Horror is one of the most popular genres and so are horror manga, as you can see in my long list of the best horror manga of all time.
It’s the mixture of often terrifying and unsettling visuals and general scary-storytelling that makes them such a delight to read.
Yet, while some horror manga feature more on story-telling, on plot or psychological themes, there are also those which focus on violence, brutal visuals and gore.
For this list, I want to present you with 13 of the most brutal manga of all time.
Table of Contents
- 13. God’s Left Hand, Devil’s Right Hand
- 12. Lychee Light Club
- 11. Parasyte
- 10. Chainsaw Man
- 9. MPD Psycho
- 8. Battle Royal
- 7. Jagaaaaaan
- 6. Dorohedoro
- 5. Shigurui
- 4. Ichi the Killer
- 3. Gantz
- 2. Tomie
- 1. Berserk
13. God’s Left Hand, Devil’s Right Hand
Kazuo Umezu is a name anyone interested in horror manga is familiar with. He could be called the godfather of the horror manga genre and has influenced it tremendously.
While he’s most popular for his work, The Drifting Classroom, his most brutal manga has to be God’s Left Hand, Devil’s Right Hand.
It’s often called an ultra-violent manga and features outlandish, disturbing and bizarre incidents. He always presents them with copious amounts of gore and body horror.
Those incidents are all witnessed by or related to a young boy Sou. He is, however, not responsible for them, instead he’s plagued by visions before they happen and tries to prevent them.
God’s Left Hand, Devil’s Right Hand features a variety of themes. While some stories are more based on reality, and feature serial killers or murders, others are as outlandish as they can be.
Yet, every single part of this brutal manga is full of violence.
Kazuo Umezu’s style can take some time getting used to. Some people might call it simplistic, others old-fashioned, and some downright ugly. God’s Left Hand, Devil’s Right Hand is no different. While the art isn’t the best, it never disappoints in showcasing the violent events depicted.
God’s Left Hand, Devil’s Right Hand, is one of the most brutal manga I ever read, but also one of the strangest. It’s, however, a great read if you’re looking for strange, violent incidents and lots of gore.
Lychee Light Club by Usamaru Furuya is reminiscent of and inspired by the erotic gore work of Suehiro Maruo. It is, however, a much more brutal manga.
The manga details the activities of the Lychee Light Club. The members of the club created a robot named Lychee who they program to bring them beautiful girls.
As the story progresses, however, the club leader Zera grows paranoid and things get out of control. This sets into motion various, disturbing incidents which end dire for many members of the club.
Lychee Light Club is a brutal manga, featuring copious amounts of gore, scenes of brutal murder and other unsettling ideas.
It’s a great read for anyone who’s looking for a weird, unsettling and especially brutal manga.
Parasyte is a manga, as the title says, about parasites. These strange, worm-like creatures infest humans, take over their bodies and transform them into twisted monsters.
Our protagonist, Shinichi, gets infected by one such parasite, but can keep the creature from digging into his brain. Instead, the creatures can only infect his right hand.
From then on, they are trapped in the same body. As if this situation isn’t weird enough already, things turn much worse when other parasites come after them.
Before long, Shinichi learns that these other parasites prey on and devour humans and decides to fight back.
Parasyte can be an incredibly brutal manga. The author doesn’t shy away from presenting us the results of the parasites’ attacks in all their details. We witness people being shredded to pieces, torn apart, or mauled beyond comprehension.
It’s a fantastic, older manga, one with a unique story and setting, great creature design and lots of gore.
Chainsaw Man by Fujimoto Tatsuki is one of the weirdest manga on this list, but also one of the most brutal manga of recent years.
Denji is a simple man. He lives in a small shack and kills of devils, demons who escaped from hell, with his pet devil Ponchita. When he’s killed by the yakuza, Ponchita fuses with Denji’s body to keep him from dying. This gives him the powers of the chain saw devil and allows him to transform into Chain Saw Man.
He soon catches the eye of the official devil hunters who force him to work for the Public Safety Bureau.
The manga can be stupid, at times even ridiculous, but it’s one of the most unique and creative reads I ever had.
The plot might sound simple at first hand, but becomes more interesting as the manga goes on. What makes it such a brutal manga are the many fights. They present us with blood and violence galore, as one can imagine considering the nature of our protagonist.
