20 Fantastic Long Manga Anyone Should Read

I’ve always been a fan of manga, especially long manga. It’s a medium that’s always been close to my heart. You can see so in my lists of the best horror manga and the best manga of all time.

What makes it so interesting to me is the combination of fantastic visuals with long, complex storylines.

Long Manga by Yasuhisa Hara - Kingdom Picture 1
© Yasuhisa Hara – Kingdom

While I enjoy almost all manga out there, I have a weak spot for series that are truly long. Some of them tell complex stories, while others repeat a tested formula of storytelling. Either way, I can’t help but get lost in these long manga series.

For this article, I put together my list of truly long manga, all of which exceed a total number of at least two-hundred chapters.

Table of Contents

20. Fourteen

Long Manga by Kazuo Umezu - Fourteen Picture 1
© Kazuo Umezu – Fourteen

Kazuo Umezu is often called one of the most influential names in horror manga.

Many of his works are vastly popular. He’s the creator of such classics as God’s Left Hand, Devil’s Right and The Drifting Classroom.

His longest, and most outlandish work, however, has to be Fourteen. It’s without a doubt one of the most surreal and outlandish manga I’ve ever come upon.

This long manga’s set in a dystopian, futuristic version of Earth. Our protagonist is Chicken George, a hyper-intelligent chicken mutant who grew in a chicken production facility.

Once he’s escaped, he promptly declares war on humanity for their abuse of nature and animals.

Long Manga by Kazuo Umezu - Fourteen Picture 2
© Kazuo Umezu – Fourteen

As weird as a premise featuring a chicken man sounds, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Fourteen is far, far weirder than even this premise does it justice. It’s an utterly ridiculous story and one of the strangest and most surreal apocalypses I’ve ever read. The manga features a ploy to replace all dying plant life by props, an alien invasion and a T-Rex shaped space ship, among other things.

All of this madness is presented to us in Kazuo Umezu’s typical art style. It’s old-fashioned, at times simple and even ugly, but at others it’s nothing short of fantastic. This is especially prevalent when disaster strikes and during depictions of his strange futuristic vision of Earth.

Fourteen is a long manga, but I think it’s very well worth reading. It’s a work that’s so utterly bizarre, weird and surreal, one has to experience it. I had a blast reading it, if only for how surreal, creative and utterly stupid it was.

19. I Am a Hero

Long Manga by Hanazawa Kengo - I Am a Hero Picture 1
© Hanazawa Kengo – I Am a Hero

Zombie apocalypses are amongst the most common tropes in the horror genre. Kengo Hanazawa’s I Am a Hero, however, is a long manga that’s quite different from other zombie stories.

Foremost because of its protagonist. Hideo Suzuki is a manga assistant and a strange young man suffering from a multitude of mental problems. What makes I Am a Hero so interesting and unique is to see how someone like him handles such a scenario.

Yet, it’s not only our protagonist who’s different. The Zombies in this long manga differ markedly from those in other media. They aren’t simply walking corpses, but twisted and contorted beings that seem to change markedly as the story continues. We witness horrible versions of what was once human and eventually encounter giant, fleshy abominations.

Long Manga by Hanazawa Kengo - I Am a Hero Picture 2
© Hanazawa Kengo – I Am a Hero

I Am a Hero is a long manga that takes its time to get going. The first chapters are slow, and focus more on Hideo than anything else. Once the zombies appear, however, things get quite scary.

The only problem I have with the manga is the ending. It’s rather abrupt and ambiguous, almost giving us the feeling that it was rushed. This, however, doesn’t change the fact that, overall, I Am a Hero is a fantastic long manga that’s well worth reading, not only for fans of zombies.

18. Rurouni Kenshin

Long Manga by Nobuhiro Watsuki - Rurouni Kenshin Picture 1
© Nobuhiro Watsuki – Rurouni Kenshin

Rurouni Kenshin by Nobuhiro Watsuki is another long manga. It’s a samurai manga that tells the story of Hitokiri Battosai. He was infamous for being a killer during the Bakumatsu War.

