25 Best Underrated Manga You Need to Read

25 Best Underrated Manga You Need to Read

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.

The topic of this article is going to 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

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.

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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.

2. Usogui

Original Run: May 11, 2006 – December 21, 2017
Number of Volumes: 49

Madarame Baku, also known as “The Lie Eater”, is a gambler who gambles against crazy opponents. Alongside his protege, Kaji Takaomi, and his bodyguard, Marco, he attempts to take over an underground gambling organization known as Kakerou. Kakerou actually supervises a variety of high-stakes gambles, in which the participants often use their lives as an ante or a bet.

In total, there are 48 members of Kakerou and 101 referees who act as overseers and the debt collectors for when gambles have been completed. As the series progresses, Baku and his crew find themselves increasingly involved in the war between Kakerou and a rival criminal organization known as IDEAL.

3. Grand Blue

Original Run: April 7, 2014 – present
Number of Volumes: 18

Iori Kitahara’s life takes a different turn when he decides to move to the small coastal town of Izu to do his university studies and start a new dream life that he imagines filled with beautiful girls and women. good friends. However, when he arrives at his uncle’s dive shop, the “Grand Blue”, he discovers a group of noisy, naked elders who force him to participate in their alcoholic activities.

Although reluctant at first, Iori gives in and quickly fits in with the revelers. Unfortunately, this earns him the contempt of his cousin, Chisa Kotegawa, who arrives at the wrong time. Nevertheless, he does not let himself be discouraged and still wants to achieve his dream student life despite his new friends from the “Peek a Boo” diving club and their alcoholic parties.

4. Arachnid

Original Run: November 21, 2009 – December 2022, 2015
Number of Volumes: 14

Alice Fujii is a senior high school student who lives with her uncle that spends his time abusing her on a daily basis. One day, Alice witnesses the death of her uncle at the hands of an assassin called “Kumo” (which is the Japanese for Arachnid). She immediately falls down unconscious, and upon waking up, she realizes that she’s in Kumo’s house. Alice, now without a living family member, realizes that she is being raised by the assassin personally.

5. Fort of Apocalypse

Original Run: September 3, 2011 – October 9, 2015
Number of Volumes: 10

Yoshiaki Maeda, a 16-year-old high school student finds himself wrongly accused of the murder of a police officer. He is locked up for an unknown period in a house of correction called the Shôran Academy. In his cell, he meets many people including Masafumi, Iwakura, and Noiman, all as aggressive as each other despite their young age.

While he discovers this universe with horror, zombies burst into the house of correction. The detainees no longer have a choice, they must stick together to stay alive.

6. Summer Time Rendering

Original Run: October 23, 2017 – February 1, 2021
Number of Volumes: 13

On July 22, Shinpei Ajiro, an eighteen-year-old boy, returns after two years to Hitogashima, his native island; there he finds numerous acquaintances, all reunited for the death of his adoptive sister, the seventeen-year-old Ushio Kofune.

On the day of her funeral, however, some strange events occur, which even go so far as to make Shinpei doubt that Ushio’s death was – as initially believed – an accidental death by drowning. Shortly after trying to find some more information on the affair with Mio, Ushio’s younger sister, and going to an isolated area of the island, the two are killed by a mysterious “copy” of Mio herself.

The next day, Shinpei finds himself again in Hitogashima and lives again on July 22, only to meet Ushio herself two days later, on the occasion of the Omiokuri festival; on the same day, however, he is murdered again, along with numerous other inhabitants of the island.

7. The Flowers of Evil

Original Run: September 9, 2009 – May 9, 2014
Number of Volumes: 11

Takao Kasuga is a normal boy, fond of literature and in particular of Les fleurs du Mal by Charles Baudelaire. One day, Takao impulsively steals the tracksuit of partner Nanako Saeki, the girl he likes. The next day, however, Takao discovers that he has been discovered by another companion, Sawa Nakamura, strange and lonely, who blackmails him by forcing him to sign a “contract” with her.

The girl, in exchange, will keep her secret, otherwise, it will be made public. The story, therefore, focuses on the consequences of the children’s actions, which end up profoundly influencing their family, school, and city context.

8. Iris Zero

Original Run: April 27, 2009 – present
Number of Volumes: 8

In a world where 99% of children have the ability to “see” otherwise invisible things using the Iris, a power reserved for children, Tōru, a young middle school student, lacks it. This is why he avoids the gaze of his comrades and stays away from them. He is harassed because of his difference. But one day Koyuki Sasamori, one of his comrades, comes to ask him for a favor. Tōru then finds himself, in spite of himself, in the center of all eyes.

9. Tantei Xeno to Nanatsu no Satsujin Misshitsu

Original Run: November 29, 2017 – July 17, 2019
Number of Volumes: 8

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

Original Run: January 23, 2009 – February 1, 2013
Number of Volumes: 13

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


Original Run: December 3, 2018 – present
Number of Volumes: 11

The story takes place in a world where demons are born from human fears. Demons are often dangerous and malevolent, their power proportional to how strongly their corresponding fear is incited into the collective human consciousness. However, humans can sign contracts with them to use their powers.

RELATED: 15 Best Manga Like Chainsaw Man You Need to Read

People who specialize in hunting and employing demons are called demon hunters. Demons originate from Hell and exist in an endless life cycle between Earth and Hell: they are reborn on Earth when they are killed in Hell, and vice versa. In Hell live extremely powerful demons called Primal Fears, who have never been killed. The transit between the two worlds seems to be supervised by the Devil of Hell.

