Manga. One word that helped define Japanese culture along with anime. Having existed for so long, manga has since grown and flourished to become many genres, such as shojo, seinen and shounen. Shounen manga by itself is extremely popular, primarily focused for boys, it has spawned great series over the years like Astro Boy, Dragon Ball and One Piece. But there are some manga that many feel are the absolute best. Although these opinions have often shifted depending on the individual and across multiple websites. So one’s favorite may not be on the list.
With that being said, here are the 10 best mangas as ranked by GoodReads.
10 Jumyou Wo Kaitotte Moratta. Ichinen Ni Tsuki, Ichimanen De (4.21)
Also known as I Sold My Life For Ten Thousand Yen Per Year in the west, Jumyou Wo Kaitotte Moratta. Ichinen Ni Tsuki, Ichimanen De is a manga about a struggling 20-year-old named Kusunoki who is trying to make his life more economically stable.
After selling his life in order to make ten thousand yen per year he realizes he only has three months left to live. Miyagi, the female protagonist, is tasked to look after him. A deep story about the meaning of life and confronting your past, this is one of the most worthwhile mangas to date.
9 GTO (4.30)
An abbreviation meaning Great Teacher Onizuka, it stars the aforementioned Eikichi Onizuka who is a former yakuza turned teacher. Following the wacky tales of the titular character as a teacher, it is absolutely hilarious to say the least.
However, it is also a story riddled with heart as he teaches his students the true meaning of life. The consequences that his students are about to go through by using idiotic but deeply meaningful lessons. Helping his students even if the rest of the school and his old biker gang is against him.
8 Ashita No Joe (4.34)
Ashita No Joe is a boxing tale about a young delinquent named Joe Yabuki. Although initially just a simple brawler, it was only after a fateful meeting with former boxing trainer Danpei, that he learns about the true meaning behind the sport. The manga details his whole life as it shows both the love and appreciation of the sport. But is also shows the philosophical and absolute dangers that comes with it too. A revolutionary manga, it is deeply recommended to any lover of sequential art.
7 Slam Dunk (4.37)
One of the most beautiful manga to ever grace the medium, Takehiko Inoue’s Slam Dunk manga is arguably the best basketball book ever made. The main character is Hanamichi Sakuragi who is stronger than most teens his age. Although he is initially disinterested with the sport, he displays his physical aptitude after attempting and failing to do a slam dunk. This moment spirals into a basketball tale that shows both the love of the sport and the deep appreciation that goes along with it.
6 Koe No Katachi (4.38)
One of the most emotional mangas to ever grace the medium, Koe No Katachi or A Silent Voice, is all about redemption. After bullying a young girl who suffers from being deaf at a young age, she leaves the school and he becomes a victim of bullying as well. Traumatized, Shoya Ishida becomes a quiet high schooler who attempts to make amends with the girl he once hurt. A deep tale that shows humanity, happiness and the willingness to move forward. It’s one of the most satisfying mangas ever.
5 Death Note (4.39)
A deeply psychological manga, Death Note is a tale about Light Yagami who finds the titular notebook after the god of death drops it onto the human world. After casually writing down a criminal’s name on the notebook and witnessing their death first hand, Yagami takes up the name of Kira and begins using the book for his own needs. The manga is a definite beauty with tons of good art, as well as tons of psychological warfare between Yagami and L.
4 One Piece (4.46)
The current king of shounen manga today, One Piece by Eiichiro Oda has been nothing more than an absolute juggernaut. Boasting far more than the average manga, One Piece is a tale of the straw hat pirates as they try to seek out the One Piece. Filled with so much emotion and an art style that has been incredibly prominent amongst the readership, there is a good reason why One Piece has such a massive following. It deserves it.
3 Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 7: Steel Ball Run (4.48)
Often considered the best work that Hirohiko Araki has ever done, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run is the 7th part in this long-running series. Taking place in an alternate universe outside of the one anime viewers are familiar with, it’s the wild west as a horse race across the country proceeds. Filled with all of the tropes fans are familiar with along with deeply greyed characters and stunning artwork that has been perfected over Araki’s long tenure as a mangaka. This is a book that is deeply appreciated for fans as well as newcomers alike.
2 Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (4.56)
One of the best shounen manga ever made, Fullmetal Alchemist is absolutely legendary for many manga lovers. Fullmetal Alchemist is a story about the Elric brothers as they search for the philosopher stone in order to get their bodies back.
Filled with great action, clean sequential art and a government conspiracy that makes the plot more complicated than it seems, Fullmetal Alchemist is full of emotional heart and has a great ending that is nothing short of immensely satisfying.
1 Haikyuu (4.59)
Inspired by the volleyball legend known as the “Little Giant,” young Shoyo Hinata tries his hardest to become the best volleyball player in his high school year. But his plans start to shift when the person who destroyed him during his junior high year becomes his ally in high school.
Trying to maintain his team while setting his differences aside with Tobio Kageyama, this is a strong sports manga that not only shows the love of the volleyball sport, but also the importance of camaraderie in the sports world.
There are plenty of legendary Shounen manga out there, but this is what GoodReads says are the best.