Yet, the manga doesn’t tell the story of the Bakumatsu War itself. It starts years afterward. By then, Hitokiri Battosai is known as Himura Kenshin, a wandering samurai. He’s far from the bloodthirsty killer his reputation makes him out to be. Instead, he turns out to be a kindhearted soul who’s haunted by what he’s done. He wields a reverse blade katana and has sworn to never kill again.

The route to redemption is never an easy one. Over the course of this long manga, Kenshin runs into various people who all hold a grudge against his alter ego, Hitokiri Battosai.

Long Manga by Nobuhiro Watsuki - Rurouni Kenshin Picture 2
© Nobuhiro Watsuki – Rurouni Kenshin

This long manga comprises multiple arcs. The first set in Edo is more episodic and focuses more on introducing Kenshin and the rest of the main cast. It’s during the second arc, the Kyoto arc, where the manga truly shines. It’s here that we are introduced to one of the most notorious antagonists in Rurouni Kenshin, Shishio Makoto.

What makes this long manga so interesting are its deeper themes. It focuses on redemption and on someone who wants to bury their past. Yet, Kenshin seems unable to do so.

It’s a fantastic long manga, one that features some fantastic action and a memorable cast. If you’re looking for a great samurai manga with some complex characters, I highly recommend Rurouni Kenshin.

17. Usogui

Long Manga by Toshio Sako - Usogui Picture 1
© Toshio Sako – Usogui

Usogui by Toshio Sako is one of the longest manga on this list. It’s a manga that focuses on mind games and gambling.

It tells the story of Baku Madarama, who’s known as Usogui, the Lie Eater. Over the course of this long manga, he takes part in many deadly gambles.

Usogui’s a manga that gets crazy right from the start. After a brief introduction, no longer than a handful of chapters, we enter the very first game with deadly stakes. From here on out, things only get crazier.

What makes Usogui such a great manga are, without a doubt, the various games. While they can be complex, they are never impossible to understand. What makes them so interesting, however, are the many psychological tricks and mind games the characters employ to win.

Long Manga by Toshio Sako - Usogui Picture 2
© Toshio Sako – Usogui

I also quite liked the characters in this long manga. Baku is an absolute badass who never shies away from a death game or overwhelming odds. Kaji starts out as more of stand-in for the reader, but over the course of the manga he develops into a talented gambler of his own right.

I had a blast reading Usogui. I think it’s one of the best gambling and mind game manga out there. One thing to be said about Usogui, however, is that many of the scenarios and games depicted are quite unconventional and extreme. Yet, they never fail to be suspenseful and full of tension.

If you’re a fan of gambling and mind games, I highly recommend Usogui. It’s one of the best the genre offers.

16. Dragonball

Best Shonen Manga by Akira Toriyama - Dragonball Picture 1
© Akira Toriyama – Dragonball

What needs there to be said about Akira Toriyama’s masterpiece? Dragonball is one of the longest and most popular shonen manga of all time.

The story follows Son Goku from childhood all the way through adulthood. Over the course of this long manga, he searches for the seven Dragon Balls and battles stronger and stronger adversaries.

Dragonball is as typical as a battle shonen manga can be.

Yet, when most people hear the name Dragonball, they think of Dragonball Z, giant energy blasts and impossibly powerful adversaries. In its earlier parts, however, the manga was quite different, and a more intimate affair. It was all about Son Goku and Bulma going on wacky adventures in a world full of references to popular mythology and martial arts.

Best Shonen Manga by Akira Toriyama - Dragonball Picture 3
© Akira Toriyama – Dragonball

During these earlier parts, Dragonball was much more about humor and silly gags. It was only during later arcs that the manga became more serious.

The high point of Dragonball is without a doubt the art. It’s nothing short of beautiful. All the characters have a great and unique design and the world’s brought to life by the personal style of Akira Toriyama.

As a pioneer of the shonen manga, many parts of Dragonball might feel date or typical. It’s art, however, still holds up today as some of the best in the entire medium.

Dragonball is a long manga, but I enjoyed it in its entirety. While it has its faults, it’s still one of the best shonen manga of all time.

15. Baki

Long Manga by Keisuke Itagaki - Grappler Baki
© Keisuke Itagaki – Grappler Baki

Grappler Baki by Keisuke Itagaki and all its prequels are amongst the craziest martial arts manga out there.

