Murder, crime, lies, and romance; the ingredients for a great mystery manga can vary, but each adds its own spin on a tale that keeps you guessing.
We’ve been sitting on the edge of our seats as we put together a list of the 15 best mystery manga we’ve read, so let’s start cracking some cases!
15. Hone Ga Kusaru Made, AKA Until Your Bones Rot (Yae Utsumi 2016 – 2018)
Starting with a mystery that throws us right into the middle of things, we meet five friends who have just committed a murder.
The five take a blood-oath that they’ll take this secret to their grave, meeting up once a year to reaffirm the strength of their friendships where they buried the body. That is until the group gets news of a golf course being built upon the very spot their victim is buried.
As they meet at their usual spot, their worst nightmares are confirmed. The bones are nowhere to be seen, having been replaced by a phone. The phone begins to ring, and the five answer the phone and are thrown into a new mysterious endeavor as the unknown voice expects something in return for their silence.
A dark and twisted tale of guilt and regret, desperately trying to hide from the sins of their past as the truth comes closer and closer, this anxiety-inducing manga is a mysterious must-read.
You can find the Japanese edition of the first volume here on Amazon: 骨が腐るまで (1)
You can find other volumes (English edition) here: Until Your Bones Rot Manga
14. Message to Adolf (Osamu Tezuka, 1983 – 1985)
A story surrounded by question marks, we’re introduced to not one, not two, but three Adolf’s.
At the 1936 Berlin Olympics, we meet reporter Sohei Toge as he runs into his brother, studying in Germany. After telling Sohei of an important document, he’s found murdered, and all evidence of his life erased, leaving Sohei to pick up the pieces.
Back in Japan, we meet Adolf Kauffmann and his Jewish best friend Adolf Kamil as we learn of their mysterious involvement in the disappearance.
Telling a tale of history through the eyes of an observer, the story has some hard truths and isn’t afraid to show the realism of the regime taking over Germany at this time. All the while exploring the story of our young Adolfs, and the part they play with the final Adolf, Adolf Hitler.
It is a brave tale of history mixed with a mystery spy thriller. The story is a slow burn over years as it unfolds elegantly, until it reaches its final act. It’s a fantastic start into the mystery manga genre!
Grab volume 1 over at Amazon here: Message to Adolf, Part 1
13. Bungo Stray Dogs (Kafja Asagiri & Sango Harukawa, 2012 – Present)
Kicked to the curb from the orphanage he grew up in, Atsushi Nakajima is left hopeless. With no food, shelter, or idea of what to do with himself, he soon finds himself in trouble. It is then that he meets the mysterious Osamu Dazai.
Despite his partner’s wishes, Osamu invites Atsushi along with them as they track a supernatural tiger that’s been causing problems around the area, explaining that the two of them are part of the Armed Detective Agency.
After a successful mission, Atsushi is offered a new home in the form of a job at the ADA, which he timidly accepts. Now with new abilities he must learn to control, the stakes are raised by the Port Mafia making moves against them.
Atsushi needs to learn fast if he plans to protect more than just himself, as this ominous gang threatens the entire city!
Check out volume 1 here on Amazon: Bungo Stray Dogs, Vol. 1
You can find the other volumes on this manga here: Bungo Stray Dogs Manga
12. Ubume no Natsu, AKA The Summer of the Ubume (Natsuhiko Kyōgoku, 2013 – 2014)
Hunting for inspiration for his new novel, writer Tatsumi Sekiguchi hears a rumor of a doctor missing while his wife falls mysteriously pregnant.
Sekiguchi enlists his long-time friend Chūzenji Akihiko, a bookstore owner who does exorcisms on the side, to help face the potentially supernatural nature of this mystery.
A tale of intertwined mysteries, our duo works towards finding the reason for these series of seemingly unconnected events that lead to a larger purpose.
A mystery with a genuinely satisfying ending, nothing like your usual romance or slice of life, Ubume no Natsu grips you so tight you won’t want to stop reading until that last page!
It’s rather difficult to find the English edition, but if you can read Japanese, you can find volume 1 of the Japanese edition on Amazon here: 姑獲鳥の夏 (1)
11. Ajin: Demi-Human (Gamon Sakurai, 2012 – 2021)
Somewhere between humans and gods are the “Ajin,” mysterious soldiers that appeared in Africa seventeen years ago. Although these beings are classified as equal to humans, and their coexistence is accepted, their immortality consumes the human nature of greed. There are government bounties on the heads of the Ajin.
Enter Kei Nagai, studying to become a doctor and excited for his life of normality, in the moments before a terrible traffic accident.
