsters and villains are destroying everything in their path. To counter this situation, a millionaire named Agoni establishes theHero Association. While one punch man, Saitama is unassociated with this group and performs deeds for his personal engagement.
The story reveals that monsters are a creation of another organization called the Monster Association with the intent of destroying the Hero Association. The story goes forward as they fight off one monster after another.
One punch man is self-published by ONE. So far the remake manga of one punch man has sold over 8 million copies. It has also been published as an anime version with 26 episodes so far.
Published – June 14, 2012 – present
Genre – Action, Comedy, Superhero
Written by – ONE, a 33-year-old artist with a fictional name.
Yotsuba focuses on the life and misadventures of a 5-year-old girl. She is so curious and quirky that even her father considers her behavior strange. Despite being energetic and cheering, the girl is ignorant of many things children of her age are expected to learn.
The story covers the humorous and funny events which take place in her life. It begins with Yotsuba and her adoptive father relocating to a different location. In this new place, Yotsuba makes a strong impression on the neighbors’ daughters. Most of her activities and misadventures are a direct result of her interaction with her neighbor’s daughters.
The publisher has released 14 volumes of this funny manga series, which is full of the misadventures of Yotsuba. It has also received numerous awards in Japan and all around the world including the Eisner award in Best publication for kids section. It was also released as the 2016 anime spinoff, Nyanbo!
Published – March 2003 – present
Genre – Comedy, Slice of life
Written by – Kiyohiko Azuma
13. Goodnight PunPun
Goodnight PunPun is an amazing manga to read, covering the life of PunPun from his elementary school to his early 20s. This manga provides something real to the reader and takes them away from imagination-filled sci-fi genres. Another vivid aspect of this manga is the depiction of characters in the form of birds.
This manga covers the dysfunctional family of Punpun and his life, down to his love-life and goals. Occasionally, providing some details about supporting characters. It explores the much-ignored issue of depression, social isolation, death, and its impact on PunPun. The progression is kept very neutral which helps each user develop a different understanding of the story.
Goodnight PunPun is considered as the best manga to read by readers and critics alike. It has released only 13 volumes and has the best word the Eisner award in the best US Edition of International Material category for its first 4 volumes.
Published – March 15, 2007 – November 2, 2013
Genre – Drama, Slice of life, Coming of Age
Written by – Inio Asano
Who doesn’t like a crime thriller, especially when it is full of suspense? Monster is a kind of metaphorical manga, which many people witness in real life.This manga was so popular that Nippon TV created an anime series out of it, spanning over 18 months having 74 episodes.
Monster is a story of a young brain surgeon Tenma, who is not satisfied with the hospital’s political bias in treating patients. Tenma treats a young boy from a gunshot wound in place of treating the city mayor. As a result, the mayor dies. Tenma is ridiculed at the hospital. But soon all the opposing doctors and the hospital directors are mysteriously murdered. What follows next is full of suspense and an attempt of Tenma to treat the monster which he has brought to life. The story progresses to nine-year after this event.
The manga will take you to proceeds with the same goal till Death Note releases only 12 volumes for the public. Monster has sold over 20 million copies to date. The story is about a brain surgeon who regrets saving his patient’s life because of the Monster he has created.
Published – December 1994 – December 2001
Genre – Crime, Mystery, Psychological thriller
Written by – Naoki Urasawa
11. Death Note
Death note is a unique one of a kind manga having a long run at bookstores. It has inspired the production of Anime, TV series, live-action movies, Video games, and many other digital formats.
Death Note explores the fictional aspect of a high school student coming in possession of a supernatural diary. This diary grants the user the mystical power of killing anyone just by writing their name on the pages of Death Note. After learning about the capacity of the Death Note, the person starts killing members of the crime syndicates and other offenders to create a model world. This manga takes you on an epic journey to the unique fictional world where two people come in possession of a Death Note, thus creating a ripple impact in each other’s life.
So far, releasing only 12 volumes for the public. Death Note has sold over 30 million copies to date. The story is a good read of clashes in ideologies when granted supernatural powers.
Berserk is set in the backdrop of the medieval age in a dark fantasy world. This combination presents a unique environment for the manga. This manga contains extreme gore and violence but has an exciting story.
Berserk follows the story of a Guts, a mercenary, and Griffith, leader of a mercenary band – Band of the Hawk. The origin of Guts is extremely sad and features violence. As a child Guts kills his adoptive father and runs away, slowly growing a fearsome reputation.
After getting defeated by Griffith in combat, Guts is forced to join the Band of the Hawk. The story progresses with the story of Guts and his subsequent adventures in the dark fantasy world.
This manga is popular among all age groups and has been running for the last 3 decades with no end so far. It has also sold over 40 million copies of its manga version so far. Berserk has even been reconstituted as an anime series twice during the 90s and again in 2016-17.