It tells the story of Baki Hanma, a young martial artist who partakes in violent fights in Tokyo’s underground fighting arena, the Kourakuen.

Baki’s also the only son of Yuujirou Hanma, the so-called ‘Ogre’ and ‘the Strongest Creature on Earth.’

Over the course of the installments of this long manga series, Baki fights against a variety of other fighters. His reason is simple: One day, he wants to be strong enough to stand up and defeat his hated father.

Baki can be quite crazy and over-the-top. Yet, its depiction of martial arts is more realistic than in many other shonen manga. There are no power levels or ki. Instead, it’s all about pure martial arts taken to the next level.

Long Manga by Keisuke Itagaki - Grappler Baki
© Keisuke Itagaki – Grappler Baki

Since it’s a long manga series about martial arts, it’s all about fights. Each fight is well-written and detailed, making them very exciting and enjoyable. The level of dedication that went into them is quite impressive. They are also rather brutal. We can see blood spraying, bones breaking, and even flesh being torn.

What I really came to enjoy about Baki was its cast of characters. They each have their own backstory, fighting style, and reasons for fighting. My favorite amongst all of them has to be Shibukawa. He’s a tiny old man, but a master of Aiki and often takes down fighters much bigger and stronger than himself.

The biggest downside to Baki, especially in its earlier installments, is the art. It’s not only old-fashioned, but at times even ugly to look at. Yet, as time goes on, the art improves quite a bit.

14. Fist of the North Star

Long Manga by Buronson and Tetsuo Hara - Fist of the North Star Picture 1
© Buronson and Tetsuo Hara – Fist of the North Star

Do you like blood, gore and martial arts in a post-apocalyptic setting?

In that case, Fist of the North Star by Buronson and Tetsuo Hara might be exactly what you’re looking for.

After nuclear war has devastated the world, the remains of civilization are ruled by the strong.

In this world, a mysterious wanderer called Kenshiro travels the land. Wherever he goes, he fights evil by using his deadly martial art, Hokuto Shinken.

What starts out as a rather simple, almost episodic manga soon becomes deeper and more ambiguous, as we learn more about Kenshirou.

Fist of the North Star was one of the most influential and popular manga of the eighties.

Best Shonen Manga by Buronson and Tetsuo Hara - Fist of the North Star Picture 4
© Buronson and Tetsuo Hara – Fist of the North Star

It’s a long manga that’s all about action and brutal fights. This violence can be rather gratuitous, but it’s what makes Kenshirou’s battles such a delight.

Fist of the North Star’s art is rather typical for its time period and rather manly. All the male characters are testosterone fueled masses of muscle who do manly things and shed manly tears. It’s nothing short of glorious.

While the high point of the art are the many battles, I truly came to enjoy the rendering of the desolate, post-apocalyptic setting.

Character wise, Kenshirou was a bit of an odd one. He was more vessel for the story and less character in its own right. The consequences of his actions were never shown to affect him, but the people around him. He’s almost a savior figure who simply wanders through the wastelands to fight evil.

There are, however, some characters who stand out. Namely Rei, Mamiya and also the antagonist Raoh.

Overall, Fist of the North Star comes with a great post-apocalyptic setting and some of the best action in all of manga.

13. Kengan Ashura and Kengan Omega

Long Manga by Yabako Sandrovich and Daromeon - Kengan Ashura
© Yabako Sandrovich and Daromeon – Kengan Ashura

Kengan Ashura by Yabako Sandrovich and Daromeon is a martial arts manga I discovered about a year ago.

If you like martial-arts tournaments in manga, you will love Kengan Ashura because it’s essentially that, a giant, long-lasting martial arts tournament.

In the world of Kengan Ashura, every major business deal in Japan is decided by martial arts matches. Watching over and responsible for these matches is the Kengan Association, whose members are the most influential figures in the Japanese business world.

Our protagonist, Ouma Tokita, wants to be the strongest martial artist. For that reason, he becomes a fighter for the Nogi Group.

After a brief introduction and a few matches against other companies, the Kengan Annihilation Tournament is announced to decide the next chairman of the Kengan Association.