Kei awakens, alive but not quite the same, as he’s quickly labeled as an Ajin and is hounded immediately by the government and bounty hunters. Kei struggles to make allies as he tries to figure out the mystery behind his transformation, hunting the secrets behind who his real enemy is, and will he ever get his normal life back?
You can find volume 1 of Ajin on Amazon here: Ajin, Volume 1: Demi-Human
You can find the other volumes of this manga series here: Ajin: Demi-Human Manga Series
10. No. 6 (Atsuko Asano & Hinoki Kino, 2011 – 2013)
Living in the bright, exciting city of No. 6 has been a dream come true for Shion, top of his class with a future ahead of him where anything is possible until he comes face to face with a boy named Nezumi.
Their first meeting is intense. The two deescalate the situation and exchange names and their perspectives on what No. 6 means to them, with Shion having an eye-opening revelation.
The incident leaves a black mark on Shion’s family, with their high-ranking status ruined, four dismal years pass until Shion is eventually arrested for mysteries he knows nothing about. Saved by Nezumi, the two fugitives travel through No. 6 and unveil its dirty secrets, tearing apart its elite status from within as they search for answers behind Shion’s arrest.
Find volume 1 on Amazon here: No. 6 Volume 1
You can find other volumes here: No. 6 Manga Series
9. Pandora Hearts (Jun Mochizuki, 2006 – 2015)
A children’s nightmare brought to life, all kids are told they’ll end up in the Abyss if they don’t stop misbehaving. Inhabited by monstrous creatures called “Chains,” demonic life given to objects lost within the Abyss, it’s no place for a child.
The heir to the Vessalius family, Oz Vessalius, cheerful as he is full of mischief, has finally made it to his coming of age ceremony. Before long, the celebrations are put on hold as Oz is condemned to the Abyss for a crime he knows nothing about.
Oz forms a connection with Alice, a chain with the appearance of a young girl, as the two seek out answers to the mysteries behind Oz’s imprisonment as he tries to escape the Abyss!
You can purchase volume 1 of this series here on Amazon: PandoraHearts, Vol. 1
A limited edition collection set with the full 24-volumes can be found here: PandoraBox: Limited Edition Pandora Hearts Collection
Other volumes on this series are available here: Pandora Hears Manga Series
8. Mirai Nikki, AKA Future Diary (Sakae Esuno, 2006 – 2010)
A battle royale-type mystery conducted by the god of Space and Time, you’re in for quite the ride. High schooler Yukiteru Amano is stolen away from his home, along with eleven others, and is given the single goal of survival.
Each “contestant’s” common connection is that they keep a personal diary. However, the god, Deus Ex Machina, put their personal touch on the event, and each diary now shows them their future to a certain degree.
Yukiteru, reluctant to fight and wanting to get home in one piece, teams up with classmate Yuno Gasai as the two try to escape the brutal, bloody game and discover the truth behind the cruel god.
Can Yuno be trusted, or is her obsession with Yukiteru more dangerous than the mysterious god watching over them?
Grab volume 1 on this manga on Amazon here: Future Diary, Vol. 1
Find other volumes of this series here: Future Diary Manga Series
7. My Home Hero (Naoki Yamakawa, 2017 – Present)
A story questioning how far you’d go for your child, we’re put into the shoes of Tetsuo Tosu; father of Reika.
Tetsuo’s problem is that Reika’s boyfriend, Matori Nobuto, is abusing her physically, with plans to steal money from Reika’s rich grandparents to funnel money into the crime syndicate he’s a part of.
Upon hearing that Matori has a history of murdering his ex-girlfriends when he sees their use as fulfilled, Tetsuo bursts with rage and takes Matori’s life.
Thus begins a cat and mouse chase as the members of Matori’s syndicate start to want answers about his disappearance. They immediately start looking at Reika for answers.
We follow a father and mother desperately trying to protect their little girl, stopping at nothing to bring her the happiness she deserves. The story is nail-biting as we take twists and turns further into the unknown as the growing presence of the mobsters becomes painfully apparent.
The Japanese edition is available on Amazon here: マイホームヒーロー (1)
6. Montage (Jun Watanabe, 2010 – 2015)
A murder, two cousins, and a fugitive on the run for 40 years, Montage shakes up the typical mystery plotline by switching us from the present day and the past as we unravel a heist of epic proportions.
Yamato and Miku stumble across a dying man and stay to hear his deathbed confession of Yamato’s father being involved in a 300 million-yen bank heist. Yamato’s father is soon found dead, which was ruled as suicide, making him question his fathers’ potential murder and the whereabouts of his share of the money.
Searching through the truth, wading through the past and all of the grizzly details that come with it, we try to crack a case that has yet to be solved. Can Yamato piece together his father’s part in this world of crime and bring justice for his death?
