Diving into the vast world of manga, or Japanese comic books, is an exciting adventure. If you are new to manga and are wondering which title to choose, you’ve come to the right place. This list features the 15 best manga for beginners, with many different genres for everyone to enjoy.
15. Ouran High School Host Club (Bisco Hatori, 2002 – 2010)
Let’s start our list with a gender bender/reverse harem manga called Ouran High School Host Club. I chose this title because of its straightforward plot without much conflict. Quite a popular manga, Ouran High School Host Club was made into an anime and a live-action drama. If you’re looking for manga filled with comical scenes that will leave you laughing- Ouran is for you.
The story follows the life of quiet student Haruhi Fujioka who attends the distinguished Ouran Academy. One day, she enters an abandoned music room hoping for some peace and quiet but is instead greeted by six handsome male students. Haruhi is startled and accidentally destroys an antique vase.
To pay back the Ouran Academy Host Club, the club run by the six handsome students, Haruhi works as a host serving tea and biscuits to the school’s female population. One tiny problem; they mistake her for a boy!
Ouran High School Host Club is a great beginner manga because there’s generally no conflict between the characters, and it’s full of comedic interactions between the club members.
You can buy the first volume of this series here on Amazon: Ouran High School Host Club, Vol. 1
You can also purchase an 18-volume box set here: Ouran High School Host Club Box Set (Vol. 1-18)
14. Kimi ni Todoke (Karuho Shiina, 2006 – 2017)
If you’re looking for a sweet, innocent high school romance between a popular boy and a shy girl, try Kimi ni Todoke. The great thing about this manga is its wholesome plot that is easy to follow and relate to. First-timers trying to read the manga will enjoy seeing the fluffy romance between Sawako Kuronuma and Shouta Kazehaya.
Although the heroine Sawako has an appearance similar to the girl from the horror film The Ring, Kazehaya doesn’t mind and still tries to befriend her. The two form an unlikely friendship that develops into romance. The connections Sawako makes along the way and the tight bond she discovers with her peers are Kimi ni Todoke’s selling point.
Boys and girls alike will enjoy reading this heartwarming manga.
You can find volume 1 of this amazing manga on Amazon: Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You, Vol. 1
13. Akagami no Shirayukihime (Sorata Akizuki, 2006 – Present)
Have you ever heard of Snow White having bright red hair? The English title of Akagami no Shirayukihime is Snow White with the Red Hair. This manga secured a spot on our top 15 list for its uplifting story filled with engaging characters. You can try out the 24-episode anime to get an idea of the manga.
The story follows the young herbalist Shirayuki who resides in the fictional Kingdom of Tanbarun. Shirayuki is not a princess, despite the title of the manga. However, she does have one striking feature that sets her apart from the citizens of Tanbarun. And that is her bright red hair.
Because of her unusual hair color, Shirayuki grew up hiding it from the people around her. One day, a young prince notices her hair and commands her to be his concubine. Shirayuki refuses, cuts her locks, and travels to a neighboring kingdom where she meets and befriends Prince Zen Wistaria. The two form a deep friendship and experience different adventures together.
Check out the first volume on Amazon: Snow White with the Red Hair, Vol. 1
12. Paradise Kiss (Ai Yazawa, 1999 – 2003)
With most manga having multiple volumes, it can get overwhelming for newcomers to read every book. Our 12th title is a short, five-volume romantic series catering to young women. Popular in Japan, Paradise Kiss has gained quite a large following and has been translated into ten different languages.
Yukari Hayasaka, the heroine of Paradise Kiss, is dragged by a group of students to model for their school fashion show. Yukari adamantly turns them down. She finally agrees to participate in the event after the group leader, George Koizumi, wouldn’t stop pestering her. As the show progresses, Yukari starts to develop feelings for him.
Paradise Kiss is a quick read (or watch if you decide to take that route and binge the anime).
Volume 1 is available for purchase on Amazon here: Paradise Kiss Vol 1
11. Doraemon (Fujiko Fujio, 1969 – 1996)
Popular amongst children in Japan, Doraemon is a classic title that deserves a spot on this list. Adults can still enjoy the exciting adventures of Nobita Nobi and his magic cat robot from the future, Doraemon. If you want a glimpse into the everyday lifestyles of young Japanese kids, Doraemon is an excellent choice.
