You’ve just finished a 9-hour shift from work. You put your phone in Do Not Disturb mode as you start to unwind at home. You’re in the mood for action, but you feel like watching Netflix.
So what do you do now?
Check out these best action manga titles, of course! All the blood, guts, and borderline-annoying enthusiastic protagonists will surely liven your mood! Be sure to check out our other best anime & manga lists for more!
From the title itself, the protagonist can K.O. any enemy with just one blow and remains unbeaten despite the varying levels of “threat” he faced in the series.
Set in a world where heroes are common and treated like every other day job, Saitama is undoubtedly the strongest. Unfortunately, because of his lame costume, bald head, and penchant for one-shotting enemies, no one ever really lived to tell his tale or be in time to witness his greatness.
He’s faced calamity-class and world-ending alien invaders, and the results remained the same. He’s pulverized every enemy he’s faced, yet he has yet to crack the upper ranks of heroes.
You can get the 10 book set (volumes 1-10) on Amazon: One-Punch Man Collection 10 Books Set (Volume 1-10)
With over 36 volumes available for consumption, any manga fan worth his salt knows that Hunter X Hunter is one of the best action manga titles ever.
Every arc is action-packed, and every character unique and exciting. The protagonists are a group of friends who are rising up the ranks of Hunters, an organization that handles professional adventurers, explorers, fighters, and more.
Even the villains are well-crafted, and it’s not impossible to find yourself rooting for them as the story progresses. The manga is on indefinite hiatus, though, so you might want to pace your reading instead of bingeing everything in one sitting.
You can check out Volume 1 here on Amazon: Hunter x Hunter, Vol. 1
For many (younger) Western readers, Naruto is probably the first title that you’ve read and got you hooked on mangal. It’s your quintessential action manga, with good character progression, plot, powers, fights, and more.
Reading this as a teen, you can easily associate yourself with many of the main characters: the outgoing Naruto, the dark and brooding Sasuke, or the wallflower Sakura. But many fans would know that these are just the initial impressions, and as the story progresses, you’ll be able to peel away layers upon layers on their personality.
The story continues with Naruto: Shippuden, a substantial time skip to Naruto’s late-teens/early adult years. And as the story moves further from the PG-rated storyline to darker themes, the action also gets better. The characters, be it good or bad, all have power-ups, so every encounter is breathtaking; you’ll be bingeing chapter after chapter to keep up.
You can find a hardcover, collectors edition of volume 1 on Amazon: Naruto, Vol. 1 (Collector’s Edition)
11. Bleach (Tite Kubo, 2001 – 2016)
Bleach came out a couple of years after Naruto, and they were contemporaries for more than a decade. That alone is a feat, considering how well-received both titles are, not just in the manga but also in anime.
Perhaps this was possible because even when they’re both shounen (targeted to younger male readers) titles, Bleach has a unique story that merited its own following.
The protagonist is a human-turned-shinigami (soul reaper,) an agent of the soul society. His battles against hollows (among many other bad elements) are always thrilling because there’s an element of vulnerability to the main characters since he’s human.
As the story progresses, his powers evolve, more of his backstory is revealed, and his enemies grow stronger. There are many twists and turns in the plot, which is both a blessing and a curse for this title.
You can get the box set that includes volumes 1-21 on Amazon here: Bleach Box Set 1: Volumes 1-21 by Tite Kubo
10. Berserk (Kentaro Miura, 1989 – Present)
If that doesn’t prove how well-received this title is, I don’t know what will. Berserk is your ultimate revenge story, set in the time of plagues, demonic possessions, and just generally bad vibes all over. Suffice to say, Guts main character is not yet done with his revenge after all this time.
The action in this title is outstanding, with great storytelling and gritty, dark, and gory art. Read a few chapters, and you’ll know how just how hardcore it really is. The art hasn’t changed at all, so if you’re a new reader, it may not be your cup of tea. But give it a few chapters, and you’ll surely be hooked for more.
You can now get a deluxe, hardcover edition of Volume 1 on Amazon: Berserk Deluxe Volume 1
The best-selling anime of all time. The wealthiest mangaka or manga author, with a net worth of over 200 million dollars.
One Piece easily tops the list of any category just because of the abovementioned accolades. Unfortunately, many people hate it because of its fame. They say the storyline is predictable, there’s no more character progression, fights are drawn out, the author is milking every encounter.
But whether you like it or not, One Piece has some of the best action scenes in today’s manga titles. Battles are almost always 1 vs. 1, whether it’s Luffy against the biggest bad guy of the arc or members of his crew against the generals of the big bad.
Battles may be drawn out, but that doesn’t take anything away from the quality of the fights. One Piece has one of the best power systems in manga, including the type of devil fruit users, elements, weapons, and of course, Haki.
You can get an edition with volumes 1-3 on Amazon here: One Piece: East Blue 1-2-3
If you’re looking for a quick action manga fix, Yu Yu Hakusho is easily one of the best titles you should consider. It’s one of the titles that popularized tournament-style fights, pitting one group of powered-up fighters against another.
I know others started the trend earlier, but Yu Yu Hakusho milked that style throughout the series. You might even wonder why the overpowered bad guys would even agree to fight the protagonists in an arena setting if they can wreak havoc all over the place. But plot holes aside, the action that the different tournament arcs brought us is fantastic, especially since most of them are 1 vs. 1 fights that showcased the characters’ skillset and powers.
