Best Manga with Translation of All Time

There are many comics published across the globe every day, and you probably have come across several Japanese comics, also called manga. The term generally pertains to comic series produced and released in Japan. Other countries, especially Algeria, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, have released original comics which are heavily influenced by the manga style.

Oldest semblances of manga date back to the Heian period, dubbed Chōjū jinbutsu giga, commonly abbreviated as Chōjū giga, which directly translates to “animal cartoons.” Japanese manga has had widespread renown because nowadays everyone can easily access international entertainment content.

With digital technology services such as tankōbon localization, offline and online readers consistently help manga’s popularity spread worldwide. Important manga titles are often distributed across different continents and countries, and then localized into multiple languages right after the release of single series book volumes in Japan called tankōbon. Tankōbon is most frequently used in reference to independent volumes of a single manga title. From the midpoint of the 20th century until today, most series initially emerge as individual chapters in famous publications in Japan such as Weekly Shōnen Jump, Weekly Shōnen Magazine, etc.

With a myriad of selections, one may ask where to start. We have compiled the 20 all-time best manga with translation. The compilation includes not only classic series, but also some recent on-going series. This compiled list of the best manga with translations of all time will help novices discover their first manga that will stay with them for a long time and for manga aficionados to delve further into the colorful universe of Japanese comics. Enthusiasts and hobbyists may also appreciate the contrasting or similar opinions about this collection.

Needless to say, you can easily read every manga in this compilation in English and a whole variety of distinct localized languages.

20. Fist of the North Star

Fist of the North Star (北斗の拳) The story was conceptualized and developed by Buronson and Tetsuo Hara has lent his talent to produce the artwork. It’s an interesting shounen manga that contains a lot of martial arts action and some gripping personal drama. It has gained multiple adaptations in anime, live-action and video games. The English adaptation of this series has pushed it to become an easy and long-time favorite in the manga world. The original series was released in 1983 to 1988. The setting is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi world, emphasizing the motivation of the characters making simple everyday life a serious battle of survival in constant quest for untainted human necessities such as food and water. The plot centers around Kenshiro, the heir apparent to a martial art for assassination dubbed Hokuto Shinken. He set out on a journey with his two sidekicks, and together they travel the wasteland in hopes of saving Kenshiro’s fiancée and find sworn brothers who were trained by the same martial arts master.

Fist of the North Star - Best manga with translations of all time

19. Tokyo Ghoul

Tokyo Ghoul - Best manga with translations of all time

Tokyo Ghoul (東京喰種トーキョーグール) is a Seinen manga that is set in a dark fantasy world that contains a lot of psychological-horror and surrounding supernatural mystery. The manga is created by Sui Ishida. It is easily considered one of the most recommended manga and was published between September 2011 and 2014. The story follows protagonist Ken Kaneki, who unknowingly went out on a date with a ghoul, Rize the binge eater, which attempted to eat him. He narrowly survives this dangerous confrontation and transforms himself into the first artificial one-eyed ghoul. The popularity of the manga also spawned an anime adaptation with the same title.

18. Rave Master

Rave Master (Rave) is a classic Shounen adventure-comedy story set in a fantasy world. From the 21st of July 1999 through 10th of July 2005, it was printed in Weekly Shōnen Magazine. North American company Tokyopop has licensed the English release until the contract was allowed to expire by Kodansha. It is still considered one of the most-read fantasy manga with English translation. Studio Deen has adapted an anime series with 51 episodes and was broadcasted on TBS from 13th of October 2001 until 28th of September 2002. The series is about a teenager named Haru Glory, who went out on a quest to save the world and must find the five pieces of the sacred stone Rave. Story and art were done by Hiro Mashima.

Rave Master - Best manga with translation of all time

17. Uzumaki

Uzumaki - Best manga with translations of all time

Uzumaki (うずまき) One of the best works of Junji Ito. The manga only has three volumes and as usual in Ito sensei’s work, the world in the manga is dark, subdued, and complicated. It was published from 1998 to 1999 by Shogakukan. Everything that happened in the story was set in the fictional city of Kurouzu. The manga tells the different stories of its inhabitants and how the city is affected by a spiral shaped supernatural curse. An anime adaptation is set to be broadcasted in 2001. Although it is not among some of the long-running manga series, it also garnered multiple awards from 2003 to 2009 due to its uniqueness and well-fleshed out storytelling and setting. Uzumaki is easily among the best popular Japanese manga to read in English.