Because of his lack of drive in life, Nobita Nobi lived his days full of failures and financial problems. To give the Nobita family a better chance in life, his great-great-grandson decided to gift the young Nobita a robotic cat to help him solve his problems. Doraemon invents futuristic gadgets throughout the series that help Nobita get through his problems. Of course, things don’t always go Nobita’s way – he is a young kid, after all.
You can also check out the animated series under the same title if you want to learn more about Doraemon, Nobita, and his friends!
You can get a unique volume 1 edition that comes in both English and Japanese here on Amazon: Doraemon: Gadget Cat from the Future, Vol. 1
10. Yotsuba&! (Kiyohiko Azuma, 2003 – Present)
Another popular title in both children and adults is Yotsuba&!. Because of its laid-back and extremely humorous plot, it’s easy to see why Yotsuba&! is an all-time favorite manga with a large fanbase. If you’ve just started to read Japanese and want to practice, definitely read Yotsuba&! If reading the Japanese version, its simple-to-understand Japanese and repetitive kanji will be your best friend (if reading the Japanese version).
Of course, you can always read it in English and enjoy the adventures of five-year-old Yotsuba Koiwai as she discovers the world around her through comedic encounters. Yotsuba is quirky, fun, and overall a lovable kid; you’ll immediately be sucked into her world and see things through her young eyes. Enjoy being a child again and experience life in rural Japan while reading Yotsuba&!
You can check out the first volume of Yotsuba&! on Amazon here: Yotsuba&!, Vol. 1 (Yotsuba&!, 1)
For Japanese learners, you can the Japanese edition set with volumes 1-12 here: Yotsubato Comic set Vol.1 to 12 (Japanese)
9. The Promised Neverland (Kaiu Shirai, 2016 – 2020)
Are you looking for a dark fantasy thriller manga series starring children? The Promised Neverland deserves a spot on this list for its grotesque plot that will keep you at the edge of your seat. For those starting their manga journey with this title, be prepared to enter the deep rabbit hole of manga with no return.
At first glance, readers would think this book has a typical setting- kids living in an orphanage run by nuns. What’s weird about that? However, as the story progresses, readers see that these kids are not living normal lives. They are not allowed to leave the orphanage, and if they do, something unimaginable happens to them. No, they’re not sent to a happy family. I won’t say any more. Give The Promised Neverland a try! It has 20 volumes and a 23 episode anime adaptation.
Purchase volume 1 of this series on Amazon here: The Promised Neverland, Vol. 1
You can also get a set with volumes 1-5 here: Promised Neverland Set – Including Vol. 1 – 5
8. Mushishi (Yuki Urushibara, 1999 – 2008)
Mushishi, written by Yuki Urushibara, is an excellent beginner manga for individuals who enjoy episodic anthology with no central plotline. You can start at whatever book you like without feeling lost in the story. The manga has an anime adaptation you can also enjoy watching from any episode.
In the world of Ginko, the protagonist of Mushishi, supernatural creatures called mushi, exist and cohabitate with humans. However, these celestial beings live under the radar of most humans; only a few individuals can see and interact with them. Ginko, a so-called “Mushi Master,” travels around the countryside researching these supernatural creatures and helping individuals suffering from mushi troubles.
Find volume 1 here on Amazon: Mushi Shi Vol. 1
7. Chainsaw Man (Tatsuki Fujimoto, 2018 – 2020)
Chainsaw Man is the perfect mix of brutal gore with a wholesome narrative. Typically, you don’t find a gory manga that follows a central “feel-good” story. It’s always just blood, blood, and more blood. Because of its fantastic artwork showcased in top-notch fight scenes, excellent story writing, and well-rounded characters, Chainsaw Man continues to win the hearts of thousands worldwide, including you, when you decide to read it.
