30 Best Fantasy Manga You Need to Read in 2023
In case you were wondering, the world of manga is – indeed – filled with various amazing stories. The fantasy genre, along with its subgenres, is well-known in the West and is not one of those inherently Japanese genres (like isekai or harem), but Japanese works tend to give it a somewhat specific touch. If you like such stories, we have a list of the 30 best fantasy manga you need to read.
1. Fullmetal Alchemist
Original Run: July 12, 2001 – June 11, 2010
Number of Volumes: 27
In the land of Amestris, where Alchemy is elevated to the status of universal science, two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, live with their mother, Trisha Elric, whose husband, Van Hohenheim, left years before. The latter dying from an illness, the two young children try to bring her back thanks to alchemy, defying the law which formally prohibits human transmutation.
Edward, the eldest, loses his left leg and his little brother loses his whole body. Ed sacrifices his right arm by sealing the soul of his little brother Alphonse in armor. Edward then enlisted in the army at the age of twelve as a State Alchemist, passed the exam, and obtained his alchemist name, the Fullmetal Alchemist.
With the advantages linked to the status of State alchemist and their research, the two brothers seek, at the risk of their lives, the philosopher’s stone that would restore their lost bodies.
Original Run: November 13, 1996 – June 18, 2008
Number of Volumes: 56
During the Sengoku period, a half-demon (hanyō) named InuYasha steals the Shikon Pearl (Shikon is not in original; Jewel of the 4 souls or the Sphere of the Four Spirits in the Castilian anime adaptation) with the aim of using it to become into a full demon (yōukai).
However, her plan is foiled by a priestess named Kikyō who, on the verge of death from a very serious wound, using the last of her strength, shoots a sacred arrow at him, nailing him to the sacred tree (Goshinboku); leaving him paralyzed and asleep for 50 years. Minutes later, the priestess, before dying, asks that his body be burned along with the jewel.
3. Demon Slayer
Original Run: February 15, 2016 – May 18, 2020
Number of Volumes: 23
In Taishō-era Japan, Tanjirō Kamado is the first child of a family of coal merchants whose father has died: to support the family, he sells charcoal in the village below the Mountain. Despite the difficulties of life, they manage to find little happiness in their daily lives. One day, due to rumors circulating about a man-eating demon hanging around after dark, he is forced to spend the night with a Good Samaritan in the village.
Only, everything changes on his return when he detects, thanks to his keen sense of smell, a strong smell of blood: he rushes home and finds his family massacred.
4. Fairy Tail
Original Run: August 2, 2006 – July 26, 2017
Number of Volumes: 63
The story mainly focuses on the missions carried out by one of the teams of the Fairy Tail guild, composed of Natsu Dragneel (fire dragon hunter), Lucy Heartfilia (constellationist), and Happy (an Exceed, a blue cat that can appear with wings, fly and talk), who will soon be joined by Erza Scarlett (Knight Mage) and Gray Fullbuster (Ice Mage then later Ice Demon Hunter), two other members of the famous guild. They are joined during the adventure by Carla (an Exceed white cat, like Happy), Wendy (a celestial dragon slayer), and many others.
5. Black Clover
Original Run: February 16, 2015 – present
Number of Volumes: 31
When humanity was about to fall to an ancient demon, a single wizard saved it and defeated it. Later that wizard became a legend and was named Wizard King. After that event, the Clover Kingdom enjoyed peace through generations of wise men and nine subordinate magical orders. Asta and Yuno are orphans who were raised together from birth after being abandoned at a church orphanage in Hage, located in the forgotten area of the Clover Kingdom at the same time.
In a world where everyone has Magical Power, whose ability to control it comes naturally: Asta is the only person born without magic, leading him to train physically as compensation. In contrast, Yuno was born a prodigy with immense magical power and the talent to control it. At the age of 15, Asta and Yuno have the ability to become magicians known as Magic Knights by receiving their respective grimoires, with which all magical power is channeled.
6. Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
Original Run: May 2, 2016 – November 5, 2018
Number of Volumes: 4
During the Industrial Revolution, a mysterious pandemic strikes the world and soon spreads to the far reaches of the Orient, even to the sovereign island of Hinomoto. People themselves infected or bitten by other infected humans are transformed into Kabane, fearsome undead, bloodthirsty whose extermination is extremely difficult.