Another fantastic part about chainsaw man are the many devils. They are as outlandish as they are scary, all have their own unique design, and the results of their powers often result in massive casualties.
Chainsaw Man is a unique piece of work, one that can be best described as beautiful madness. The unique art, the beautiful, yet gritty detail all help to bring forth the unique atmosphere of this brutal manga. If you haven’t read Chainsaw Man, I highly recommend it. It’s a fantastic manga.
MPD Psycho by Eiji Otsuka and Shouu Tajima is another strange and brutal manga. I first started reading it when it was relatively new, but it stayed on my mind for a long time because of its graphic imagery.
It’s a complex and confusing psychological story that features copious amounts of shocking violence.
MPD Psycho is the story of a man named Kazuhiko Amamiya. He suffers from multiple personality disorder.
The first chapters of the manga are more episodic and feature Amamiya or one of his other personalities solves various sick murder cases.
In time, however, an overarching, complex plot is introduced. And as it progresses, we realize that it’s related to Amamiya’s past and a mysterious woman named Lucy Monostone.
As mentioned before, the manga is ripe with shocking imagery. Many of the cases Amamiya is working on are sick and disturbing murders, and they are rendered in stunning detail. Looking at them can make you quite uncomfortable.
While MPD Psycho is a brutal manga, it’s no pure slaughter fest full of mindless gore. Instead, it’s a highly psychological series featuring a deep, albeit confusing plot. If you’re interested in complex mysterious and don’t mind the gracious violence, you’ll love this manga.
Battle Royal is one of my favorite movies of all time. The manga adaption of Koushun Takami’s novel by the same name is one of the most disturbing and brutal manga of all time.
The manga is a retelling of the novel, but often takes liberties to make certain events more dramatic. It also explores the backstory of each individual student, providing us with many additional details about them.
The story of Battle Royal is simple. Each year a single class is selected to take part in the titular program. The students are then brought to a remote area and are forced to kill each other until a sole survivor is left.
Shuuya Nanahara, our protagonist, decides against killing his classmates and instead makes it his goal to get off the island.
Battle Royal’s setting is one of the most disturbing I ever encountered and the manga doesn’t sugarcoat things. Instead, it showcases the insane situation in all its glory and with copious amounts of gore, at times almost a bit too much of it. We witness students mutilating and stabbing each other, heads exploding, disembowelments and a lot more disturbing imagery.
As mentioned before, the manga has some flaws. The first is the depiction of the various characters. While they are all in the same class and of the same age, some look like adults in their thirties while others look no older than ten. Another problem is the rather formulaic story-telling. The concept is simple. We are introduced to a new student. We witness their backstory and ultimately, their demise.
And yet, I can’t help but recommend Battle Royal. It’s a great story, a psychological one, but also an incredibly brutal manga. If you’re a fan of the movie or of manga featuring death games, I highly recommend it.
Jagaaaaaan tells the story of a young police officer, Shintarou Jagasaki. One day, he’s forced to escort home a drunk on the train. As he does, he witnesses an office worker growing mad before he turns into a monster and begins tearing the other passengers apart. Jagasaki eventually defeats the creature by shooting a beam from his hand. Before long, he learns that the office worker was a fractured human, like he himself is. From this point onwards, Jagasaki hunts down other fractured humans.
The story of Jagaaaaaan is crazy, featuring a lot of outlandish characters, scenarios and monsters.
One of the high points of this seriously brutal manga is the art. Kensuke Nishida is a fantastic artist and his art helps to bring forth this manga and the strange story it tells.
It’s especially prevalent in the design of the fractured humans. Many of them are extremely creative and outlandish, turning into twisted monstrosities. They go on rampage the moment they transform, resulting in copious amounts of gore and carnage, making Jagaaaaaan an incredibly brutal manga.
Many of the characters in Jagaaaaaan are as weird as the story itself. Some are more normal, like Jagasaki’s love interest, while others, especially the fractured humans, are crazy and deranged.
Overall, Jagaaaaaan is a great and brutal manga featuring its fair share of explicit content. There’s violence and gore, but also nudity and other, more depraved scenarios.
If you’re interested in weird and brutal manga, read Jagaaaaaan.
Q Hayashida’s Dorohedoro is an extremely weird manga. It’s a brutal manga set in a dark and grim world, but it’s full of humor.