Imagine a universe where Devils come to life from your fears. This is the horrifying reality for Denji, the story’s unconventional hero. The brutal world of Denji is filled with violence, suffering, and despair. To pay off his father’s debt to the yakuza, Denji toils his days working as a Devil hunter. One day, the yakuza betrays Denji, and he dies. He forms a contract with his canine companion Pochita, a Chainsaw Devil, to come back to life.
Denji gets a second chance in life as a human-Devil hybrid that transforms into a chainsaw whenever he pulls on his dog’s tail. Yes, you read that right. Whenever Denji pulls Pochita’s tail, his head turns into a chainsaw. Don’t be turned off by the bizarre fate of Denji; all the young man wants in life is to belong and live, truly live. Feel loved. Be accepted. Find purpose. We all want that in life, don’t we?
Find volume 1 (as well as other volumes) on Amazon: Chainsaw Man, Vol. 1
6. Spy x Family (Tatsuya Endo, 2019 – Present)
Spy x Family, an action-comedy spy series by Tatsuya Endo, is a manga with growing popularity. I decided to include it in this list because of its clean and easy-to-follow art style, perfect for beginners reading manga for the first time. Plus, the exceptional plot and well-rounded characters make the series easy to enjoy.
Twilight, also known as Loid Forger, is a top-class spy from the city of Westalis. He is a master in his field and never leaves loose ends in any job. To execute the mission of Operation Strix, Twilight needs to get married and adopt a child. Immediately, he heads to the adoption center to “find” a daughter. He decides on a young girl with pink hair called Anya. Later, Loid encounters a woman named Yor during one of his missions and asks her to marry him.
Little did Loid know that Anya is a mind reader and Yor a professional assassin. Will Loid be able to carry out Operation Strix smoothly with his new so-called family? Read Spy x Family to find out!
Start with the first volume of this wonderful series here on Amazon: Spy x Family, Vol. 1
5. Haikyu!! (Haruichi Furudate, 2012 – 2020)
If you’re looking for sports manga to get your heart racing, look no further. Topping multiple charts and selling millions of copies worldwide, Haikyu will get you excited to play volleyball and feel like you’re part of a team. Whether you play volleyball yourself or you’ve never held a volleyball in your life, you’ll still enjoy reading this series without a doubt.
I watched the anime and read the manga hating volleyball myself. However, my view changed straight away after seeing the splendid victories and heartbreaking defeats of the players. Shōyō Hinata, the story’s main protagonist, is a first-year student at Karasuno High School who tries out for the school’s volleyball team as a middle blocker.
At first, his peers ridicule him for his short stature, but he turns that around after seeing him jump. Their team’s setter, Tobio Kageyama, is Hinata’s greatest rival. Throughout the series, you’ll follow the growth of these two players in their favorite sport, cheer for their victories, cry during their defeat, and more.
Check out volume 1 on Amazon: Haikyu!!, Vol. 1
4. Tokyo Revengers (Ken Wakui, 2017 – Present)
At the 44th Kodansha Manga Awards in 2020, Tokyo Revengersreceived the award for the best Shonen manga of the year. With over 17 million copies sold, it’s no doubt this title deserves a spot on this list for beginner and seasoned manga readers alike. Tokyo Revengers’ gripping plot and detailed art style are hard to miss; you’ll fall in love with it after a few pages.
The story begins with the 26-year-old protagonist Takemichi Hanagiki learning about the death of his middle school ex-girlfriend and her brother’s death. The siblings, Hinata and Naoto Tachibana were killed by a notorious bike gang called Tokyo Manji Gang. Fast forward a few pages and Takemichi is being pushed in front of a train.
By who? We don’t know. Miraculously, he’s not smashed into tiny pieces but travels back 12 years to the past, back to his middle school days. Bewildered by the turn of events, Takemichi relives his past and meets up with his ex-girlfriend’s younger brother Naoto. He tells Naoto that he’s from the future and says the date of his and his sister’s death. Then, while the two were shaking hands, Takemichi travels back to his present time and is pulled off the train tracks by his savior…Naoto.
We’re barely scraping the surface of this hit manga in this summary. Read Tokyo Revengers and see why this series is so popular.