Indeed, the heart of the Kabane is covered with a film of special steel which renders most of the conventional weapons (bladed weapons and steam rifles) of the bushi ineffective. Deterred from any idea of a frontal attack against the Kabane, the remaining Humans will take refuge in “stations” resembling fortresses linked to each other by armored trains, the hayajiro.
It is in this context that one day, an infested hayajiro from Kabane comes crashing down at the gates of Aragane station. A young mechanic named Ikoma musters up his courage and chooses to fight against the invader. Injured in his fight, he has no choice but to try to stem the progression of the virus in his body, which he succeeds in doing: he then becomes a Kabaneri, a being endowed with extraordinary strength who is located at the border between the Human and the Kabane.
Thanks to Mumei, another Kabaneri, Ikoma somehow embarks on board the Koutetsujou with the survivors heading for the most fortified city in the country. Thus begins the long and perilous journey of the survivors of Aragane station.
Original Run: September 9, 2014 – present
Number of Volumes: 14
After an untimely and embarrassing death, Kazuma Satō, a Japanese hikikomori teenager, meets a goddess named Aqua, who offers him to reincarnate in a parallel world with MMORPG elements, where he can embark on adventure and combat. against monsters.
Although offered a divine item or overpowered ability to use in this new world, Kazuma, following a taunt from Aqua, chooses her to accompany him to Axel’s town, where he quickly finds that the latter’s lack of judgment is of little benefit to him.
8. The Rising of the Shield Hero
Original Run: February 5, 2014 – present
Number of Volumes: 20
Naofumi Iwatani was summoned to a completely different world with three other boys from parallel Japans to become the “Legendary Four Heroes”, or “Four Ancestral Saints”, of this strange new world. Each of the Heroes was equipped with their own legendary equipment as soon as they were summoned to the strange new world: Naofumi received the “Legendary Shield”, the only defensive equipment of the four, while the others respectively received an offensive weapon.
Due to Naofumi’s lack of charisma and experience, he ended up with only one teammate to accompany him, an attractive young woman, while the others received several: unfortunately, on the second day, Naofumi was betrayed, stripped, and falsely accused by said teammate.
Disgraced and persecuted by everyone in the kingdom, from the king to the peasants, Naofumi’s thoughts are now filled with nothing but revenge and hatred. Thus begins his journey in this world where he will have to progress alone.
9. Made in Abyss
Original Run: October 20, 2012 – present
Number of Volumes: 10
Riko, a twelve-year-old girl, lives at the Belchero orphanage in the city of Orth. The city overlooks a huge chasm in the ground called Abyss, with a diameter of 1000 meters and an unknown depth. This chasm is a source of magical relics that are collected for resale on the surface, and is a travel destination for many explorers from all over the world. However, only a very few experienced explorers have returned to the surface from the lower strata, called white whistles, all others have stayed deep or died from the curse.
Each depth layer has different characteristics starting from the vegetation and fauna that populates it, ending with the symptoms of ascent that become more severe as you descend. One day Riko, while out and about in the first layer of the Abyss looking for relics, is attacked by a monster, and Reg, a strange robotic child, rescues her by chasing the monster away with an heirloom. Riko, along with her friends of hers, devises a ruse to get Reg adopted by the Belchero orphanage.
Original Run: June 6, 2001 – October 4, 2014
Number of Volumes: 27
Claymores are half-human, half-demon warriors called upon by villagers to protect themselves from monsters such as demons. Feared and dreaded, they are distinguished by their silver eyes and the gigantic sword they carry on their backs, hence their names by humans of “silver-eyed witches” or “Claymore” (the name of the type of sword they use). Claire is one of them.
Called to a village to eliminate the demons that attack and devour the population, she kills the penultimate member, who has become a monster, of an already decimated family. The last survivor, Raki, finding himself alone, then decides to follow her in her bloodthirsty adventures, as a cook. He will gradually discover the secrets and the tragic destiny of these singular women.
Original Run: August 1989 – present
Number of Volumes: 41
Berserk tells the story of the meeting of Guts and Griffith, leader of the Falcon Troop, a band of mercenaries in the pay of the kingdom of Midland. From this meeting will be born an ambiguous friendship, but nevertheless efficient: the presence of Guts, a warrior with the disproportionate sword, will quickly prove essential to the ambition of the young Griffith, swashbuckler and outstanding tactician.