Long Manga by abako Sandrovich and Daromeon - Kengan Omega
© Yabako Sandrovich and Daromeon – Kengan Omega

The most important thing to know about Kegan Ashura and its prequel is that you get exactly what you’re looking for: brutal and over the top martial arts matches in a tournament. While the story has a few twists and turns, it never strays far from these routes.

What makes Kengan Ashura so great, however, are its characters and the fantastic art.

Each individual character has a unique design, fighting style and backstory.

The high point is clearly the art. It’s amongst the best in the entire martial arts manga genre.

This art also serves to present the brutal fights in this manga in all their glory. The fights in Kengan Ashura and Kengan Omega are all absolutely fantastic. They are often brutal, completely over the top, and feature a variety of insane techniques.

Overall, if you like crazy characters and over-the-top martial arts fights, be sure to check out Kengan Ashura.

12. Tokyo Manji Revengers

Long Manga by Ken Wakui - Tokyo Maji Revengers 3
© Ken Wakui – Tokyo Maji Revengers

Tokyo Manji Revengers by Ken Wakui is one of the newest manga on this list of long manga. It’s one of the most enjoyable manga I’ve read.

Takemichi Hangaki, our protagonist, has hit rock bottom. Yet, things get worse when he learns that his childhood girlfriend, Hinata Tachibana, was murdered by the Tokyo Manji Gang.

While he wonders when things went downhill, he travels back in time. Finding himself twelve years ago and still in a relationship with Hinata, he decides to not only save her life but to change the future.

The manga’s premise is interesting enough: traveling back in time to redo life and fix your mistakes.

Yet, it’s not so much the plot, but the characters that make this long manga so great. Every character’s not only unique, but likeable in their own way. Except for the obvious antagonists.

Long Manga by Ken Wakui - Tokyo Maji Revengers 2
© Ken Wakui – Tokyo Maji Revengers

Tokyo Manji Revengers is a long manga that’s all about gang fights and almost every character is a badass fighter. Yet, Ken Wakui mixed things up. Takemichi isn’t a fight, and he doesn’t become one. No, he’s weak and cries a lot. This, however, makes him a much more grounded and realistic character. He’s rather the heart of the group.

While the characters make this manga so great, the plot is by no means bad. Especially the many time travel shenanigans and the many twists and turns make it quite engaging.

The art, while not outstanding, is good overall. It truly shines in the many fights and the character design. Every character has their own unique design and style.

Overall, I had a blast reading this long manga and absolutely loved the characters. I highly recommend anyone to check this manga out.

11. Tokyo Ghoul and Tokyo Ghoul:re

Long Manga by Ishida Sui - Tokyo Ghoul Picture 1
© Ishida Sui – Tokyo Ghoul

Tokyo Ghoul and its prequel Tokyo Ghoul:re is another vastly popular and long manga.

The world of Tokyo Ghoul is populated not only by humans but also by ghouls. Ghouls are creatures who look just like humans, mingle with them, but have to feed on them to survive.

Our protagonist is the college student Ken Kaniki. He gets to know a beautiful young woman named Rize. The two of them bond over their love for books. Unbeknownst to Kaniki, Rize turns out to be a ghoul and, driven by her hunger for human flesh, attacks him.

Kaneki survives and is saved by the mysterious Dr. Kanou. Yet, not all is well, for Kaneki learns that he’s now part ghoul and can’t stomach normal food. Eventually, he finds refuge at a café and a safe house for ghouls called Anteiku.

Long Manga by Sui Ishida - Tokyo Ghoul 3
© Sui Ishida – Tokyo Ghoul

The earlier parts of Tokyo Ghoul focuses mostly on Kaneki, how he handles his new life and the many other characters he encounters. Before long, however, the story becomes more complex as various other factions and more dangerous entities are introduced. This is especially prevalent in the sequel Tokyo Ghoul: re which markedly expands the manga’s plot and world.

The manga’s biggest selling point is its art. Both creature and character design are fantastic. Backgrounds look great and Ishida Sui’s inky style fills the entire manga with a gloomy and dark atmosphere.

What I truly enjoyed were the manga’s many battles. They were often brutal, violent, and full of carnage. Especially the ghouls showed some fantastic powers in the forms of their kagune which were always fantastically designed.