16. Yu Yu Hakusho

Yu Yu Hakusho (幽☆遊☆白書) Yoshihiro Togashi is the maker of this exciting supernatural manga. It is a story of a troublesome teenager Yusuke Urameshi doing something unusual for himself. While trying to save a small kid, he gets hit by a car and perishes. Nobody expected him in the realm of spirits, so they bestowed on him a chance for rebirth. To acquire the opportunity, he must solve cases regarding the demons’ involvement in the mortal realm. An anime and several video game adaptations were produced. In 1993 and 1994, the anime version of this manga won Best Anime in the Anime Grand Prix by Animage. Even though this title was one of the early works of Yoshihiro, it became so popular in the States that the anime version was broadcasted on Adult Swim and Toonami. Because this manga is cherished by so many fans of various ages, it has become an all-time popular Japanese manga.

YuYu Hakusho - Best manga with translations of all time

15. Berserk

Berserk - Best manga with translations of all time

Berserk (ベルセルク) is a classic manga authored and drawn by Kentaro Miura. The manga’s setting is during the bloody wars of the Middle Ages. We follow a lone mercenary (Guts) and the leader of a mercenary group (Griffith) throughout their harsh journey in the fictional Kingdom of Midland and the unforgiving reality of war slowly depriving people of their humanity. Since 1989, the manga has already been in circulation and currently have over 40 million copies. It is renowned in the manga community as one of the best popular Japanese manga with English translation. Both the manga and its anime adaptation are extremely brutal, making it a classical example of a dark series in a fantasy setting.

14. One-Punch Man

One-Punch Man (ワンパンマン), created by the artist ONE, is about a non-typical hero Saitama which defeats his adversaries with just a single punch. He lives on an unnamed Earth-like planet, where mysteriously, monsters and demons appear as the cause of disasters. Against them, there is a unique organization called the “Hero Association.” As a hero, Saitama isn’t famous. He is not a secret alien or mutant but just an unemployed person who once resolved to be stronger. ONE made the initial chapters of this web manga in 2009 and drawn by Yusuke Murata, the remake of this manga began in 2012. In North America, this title was made available by Viz Media in 2013. It aired on Toonami in June 2016, a year later than the initial broadcast of the anime version. The manga and the anime were both extremely well accepted by critics and eventually made marks in the entertainment world given the story’s interesting mix of genres of comedy, parody, and adventure.

One-Punch Man - Best manga with translations of all time

13. Slam Dunk

Slam Dunk - Best manga with translations of all time

Slam Dunk (スラムダンク). The creator of this classic is Takehiko Inoue. The protagonist of this manga Hanamichi Sakuragi is a regular high school student, a braggart and a bully. He has no luck in love but one day he meets Haruko Akagi. Trying to impress his dream girl, he joins the Shohoku basketball team although he doesn’t have any idea about the sport. Haruko’s brother Takenori Akagi, who is the captain of the basketball team, sensed the enormous power and potential of red-head Hanamichi. The latter and his teammates’ story was one whose path was to make the Shohoku basketball team the national champions. This remarkable Japanese sports manga was released in Weekly Shōnen Jump at the start of the 90s. The last chapter was published in June ’96. In Japan, its sales was over 126 million. The anime version aired from ’93 to ’96. Ultimately, Slam Dunk paved the way to increase the use of basketball themes in other sports manga which includes Buzzer Beater and Real.

12. Bleach

Bleach (ブリーチ) is the best work of Tite Kubo. The plot revolves around fifteen-year-old Ichigo Kurosaki, who lives in a small area called Karakura and can see ghosts. The world of Bleach consists of the mortal and afterworld. In this world, strange creatures formed from the human soul called Hollow assault the human world. Rukia Kuchiki, a shinigami, tries to capture a Hollow inside Ichigo’s place where she got hurt while saving him from the threat. She gave her power to Kurosaki to protect them until the time she will get healed. Bleach became famous not only in East Asia but also the whole world and brought great fame to Tite Kubo. The manga has an animated version which started to air in Japan in ’05 and wrapped up in ’12. Since 2004, the manga has been licensed by Viz and after that in ’06, the anime too. Several other short anime films, a live action version, etc., were made that are rooted in the manga. Since then, Bleach has maintained a significant position in the world of manga.

Bleach - Best manga with translations of all time

11. Vagabond

Vagabond - Best manga with translations of all time

Vagabond (バガボンド) is a martial-arts-themed manga written by Takehiko Inoue. A long journey almost always starts with just one step; even famous Japanese swordsman Musashi Miyamoto was once just a normal village boy whose name was Shinmen Takezou. This manga is about a regular villager who, while disregarding conventions, went into the ominous and alluring atmosphere of war, giving up everything to reach perfection in the sword art. The author got inspiration from Musashi, a fictional narrative by Eiji Yoshikawa. It was in ’98 when the manga first became available in Kodansha’s seinen manga circulation. Unfortunately, the last release was in 2015 and, since then, the series was on hiatus. It remains to be one of the most fascinating martial arts-themed comics available to read in English.

