20 Japanese Manga Available in English

Last Updated on 15.07.2022 by Coto Japanese Language School

Like anime, manga is a big part of Japanese culture, loved by both those in and outside Japan. And thanks to its growing popularity over the past decades, we’ve reached the point where newly published manga titles are immediately translated to English, allowing non-Japanese readers to enjoy both classic and lesser-known series.

Manga (pronounced man-ga), or 漫画 (まんが) essentially means comic or cartoon, but we refer to Japanese comics and graphic novels specifically. You may have heard of manhwa or manhua, which refer to Korean and Chinese comics respectively.  Much like anime, manga isn’t a genre, but rather a medium.

Ranging from lighthearted fun comedies to thought-provoking stories, manga caters to all groups of ages, gender and genres. Of course, everyone has different tastes, and manga’s wide variety means that everyone can find one read.

That being said, it’s hard to know where to start. While you could just pick up a random series and start from there, it can be hard to find a series that’s genuinely good. For every good manga, there are at least three bad ones, and it’s a problem that’s plagued the industry for a while. A lot of authors just copy whatever’s popular and try to put their own spin on it, leading to mediocre or bad results. This happened with the isekai (異世界 or いせかい) genre, a genre in which the protagonist would be transported to another world, where it was so overrun with the same ideas and characters to the point that the genre currently is pretty infamous.

So, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to recommend some good manga. Each entry on this list are great entry in their respective genres, so hopefully, you’ll come out of this with a better understanding of what you like. All of the manga listed here are translated to English from an official source, so you’ll be able to directly support the authors.

Jump to:

Image taken from Kodansha US site

Attack on Titan

An award-winning Japanese manga series with popular anime and film adaptations, Attack on Titan, also known as Shingeki no Kyoji (進撃の巨人), imagines a world where humanity is surrounded by man-eating Titans. First appeared 100 years ago, they had to hide behind massive walls.

The story centers around Eren, who saw one of the creatures ate his mother when the wall broke down. Vowing to kill every single Titan, he enlisted into Survey Corps.

We included its anime series in our 26 Anime on Netflix to Watch in 2022 article, but we also recommend reading the manga, as the ending for the anime differs from that of the manga. Read here.

Written by: Hajime Isayama
Date released: 2009 – 2021

Read more: 26 Anime on Netflix to Watch in 2022

Bakuman

From the author of Death Note, Bakuman (stylized バクマン。or BAKUMAN。) is a less grim story about two wannabe mangaka. Moritaka, the artist, and Takagi, the writer. Together, they team up and try to make it in the manga world. Part of the appeal of this manga is learning about the process of creating manga. 

This English-translated manga goes very in-depth with the detail of creating concepts and putting them into print. It also gives a lot of insight into the background work that goes on at major manga publications like Shounen Jump. The characters and developments are no slouch either, and make this a manga very worth your while, especially if you’re very into the medium. That being said, this manga has been described by many as being very text-heavy, so keep that in mind if you’re planning on getting it. Read here.

Written by: Tsugumi Ohba (writer) and Takeshi Obata (illustrator)
Date released: 1999 – 2006

Berserk

If you were to poll people on what they would say the best manga of all time is, the most common answer would always be “Berserk”. It follows Guts, the Black Swordsman, a mercenary, who gets picked up by Griffith, the leader of a mercenary group known as the Band of the Hawk. A dark fantasy series with inspiration from medieval Europe, Berserk is famous for its excellent story and characters. The art too is fantastic, incredibly detailed and beautiful. The manga contains some very dark elements like sexual assault and is a lot more graphic than most others. It’s still very much so worth your time and has influenced many, many works that have come after it.

Unfortunately, the author, Kentaro Miura, passed away last year in May of 2021. The manga will continue for a while, done by Miura’s friend, Kouji Mori, only with the parts Miura talked to him about. While it is terrible that Miura passed, it’s at least nice to know that the ending he envisioned will still be written. Read here.

Written by: Kentaro Miura
Date released: 2008 – 2012

Read more: 100 Japanese Anime Vocabulary Words You Can (Or Can’t) Use

20th Century Boys

20th Century Boys follows Kenji, who upon hearing about the death of one of his childhood friends, comes across a connection to both a large cult led by a man named “Friend” and a book made by him and his friends while they were kids. Together, Kenji and his childhood friends figure out how they are connected to the cult, and try to save the world. 20th Century Boys is a work by Urasawa Naoki, one of the best mangaka (manga authors) of all time. His works are gripping and enthralling. Read here.