Tokyo Ghoul is a dark and long manga, one full of brutal violence and twisted creatures, yet it’s a fantastic read.

10. 20th Century Boys

Long Manga by Naoki Urasawa - 20th Century Boys Picture 2
© Naoki Urasawa – 20th Century Boys

If anyone’s famous for mystery manga, it’s Naoki Urasawa. 20th Century Boys is my favorite amongst his many works.

With about two-hundred-and-fifty chapters, it’s a long manga, but it’s also an extremely well-written one.

The manga’s story centers on Kenji Endo and his friends.

Kenji’s normal life changes when he learns of the suicide of his former friend Donkey. At the same time, a mysterious cult lead by a figure only known as Friend becomes popular in Japan. Before long, Kenji realizes that the cult and its leader are related not only to his friend’s suicide but also to his childhood.

From this point onwards, Kenji takes things into his own hands. He sets out to reunite his childhood friends and to figure out the truth.

Long Manga by Naoki Urasawa - 20th Century Boys Picture 3
© Naoki Urasawa – 20th Century Boys

While conspiracies plots centering on saving the world are nothing new, 20th Century Boys stands out by one thing alone: the storytelling.

With each chapter, the foreboding atmosphere and the sense of mystery never let up. Each new development brings forth more questions.

What I really enjoyed was the inclusion of different time periods. We’re often taken back to the times of Kenji’s childhood to reveal certain events and give us new pieces of the puzzle.

While I enjoyed the manga overall, and think most of the story’s masterfully told, its third and last arc is ultimately its weakest.

Overall, 20th Century Boys is fantastically well-written and amongst the best long manga out there.

9. Hunter x Hunter

Long Manga by Yoshihiro Togashi - Hunter x Hunter 4
© Yoshihiro Togashi – Hunter x Hunter

Yoshihiro Togashi’s Hunter x Hunter is one of the most popular long manga out there.

The titular hunters are essentially treasure hunters with various privileges. To become a hunter, you have to pass the so-called Hunter Exam.

Gon Freecss, a young boy, and our protagonist takes part in the Hunter Exam. Thus begins the manga’s first arc, which also introduces us to our main cast.

From here on out, the manga features a variety of arcs featuring different antagonists or challenges for our main character. While some of these arcs can be weaker, others like the York New arc or the Chimera Ant arc stood out to me.

Long Manga by Yoshihiro Togashi - Hunter x Hunter 1
© Yoshihiro Togashi – Hunter x Hunter

I especially want to call attention to the Chimera Ant arc, which was great overall and featured a fantastic major antagonist. What truly made this arc great, however, was the presentation of its last part, the Palace Invasion. It’s here that Hunter x Hunter broke many of its usual conventions and became something entirely unique.

Another reason I enjoyed this manga so much was the characters. All our protagonists are likeable, but the ones I truly came to enjoy were the antagonists. Hisoka is fantastically twisted and amongst the most bizarre characters I’ve ever encountered. Chrollo and the Phantom Troop are another group of characters who are exceedingly unique and interesting.

The last point I want to mention is Nen, Hunter x Hunter’s equivalent of super powers. While many manga feature super powers, the Nen System stood out to me. It’s a carefully created system with a variety of rules and restrictions.

Overall, Hunter x Hunter is one not only one of the best shonen manga out there but also one of the best long manga.

8. Kingdom

Long Manga by Yasuhisa Hara - Kingdom Picture 2
© Yasuhisa Hara – Kingdom

There are few manga as ambitions as Yasuhisa Hara’s Kingdom.

This long manga’s set during China’s Warring States era and depicts its unification under the state of Qin. It’s a work of tremendous scopes and at seven-hundred chapters it’s still far from done.

At the story’s outset, our protagonist Shin is a young servant boy. During a rebellion against the soon to be King of Qin, Ei Sei, he becomes involved in the matters of state.

It’s from here on that we follow Shin on his path to become a Great General under the Heavens and Ei Sei on his path to unify China.

The greatest part of Kingdom are the many large-scale battles common during the Warring States era. Every single one of them is presented in stunning details. Yet, as bloody and brutal as they are, the manga focuses more on the deployment of armies and the strategies and tactics employed.

