Lace up your gloves, grab your sword, and get ready to go toe to toe with some of manga’s strongest fighters from a multitude of universes!
Exploring the different martial arts, fighting styles, and techniques used through a vast array of fighting manga, join us as we count down through the best 20 fighting manga of all time!
20. Aiki (Isutoshi, 2004 – 2012)
A civil war between schoolgirls, a locked away talent, and a story of redemption, Aiki is a weird and wonderful world of a lazy genius trying to unlock his true potential.
Kunitoshi Joukyuu is a master of aikido martial arts and just so happens to be the strongest person in the world. Power like this only belongs in the hands of the righteous and good of heart, something Kunitoshi is lacking in, leaving his father to seal away his power on his deathbed.
Now spending his time training schoolgirls the art of aikido, our flawed hero must make amends and put others before himself. Can Kunitoshi change his arrogant ways and develop into the fighter he was born to be?
If you can read Japanese, you can get the Japanese edition of Volume 1 here on Amazon Japan: 愛気 (1) Aiki: Issue 1
19. Hokuto no Ken, AKA Fist of the North Star (Buronson & Tetsuo Hara, 1983 – 1988)
In a world desolate and ravaged by nuclear war, only one thing matters, survival.
Our journey follows Kenshiro, the successor of an ancient martial arts style known as the “Divine Fist of the North Star,” as he protects the weak against desperate, preying villains.
Searching for peace in this deadly land, Kenshiro uses his talents against rival martial artists while defending his new, make-shift family.
With the arrival of his adoptive brother, can Kenshiro bring himself to fight, or will he again become prey to the strong? Read on, and you won’t be disappointed.
Experience the Divine Fist with Volume 1 at Amazon: Fist of the North Star, Vol. 1
If you can read Japanese, there is a 15 volume set of the Japanese edition books here: Hokuto No Ken – Fist of the North Star a Total Set of 15
18. Hinomaruzumou, Aka Hinomaru Sumo (Kawada, 2014 – 2019)
A culture, a spectacle, a ritual for some, Hinomaruzumou introduces us to the unique world of Sumo!
Ushio Hinomaru is still finding his place at his new school when he wanders into the Oodachi High Sumo club in hopes of finding where he belongs!
His journey to becoming Hinoshita Kaisan (a man with exceptional power) seems impossible, with his small stature in a world of weight and strength. An underdog from day one, Hinomaru and his friends train and fight together, strengthening their bodies, as well as their friendships. Will he be able to reach his dream?
This feel-good manga will get you hooked on your new favorite sport!
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get an English copy, but if you can read Japanese, you can get the Japanese version on Amazon here: Hinomaru Sumo 1 (Japanese Edition)
17. Koukou Tekkenden Tough, AKA TOUGH: High School Iron Fist Legend (Tetsuya Saruwatari, 1993 – 2003)
From day one, Kiibo has one simple goal; to be the strongest fighter in the world. Trained by his father in the family fighting technique, Nadashinkage-Ryu, Kiibo hopes to one day surpass his idol, Bruce Lee.
Squaring up towards anyone he deems tough enough to put up a fight, Kiibo unleashes his mixed martial arts talent, along with razor wit, and proves he’s a force to be reckoned with.
With different fighting styles and a range of dangerous enemies, Kiibo walks us through a world of power with fists raised, ready to take on the world!
Grab your copy of Koukou Tekkenden Tough volume 1 on Amazon: Tough, Vol. 1
16. Kengan Ashura (Yabako Sandrovich & Daromeon, 2012 – 2018)
Battles in the boardroom may shake the nerves of young businessmen, but a punch to the face is what really makes a company.
In the Edo period in Japan, corporations settle their differences in brutal gladiator-style, martial arts matches, with fighters representing each company.
Hosted by the Kengen Association, Ouma Tokita, nicknamed “The Ashura,” dreams of becoming the ultimate martial artist. He gets recruited by the Nogi Group CEO. Partnered with his novice manager, Kazuo Yamashita, we follow the duo as they try to survive the seedy, bloody underworld of the Kengan.
