20 Best Post-Apocalyptic Manga You Need to Read

20 Best Post-Apocalyptic Manga You Need to Read in 2022

Post-apocalyptic settings, as a subgenre of fiction, aren’t all too common when compared to some other major genres and subgenres, but they do feature in a lot of artistic works as a principal plot element. The world of manga is known for providing us with a lot of different narrative elements, so such settings can definitely be – and often are – a part of it. In this article, we are going to give you a list of the 20 best post-apocalyptic manga series of all time.

1. Akira

20 Best Post-Apocalyptic Manga You Need to Read

Original Run: December 20, 1982 – June 25, 1990
Number of Volumes: 6

Tokyo was destroyed by a mysterious explosion on December 6, 1982, and this triggered World War III, with many cities destroyed by nuclear weapons. In 2019, Neo-Tokyo is a corrupt megalopolis crisscrossed by gangs of idle and drug-addicted young bikers. One night, one of them, Tetsuo, has a motorcycle accident while trying to avoid a strange boy who is in his way.

Wounded, Tetsuo is captured by the Japanese army. He is the subject of numerous tests as part of an ultra-secret military project aimed at identifying and training beings with predispositions to psychic powers (telepathy, teleportation, telekinesis, etc.).

Tetsuo’s friends, including their leader Kaneda, want to know what happened to him because when he escapes and finds himself free, he is no longer the same. Tetsuo tests his new powers and wants to establish himself as a leader among junkies, which doesn’t sit well with everyone, especially Kaneda.

2. Fist of the North Star

20 Best Post-Apocalyptic Manga You Need to Read

Original Run: September 13, 1983 – August 8, 1988
Number of Volumes: 27

The story takes place in the 1990s (which was then a relatively near future), in a land ravaged by a nuclear war, which has resulted in the evaporation of most of the seas and oceans, as well as the destruction of much of the vegetation.

During the introduction of the series’ plot, one can read “199X”, that is to say, an indeterminate year at the end of the 20th century. In this post-apocalyptic universe, the survivors are either humble villagers trying to survive, or vicious bandits grouped into gangs who loot and persecute the villagers.

3. Attack on Titan

20 Best Post-Apocalyptic Manga You Need to Read

Original Run: September 9, 2009 – April 9, 2021
Number of Volumes: 34

The plot of Attack on Titan revolves around the young Eren Jäger, his adoptive sister Mikasa Ackermann and his best friend Armin Arlert, who live together with the rest of humanity in cities that are protected by huge walls from the attacks of the so-called Titans, gigantic humanoid beings who devour people for no apparent reason.

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The walls that promised peace have existed for 107 years. But one day the Titans break through the outermost Wall Maria and the people are pushed back further. Eren’s mother dies and he and many other people flee behind the second wall, Wall Rose. Eren swears when his mother dies that he will wipe out the Titans.

4. Kill la Kill

20 Best Post-Apocalyptic Manga You Need to Read

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.

5. Dr.STONE

20 Best Post-Apocalyptic Manga You Need to Read

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.

6. Seraph of the End

20 Best Post-Apocalyptic Manga You Need to Read

Original Run: September 4, 2012 – present
Number of Volumes: 27

The story follows the adventure of Yu, a young orphan, and his demon Ashuramaru. The world is ravaged by a terrible disease. Children under 13 who were, for some reason, immune to the virus, survived. But these were enslaved by vampires who suddenly emerged from the depths of the Earth.

Yûichirô Hyakuya and Mikael Hyakuya, two orphans, serve as a “pantry” for vampires: they have the right to live, in exchange for a daily blood sample. After an escape attempt that results in a massacre of his friends, Yûichirô manages to escape, leaving Mikael for dead.

7. Dorohedoro

20 Best Post-Apocalyptic Manga You Need to Read

Original Run: November 30, 2000 – September 12, 2018
Number of Volumes: 23

The series is set in a fantasy world divided into three distinct realms: Hole, a dirty, degraded, polluted and violent metropolis where humans live; the world of sorcerers, a rich, colorful, and magic-dominated kingdom, connected to the human world through magically created doors; and hell, where the souls of dead sorcerers gather and demons live.

RELATED: Dorohedoro Season 2: Release Date, Trailer, Plot, Cast, and More

Although indistinguishable in appearance, humans, and sorcerers belong to two different species: the former developed naturally, and the latter created by the primeval demon Chidaruma. Sorcerers have a unique circulatory system, which allows them to produce smoke from their fingers or mouth through which they perform their magical abilities.

Each sorcerer possesses a specialized type of magic, which can be either common or highly sought after, such as healing, the ability to bring the dead back to life, or control time.

8. Hideyuki Kikuchi’s Vampire Hunter D

20 Best Post-Apocalyptic Manga You Need to Read

Original Run: 2007 – 2014
Number of Volumes: 8

The action takes place in 12090. As a result of the last war, which ended 10 thousand years earlier, humanity was on the verge of death. Power over the world was seized by vampires who terrorized humanity. Due to the generous bounty on their heads, a special class of mercenaries, vampire hunters, appeared, greatly reducing their numbers.