Volume 1 can be found on Amazon here: Tokyo Revengers Vol. 1
There’s also a two-volume set (Vol 1-2) here: Tokyo Revengers (Omnibus) Vol. 1-2
3. Naruto (Masashi Kishimoto, 1999 – 2014)
We’re down to the top 3 best beginner manga! It’s not surprising that one of the best shounen mangas of all time, Naruto, is here. Start with Naruto if you want to read a story you’ll invest in for hours. A wholesome and inspiring plot, great moral lessons, and a main character you can’t help but root for; Naruto has it all.
At the start of the series, readers are introduced to the protagonist, Naruto Uzumaki. He’s a young and awkward ninja who dreams of becoming the Hokage. He doesn’t have a lot of friends and is shunned because the Nine-Tailed Beast is sealed inside of him. One of the reasons why Naruto is so popular across all demographics is because most fans grew up with the characters. I remember reading Naruto when I was still a kid, and now he’s a lot older than me.
As readers and viewers, we see Naruto as a young boy until he becomes a father. Epic fight scenes, unforgettable characters, and a plot that continues until Naruto’s son Boruto- this shounen manga is definitely worth reading.
Get started with the first volume on Amazon here: Naruto, Vol. 1: Uzumaki Naruto
2. Attack on Titan (Hajime Isayama, 2009 – 2021)
Attack on Titan is a masterpiece written by Hajime Isayama and has sold over 100 million copies since its release. This shounen series has a jaw-dropping plot in a raw and bold art style filled with emotion. Although the premise of the series seems straightforward, it’s nowhere near simple.
Attack on Titan’s main hero is Eren Yeager. At the beginning of the manga, a young Eren lives in a town encompassed by giant walls. In Eren’s world, civilization exists and thrives inside these three walls. What’s outside the walls, you may wonder. Well, it’s man-eating humanoids called Titans.
After the walls were breached and Titans ravaged Eren’s city, Eren watched a Titan devour his mom. Eren joined the military to seek revenge and made an oath to kill all Titans. As the story progresses, we see that Eren’s world is even more messed up than we initially thought. The plot gets more intense every chapter, and as the truth unfurls, we’re left wondering how in the world that happened. Prepare to be mindblown by Isayama’s writing; I know I was.
Start your adventure with volume 1 here on Amazon: Attack on Titan 1
You can also check out a box set on this series here: ATTACK ON TITAN BOOK SET ‘s 1-12
1. Demon Slayer Aka, Kimetsu no Yaiba (Koyoharu Gotouge, 2016 – 2020)
Selling over 150 million copies as of 2021 and with a movie that raked billions of yen despite the covid pandemic, Demon Slayer holds the spot for the most popular manga to date. Even if it’s your first time reading manga, you might have already heard or seen this mainstream story while browsing the internet. Because of its undeniable popularity, exceptional plot, and unconventional character relationships, Demon Slayer takes the spot for the best beginner manga.
Like Attack on Titan’s man-eating premise and revenge-centered plot, Demon Slayer has man-eating demons and a central theme of revenge. The protagonist, a levelheaded teenager named Tanjiro Kamado, goes on a quest to turn his sister, Nezuko Kamado, back into a human. Nezuko and Tanjiro’s entire family was brutally slaughtered, and Nezuko turned into a demon. Yikes. Not giving up on his sister’s humanity, Tanjiro becomes a demon slayer to avenge his family and save the only family he has left, his sister.
Demon Slayer has a lot going for it. You’re immediately sucked into Tanjiro’s mission and can’t help but root for him and his sister. Even if it’s your first time reading a Japanese comic, you won’t get too confused with this one.
Start your journey slaying demons with Tanjiro with volume 1 here on Amazon: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Vol. 1
A set with volumes with is also available here: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Vol-1-5 Books Collection set
For hardcore fans, you can get a massive, complete box set with volumes 1-23 on Amazon: Demon Slayer Complete Box Set: Includes volumes 1-23 with premium (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba)
What manga piqued your interest? Was it the lighthearted romantic comedies or the grotesque dark fantasies? Let us know down the comments what manga you want to read!
We hope this list helped you find the best manga to read as a beginner. It’s best to consider what genres you enjoy reading before picking a manga; it adds to the enjoyment. Enjoy reading!