You can check out the Japanese edition of Kengan Ashura volume 1 on Amazon here: Kengan Ashura vol.1 (Ura Sunday Comics) [Japanese Edition]
15. Shamo (Izō Hashimoto & Akio Tanaka, 1998 – 2015)
Very few manga will touch on matters as grim as Shamo, and even fewer will give you an entire story-long, explicit perspective of a “villain.”
Starting with the brutal murder of his parents through the eyes of Ryo Narushima, we begin our journey of desperation in a reformatory to repent for his actions.
Through constant attacks inside the reformatory, Ryo learns self-defense, his real talent. He uses his martial arts prowess to instill fear through bloody feats on any would-be attackers that cross his path.
Eventually free on the unforgiving streets, Ryo is set on never becoming a victim again. Through exceptional fighting talent, we learn what it takes to become the villain in your own story.
You can find the Japanese edition of volume 1 of this manga on Amazon: 軍鶏 1 [Shamo] (Shamo, 1)
14. All Rounder Meguru (Hiroki Endo, 2008 – 2016)
A tale of two old friends turned to rivals. Meguru Takayanagi practices MMA for fun and the thrill of the sport, whereas childhood friend Takashi Yamabuki has a more serious goal in mind.
Both have their motivations for fighting and get progressively stronger as their craft is sharpened with each fight.
Notorious for its realism, All Rounder Meguru gives perhaps the most accurate portrayal of MMA and its fighting techniques on paper, praised as the most realistic hand-to-hand combat manga.
Grab your copy of Volume 1 at Amazon here: All-Rounder Meguru Vol. 1
13. Deadman Wonderland (Jinsei Kataoka & Kazuma Kondou, 2007 – 2013)
A privately run prison masquerading as a theme park, Deadman Wonderland is a place that pits prisoners from all over Japan against each other to the death.
Here we meet student Ganta Igarashi, who’s been framed for the bloody massacre of his entire class by someone known simply as the “Red Man.” Falsely imprisoned in Deadman Wonderland, Ganta must navigate the prison and the sadistic “games” held within.
Fighting for his life, alongside his mysterious friend, Shiro, we endeavor to find out the truth behind Deadman Wonderland, who the Red Man is, and what Shiro might be hiding.
Enter the Deadman Wonderland with Volume 1 at Amazon: Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 1
12. History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi (Syun Matsuena, 2002 – 2014)
Young and vulnerable, we’re introduced to Kenichi Shirahama. A frequent target for bullies, he decides to change his fate and joins the school karate club in hopes of finding the strength to stand up for himself.
Finding himself the punching bag for the senior club members, the universe finally answers his prayers in the form of a transfer student, the beautiful Miu Fūriniji. Mui shows Kenichi the Ryōzanpaku Dojo and the six eccentric martial arts masters.
The masters take Kenchi under their wing as he trains night and day under each of their fighting styles, perfecting each, hoping to finally be able to protect more than just himself! Just how powerful will he become?
You can check out volume 1 of the Japanese edition here on Amazon: Disciple Kenichi strongest in history [Japanese Import]
11. Blade of the Immortal (Hiroaki Samura, 1993 – 2012)
An infamous swordsman with a killer reputation, Manji the “Hundred Man Killer” has a far more dangerous secret; he is immortal.
Killing one hundred innocent men is a heavy burden to bear, along with immortality bestowed upon him by an eight hundred-year-old nun, Yaobikuni; it leaves plenty of time for regret and retribution.
To pay for his sins and be granted the release from immortality, Manji vows to kill one thousand evil men. Coming across young Rin Asano, Manji agrees to aid her quest for revenge against the men that murdered her parents as the two venture on their journey of blood, redemption, and revenge.
See how Manji pays for his sins with a deluxe, hardcover edition of volume 1 at Amazon here: Blade of the Immortal Deluxe Volume 1
10. Teppu (Moare Ohta, 2008 – 2015)
Natsuo Ishidō has always been physically gifted, able to pick up any sport she tries, and quickly gets bored from the lack of challenge. These experiences have numbed her to the world and the people in it.
Intrigued, yet irritated, by classmate Yuzuko Mawatari, Natsuo accepts an invitation to participate in their mixed martial arts club. Beginning her journey through the competitive sport of MMA, Natsuo experiences for the first time what it’s like to not be the best in the room.