Written by: Naoki Urasawa
Date released: 1999 – 2006

blue period manga
Blue Period © Tsubasa Yamaguchi/Kodansha Ltd.

Blue Period

Another we’ve covered in our Netflix list, Blue Period follows Yatora Yaguchi, a popular yet unsatisfied young boy who develops a passion for the arts. Follow him as he tries to pursue art and attend a prestigious art university. While the anime is good in its own right, there are some grievances that manga readers have had with the anime that might convince you to read the manga instead. The largest one is the pacing. 

Blue period’s anime, like every other anime, was restricted to 20-minute episodes, which resulted in cut content and having to shorten scenes. Most notably, they cut a lot out of the explanations of the art-making process, some of the best parts of the manga. The anime is still great though and is able to use colors and animation in a way manga never could, but on the character end, is a bit lacking. The manga is fantastic in its own right, and definitely worth checking out, especially if you enjoyed the anime. Read here.

Written by: Tsubasa Yamaguchi
Date released: 2017 – Present

Chainsaw Man

Chainsaw man is about a man who can transform into a Chainsaw devil. Denji, a homeless, broke young man gets merged with his pet, Pochita and can turn into a chainsaw devil. He is then picked up by the government and becomes a part of the Public Safety Devil Hunters, where he must hunt devils and work alongside his eccentric coworkers. 

Chainsaw Man has been praised for its uniqueness, there isn’t much like it. It’s a gory action series, a crass comedy, and a genuinely emotional read with some of its character moments. The characters are what really make it shine through, each one of them memorable and unique in their own right. It’s been awarded the best Shounen manga at multiple award shows in 2021 and has an anime adaptation coming up from Studio MAPPA. Read here.

Written by: Tatsuki Fujimoto
Date released: 2018 – Present

Haikyuu!!

Another one in our English-translated manga recommendations, Haikyuu!! (ハイキュー!!) is a sports-manga classic. Hinata Shoyuu, a junior high school student, fell in love with volleyball after watching a tournament on TV. Inspired by the short-wing spiker known as “Little Giant”, Hinata joined the same high school — only to discover that the school lost its athletic reputation. There, he reunited with his former opponent, Kageyama. The two formed a formidable setter-spiker duo.

Written by: Haruichi Furudate
Date released: 2012 – 2020

Delicious in Dungeon cover
Image taken from Yen Press site

Delicious in Dungeon

Delicious in Dungeon is a fun Fantasy Comedy about eating monsters. The manga follows a group of adventurers exploring a dungeon, who must rely on eating the monsters they encounter for sustenance. They’re not just roasting whatever meat they find either. The team leader, Laios, has a passion for cooking, and is very excited to try new dishes, monster included. 

The best part about the manga is that the dishes they create look delicious. They look like actual meals that would be prepared in a kitchen and even include recipes and instructions on how to make them. The party is great too, they bounce off of each other really well and have great chemistry. That combined with the contrast of modern food made in a fantasy setting makes it a very funny read. If you want to learn how to cook and eat monsters, you should definitely read this series. Read here.

Written by: Ryoko Kui
Date released: 2014 – Present

Read more: Top 10 Japanese phrases from Anime you should NOT use

Fullmetal Alchemist

After a ritual went wrong, brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric are horribly scarred. Edward lost an arm and leg, while Alphonse lost his body, only kept around because his soul is bonded with a suit of armor. To try and fix his mistake, Edward and his brother try to find the only thing that could help them – The Philosopher’s stone. 

This series is one of the best-selling manga of all time and has been regarded as one of the best Shounen manga of all time. Its writing and characters have been praised for being top-notch, especially for its female characters. Well-written women are (unfortunately) pretty rare in manga and anime, but Fullmetal Alchemist delivers, due in no small part to the mangaka being a woman. 

There’re also multiple anime adaptations of the manga if that’s more your thing, but hardcore fans recommend reading the manga – even if you’ve seen the anime. Read here.