You can find the Japanese edition of this manga on Amazon: Montage (1)
5. Another (Yukito Ayatsuji & Hiro Kiyohara, 2010 – 2011)
The town of Yomiyama is just like every other. With a new school year on the horizon, students are filled with optimism and excitement at what’s to come…except for Kōichi Sakakibara, who is currently confined to a hospital recovering from a collapsed lung.
Kōichi spends his days wandering the ward as the days fly by, until a spark of excitement hits him in the form of a young girl named Mei Misaki. Kōichi notices she is wearing his school’s uniform and wonders if he’ll ever meet her again.
Finally recovered, he enters his class to see Mei in the same room, however, seemingly ignored by everyone. As people start to go missing and students in class 3-3 start dying bloody, horrifying deaths, Kōichi wonders if there’s a link between Mei and these tragedies…
Check out this manga here on Amazon: Another – Manga
4. Ouroboros (Yūya Kanzaki, 2009 – 2016)
A complex and thrilling story of two orphan brothers who will stop at nothing to bring justice to the murderer of their teacher.
Ryūzaki and Tatsuya only have one meaningful relationship in their lives. Their teacher, Yuiko, is the closest thing to a mother they have. One night the two brothers witness their darkest fear come to light as they see Yuiko killed.
The police ignored testimony and accounts of that night. The two brothers take matters into their own hands and vow to track down those responsible. Years later, Ryūzaki becomes a top-ranking member of the Shinjuku Police Department, while Tatsuya climbs his way up the ranks of the deadly Yakuza.
The two join together and spend their days living up to the promise they made to each other 15 years ago; they will find the one who stole their reason to live.
Get the Japanese edition of volume 1 of this manga on Amazon: ウロボロス―警察ヲ裁クハ我ニアリ― 1巻
3. Yuureitou, AKA The Ghost Tower (Tarou Nogizaka, 2010 – 2014)
A murder mystery happening in the 1950s, the murder of an elderly woman by her adopted daughter atop the landmark clocktower sets the tone for this manga.
Two years pass, and the infamous clock tower, now known as the “Ghost Tower,” strikes again. Young Amano Taichi is brutally attacked and bound to the clock face awaiting his certain death when suddenly Amano is saved by the mysterious “Tetsuo.”
Together they try to unravel the truth around the clock tower and those inside, using their charm and intellect to gather information and stay alive.
A thrilling mystery with an array of different plots and controversial topics, Yuureitou isn’t afraid of shining a spotlight on a subject and delving into its nuances; truly a mystery must-read.
You can find the Japanese edition of volume 1 of this manga series here on Amazon: 幽麗塔（１）- The Ghost Tower Vol. 1
2. Detective Conan (Gosho Aoyama, 1994 – Present)
One of the longest-running manga in the culture’s history, we meet the spirited high school detective Shinichi Kudo, as he cracks case after case in a Sherlock Holmes-style!
Being witness to a crime, Shinichi is forced to drink poison meant to cause his untimely death. However, an unusual effect takes place instead; his body is shrunk back to the size young child.
Intending to find the men who brought upon this living curse, Conan, as he is now known, solves murder cases by using his raw investigative talent and intellect, helping the police on his way to getting his true body back!
A fun, lighthearted mystery caper manga with interesting plots and adventures that take Conan into a world of suspense and danger as he sets his sights on justice. If you haven’t read this yet, you need to!
Check out volume 1 of this classic manga series here: Case Closed (Detective Conan), Vol. 1
1. Pluto (Naoki Urasawa & Takashi Nagasaki, 2003 – 2009)
Humans and robots coexistence is rocked by the brutal murder of Mont Blanc, a robot known around the world for his service in the Asian War, before his remarkable world-preservation work.
Robotic detective, Gesicht, is assigned to investigate the case of Mont Blanc’s death, with the only shred of evidence leading to an unknown entity named “Pluto .”Following the thread of the investigation, Gesicht uncovers a plot to bring an end to the other eight heroic robots who participated in the War.
Racing against the clock, Gesicht must confront the past as he chases the elusive “Pluto,” risking the entire delicate, worldwide, balance of man and machine as he defends those few innocent that remain.
I won’t say anymore because I don’t want to ruin this beautiful manga for you. Check it out for yourself, and you’ll see why this comes in at number 1 on our list!
Grab volume 1 over at Amazon here: Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka, Vol. 1
Check out the other volumes of this series here: Pluto Manga Series
A Stone Left Unturned?
You’ve seen our list of the 15 best mystery manga, but there’s always another side to a story (as we now know!) so let us know down in the comments if we’ve missed your favorite!