Published – October 1989 – present
Genre – Dark Fantasy, Epic, Sword and Sorcery
Written by – Kentaro Miura
9. Great Teacher Onizuka
GTO or Great Teacher Onizuka is a funny manga series featuring a 22-year old Onizuka, who was previously involved with Japanese gangs. The story begins after a girl agrees to go on a date with Onizuka. But life takes a turn when they are interrupted by the girl’s boyfriend, an old and unattractive teacher.
Onizuka found his inspiration to become a teacher himself after witnessing the display of the teacher’s power over the girl despite being old. He completes his teaching degree but from an inferior college. During this process, Onizuka realizes he cannot take advantage of school girls. The story unfolds how a creep turns into a man of honor, the great teacher Onizuka using unconventional methods to help each student he teaches.
Great Teacher Onizuka has only 25 volumes to its credit. Although the manga was converted into anime and live tv series, GTO is a greater success as a manga then on other formats. The story is a good read of transformation and how people avoid the thought of exploiting others.
Published – January 8, 1997 – February 13, 2002
Genre – Action, Comedy
Written by – Tooru Fujisawa
8. Fullmetal Alchemist
The combination of magic and amazing costumes inspired by the industrial revolution, Fullmetal Alchemist is a unique story of magic, action, and adventure of a young alchemist with a personal agenda.
It is a story of two young brothers attempting to bring back their dead mother to life. In the aftermath of this attempt, one brother loses his body while another one loses his leg. The one losing his leg is Edward, he goes on to get an artificial limb and becomes the state alchemist called Fullmetal Alchemist. The story carries a dark way of fights, kidnaps, deaths, and change of ideologies while the original brother keeps trying to find a solution to reverse the impact.
The manga will provide you a unique story to enjoy. Fullmetal Alchemist has 27 volumes, selling over 70 million copies to date. It is a story set in the fictional country of Amestris, where Alchemy is the most practiced-science.
Published – July 12, 2001 – June 11, 2010
Genre – Adventure, Dark Fantasy, Steampunk
Written by – Hiromu Arakawa
Vagabond portrays the life of Japanese swordsman Musashi Miyamoto in a fictionalized manner. The story takes you to the 16th century, during the outcome of the Battle of Sekigahara. It focuses on the life of two teenagers who participate in the battle. Takezo Shinmen is an ordinary boy, while Matamachi Hon’iden is heir to the Honiden gentry.
After losing the batter, both the teenagers manage to escape from the battlefields. The winning side dispatches troops to hunt for both the teenagers. In the aftermath of this attack, Takezo becomes a Vagabond to become stronger whereas Matamachi opts to stay in the shadows. Vagabond will take you into the epic transformation journey of a young Takezo into the legendary swordsman Musashi Miyamoto.
This manga series is expanded into 37 volumes with over 300 chapters and is currently in an extended status with the last chapter released in May 2015. Vagabond has won numerous awards and accolades for its content. It has sold over 82 million copies giving it a position among the best manga series ever launched.
Published – September 17, 1998 – present
Genre – Epic, Historical, Martial Arts
Written by – Takehiko Inoue
6. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is one of the most popular manga series of all-time. It has 127 volumes with eight different story arcs. Jojo’s adventure is one of the lengthiest running manga series.
The arcs in this manga series cover the life of eight protagonists, who are members of the Joestar family. Each descendant of this family bears a star-shaped birthmark above their shoulder, which is referred to as JOJO. The first six arcs cover the rivalry of the Joestar family with Dio Brando while the last two arcs cover the Joestar family in an alternate universe.
The manga will provide you with some of the most amazing caricature and a unique story. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has over 127 volumes, selling over 100 million copies to date. It is a story set in the fictional country of Amestris, where Alchemy is the most practiced-science.
Published – January 1, 1987 – present
Genre – Adventure, Fantasy, Supernatural
Written by – Hirohiko Araki
5. Astro Boy
Astro Boy is a 5 decades older manga series but remains among the best sellers of all time. The story covers human emotions and robotics making it a good manga to read.
Astro Boy is a science fiction manga established in a distant future, where robots and humans coexist. Dr. Tenma builds Astro Boy to fill the void created by the loss of his only son. This manga covers the story of Astro boy who has the memories of Tobio but has been left out by the doctor. In subsequent events, he performs circus acrobatics.
The new minister of science notices Astro and buys him out from the circus. He takes care of Astro as his own and treats him warmly. He realizes Astro’s powers and skills. In the aftermath, Astro is depicted as a crime fighting superhero.
This manga was so popular that it was reincarnated into anime thrice since the 1960s. In 2009, Imagi animation released a computer animation movie loosely based on Astro Boy. It has also sold over 100 million copies of its manga version so far.