You can check out volume 1 here on Amazon: YuYu Hakusho, Vol. 1
7. Fairy Tail (Hiro Mashima, 2006 – 2017)
Fairy Tail is another excellent title that ran for more than a decade. It could be considered a derivative of Naruto and Bleach, simply because it has a male lead, surrounded by tons of supporting characters who are equally interesting and powerful.
It’s not hard to see similarities in the characters and storylines, but that doesn’t take away anything from this title’s action.
It’s set in a world of “fairies” – people who possess tremendous and unique powers. Add in elements like guilds, missions, and conflict between nations, and you have all the ingredients required for high-quality action, even if the plot seems a bit familiar.
You can get a box set with volumes 1-11 on Amazon: FAIRY TAIL Manga Box Set 1
6. Toriko (Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro, 2008 – 2016)
If you think action manga titles are somewhat templated and are just derivatives of more famous titles, you’re not entirely wrong. But some gems provide unique, refreshing stories that appear from time to time.
One of these titles is Toriko. Toriko, the titular character, is a hunter of unique ingredients, set in a world of gigantic animals, carnivorous plants, and dynamic environments. It is a world where food is king, a world ruled by gourmands, chefs, and adventurers who procure unique and dangerous ingredients.
It’s part action, part adventure, and every story arc is unique. It’s hard to put this title down, so binge read at your own risk. After all, you have 43 volumes to go through, and you might want to prepare something to eat beforehand.
You can check out volume 1 on Amazon: Toriko, Vol. 1
If you’re somehow sick of the testosterone-packed, male-lead action titles, then Claymore is a definite palate cleanser. Well, that is if you consider hardcore limbs and guts flying all over the place as refreshing.
Claymore is set in a world where the strongest warriors are women. These warriors, called “claymores” because of the humongous swords they carry and are actually human/monster hybrids created to fight monsters called Yoma all over the land.
But there’s more to it than just bounty hunting and monster slaying. These monsters are super powerful and even rival the strongest of the Claymores. The fights are brutal, thrilling, and is always to the death. When these rivals meet, be it in towns or battlefields, rest assured, at least one will perish.
You can find the complete box set with volumes 1-21 at Amazon: Claymore Complete Box Set: Volumes 1-27 with Premium
When Naruto ended in 2014, and Bleach and Fairy Tail’s storylines also sputtering out and losing substance, a successor was needed to fill the void. Their spiritual successor is Boku no Hero Academia, a coming of age superhero manga about super-powered teens learning how to become heroes.
We see them enroll in the premier hero school, make friends, learn more about their powers and how to use them. But that’s just the series viewed through rose-colored lenses.
As the story progressed, we’re confronted with an inevitable reality. Whenever there are heroes, there will surely be villains. And not all super-powered humans aspired to be heroes. Fights became deadlier, deaths on both sides were unavoidable.
You can find the collection of volumes 1-10 on Amazon here: My Hero Academia Volume 1-10 Collection 10 Books Set by Kohei Horikoshi
A great action manga doesn’t always need to last for a decade to be considered one of the best. Take a look at Kimetsu no Yaiba.
It only lasted four years, but it was wrapped up beautifully, with no long-overdrawn encounters, winding character arcs, and no fluff and filler chapters. It has been rewarded with commercial success, not only for the manga, but also for its anime, and most recently, its film.
The film has broken records in Japan and is currently the 2nd highest-grossing movie ever in the country, next to Spirited Away.
The manga itself boasts unique, high-quality art that makes the action scenes more thrilling and dramatic. Not to mention the fact that this story doesn’t pull punches. Plot armor? No way. No one’s safe in this story and your favorite character could die at any time.
Check out volume 1 on Amazon here: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Vol. 1
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is another long-running action manga that should be on everyone’s to-read list. Sure, it’s long, but the story has been segmented into sizable arcs–chunks that you can binge-read one at a time.
What’s unique about JoJo is that it mirrors real-world events, like disasters, wars, conflicts, and more, and transforms it into a manga world where humans can manifest immense power or “Stands.”
This power system is unique and a bit hard to explain without spoiling the story’s finer details. All you need to know for now is when two Stand users meet, the action is exhilarating and thrilling, though some can leave you slack-jawed and wondering what the heck is happening. It’s bizarre, but hey, at least the title warned you about that.
You can find volume 1 on Amazon here: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1–Phantom Blood, Vol. 1
It’s impossible to make a modern list of “best action manga” without including Goblin Slayer because this title is quite possibly the epitome of this genre.
The title is also the lead character’s name, as the author didn’t even bother naming the characters and just focused on what matters: the action and the story. So don’t be shocked when you see characters referred to as just “Priestess,” “Guild Girl,” or worse, “Cow Girl.”
Character naming aside, Goblin Slayer has all the elements you want in an action manga: adventures, missions, familiar enemies, ranks or levels, and of course, lots of blood and guts being spilled at every chapter.
You see, Goblin Slayer signed up as an adventurer, not for the riches and fame. He’s not after rewards or leveling up. All he wants to do is kill goblins.
To learn more about his motive and how this story will progress with such a “one dimensional” main character, you need to start reading the manga yourself. And I promise you won’t regret it.
Check out volume 1 on Amazon: Goblin Slayer, Vol. 1 (manga)