Personal progress and determination, often for the wrong reason, drives Natsuo further into MMA as she strives to pummel the club captain and feed her burning desire for a true challenge! If you love women’s MMA, this is the manga for you.
For Japanese readers, you can check out volume 1 of the Japanese edition on Amazon: Teppū 1
9. Shigurui (Takayuki Yamaguchi, 2003 – 2010)
A gladiator-style story in a Japanese setting sees the country’s first “weapon friendly” martial arts tournament take place.
The first match is between two sworn rivals; one-armed Gennosuke Fujiki against the blind and lame Seigen Irako. As the public states their unhappiness with the spectacle, few are aware of the two men’s intense, bloody, and deep hatred-filled history.
Shigurui tells the tale of these two men and their journey. The early days of training, honing their sword skills, and fighting under the same master, and the brutal, often violent, decisions that have led them to this final stand-off. How will this manga end? Sorry, you’ll have to find out for yourself!
There’s the Japanese edition, volume 1 of this manga on Amazon here: Shigurui 1
8. Black Clover (Yūki Tabata, 2015 – Present)
Magic is the norm for all in the Clover Kingdom, except for the overly enthusiastic orphan, Asta. Possessing no magical ability, Asta constantly compares himself to his childhood friend-turned-rival Yuno, whose exceptional skill granted him the fabled four-leafed clover grimoire (a tool used to reach the full capacity of a person’s magical skill).
Asta proves himself through grit and determination in a wild turn of events, fighting unwinnable battles to show his worth, earning his own Black Clover grimoire.
Though based in magic, Black Clover also has its fair share of swords and weapons as Asta scrapes together what magic he has and conjures all he needs to try and keep up with Yuno.
Start off with Black Clover volume 1 on Amazon here: Black Clover Vol. 1
7. Dragon Ball Z (Akira Toriyama, 1984 – 1995)
An all-time classic featured on every fighting manga enthusiast’s list. We continue Goku’s journey into adulthood through volumes 17 – 42 of Dragon Ball, rebranded as Dragon Ball Z. He becomes a father, fights world-ending enemies, all while keeping his wife happy!
In this chapter, we take the fighting to the next level, experiencing the true power of a Saiyan as questions are answered, and the stakes have never been higher. We’re introduced to new friends and enemies, each bringing along new fighting styles and techniques, as we watch Goku and his family grow and develop.
Unexpected alliances prove the key to saving the world, combining the power of Earth’s mightiest warriors as they fight head-on with everything they’ve got!
Pick up the first volume of DragonBall Z here on Amazon: Dragon Ball Z, Vol. 1 (VIZBIG Edition)
A complete set with all 16 volumes of this series can be found here: Dragon Ball Z Complete Box Set: Vols. 1-26 with premium
6. Gamaran (Yousuke Nakamaru, 2009 – 2013)
The Unabara State in the Middle Edo Period is known as the “Haunt of Demons,” a breeding ground for powerful martial artists who know nothing more than power and the thrill of a fight.
The ruler of this state, Naosata Washitzu, is looking for his eventual successor and proposes that all 31 of his sons bring forth a champion to battle on their behalf, with the last one standing becoming the right-hand man of the new ruler.
Jinsuke, a legendary swordsman, has been missing for years. However, his son Gama Kurogane impresses Naoyoshi Washitzu (one of Naosata Washitzu’s sons) with his unique fighting style. He takes up the challenge to prove his strength, aiming to overcome all in his path and be the strongest Unabara has ever seen.
You can find the Japanese edition of volume 1 on Amazon: Gamaran, Volume 1
5. My Hero Academia (Kōhei Horikoshi, 2014 – Present)
Earning its spot on our best ever manga list, My Hero Academia shows us a world where everyday people are born with superhuman abilities or attributes called Quirks.
Izuku Midoriya learned that life isn’t fair at the age of four, being told that he was born quirkless. Putting his burning desire to become a smiling hero into a tailspin, he never gave up hope on one day his powers kicking in.