Long Manga by Yasuhisa Hara - Kingdom Picture 5
© Yasuhisa Hara – Kingdom

While those battles make up most of the manga, other parts are dedicated to the power struggles at court and even the politics between the Warring States.

Since Kingdom is an incredibly long manga, it features a huge cast of characters. While Shin is a rather clichéd protagonist, many other characters are more complex and interesting. Examples include General Ou Ki, Ei Sei, Ryu Fui, Kanki, and of course, Riboku.

A word of warning, however. Kingdom might be a historical manga, but it often takes liberties to dramatize events.

The manga’s first arc is also its weakest, but the moment it’s time for the first large scale battle, it truly shines.

Overall, Kingdom is an extremely long manga, but it’s among the best in the history and military genre.

7. Gantz

Long Manga by Oku Hiroya - Gantz Picture 3
© Oku Hiroya – Gantz

At almost four-hundred chapters, Gantz by Oku Hiroya is another extremely long manga. It’s also amongst the most insane manga I ever read.

Kei Kurono, our protagonist and his childhood friend Masaru Katou, die during a train accident. Following it, the two awaken in a Tokyo apartment, surrounded by a group of people. In the room with them is a large black sphere, called Gantz, which tells them they now have to hunt down aliens living amongst humans. Soon after, they are teleported outside and Gantz’s very first mission begins.

Gantz is a gritty and brutal manga full of gloried gore and stunning action. Over the course of the manga, our characters have to partake in various missions with constantly rising stakes. At first, they are merely about taking down a few aliens, but as the manga continues, they have to fight larger and larger groups of aliens.

Long Manga by Oku Hiroya - Gantz Picture 2
© Oku Hiroya – Gantz

Gantz’s high points are the art and the action. The action is always fluid and fights are rendered in stunning detail. The same can be said for the aliens who are often outlandish and feature fantastic creature design.

Gantz is also absolutely unforgiving. Many times, the people who are sent on missions don’t know what’s going on and serve as nothing more than cannon fodder. We witness as many of them are brutally mutilated, shredded to pieces or even devoured.

Yet, my favorite part about Gantz is its protagonist. Kurono starts out as an unlikeable and egoistic teenager, but develops tremendously and matures into the leader of the Gantz team.

Gantz is an amazing, action-packed and long manga like no other. It’s weird. It’s gory. At times it’s even nonsensical, but it’s always a fantastically wild ride.

6. Liar Game

Long Manga by Shinobu Kaitani - Liar Game Picture 3
© Shinobu Kaitani – Liar Game

Shinobu Kaitani’s Liar game is amongst the best mind game manga out there.

The story of this long manga centers on Kanzaki Nao. She’s an incredibly honest girl who finds herself a sudden contestant in the so-called Liar Game. It’s a game of deceit and the stakes are in the hundreds of millions.

It isn’t long before Nao is tricked, but finds help from the genius swindler Akiyama.

What makes Liar Game so great are the many games our characters have to partake in. While they start out simple, they become more and more complex as the manga goes on. Yet, it’s not merely the games that are interesting to follow. It’s the many tricks, ploys and strategies used by the characters. It’s fantastic to witness them trying to fool and out-play each other.

Long Manga by Shinobu Kaitani - Liar Game Picture 2
© Shinobu Kaitani – Liar Game

My two favorites were the Contraband Game and the Musical Chairs Game. Both of them were absolutely fantastic, but in huge parts because of the characters featured in them.

Most of the characters in Liar Game are simple-minded and are merely there to portray a certain stereotype or to be out-played by our protagonists. During the two aforementioned games, however, we’re introduced to Yokoya and Harimoto, respectively. They both were worthy foils for Akiyama and made the games much, much more interesting and suspenseful.

Liar Game is brilliant and amongst the most well-written long manga I’ve come upon. It features not only complex games but also clever strategies and complex characters. If you’re a fan of mind game manga, I highly recommend reading it.