12. Sousei no Taiga

Original Run: March 28, 2017 – TBC
Number of Volumes: TBC

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

Original Run: November 1, 2007 – October 27, 2011
Number of Volumes: 17

Buntaro Mori, a lonely and withdrawn young high school student, is challenged by a classmate who loves rock climbing. The challenge? Form a high school climbing club! It is then that, by climbing along with a well-placed tile, Buntaro discovers a passion and a gift. After having climbed without too much difficulty in high school, the latter is immediately spotted by his English teacher, himself a fan of extreme climbing. Thanks to climbing, Buntaro will discover a purpose in life, and improve in this area, until reaching the heavens.

14. Jisatsutō

Original Run: November 14, 2008 – present
Number of Volumes: 21

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

Original Run: July 15, 2017 – TBC
Number of Volumes: TBC

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.

16. Yoru ni Naru to Boku wa

Original Run: July 4, 2018 – March 13, 2019
Number of Volumes: 4

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.

Not long after his sister’s first death anniversary, he decides to find those responsible. However, while on his journey, he is run over by one of the criminals with a bike and hospitalized. While at the hospital, he awakes the ability to interact with other people’s dreams and discovers that these interactions affect their real lives. Realizing that this ability will allow him to perpetrate the “perfect crime,” he vows to avenge his sister, but only during nighttime.

17. Caterpillar

Original Run: March 2, 2012 – April 20, 2018
Number of Volumes: 11

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

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.

19. 🢒M⊙NS†ER🢐

Original Run: December 1994 – December 2001
Number of Volumes: 18

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!

Original Run: December 6, 2004 – December 17, 2012
Number of Volumes: 28

A provincial student, Ban Shogo, dreams of becoming a chef. During the summer holidays, he comes from his native Fukuoka to Tokyo to earn some money in a fairly prestigious Italian restaurant and at the same time learn something. Since he is a novice, no important work is entrusted to him, and the rest of the workers call him “Bambino” because of his youth and inexperience.

When the time comes to leave, Ban decides that he has done too little here and there is still too much to learn here. Therefore, he leaves the institute, the girl he was going to marry, and remains to work in the Bacchanalia trattoria. However, for some reason, the owner of the restaurant instead of a cook, or at least an assistant cook, made him a waiter.

21. A-BOUT!

Original Run: November 25, 2009 – present
Number of Volumes: 25

The story 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

Original Run: 2002 – 2011
Number of Volumes: 25

Ryutaro Asada is a genius surgeon who has worked in the most difficult conditions: a former head of a medical team belonging to an NGO, Ryutaro is used to operating, despite the lack of equipment and medicines, in regions of the world ravaged by armed conflict. This experience allowed him to acquire an extraordinary surgical skill that allows him to perform operations that few of his colleagues would have attempted.

Back in Japan, while leading a peaceful life, he receives a visit from Akira Kato, a young surgeon who dreams of being promoted to professor by performing an extremely difficult heart operation: Operation Batista. According to Akira Kato, only a team led by Ryutaro would be able to pull off such a surgical act.

Despite their philosophical differences in medicine, she manages to convince Ryutaro by promising him to be able to choose his own team. The arrival of Ryutaro will upset the very conservative hospital where power struggles are incessant and where the first concern of the doctors is only to protect their careers.

23. Sanctuary 

Original Run: 1990 – 1995
Number of Volumes: 12

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.

After investigations and attempts to change things, they discover that the entire Japanese power system is coldly spun by yakuza and politicians, who beat society at will, and confront an ally only to get more power. Being aware of this, at the university, they understand that the only way to change things is to enter and be part of the game, in order to create their own sanctuary: A living and awake society that fights for its dreams.

To do this, they decide that one will have to become a yakuza, and the other a politician, and try to climb the power ladder as quickly as possible by helping each other. The respective destinies of the two are played out, “rock, paper, scissors”, Asami being the one who began a political career, and Hojo the one who became part of the local yakuza and climbed the ranks.

While Asami, with his convening and rhetorical ability, convinces allies, breaks political groups, and makes younger deputies see that the elders of power will try to clip their wings before they can get a position of power in some ministry.

24. Bartender

Original Run: May 2004 – December 25, 2019
Number of Volumes: 39

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. and decide on actions to overcome their problems.

25. Vinland Saga

Original Run: April 13, 2005 – present
Number of Volumes: 25

In 1002 A.D. in a small village in Iceland lives Thorfinn, a six-year-old boy, with his father Thors, mother Helga, and sister Ylva, delighting in hearing stories about the legendary land of Vinland from the mouth of the trader and navigator Leif Erikson. Father Thors is a former mercenary of the Jomsborg Vikings who faked his death to retire to lead a peaceful existence away from violence.

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

But when King Sweyn I of Denmark summons his vassals to invade England, Thors must also answer the call to protect his village from possible repercussions. However, his boss has not forgotten his desertion and plans to kill him by hiring the pirate Askeladd. Having been ambushed, Thors prefers to be killed in order to save little Thorfinn, who had secretly boarded his ship.

  • Arthur S. Poe

    Arthur S. Poe is a writer based in Europe. He has a Ph.D. and speaks five languages. His expertise varies from Alfred Hitchcock movies to Bleach, as he has explored a lot of fictional Universes and authors. He is currently focusing on anime, his childhood love, with special atten...