Written by: Hiromu Arakawa
Date released: 2001 – 2010

Image taken from Yen Press site

Horimiya

A great Rom-Com, Horimiya follows Kyoko Hori and Izumi Miyamura, two opposites who have sides to them that they don’t want others to see. After discovering those sides of one another, the two become friends, and slowly fall in love. While there is an anime adaptation for it, much like a lot of anime adaptations, it leaves stuff out. Of course, the left-out parts aren’t vital, but they are fun chapters to read. The manga in general is a fun read, the romance is compelling and the chemistry between all of the characters is fantastic. While it’s a good romance, it’s also a great school comedy, and the characters are just fun to watch, especially in the shorter manga format. Read here.

Written by: Hero
Date released: 2007 – 2021

Hunter X Hunter

Hunter X Hunter follows a boy named Gon, who aims to become a hunter in order to find his father. Hunters are professionals who hunt down treasure, animals and outlaws. Along the way, he meets other hunters and befriends some of them. The series has been praised for its fantastic fights, with the Nen system being a great way for the author to get creative and show cool fights. The detail of the series is also great. The in-depth way they explain Nen, for example, helps you to understand what is going on in the series. The battles are very creative and fun to watch and the variety of the manga helps keep it fresh.

It also received an anime adaptation in 2011 that many fans of the series really like, so we recommend checking it out too. That being said, the manga has undergone multiple hiatuses due to the author’s health issues, though they have since recovered enough to announce that they would be putting out new chapters soon.

Written by: Yoshihiro Togashi
Date released: 1998 – Present

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

If you’ve been on the internet long enough, you’ve heard of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. The series has been ingrained into so many people’s consciousness and for good reason. The series is genuinely unforgettable. It’s so inventive and weird that it stands out among so many other series. The series is split into parts, each part following a different Jojo, usually a descendant or relative of the previous one. The most recent parts, 7 and 8, move away from this formula and are more self-contained stories with references to other parts.

Part of what makes it so unique is the Stands, manifestations of a person’s fighting spirit. The Stands in each part each have certain conditions or situations in which they are applicable. As a battle manga, this means that in each fight the protagonist has to figure out how to defeat their opponent as if they were a puzzle. Even the weakest foes have the potential to be deadly in the right situations, and it makes for a very exciting dynamic in every fight. The character designs are also fantastic and highly memorable, and the art style is incredibly unique and recognizable. There’s also an excellent anime adaptation of every part up to part 6, and we highly recommend those as they live up to the manga very well.

Written by: Hirohiko Araki
Date released: 1987 – Present

Kaguya-sama: Love Is War

Love is War follows the president and vice president of Shuchiin Academy, Miyuki Shirogane and Kaguya Shinomiya. Two genius students who everyone thinks make the perfect couple. The two of them are also in love with each other, yet neither of them wants to be the one who comes out and says it, as they think it would make them look weak. So, they engage in daily conflict, hoping to make the other confess their love. 

What makes Kaguya so unique when compared to other Rom–Coms is its humor. Its style of humor is a lot more absurd when compared to others in the genre, and the seriousness with which the two main characters tackle a very un-serious issue adds to the charm and hilarity of the series. It’s also very meta, making referential jokes to other games and media that the author, Aka Akasaka enjoys. If you’ve watched the anime, we recommend reading the manga too, as the comedy and comedic timing is more suited to the medium. Read here.

Written by: Aka Akasaka
Date released: 2015 – Present

One Piece

If you want to get into One Piece, the best time would be to start now. The series has gone on for years and is only going to get longer. How long? The series is currently at its 1053 chapter, with a new chapter being released every week. While this may seem daunting, don’t let that stop you. One Piece is one of the best Shounen series right now and has kept a high level of quality throughout all of its 1000 chapters. It follows Monkey D. Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates on a quest to find the treasure “One Piece”. The best part of One Piece by far is the worldbuilding. The amount of effort and love put into every single side character and location is astonishing, and it makes even the smaller side characters have compelling backstories behind them. The amount of foreshadowing it has too really adds to the amount of detail in the series, within the 1000 chapters there are plot points set up hundreds of chapters before. You can really tell just how much care the author, Eiichiro Oda, has put into it.

