25 Best Underrated Manga You Really Should Read

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We all know that manga is the Western term for Japanese comics; in Japan, it is just a term for comics in general. Although they are still comic books, manga are very, very different from Western comics in many ways, although the market and the fandoms function pretty much the same. The history of manga is filled with some amazing titles which have been both commercially and critically successful.

This article is topic will be those manga that are actually great but have never entered the spotlight in a way you’d expect. These manga could be described as underrated, but what makes them stand out is that they are truly great and should be read. The list is going to contain a total of 25 titles.

1. Made in Abyss

MadeinAbyss

Riko, a twelve-year-old girl from the Belchero orphanage in the city of Orth, lives near the Abyss, a massive chasm with magical relics collected for resale. The Abyss has different strata with unique characteristics, and only experienced explorers, known as white whistles, have returned from its depths. Riko is saved by Reg, a robotic child, during an attack in the Abyss, and together with her friends, they devise a plan to have Reg adopted by the orphanage.

2. Usogui

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Madarame Baku, also known as “The Lie Eater,” is a gambler involved in high-stakes games against powerful opponents, joined by his protege Kaji Takaomi and bodyguard Marco. Their goal is to take over the underground gambling organization Kakerou, which oversees intense gambles where participants often wager their lives. The narrative unfolds as Baku and his crew become entangled in the conflict between Kakerou and their rival criminal organization, IDEAL, revealing the intricate dynamics of this dangerous underworld.

3. Grand Blue

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Iori Kitahara’s life takes an unexpected turn when he moves to the coastal town of Izu for university, envisioning a dream life filled with beautiful girls and good friends. Upon arriving at his uncle’s dive shop, the “Grand Blue,” he encounters a group of rowdy, naked elders who involve him in their alcohol-fueled activities. Despite initial reluctance, Iori embraces the revelry, earning the disdain of his cousin Chisa Kotegawa. Undeterred, he remains determined to achieve his dream student life amid the chaotic antics of the “Peek a Boo” diving club.

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4. Arachnid

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Alice Fujii, a high school senior, endures daily abuse from her uncle until she witnesses his death at the hands of an assassin named “Kumo.” After losing consciousness, Alice wakes up in Kumo’s house and discovers that she’s now under the care of the assassin. With no living family members, Alice finds herself being raised by Kumo, navigating a new and unconventional life.

5. Fort of Apocalypse

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Yoshiaki Maeda, a 16-year-old high school student, faces false accusations of murdering a police officer and is incarcerated in the Shôran Academy, a correctional facility. In his cell, he encounters aggressive fellow inmates like Masafumi, Iwakura, and Noiman. The situation takes a horrifying turn when zombies invade the correctional facility, forcing the detainees to unite in a fight for survival.

6. Summer Time Rendering

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On July 22, eighteen-year-old Shinpei Ajiro returns to his native island, Hitogashima, for the funeral of his adoptive sister, Ushio Kofune. Strange events during the funeral make Shinpei doubt the initial belief that Ushio’s death was an accidental drowning. Investigating with Ushio’s younger sister, Mio, they encounter a mysterious copy of Mio that leads to their deaths, and Shinpei finds himself reliving the events on July 22 with a sense of ominous repetition.

7. The Flowers of Evil

The Flowers of Evil

Takao Kasuga, a literature enthusiast, impulsively steals the tracksuit of his crush, Nanako Saeki. When discovered by the eccentric and lonely Sawa Nakamura, she blackmails him into a “contract” to keep the secret. The story unfolds as the consequences of their actions deeply impact their family, school, and city environment.

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8. Iris Zero

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In a world where 99% of children possess the Iris, an ability to see invisible things, Tōru, a middle school student without this power, faces isolation and harassment. However, when Koyuki Sasamori asks him for a favor, Tōru reluctantly finds himself thrust into the spotlight, becoming the center of attention among his peers.

9. Tantei Xeno to Nanatsu no Satsujin Misshitsu

Tantei Xeno to Nanatsu no Satsujin Misshitsu

After resolving a murder case, Tantei Xeno, a memory loss detective, sets out to unravel the “seven murder closed rooms where anyone can accomplish a perfect crime” left by an architect who induces and assists in murder.

10. Nozoki Ana

NozokiAna

The story takes place alongside Tatsuhiko Kido who moves to Tokyo to attend an art school. In his new room, he discovers a hole in the wall that allows him to secretly see his pretty neighbor. But the latter has a very compromising photo of Tatsuhiko forcing him to show off in turn. And if that wasn’t enough, his neighbor is also one of his classmates.

11. Chainsaw Man

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The story of Chainsaw Man unfolds in a world where demons emerge from human fears, their malevolence tied to the intensity of corresponding human anxieties. Through contracts, humans can harness demon powers, with specialized individuals known as demon hunters hunting and utilizing these creatures. Demons undergo a perpetual cycle between Earth and Hell, facilitated by the Devil of Hell, while particularly potent demons known as Primal Fears remain undefeated in Hell.

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12. Sousei no Taiga

SouseinoTaiga

This is the story of a young man who lacks a sense of reality after being dumped by his girlfriend. He was visiting a seminar on cultural anthropology with his fellow classmates when he discovers an ancient wall painting, but afterward, a cave-in occurs cutting them off from the path they have come from. When they find the second exit, they find themselves in a world where mammoths and other ancient giant mammals live.