Everything changed when he met All Might, the number one hero, who gave Midoriya the chance to live his dream; deeming him worthy of inheriting unimaginable power and a secret decades old.
Midoriya enrolls into hero school, U.A. High, to hone his power, training his body to fight and developing skills he needs to succeed All Might as the number one hero! Be prepared to go on an exciting journey with everyone at U.A. High!
Start your own origin story with volume 1 at Amazon here: My Hero Academia, Vol. 1: Izuku Midoriya: Origin
A set with volumes 1-20 can be found here: My Hero Academia Series Volume 1 – 20 Books Collection Set by Kouhei Horikoshi
4. Grappler Baki, AKA Baki the Grappler (Keisuke Itagaki, 1991 – 1999)
The start of the ongoing Baki manga series introduces us to teenage Baki Hanma, son of legendary fighter Yujirou Hanma, known simply as the “Ogre.”
Baki’s harsh and torturous childhood under the Ogre has filled him with rage and hatred, channeled into honing his fighting craft. He hopes to one day defeat his ruthless father.
Sharpening his skills, Baki enters the Kourakuen, an underground fighting arena, where the only prize is honor; for some, coming at the ultimate price. This manga explores many fighting styles, from boxing to karate, and each bloody victory moves Baki closer to confronting the man deserving of experiencing his true power.
You can buy volume 1 of this amazing series here on Amazon: BAKI Vol. 1 (BAKI, Volume Collections)
If you can read Japanese, a 31-volume Japanese edition set can be found here: バキ―New grappler Baki 全31巻完結セット
3. Jujutsu Kaisen (Gege Akutami, 2018 – Present)
A war between evil supernatural “Curses” and Jujutsu Sorcerers, endeavoring to exorcise them through mystical martial arts, collides with high schooler Yūji Itadori when he unwittingly consumes a rotting finger talisman and becomes the host of the legendary curse, Ryōmen Sukuna.
Trapped inside his body, Sukuna’s overwhelming power gets Yūji detained and sentenced to death until Jujutsu teacher Satoru Gojō finds an alternative ending for him. Yūji and Sakuna agree that neither one can live if the other dies, so they work together to collect and consume the other fingers of Sakuna in an attempt to prolong his life and eradicate the evil Sakuna all in one go.
Meet Yūji and Sakuna with volume 1 here on Amazon: Jujutsu Kaisen, Vol. 1
A set with volumes 1-5 can be purchased here: Jujutsu Kaisen Series Vol 1-5 Books Collection Set By Gege Akutami
2. Holyland (Kōji Mori, 2000 – 2008)
When society has no place for you, you’ll go anywhere to find a place to fit in; enter Yū Kamishiro. Venturing into the night, Yū finds a home for himself in a dark, dangerous world of violence.
Searching for the strength to protect himself, Yū perfects a single punch and spends his nights trawling the streets, soon running into a gang of thugs. Defeating them in self-defense, Yū starts to learn more about his true intentions and the rush street fights give him.
Earning himself the reputation of the “Thug Hunter,” people seek out Yū to test his power. As more and more challengers lay at his feet, Yū’s darkness starts to show its head as he gets closer and closer to his “Holyland.”
For Japanese readers, find the Japanese edition of Holyland volume 1 on Amazon: Holyland Volume 1
1. Tokyo Revengers (Ken Wakui, 2017 – Present)
Currently facing an all-time low in his life, Takemichi Hanagaki gets one last kick while he’s down hearing that his high school girlfriend, Hinata, was murdered by the infamous Tokyo Manji Gang.
Spiraling down thoughts of regret, asking how his life ended up like this, Takemichi suddenly ends up on the tracks in front of a moving train. In a flash, Takemichi is back in his high school days, deciding the only way to save Hinata is to fight his way into the Tokyo Manji Gang and change the course of the future.
The life he chooses is painful and unforgiving, with brutal beatings. Can Takemichi change the potentially inevitable future?
Grab your bike and jacket, get ready to meet the Tokyo Manji gang with volume 1 at Amazon here: Tokyo Revengers Vol. 1
You can also check out a volume 1-2 set here: Tokyo Revengers (Omnibus) Vol. 1-2