The surviving vampires hid in inaccessible shelters, from where they continued to make bloody raids. Doris Lang, the daughter of a werewolf hunter, follows in her dead father’s footsteps by slaying werewolves. One day, while hunting, she is attacked by the head of the local vampire clan, Count Magnus Lee. He bit her, but left her alive, and Doris, realizing that the count will return for her, hires a mysterious vampire hunter known as Dee, not yet knowing that he is a dhampir (half-human and half-vampire), an outcast both for people and for vampires.

9. Cowboy Bebop

20 Best Post-Apocalyptic Manga You Need to Read

Original Run: October 18, 1998 – February 18, 2000
Number of Volumes: 3

In the year 2071, the crew of the spaceship Bebop travels the solar system in search of bounties. In the slang of the time, these bounty hunters were called “cowboys”. Most episodes revolve around a bounty; however, the focus of the story is on each character’s past and more general ancient events, which connect as the series progresses.

RELATED: Cowboy Bebop Watch Order: The Complete

The first story is that of Spike Spiegel, a former member of a criminal organization, the Red Dragons, who is haunted by a love triangle he experienced with his former teammate in the Red Dragons, Vicious, and a mysterious woman named Julia.

10. Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress

20 Best Post-Apocalyptic Manga You Need to Read

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.

11. Trigun

20 Best Post-Apocalyptic Manga You Need to Read

Original Release: April 1995 – January 1997
Number of Volumes: 3 (2)

The anime takes place in the distant future where humans have exhausted all of Earth’s natural resources and have been forced to emigrate to a hostile planet scorched by the rays of two suns.

The context of the series: the environment and the way of life of the characters hark back to the time of the conquest of the West. The remains of advanced technology, a vestige of another era, contrast with the way of life of the population. As the new world unfolds, a name associated with the destruction of July, a city of over a million people, makes everyone’s lips and triggers tremble.

It’s from Vash the Stampede. Referred to as the humanoid typhoon because of the extent of the damage caused by each of its passages, no one seems to really know what it is or its purpose.

12. Blood Blockade Battlefront

20 Best Post-Apocalyptic Manga You Need to Read

Original Run: January 5, 2009 – February 19, 2015
Number of Volumes: 10

Three years ago, a rift between Earth and the world beyond opened in New York City. During that terrible night, New York was destroyed and rebuilt, trapping New Yorkers and extra-dimensional creatures in a bubble. Renamed Hellsalem’s Lot, the city is a paranormal melting pot where magic and madness live alongside the ordinary, where every type of human vermin comes together to harness the supernatural.

Someone threatens to breach the Bull and unleash the horrors of New Jerusalem, but the mysterious super agents of Libra are fighting to prevent the unthinkable from happening.

13. BLAME!

20 Best Post-Apocalyptic Manga You Need to Read

Original Run: 1997 – 2003
Number of Volumes: 10

Killee is an investigator surveying the Megastructure, a titanic building, searching for a genetic terminal (and a carrier of healthy genes). He works indirectly on behalf of a certain government office, an instance of the resosphere. He meets Shibo, a scientist who offers to accompany him during his quest. Shibo and Killee have to face silicias (augmented humans) and countermeasures, strange creatures pursuing a very specific goal in a technological war where there is neither mercy nor prisoners.

14. Bastard!!

20 Best Post-Apocalyptic Manga You Need to Read

Original Run: March 14, 1988 – May 19, 2010 (on hiatus)
Number of Volumes: 27

Four hundred years after the fall of modern civilization in July 20082, in a world that has become medieval again, where war is raging… To save the kingdom of Meta-Licana, Tya Note Yoko, 14, daughter of the country’s great mage, resurrects the legendary magician Dark Schneider [DS], who 15 years earlier attempted to take over the world at the head of demonic troops.

DS, a demonic magician if ever there was one, when he was defeated, pronounced a formula allowing him to come back to life, but saw his soul locked up by the great magician in the body of Luche Renren, also 14 years old, an orphan raised alongside Yoko, and unfailingly kind. Strangely, D.S., resuscitated, obeys, willy-nilly, Yoko, and helps the kingdom of Meta-Licana, attacked by the troops of Kal Su, who, 15 years earlier, was one of D.S.’s own lieutenants. Kal Su’s goal is to resurrect Anthrax, the legendary God of Destruction, who 400 years ago destroyed the opulent civilization.

15. From the New World

20 Best Post-Apocalyptic Manga You Need to Read

Original Run: May 9, 2012 – June 9, 2014
Number of Volumes: 7

The story of this anime takes place in Japan, a thousand years after our era where war dominated the world. The world is ruled by people who have the power of the gods, psychic gifts. We will follow the lives of Saki, Satoru, Maria, Mamoru, and Shun, who grew up in a quiet little town that can only be described as a utopia. But after an incident, the children discover the true nature of the world. Will they be able to change their destinies?