The anime is thus the account of the rise and fall of the Falcon Troop, and of the relation between Guts and Griffith, particularly complex, between the relation of interest (Griffith uses the force of Guts), mutual respect ( both see each other as soldiers), and deep affection (each inexplicably needs the other’s presence).
12. The Seven Deadly Sins
Original Run: October 10, 2012 – March 25, 2020
Number of Volumes: 41
Liones, Kingdom of Britannia. The Grand Master of the Holy Knights Zaratras was brutally murdered, and the culprits are said to be an order of seven legendary knights in the service of the king who wanted to overthrow the throne.
Ten years later, a young girl named Elizabeth Liones goes in search of these mysterious knights who were once the pride of Liones: the Seven Deadly Sins, a group bringing together seven major criminals chosen by the king himself, to thwart a conspiracy engineered by the holy knights against royalty. It was then that she ended up at the Boar Hat, a tavern whose owner is a little boy accompanied by his pig Hawk.
But what was her surprise when she discovers that the child at the head of the tavern is none other than the Sin of the Dragon of Wrath, leader of the Seven Deadly Sins, Meliodas. It is then that their adventures begin in search of the other six Deadly Sins, in order to save Liones.
13. Hunter × Hunter
Original Run: March 16, 1998 – present (on hiatus)
Number of Volumes: 36
Twelve years before the start of the story, Ging Freecss abandoned his son Gon in the hands of his aunt Mito on Whale Island. Gon, who always believed that his parents were dead, discovers one day thanks to his father’s apprentice, Kite, that he is still alive and has become one of the best hunters, elite individuals and accredited for tracking of secret treasures, exotic beasts, and even other individuals.
Motivated by this revelation, Gon decides to leave his home and take the Hunter Exam, a series of challenges that seek to test the skills, survival, and teamwork of its participants.
14. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
Original Run: March 26, 2015 – present
Number of Volumes: 20
Satoru Mikami is a 37-year-old single salaryman living in Tokyo: he would be almost satisfied with his monotonous life, if he could have had a girlfriend. While he meets his younger brother in the street, who introduces him to his fiancée, panic takes hold of the sidewalk when an imbalance armed with a knife rushes through the crowd.
Satoru is fatally injured in the back while intervening to protect the couple. As he conducts a brief reflection on himself during his agony, a “voice” listens to him and interprets his “last words”.
15. Sword Art Online
Original Run: April 10, 2009 – present
Number of Volumes: 26
Sword Art Online (SAO) is a massively multiplayer virtual reality networked role-playing game (VRMMORPG) released in 2022: thanks to NerveGear, a helmet capable of stimulating the user’s five senses through direct manipulation of the brain, the players can impersonate and control their own character in the game directly with their mind. SAO officially opens on November 6, 2022, but logged-in users realize it is impossible to log out.
16. Übel Blatt
Original Run: December 3, 2004 – March 25, 2019
Number of Volumes: 24
The story takes place in a separate world between the empire of Szaaland and a mysterious place named “Wischtech” otherwise nicknamed the evil empire, where the war took place between the evil forces of Wischtech and the others. The scenario is centered on a legend that tells that, to defeat the army of darkness of Wischtech, the Emperor sent fourteen warriors to whom he entrusted fourteen sacred Spears.
Three of them, the “Glorious Warriors of No Return”, perished in battle. Four others, nicknamed the “Spears of Treason”, were executed by their companions for a felony. The last seven accomplished their mission and were welcomed back as heroes. Thus was born the legend of the Seven Heroes. Twenty years have passed. A rebellion breaks out in the Border Provinces of the Empire of Szaaland, led by individuals claiming to be the “Spears of Treason”.
17. Gin Tama
Original Run: December 8, 2003 – June 20, 2019
Number of Volumes: 77
The story takes place in Edo —the old name by which the city of Tokyo was known—, which has been conquered by strange extraterrestrial beings called “Amanto”. The samurai of that time fought against the invaders, but the Amanto defeated them and forbade all people in the city to carry swords.
The play centers on the adventures of a silver-haired samurai known as Gintoki Sakata, who helps a teenager named Shinpachi Shimura save her sister from a group of aliens who wanted to make her part of a brothel. Impressed with Gintoki, Shinpachi decides to become his apprentice and work with him as a freelancer in order to pay Gintoki’s monthly rent.
18. Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World
Original Run: June 27, 2014 – February 21, 2020
Number of Volumes: 18
One day, leaving a convenience store, a Japanese high school student in a tracksuit named Subaru Natsuki is transported to a parallel world without any explanation. While trying to make his mark in this new world, Subaru is attacked by a band of bandits.
On the verge of death, he is saved by a silver-haired half-elf named “Satela,” accompanied by a cat-like spirit, Pack. To reciprocate, he decides to help her with her daily chores, including finding the badge stolen from her by Felt, a young girl living on theft.
19. Kill la Kill
Original Run: October 4, 2013 – March 4, 2015
Number of Volumes: 3
We meet a 17-year-old girl, Ryuko Matoi, who arrives in a Japanese city. She walks around with a strange briefcase on her back that contains half of a pair of scissors. Arriving through the slums, it is the target of a few pickpockets. After correcting them, she learns about the city, which is apparently under the yoke of a dictatorship.
It is within the Honnōji Academy that we find the president of the student council, and leader of the totalitarian movement, Satsuki Kiryūin. Matoi decides to enroll in the academy and challenge the president to tell him more about her father’s death and to find her killer, the holder of the second half of the pair of scissors, called, when the halves are joined together, the snipitisnips.
20. Grimoire of Zero
Original Run: February 8, 2014 – December 10, 2017
Number of Volumes: 11
In the year 526 of the liturgical calendar, witches and their sorcery are infamous throughout the country, although knowledge of the existence of magic remains complicated. A half-beast, half-man mercenary, his race despised by the population, dreams day and night of becoming human. His fateful encounter one day with a witch named Zero, however, makes his dreams come true.
She offers to transform him into a human if he escorts her as his bodyguard for his search for a magic book because possessed in the wrong hands, this powerful knowledge could cause havoc or even the end of the world. The two begin their journey with this agreement binding them together, with the mercenary serving as a protector for Zero despite despising witches.
21. The Familial of Zero
Original Run: June 27, 2006 – March 27, 2013
Number of Volumes: 28
In the world of Halkeginia, all nobles are born with a gift that allows them to use magic. However, the young Louise Françoise Le Blanc de la Vallière, a student at the Magic Academy of the Kingdom of Tristain, presents such disastrous results in her various attempts that her comrades doubt her powers, hence her nickname of “Louise the Zero”.
Being in her second year, she wishes to take advantage of the familiar ceremony to prove to everyone that she has powers, a ceremony which consists of the summoning of a being who will accompany her mage until the end of her days.
22. Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon
Original Run: September 25, 2021 – present
Number of Volumes: 1
Some years after the events of InuYasha, Sesshōmaru’s four-year-old daughters Towa and Setsuna flee a fire in the forest where they live until the two are separated by a vortex that transports Towa into the modern age, where She is adopted by Kagome Higurashi’s family and raised by her younger brother, Sota.
Ten years later, Towa is reunited with Setsuna, who (alongside Moroha) traveled to modern times through the power of the Tree of Ages after a battle against a yōkai. During their time apart, Setsuna became a demon slayer, and finds herself working for Kohaku, but she has no recollection of her past or her relationship to Towa.
In order to restore Setsuna’s memories, they embark on an adventure accompanied by her cousin Moroha, who is the teenage daughter of Inuyasha, and Kagome Higurashi, who also does not remember her parents. During their journey, the girls discover that they own three of the seven Nijishoku Shinju which have powers as comparable as the Shikon no Tama, so Towa, Setsuna, and Moroha must also solve the mystery in relation to the aforementioned pearls.
Original Run: August 2000 – February 2011
Number of Volumes: 18
Ten years before the story begins, Kurohime ended a massive war fought to own and rebuild the Tower of the Gods, which when completed would allow the builder to become a god. When finished, Kurohime destroyed the tower and entered the realm of the gods to slaughter them, as they were the ones who started the war in the first place.
Through a combination of deception and brutality, the gods captured her and then split Kurohime into two beings, one representing his anger and the other representing his compassion. The being who represents his anger, in the form of a little girl named “Himeko”, tries to regain his body and her powers and tries to bring down the gods again; however, the curse can only be undone with love.
24. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
Original Run: April 22, 2015 – June 22, 2016
Number of Volumes: 3
A boy named Haruhiro awakens along with twelve other people in a world called Grimgar. None of them have any memories of their past other than their own name, and in order to survive they decide to join as soldiers of the Alterna border town’s Volunteer Army. Haruhiro is part of the group composed of Yume, Shihoru, Ranta, Moguzo and led by their leader Manato, who slowly begin to progress in order to survive in this new world.
But just when everything is going its best, Manato is shot to death during a mission, and before expiring he asks Haruhiro to be the new leader of the group. Still upset by the loss of his friend, Haruhiro decides to inherit his will and keep his companions alive.
25. GOBLIN SLAYER!
Original Run: February 15, 2016 – present (light novel)
Number of Volumes: 15
In a whimsical universe where everyone’s fate is ruled by dice rolls by the destiny rolls of deities, adventurers in search of wealth and glory come from all over the world to join the Adventurers’ Guild. An inexperienced young priestess who has joined the Guild joins a group of rookie adventurers, but her first quest turns into a nightmare when the rest of her team is slaughtered by Goblins: she owes her salvation only to a mysterious man in armor, the “Goblin Slayer” (in the original version, Goblin Slayer), an adventurer knight whose one and only objective is the eradication of these creatures.
Original Run: 2001 – 2007
Number of Volumes: 26
The story takes place in an imaginary world, with detailed geography as it unfolds (at the beginning only a kingdom called Chronos is known), at a time similar to ancient Rome. The plot focuses on four characters, Ares and his three brothers in arms Baroona Michael and Gohu, who join the mercenaries of the Temple.
Original Run: November 26, 2014 – present
Number of Volumes: 15
The story begins in Yggdrasil, a very successful online virtual role-playing game, which is about to close for good after 12 years of existence. The main protagonist, Momonga nevertheless finds it difficult to accept it, he has no family, no friends, no girlfriend, and no longer finds meaning in living in “reality”.
He is the leader of one of the 10 best guilds in the game, the Ainz Ooal Gown guild, composed exclusively of “non-human” characters, and whose headquarters is the “Great Tomb of Nazarick”.
28. Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku
Original Run: January 22, 2018 – January 25, 2021
Number of Volumes: 13
Gabimaru, “The Nothingness”, the most famous and powerful of the ninja-assassins has been captured and languishing in prison. Claiming to have no more reason to live, he desperately waits for an executioner to manage to take his life because his superhuman training allows him to resist the worst punishments. It is then that he receives a visit from an executor like no other: a powerful swordsman and head slicer.
After a bitter fight from which he barely survived, she pushes him to his limits. In exchange for saving life, she offers him a deal: he will have to go to a mysterious island in order to recover an elixir of immortality. Only problem: everyone who went to this island came back cut into pieces.
29. Deadman Wonderland
Original Run: May 2007 – August 2013
Number of Volumes: 13
A powerful earthquake ravaged mainland Japan and largely destroyed Tokyo, submerging three-quarters of the city in the ocean. Ten years later, the story centers on Ganta Igarashi, a seemingly ordinary student who attends Nagano Prefecture College.
Although a survivor of the earthquake, Ganta has no memory of the tragedy and has lived an ordinary life. All of this changes when a strange man covered in blood and wearing purple armor floats outside the classroom windows. Smiling like a madman, the Man in Red slaughters Ganta’s entire class and, rather than killing him, embeds a shard of red crystal in his chest.
A few days after the massacre, Ganta is declared the sole suspect and, after a speedy trial, is sentenced to life in prison in Deadman Wonderland, a prison lined with an amusement park.
Original Run: March 6, 2017 – March 7, 2022
Number of Volumes: 25
Taiju, a regular high school student, tells his best friend Senku, a science genius, that he’s about to reveal his feelings to Yuzuriha, a girl he’s been secretly in love with for a few years. As the young man is about to declare his love for her, a brilliant light appears in the sky and transforms all of humanity into stone statues.
When Taiju finally manages to free himself, he finds himself facing a completely different world where nature has taken over. But he is not the only one to have woken up. His friend Senku, who preceded him in his awakening, tells him that 3,700 years have passed since the mysterious event. Together they will have to combine the exceptional scientific skills of one and the physical abilities of the other to save the 7 billion still petrified human beings and discover the origin of this disaster.