10. My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia (僕のヒーローアカデミア). The creator is Kōhei Horikoshi. The author crafted an interesting world where superpower is an inevitable part of society. Evidently, schools, jobs and many things are based around superpowers. In this world, the most famous superhero school is Hero Academia. The plot is about a regular powerless citizen Izuku Midoriya, who always wanted to enter the prominent hero school. When he got a chance to meet the most powerful hero of that world All Might, he showed his determination in becoming a superhero despite his lack of superpower. All Might liked the boy so much that he unveiled to him his true identity and resolved to transfer his power to the kid. And so the journey of the boy that is filled with training and hardships has begun. Recently, the manga turned out to be so popular and widely accepted by mainstream audiences that the series gained an animated version. The fifth season is scheduled to start in spring 2021. At the beginning of January of this year, thirty million copies of this manga have been sold.

My Hero Academia - Best manga with translations of all time

9. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (風の谷のナウシカ). A fascinating work of Hayao Miyazaki. The manga is about a world where a thousand years ago, a terrible cataclysm called “seven days of fire” happened on Earth. Humans live in small settlement-states, scattered among a huge forest of strange trees and mushrooms of unprecedented size. People view the forest and its inhabitants as enemies, and some states even seek to burn it down. The main heroine and the daughter of the ruler of a tiny country, Nausicaä, can interact with all living things. She makes efforts to make people understand that the forest is not humanity’s foe and therefore open their hearts towards nature. In Japan, the manga became quite famous; to the rest of the world, it is easily considered among the best popular Japanese manga to read in English. It was in circulation from 1982 until 1994 and also has anime and film adaptation.

8. Death Note

Death Note (デスノート) was created by Tsugumi Ohba (story) and Takeshi Obata (illustration). The story talks about an academically excellent pupil Light Yagami chancing upon the perfect killing weapon, a notebook. Realizing that he has a chance to kill anyone just by writing the person’s name in that notebook, he pursues to kill lawbreakers. But his triumph was short-lived because the whole world began a hunt against him. The manga became so famous that it is still considered a top Japanese manga even though the publication finished in 2006. The manga also has an anime adaptation; it is currently available on Netflix.

Death Note - manga with translations

7. Rurouni Kenshin

Rurouni Kenshin manga

Rurouni Kenshin (るろうに剣心 -明治剣客浪`漫譚-) created by Nobuhiro Watsuki is a story about Japan post-Meiji restoration, already ten years after Japan tried to open its borders towards the West. By absorbing a new culture and forgetting the past, the Samurai’s way of life is slowly disappearing from Japan. But some people are connected by an unbreakable bond through their sword and life. The protagonist Himura Kenshin is among them. He repents of the murders he has committed during the previous war and wanders on a journey to atone for crimes he’s committed. This manga tells the tale of the last Japanese samurais. In Japan, the manga first became accessible in ’94 and the final chapter was in ’99. The title sold over 72 million prints in the world which makes it one of the most-read Japanese manga globally.

6. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (ジョジョの奇妙な冒険) is a hodgepodge of multiple genres of action, mystery, historical and horror, and is made by Hirohiko Araki. The story’s timeline dates back to 19 AD and tells about two brothers, Jonathan Joestar nicknamed JoJo and Dio Brando, an orphan adopted by the former’s family. The manga has eight stories, and each is a continuation of the relationship between JoJo and Dio, but in the perspective of their subsequent family generations. The first arc of the manga had begun way back in 1987, the seventh arc was completed in 2011, and the eighth and final part began in 2011 and is still ongoing. This manga is regarded as one of the top-selling and popular manga in the whole world. Over a hundred million copies have been sold since the initial serialization.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure manga

5. Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan manga

Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人) A strange and unique story written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama. Instead of progress, humanity was thrown back by the emergence of a race of giants. Since then, the people in this world have lived surrounded by man-eating giants called Titans. Even though they are protected by high walls and live safely away from giants for around one hundred years, this did not last forever and the worst thing happens when the walls have fallen. The era of peace in which humanity was able to live suddenly disappears and the war for survival has begun. The most terrifying thing about the Titans is that they do not eat people because of hunger but for entertainment. This manga appeared in 2009 and disrupted the charts by making itself one of the top-read Japanese manga worldwide. It was adapted into anime in 2013. The anime also won the Attilio Micheluzzi and Harvey Awards.