Published – April 3, 1952 – March 12, 1968
Genre – Adventure, Science fiction, Superhero
Written by – Osamu Tezuka
4. Case Closed
Case closed or Detective Conan, is an exceptional thriller manga. The story focuses on the detective prowess of an adult student, who is transformed into a young kid because of an experimental poison. Jimmy Kudo keeps his identity a secret and adopts the name, Conan.
After this transformation, he starts living with his childhood friend and his detective father. Throughout this manga, Conan travels with the detective and tries to solve the cases. Once Conan successfully solves a case, he tranqs the detective and impersonates his voice to reveal the solution of the case. The manga proceeds with many such cases to solve and a final encounter with the gang that forced the young Jimmy Kudo to ingest the poison.
The manga is spread over 98 volumes, and it has inspired the production of over 15 anime movies. Detective Conan or Case Closed is a huge success in terms of sales too. According to consensus, Detective Conan has sold 230 million copies.
Published – January 19, 1994 – present
Genre – Mystery, Thriller
Written by – Goshyo Aoyama
Naruto is yet another martial arts adventure manga established in the backdrop of a Ninja student having high aspirations in his life. The chronicle of Naruto Uzumaki is covered in two parts. Part 1 will take you on a wild ride into naruto’s pre-teen years, which is filled with adventure and fights. Part 2 of this manga focuses on naruto’s teenage years.
The story begins with a mythical creature attacking a ninja village. The leader of the village ends up sealing the mythical creature inside the body of his newborn son, naruto but dies in the process. The village is then proclaimed by the previous leader who forbids villages from talking about the event.
This manga is an epic showdown of some adventurous takedowns of naruto, his progress in life, and his struggles to realize his ambition for becoming the leader of his village. Naruto has a total of 72volumes, which ended as of November 2014. It is the 4th best selling manga of all times, selling over 250 million copies.
Published – September 21, 1999 – November 10, 2014
Genre – Adventure, Fantasy, Martial Arts
Written by – Masashi Kishimoto
2. Dragon Ball
Dragon ball was first released in the weekly shonen jump and continued till 1995. Written by renowned writer Akira Toriyama who is an inspiration to a large number of manga writers.
Dragon ball follows the story and progress of the main protagonist of the series Son Goku, the last survivor of an alien race called SAIYANS. Goku was sent to planet earth to conquer before the destruction of his home planet. On earth, Goku is raised by an old man named Gohan. After the demise of this adopted grandfather, Son Goku teams up with a young girl named Bulma to find dragon balls.
The story progresses as Goku trains under a martial arts master and takes on his evil organization and criminals. Readers will learn of Goku’s origins in dragon ball z and this series introduces a large number of aliens, androids, time travel, gods, magicians, and whatnot. It is the most popular manga series according to our consensus.
It is the second most selling manga series clocking over 300 million copies. Dragon ball is spread over 42 volumes and has also been continued with a different manga based on the same characters, Dragon Ball Super, exploring multiple universes and gods of destruction and creation.
There has been, anime release featuring over 400 episodes and a lot of movies exploring different chapters of this manga.
Published – December 3, 1984 – June 5, 1995
Genre – Adventure, Comics Fantasy, Martial Arts
Written by – Akira Toriyama
1. One Piece
One Piece is the undisputed manga leader in terms of sold copies. The success of One Piece is because it combines GAG and BATTLE manga. One Piece is an incredible piece of work released on a special quality paper. It is a fantasy pirate series.
The series focuses on the life of a young man, Monkey D Luffy, a noble person in search of the greatest treasure named One Piece. He believes his discovery of such treasure will deem him the title of the greatest pirate of all times. Luffy gains a body like rubber making him powerful and funny at the same time. He soon forms a pirate team during his voyage. Together the team fights off others trying to get in the way of their pursuit.
One piece is the best selling manga of all times, selling over 470 million copies. It has also been converted into anime and media franchises. One-piece has generated over 21 billion dollars from manga, anime, movies, and other franchises.
Published – July 22, 1997 – present
Genre – Adventure, Fantasy
Written by – Eiichiro Oda
What is the highest-selling manga of all time?
One Piece is the highest selling manga of all time. As of April 2020, it has sold over 470 million copies which are circulated in 43 countries worldwide. It became the best seller for the eleventh consecutive year. It claimed the Guinness World Record for the most number of copies published for one comic series by a single author.
What are the best devices to read manga on?
While the real fun of manga comes while reading printed copies. With the expansion of internet devices, mangas are also made available as web-comics. The best devices to read a manga series will be a portable device that you can use anywhere such as tablets or e-readers.
When it comes to choosing a manga for yourself. Readers should go with the genre of their interest instead of following the trend or choosing the best seller. It will be a poor choice to read the manga whose anime readers have already watched.
This list has manga of all genres, making it easier for readers to opt for one. We strongly recommend reading these mangas for an outstanding experience.