The story begins in the derelict city of Hole which is connected to a world populated by magic users, the Sorcerer’s World. These magic users often visit Hole and use it as a testing ground for their powers. Because of them, mutilations, transformations and various other atrocities have become a daily reality.
Kaiman is one such inhabitant of Hole. He’s an amnesiac with the head of a reptilian and immune to magic. He believes himself another victim of magic users and hunts them down relentlessly to learn who he is.
While the premise of Dorohedoro sounds weird enough, the manga gets only weirder and as the story goes on.
Dorohedoro is a brutal manga, it’s full of death and carnage. This violence, however, is depicted with an air of lightheartedness and a certain humor. It makes reading Dorohedoro an almost surreal experience.
Near the end, however, when the story reaches its climax, the events depicted become much more outlandish, gruesome and horrific. It’s especially for the latter parts I consider Dorohedoro one of the most brutal manga ever created.
The greatest part about Dorohedoro is the art. It’s as outlandish as it’s beautiful. Be it the outlandish Sorcerer’s World or the run-down derelict city of Hole, both places are stunning to look at and ripe with detail. The same is true for the many strange characters populating the world of Dorohedoro.
Overall, Dorohedoro might be a brutal manga, but anyone should check out. It’s one of the most original and unique experiences I ever had. It’s a horrific, weird and surreal masterpiece.
Shigurui is probably the most brutal manga in the samurai genre I’ve ever read.
The manga’s based on the first chapter of Norio Nanjo’s novel of the same name. The plot centers on a proclamation of the twisted daimyo Tadanaga Tokugawa to hold a martial arts competition featuring fights to the death.
Two of the contests are Gennosuke Fujiki, a one-armed man who fights against the blind and lame Seigen Irako. The manga doesn’t show us the result of their fight right away. Instead, most of the manga details the backstory of these two contestants.
Shigurui is an absolutely beautiful manga and features some of the best art I’ve seen. Many of the panels and page spreads in Shigurui are stunning to look at.
What makes Shigurui such a brutal manga is, of course, first the violence. The manga’s ripe in gore and brutality. We witness people being mutilated, disemboweled, or torn to pieces.
Yet, there’s more, it’s the depiction of samurai culture. While it’s often depicted as honorable and even romanticized, Shigurui doesn’t shy away from showing us how brutal and unforgiving it was.
Shigurui is a grim, dark story, one filled with an almost feasible air of depression. You won’t find happiness here, and neither a happy ending. It’s a story that shows what a life by the sword drives people to do and the lives that are lost because of it.
Yet, Shigurui is a fantastic and brutal manga. It’s a piece of art, one that shows us a much more realistic and unforgiving view of samurai culture.
4. Ichi the Killer
Ichi the Killer is one of the most depraved, sick and brutal manga I ever came upon. Yet, it’s also one of my absolute favorites.
It tells the story of two characters. The first is Ichi, the titular killer, the second is the twisted and insane yakuza Kakihara. When Kakihara’s boss vanishes, he begins a brutal search for the man that brings him not only in conflict with other yakuza groups but also leads to a confrontation with Ichi.
While Ichi the Killer features copious amounts of violence, including mutilation, torture, rape and murder, it’s no mere gore fest. It’s a deeply psychological story about the interplay of sadism and masochism, manipulation, identity disorder and childhood abuse. It mixes all these themes together into one of the most compelling and brutal manga of all time.
Ichi the Killer is so fascinating and works so well, because of all the raw violence it showcases. Its characters aren’tnormal people. No, they are the most twisted and depraved inhabitants of society’s underbelly. It presents those people to us, shows us their depravity, how far they will go and filters nothing. It’s as sick as it is satisfying.
A word of warning though, Ichi the Killer is not for the faint of heart. It’s a fucked up and brutal manga, downright sick and disgusting. At the same time, however, it’s one of the greatest psychological manga of all time.
Gantz is one of the most insane and brutal manga of all time, but that’s why I love it so much.
Our protagonist Kei Korono and his childhood friend Masaru Katou are killed in a tragic train accident. Soon after, however, the two of them wake up in a Tokyo apartment. There, they find not only a group of other people but also a large black sphere. It’s called Gantz and tells them to hunt down aliens living amongst humans. Before they can do anything, they are teleported outside and the first mission begins.
Gantz is a gritty, brutal manga about people hunting down aliens full of glorified gore and fluid action. Over the course of the manga, the stakes are constantly rising. While the first mission features only two aliens, later parts feature massive amounts of outlandish and dangerous creatures.