16. Battle Angel Alita

20 Best Post-Apocalyptic Manga You Need to Read

Original Run: December 15, 1990 – April 1, 1995
Number of Volumes: 9

The story tells about Gally (Alita in the western version), an amnesiac cyborg who is found by Doctor Daisuke Ido among the junk dumped from Salem, the utopian floating city (renamed in the West as Tiphares). Ido rebuilds Gally and adopts her as her daughter, but as time passes, it becomes clear that Gally hides great and mysterious combat skills.

Given this and as a way of discovering her own past, she will be put to the test in situations that stimulate and make these abilities flourish, so that she can obtain answers about her origin. With this objective, she will face various enemies fulfilling roles such as warrior hunter, motorball runner, security agent, and many others that will put her life at risk. Later, her story will lead her to face even greater challenges and dangerous off-planet creatures.

17. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

20 Best Post-Apocalyptic Manga You Need to Read

Original Run: February 1982 – March 1994
Number of Volumes: 7

By drawing on underground resources and polluting the biosphere, the thousand-year-old industrial civilization saw its downfall during the “seven days of fire”. This war, of rare violence, inflicts terrible damage, almost annihilating humanity and its knowledge. A thousand years have passed and humanity is surviving as best it can, reaching the “ceramic age”, contenting itself with stripping or repairing the vestiges of the past.

Between a vast desert and the “Sea of Decomposition”, a few islands of life are home to different human communities. The fukai is protected by giant insects, which have adapted to this polluted environment. The “Omu” are the main representatives, by their size and their sensitivity.

18. Trinity Blood

20 Best Post-Apocalyptic Manga You Need to Read

Original Run: March 2001 – January 2005
Number of Volumes: 12 (light novel)

Five hundred years ago, Armageddon ravaged much of the Earth and changed its population. From then on, this event caused the arrival of the “Methuselah” (descendants of human colonists settled on Mars, contaminated by a virus, and nanotechnology giving them strength and longevity superior to the standard human), having landed during the Armageddon, generally called Vampires by the “Terrans” because of their similarities with them, and the appearance of the Cyborgs (minor class of machines) created from the Lost Technology (the current technology).

From there, the Methuselah opposed the Terrans (Humans) in order to establish their power over them. In order to maintain the fragile balance established between the Terrans and the Methuselahs, the Vatican has created an intervention team: the AX. This organization is made up of powerful priests and nuns who are trained in combat techniques.

19. Apocalypse Zero (Encouragement of Resolve)

20 Best Post-Apocalyptic Manga You Need to Read

Original Run: July 1994 – August 1996
Number of Volumes: 11

Towards the end of the Second World War, in the concentration camp in Harbin, China, the “Silent Extermination” special corps of the Japanese army, led by Shiro Hagakure, carried out horrific experiments to create new weapons. A new martial art Biozero is developed creating fighting demons, human beings made monstrous and with unprecedented strength, and finally the enhancement exoskeletons, living armor able to make a human being a real walking fortress.

All this will cost the lives of thousands of prisoners. In the present, Oboro Hagakure, a descendant of Shiro, decides to deny the cursed blood of his ancestor and to use the martial art Biozero and power-up exoskeletons to defend the human race from injustice. To this end, he trains his two sons, Kakugo and Harara, who eventually inherit the most powerful Exoskeletons, Zero and Kasumi. Somehow Kasumi alters Harara’s mind, who rebels against his father by killing him.

In the future, settlements of the earth’s crust have caused millions of victims and almost thrown the planet into barbarism. A small settlement of Japanese youth is attacked by horrifying creatures who will later reveal themselves to be fighting demons created with the process invented by Shiro Hagakure. Defending the boys is Kakugo with his Zero enhancement exoskeleton. From the past, however, Harara reemerges, his brother, now at the head of the Combat Demons.

20. Black Bullet

20 Best Post-Apocalyptic Manga You Need to Read

Original Release: July 10, 2011 – present
Number of Volumes: 7 (light novel)

In the year 2021, humanity is decimated by an epidemic of Gastrea, a parasitic virus. The survivors are then forced to live in different areas, surrounded by monolithic walls created with the matter Varanium, a metal capable of repelling Gastrea. From this disaster, the “Cursed Children” were born, children born with the Gastrea virus but who are able to control it.

Civil Security agencies are then formed to fight the Gastrea, each group is made up of an Initiator who is a cursed child and a Promoter who commands him. Ten years after the epidemic, Rentarō Satomi, a high school student who is also a Promoter in the Civil Security agency Tendō (founded by his childhood friend Kisara Tendō), and his Initiator Enju Aihara, carry out missions together to prevent the destruction of the Tokyo area and the world.