5. Kamisama no Iutoori and Kamisama no Iutoori Ni

Long Manga by Akeji Fujimura, Kaneshiro Muneyuki - Kamisama No Iutoori
© Akeji Fujimura, Kaneshiro Muneyuki – Kamisama No Iutoori

I love death game manga and Kamisama no Iutoori and its sequel by Kaneshiro Muneyuki is probably the best the genre offers.

Takahata Shun, our protagonist, is a high school student who’s incredibly bored with his life. All that changes when his teacher’s head explodes and a Daruma doll appears. It’s the start of the very first death game in the series.

Over the course of this long manga, we’re introduced to a cast of fascinating characters and games that are as deadly as they are weird.

While the death games featured in this manga are weird, the same is true for its characters. Especially Amaya and Ushimitsu appear to be utter nutcases. This is slightly reverted in the case of Ushimitsu, who develops markedly over the course of the manga and eventually became my favorite.

Long manga by Akeji Fujimura, Kaneshiro Muneyuki - Kamisama No Iutoori Ni
© Akeji Fujimura, Kaneshiro Muneyuki – Kamisama No Iutoori Ni

One thing I truly enjoyed about this long manga was how it handled its characters. Since it’s a death game manga, you can expect people to die, but in Kamisama no Iutoori no one seems safe. Even members of the main cast will die and at the most unexpected moments. It gives the manga an unforgiving atmosphere.

The art is another high point of the series. While it was decent enough in the first part, it improved markedly in the second. Near the end, the art is nothing short of fantastic and many of its page spreads are stunningly gorgeous.

I had an absolute blast reading this series. If you’re a fan of weird and surreal death games, read this manga.

4. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

Best Shonen Manga by Hirohiko Araki - Jojo's Bizarre Adventure - Diamond is Unbreakable Picture 1
© Hirohiko Araki – Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – Diamond is Unbreakable

With eight different parts and over nine-hundred chapters, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure by Hirohiko Araki is the longest manga on this list and one of the longest manga in general.

In its earlier parts it was more reminiscent of other manga from the eighties, especially Fist of the North Star. Our protagonists, who are always named Jojo, have to fight vampires or Aztec super humans.

All that changed with Part 3: Stardust Crusaders. It’s here Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure introduced the so-called Stands, an element that should change Jojo forever. Stands are a manifestation of a person’s life force in the form of an ethereal figure and give its user superhuman powers.

Best Manga by Hirohiko Araki - Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Part 7: Steel Ball Run Picture 3
© Hirohiko Araki – Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 7: Steel Ball Run

Hirohiko Araki proved to be extremely creative when he created Stands. There are, of course, pure combat Stands, but they are far from the norm. Instead, Stands take on a variety of forms, some extremely weird. They can be game consoles, toy fighter jets, can transform people into snails and even turn back time.

The story of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure centers on the various members of the Joestar family who battle various antagonists.

While the plot of the earlier installments of the series is rather typical and centers on saving the world, later parts can be vastly different. Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable, for example, centers on the events in the small town of Morioh and Part 7: Steel Ball Run on a cross-country horse race.

As mentioned before, Jojo’s Bizarre adventure is an extremely long manga series, but I think anyone interested in manga should check it out. While the first two parts are weaker, things get much more interesting in Part 3: Stardust Crusaders. My favorite, however, has to be Part 7: Steel Ball Run.

3. Vagabond

Best Manga by Takehiko Inoue - Vagabond Picture 3
© Takehiko Inoue – Vagabond

Vagabond by Takehiko Inoue is based on Eiji Yoshikawa’s novel Musashi, a romanticized version of the life of Musashi Miyamoto.

After the battle of Sekigahara, our protagonist, Shinmen Takezo, is declared a wanted criminal. A manhunt is started. He’s eventually caught and strung up at a tree. He’s left there to die, but gets freed by a monk named Takuan. As he sends him off into the world, he gives him with a new name, Musashi Miyamoto.

From this point onward, the plot focuses on Musashi’s travels, his pursuit of the sword and to become ‘Invincible under the Heavens.’

The first thing one will notice about Vagabond is the art. This long manga is absolutely gorgeous to look at and features some of the best art I’ve seen in the entire medium.