The greatest part about Gantz are the action and the amazing art. The action is always fluid, rendered in beautiful detail and stunning to look at. This is also true for the aliens. Gantz features some of the greatest creature design in all of manga.
Many of the missions in Gantz are brutal. Often, many of the people sent to hunt down aliens are nothing but cannon fodder. We watch them being torn apart, shredded to piece or being devoured.
One reason I love Gantz is the protagonist Kurono. While he starts out as an unlikeable and egoistic teenager, he develops tremendously as a character. It’s fantastic to watch him mature and grow and eventually become the leader of the Gantz team.
As you might expect, the world of Gantz is dark. This is not only true for the missions, however. Over the course of the manga, we witness severe bullying, rape and even a mass shooting.
Even though Gantz is an amazing, action-packed and brutal manga like no other. It’s a weird, insane, gory mess. It might be nonsensical at times, but it features some of the greatest action I’ve ever seen in a manga.
Many of Junji Ito’s works are disturbing and brutal, as you can see in my list of the best Junji Ito stories.
While you could add many of his works to this list of the most brutal manga, I think Tomie stands out amongst them.
While Uzumaki and Gyo are outlandish, twisted and unsettling, Tomie,
Many of his stories feature outlandish, twisted and unsettling scenarios and are full of blood and gore. Tomie, however, might be the worst of those.
Tomie tells the story of a high school student. She’s gorgeous and is not only dating one of her classmates, but also has an affair with her teacher. When she dies during a school trip, her class bands together to hide the fact. They dismember her body and get rid of it.
This, however, is only where the story of Tomie begins. The very next day, she shows up to class as if nothing had happened.
Soon, the true horror of Tomie is revealed to us. What we assumed to be a normal student is instead an entity with regenerative powers, able to regrow herself from even the smallest parts.
This, however, isn’t all. Tomie is not only gorgeous, but has an almost supernatural hold upon man. Every man she meets falls for her, grows obsessed with her and is eventually driven mad. This madness always leads to them reenacting Tomie’s first death, mutilating and killing her and disemboweling her body.
That’s what makes Tomie such a brutal manga. It’s these scenes of carnage, of unbridled violence and their results that Junji Ito presents to us in all their gory and disgusting detail.
While some chapters in Tomie are better, others are worse. Some chapters are fantastic and contain some of Junji Ito’s most horrific imagery. Yet others are almost forgettable.
Overall, though, Junji Ito doesn’t disappoint. Tomie is an unsettling and brutal manga that’s definitely worth reading.
Rest in peace Kentaro Miura, thanks for sharing your gift with the world.
Berserk is the one of the greatest manga of all time, but also one of the most brutal.
It’s a dark fantasy manga that tells the story of Guts, the Black Swordsman. He’s a man carrying a sword as tall as himself and is out on a quest for revenge. Over the course of the manga, he fights his way through demonic beings known as apostles and humans alike.
At first, Berserk might appear a simple story, but one couldn’t be more wrong. During Berserk’s second arc, The Golden Age, the manga truly shines. It is here we learn more about Guts, but also get to know the man known’s as Griffith.
Kentaro Miura was an amazing artist. Berserk almost transcends the manga medium and many of its pages, especially in later parts, are nothing short of art. Almost no other manga artist could compare to Kentaro Miura when he was at the top of his game.
He was never shy to present to us the horrors of his world in all its glory. Berserk’s world is a dark and horrible place. It’s full of war and brutal battles, but also many other atrocities. We bear witness to the darkest depth of humanity. We witness rape and torture, ritualistic sacrifices and religious fanaticism, but also senseless slaughter.
The same is true for the many battles. It doesn’t matter if it’s the many battles during the Golden Age or Guts battling apostles. They are always brutal, feature glorious violence and copious amounts of gore.
Yet, the most disturbing and brutal of all those events is without a doubt The Eclipse, the event that concludes the Golden Age arc. It’s without a doubt one of the most brutal, unforgiving and disturbing events ever depicted in manga.
There are also the apostles. They are equally gorgeous and grotesque to look at and whenever they appear, brutal violence will follow. Their victims get shredded to pieces, torn apart and even devoured.
And yet, Berserk might be one of the most brutal manga of all time. It’s also a masterpiece. It’s one of the greatest, if not the greatest, manga ever created.