4. Hunter x Hunter

Hunter x Hunter (ハンター×ハンター). This masterpiece of Yoshihiro Togashi is set in a strange world which revolves around the Hunters association. Life in this reality is arranged as usual—there are preys, predators, and hunters. To become a hunter, everyone should take the Hunter Exam, which is unlike any regular exam. The main hero Gon Freecss, whose dream is to be a hunter, wants to take the Hunter Exam. But his only relative, Aunt Mito, prevents him from choosing the same path as his father, who left his family and all of his possessions for adventure. The 1st chapter was published in Japan in 1998 and is still ongoing. It also has an anime adaptation which broadcasted on the Funimation Channel in 2009. The manga already has over 36 volumes which are also available in English and is licensed by Viz Media. It is one of the highly read Japanese manga worldwide.

Hunter x Hunter - manga

3. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Demon Slayer - manga

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (鬼滅の刃) A supernatural and action manga by Koyoharu Gotōge. Set in the world of humans and demons, the protagonist is Tanjiro Kamado, who is watching out for his big family after his father died. After working late hours, he is forced to spend the night in a strange man’s house who warns him about the man-eating demons. On the next day after finally arriving home, he finds his whole family murdered, as well as his sister turning into a demon. While trying to save her life, he fights with a “demon slayer” Tomioka Giyuuhe, who then gives him advice on finding a solution to bring back his sister’s humanity. The story of his long journey was published from 2016 to 2020, and it has 23 volumes. This series has an animated version which further propelled its popularity and increased the sales of the manga drastically to 60 million copies, making it among the most-read Japanese manga worldwide as of today.

2. Naruto

Naruto (ナルト) Masashi Kishimoto is the writer of this famous Japanese manga. The series is about Konohagakure village which was destroyed by a “Nine-Tailed Demon Fox” several years back. The neighborhood was saved by the chief, the “4th Hokage”. But he was not able to extinguish the demon, so he sealed the Nine-Tailed Fox within the newly-born Uzumaki Naruto’s body. The initial part is about Naruto’s early years and his lifetime aim to be Hokage (the chief of the village). Owing to the seal, many in the neighborhood became afraid and attempted to stay away from him, and only a few people treated him well. He did various pranks to somehow attract the villagers’ attention and prove to them that one day he will become a Hokage. 

Naruto - manga with translations

Its beautiful story of determination, support, and friendship captured so many hearts in the entire world. This was one of those artworks that helped push the world of manga to pop culture. During publication from ’99 to ’14, it earned 72 volumes. It also has an animation version broadcasted in (2002-2017), which also aired on Cartoon Network, YTV and Disney. With 250 million prints sold across the globe, it is acknowledged as the 4th top-selling and one of the most popular manga titles in history.

1. One Piece

One Piece - manga with translations

One Piece (ワンピース). Created by Eiichiro Oda, this manga first appeared in Japan in 1997. Since the start of its publication, it has been serialized for more than 20 years and is still considered the most widely read and loved Japanese manga not only in Japan but also in many countries. The manga tells a tale of a strange realm of pirates with endless adventures. When the “Pirate King” Gol D. Roger was about to be executed, he told everyone that he left his treasures somewhere in the ocean and if someone wants them, they should try and take them. That gave inspiration to a lot of people and brought about a new generation of pirates. 

Among them is Monkey D. Luffy, his dream is to pursue the path to be the “Pirate King”. After unintentionally eating a “Devil Fruit,” he gains the might of rubber, and to reach his dream, he starts on his escapades on the high seas traveling with his crew members and friends. During their journey through “The Grand Line,” they became famous because of their exploits and started to become known as the “Straw Hat Pirates.” The manga with its unique storyline and world became the top-selling manga series in a lot of countries with over 470 million copies making this the most famous manga worldwide.

And that rounds up our list of the best manga with translations of all time. If you’re new to this subculture, or even a seasoned and still intrigued fan, then we’d be delighted to give you a better peek at the art of comics, manga, and anime to help you get a better understanding of this scene.

As a leading manga translation firm, CCCI provides international manga and comics services. We collaborate with manga publishers and licensed distributors in Japan and other countries. Thanks to our vast expertise, we manage the challenging timescales and finish the job at a reasonable cost.

To request official manga translation, localization, verticalization, coloring, typesetting, animation, or other similar facilities, please contact us! Submit your project choice and let our specialists provide the perfect service to cater to your new, casual, and hardcore fans.

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