Best Manga by Takehiko Inoue - Vagabond Picture 2
© Takehiko Inoue – Vagabond

Vagabond is a samurai manga and thus it’s full of stunning battles. They are blood, violent and rendered in stunning detail, yet, the violence is never glamorized.

What makes Vagabond so great are its characters. There’s Musashi, who starts out as a demon child and eventually matures into a calm and philosophical man who questions what it truly means to be invincible.

As much as this manga’s the story of Musashi Miyamoto, however, it’s also the story of Sasaki Koichiro. Long parts of Vagabond are dedicated to a retelling of Koichiro’s life. As much as I enjoyed Musashi’s character, in time, I grew to like Koichiro even more.

This focus on two characters also makes the manga much more interesting. We often switch between the two of them, showcasing each character’s unique path.

There’s no need to say much more about Vagabond. It’s one of the greatest long manga of all time.

2. Berserk

Horror Manga by Kentaro Miura - Berserk Picture 3
© Kentaro Miura – Berserk

Rest in peace Kentaro Miura, thanks for sharing your gift with the world.

Berserk is one of the greatest and most influential manga of all time.

It’s a dark fantasy manga centering on the character of Guts, the Black Swordsman. He’s out on a quest for revenge and hunts down demonic beings known as apostles.

At first glance, Berserk might appear a simple, almost generic story. The more we learn about Guts, his past and his connection to the man known as Griffith, the more we realize just how complex this manga truly is.

Kentaro Miura did an amazing job showcasing their relationship, testing it and ultimately severing it at the end of the Golden Age arc.

While Berserk features amazing characters, its most known for its art and its violence.

Horror Manga by Kentaro Miura - Berserk Picture 1
© Kentaro Miura – Berserk

Kentaro Miura was one of the most talented manga artist of all time. I’ve read a lot of manga, but scarcely few can compare to Berserk when Kentaro Miura was at the top of his game. The manga’s nothing short of breathtakingly beautiful.

Berserk is never shy about showcasing violence and the many atrocities committed in its world. We witness war and battles, but also rape, torture, religious fanaticism, and even ritualistic sacrifices.

Yet, the violence is always greatest when Guts is around. He fights using a sword as big as himself and cleaves his way through humans and apostles alike, leaving behind nothing but carnage.

Berserk’s apostles are, of course, the highlight of the series. They are towering, grotesque monstrosities. They are both gorgeous and terrifying.

Overall, Berserk is one of the greatest long manga of all time. I highly recommend it to anyone.

1. Blade of the Immortal

Best Manga by Hiroaki Samura - Blade of the Immortal Picture 1
© Hiroaki Samura – Blade of the Immortal

I’m a big fan of samurai manga and Blade of the Immortal by Hiroaki Samura’s not only my favorite samurai manga, but my favorite manga of all time.

Manji’s a man known as the ‘Hundred Men Killer.’ To punish him for his deeds, an eight-hundred-year-old nun has placed bloodworms inside his body, rendering him immortal. To atone for his crimes and to free himself from the curse of immortality, Manji vows to kill one thousand evil man.

After a brief introduction, Manji meets Rin Asano. She’s out on a quest for revenge against Kagehisa Anotsu, the leader of the Itto-Ryu, who murdered her parents.

This premise might appear simple, but the manga becomes increasingly complex when more factions and characters are introduced.

Best Manga by Hiroaki Samura - Blade of the Immortal Picture 3
© Hiroaki Samura – Blade of the Immortal

What I enjoyed the most about Blade of the Immortal were the characters. While Rin and Manji are both excellent characters, it was other characters I truly came to enjoy. Almost every single one of them is incredibly complex and well developed. My favorite amongst them was Anotsu Kagehisa who was the most complex character in the entire manga. Others I truly came to love were Makie Otono-Tachibana, Taito Magatsu and, of course, Shira.

While we follow Manji and Rin on their quest for revenge, the manga makes no distinction between good and evil. Every character has their own goals and reasons for what they are doing. Anotsu Kagehisa is the story’s antagonist for one reason alone and that’s because Manji and Rin are our protagonist.

As you can expect, this long manga’s full of fights. They are all absolutely outstanding and amongst the best in the entire samurai manga genre.

Blade of the Immortal is an absolutely brilliant long manga, one I recommend to anybody.

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