13. Kokou no Hito

Kokou no Hito

Buntaro Mori, a socially isolated high school student, is prompted to form a climbing club by an enthusiastic classmate. Initially indifferent, Buntaro discovers a natural talent and passion for climbing, catching the attention of his extreme climbing enthusiast English teacher. Climbing becomes Buntaro’s newfound purpose, leading him on a journey of self-discovery and improvement.

14. Jisatsutō

Jisatsuto

Young people who have attempted suicide wake up alive, to their surprise, on a small isolated island, “Suicide Island”. They were banished there by the Japanese government, with the only instruction not to leave their surroundings.

Sei, the central character of the plot, and the other exiles will have to make the choice between dying and ensuring their survival, on this island where there is no law. Having access to only a few abandoned amenities, they will have to provide for their basic needs by themselves, by fishing or hunting.

15. Ore no Genjitsu wa Renai Game?? ka to Omottara Inochigake no Game datta

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A young boy wakes up in a video-game-like system. Just like most games, there’s a shop, inventory, and even a save/load feature. But, he soon finds out that this game is by no means ordinary. The protagonist finds out that the has to deal with psychopath murderers, either solving the cases before him or dying himself.

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16. Yoru ni Naru to Boku wa

Yoru ni Naru to Boku wa

Eight years ago, a girl named Mochizuki Saya was raped and murdered by three juvenile delinquents. Protected under the Juvenile Act, the delinquents have been allowed to re-enter society without any proper punishment for their horrific crime. But, Mochizuki Wataru, Saya’s younger brother, hasn’t forgotten their crime and desires to avenge his beloved sister.

17. Caterpillar

Caterpillar

Possessing both flexibility and tenacity, Imomushi (the Japanese word for Caterpillar) is an assassin that does not kill anyone but those who are assigned to her. She seems to have had something happen to her and her older sister in the past, which ultimately influenced her career. This is actually a spin-off story from the author of Arachnid; this story actually looks at the inner workings of a top assassin within The Organization itself.

18. Dorohedoro

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In a fantasy world with three realms – the polluted and violent city of Hole, the magical kingdom of sorcerers, and the underworld – humans and sorcerers, though indistinguishable, are different species created by the primeval demon Chidaruma. Sorcerers, with a unique circulatory system, wield various magical abilities, from healing to controlling time. Dorohedoro explores the intricate dynamics between these realms and the diverse magical powers possessed by sorcerers in their complex society.

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19. 🢒M⊙NS†ER🢐

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Düsseldorf, 1986. The young and brilliant Japanese neurosurgeon Kenzo Tenma saves a child, Johan Liebert, from certain death, after he was found wounded with a bullet in the head; her twin sister Anna is also hospitalized in shock.

The fact that he had chosen to operate on the child instead of the mayor is however criticized by the director, and Tenma loses his social status. Later the twins suddenly disappear, while in the hospital garrison some crimes involving Tenma’s main opponents occur.

20. Bambino!

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“Ban Shogo, a provincial student aspiring to become a chef, travels to Tokyo to work in a prestigious Italian restaurant during summer vacation. Despite being called ‘Bambino’ by coworkers due to his youth and inexperience, Ban decides to stay in Tokyo, leaving behind his institute and fiancée, to continue learning at the Bacchanalia trattoria. However, to his surprise, instead of a cook, he’s assigned the role of a waiter by the restaurant owner.”

21. A-BOUT!

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The story of A-BOUT! takes place in Mitsumine High School, the school is notorious for its violent juvenile delinquent students. When Asagiri Shinnosuke transfers to this school, he starts fighting all the class bosses to prove himself as the strongest guy in the school.

22. Iryū: Team Medical Dragon

Iryu Team Medical Dragon

Ryutaro Asada, a skilled surgeon with experience in challenging conditions, returns to Japan after working in conflict zones. He is approached by Akira Kato, a young surgeon aspiring to perform the difficult heart operation known as Operation Batista. Despite their differences in medical philosophy, Akira convinces Ryutaro to lead the operation, promising him the freedom to choose his own team, leading to disruptions in the conservative hospital environment with ongoing power struggles among the doctors.

23. Sanctuary 

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Sanctuary is about the life and dreams of Akira Hojo and Chiaki Asami. Children repatriated from Cambodia to Japan, their native country, are surprised by the Japanese way of life. Accustomed to living in the midst of war and fighting for their survival, they find themselves in a country of appeased people without dreams; governed by a parliament full of elderly and ambitious deputies of power and money.

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24. Bartender

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Bartender follows nightlife Ryū Sasakura, a prodigy bartender who is said to make the best cocktails ever tasted. Sasakura spends her time in a bar named “Eden Hall”, hidden in a corner of the Ginza district in downtown Tokyo.

It is said that the average person cannot find and enter Eden Hall, but must be invited by the host. Throughout the manga, characters of high or low status, all facing singular problems or heavy burdens, are “invited” to Eden Hall and enjoy the exquisite drinks of Sasakura, who leads his guests to reflect on their lives.

25. Vinland Saga

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In 1002 A.D. Iceland, Thorfinn, a six-year-old boy, lives with his family, including his retired mercenary father Thors. Thors, seeking a peaceful life, must confront his past when King Sweyn I summons him to join the invasion of England. Faced with the threat of violence, Thors sacrifices himself to save his son Thorfinn from an ambush orchestrated by a vengeful former colleague.

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