Written by: Eiichiro Oda
Date released: 1997 – Present

Read more: Top 10 Easy Anime to Learn Japanese for Beginners

One Punch Man

One Punch Man is about Saitama, someone who is able to beat anything in one punch, hence the name. Based on the webcomic by the author, One, the One Punch Man manga illustrated by Yuusuke Murata is absolutely beautiful. If you’ve seen the anime, you probably know that the first season’s animation and the art style are fantastic, and Murata is able to match and even surpass how good-looking it is. The art is fantastic and incredibly detailed, some of the spread pages looking like actual paintings. The manga slightly differs from the webcomic, but is still fantastic, maintaining the webcomic’s excellent humor while adding on beautiful fights. Read here.

Written by: Ona
Date released: 2012 – Present

Spy x Family

On a less serious note, Spy x Family is a lighthearted wholesome story about a temporary family. The spy Twilight must go undercover as Loid Forger and marries an (unbeknownst to him) assassin, Yor. Together, they both adopt a daughter, Anya. Anya is a telepath, and thus knows about both her dad and mom’s secrets, but, as a child, doesn’t think much of it. What makes the manga so good is the family dynamic. Loid trying to teach and raise Anya while Yor acts as the mom make for a very fun read. The manga has been adapted to an anime, which has proven to be a great adaptation, but we still recommend the manga if you want to read ahead or prefer the pacing of manga.

Written by: Tatsuya Endo
Date released: 2019 – Present

The Way of the Househusband

The Way of the Househusband is about “The Immortal Dragon” Tatsu, an ex-yakuza who retired from a life of crime and now lives with his wife as a househusband. The series follows him going about his day-to-day, doing his chores with his yakuza demeanor, doing the most mundane of tasks in a serious manner. Along the way, he meets his old yakuza friends and makes friends with the neighborhood association. While not the most groundbreaking series, The Way of the Househusband is a fun slice of life that you’re sure to find some enjoyment with. While not the most serious, its humor and episodic nature make this an excellent series to both binge and keep up with. Read here.

Written by: Kousuke Ono
Date released: 2018 – Present

Vinland Saga

A historical manga based on Vikings, Vinland Saga follows Thorfinn, a young man raised by the Vikings that killed his family. He aims to avenge his father by killing the Viking band’s leader, only kept going by his pride in his family and his dream of Vinland, a land without war and slavery. Vinland Saga is a historical epic, filled with strong characters, fantastic art and a gripping story that makes you want to keep reading. The anime adaptation was lauded as one of the best anime of its year, and fantastic in its own right, but the manga exceeds that reputation, promising you a thrilling drama. Read here.

Written by: Makoto Yukimura
Date released: 2005 – Present

Witch Hat Atelier

Witch Hat Atelier is about Coco, a girl who wants to be a witch, despite not being born one. After meeting Qifrey, a traveling magician, she discovers that you do not need to be born a witch to do magic, and her dream of being a witch could be fulfilled. Reminiscent of Studio Ghibli, Witch Hat Atelier is a beautiful love letter to fantasy that no one should miss out on. The artwork is simply stunning. The detail in the background, the way magic is drawn and the paneling makes reading it such a joy. The characters are great too. Coco’s love for magic is infectious, and Qifrey is just enthralling as a character. It makes you want to read more to find out what happens, and combined with the fantastic art makes this manga a fantastic recommendation for all ages. 

Written by: Kamome Shirahama
Date released: 2016 – Present

Yotsuba&!

Yotsuba&! centers on Yotsuba Koiwai, a five-year-old described as strange by even her adoptive father. She’s cheery and energetic, and the manga follows her on her day-to-day, as she grows and learns more about the world around her. This cute and wholesome manga is sure to awaken your inner child and is just a fun read overall. Like the author’s previous work, Azumanga Daioh, Yotsuba&! has a great comedic and lighthearted tone. As a slice of life, it’s very peaceful and fun. Yotsuba just has a childlike innocence that makes everything seem fun to her, and that fun extends to the reader. Overall it’s a great manga, a perfect heartwarming series.

Written by: Kamome Shirahama
Date released: 2016 – Present

Read more: 20 Phrases From Japanese Anime You Can Actually Use!

Learn to Read and Speak Japanese with us at Coto Academy! Fill out the form below to learn more!