Kingdom is a manga written and drawn by Yasuhisa Hara. It has been published since 2006 in Shūeisha’s Weekly Young Jump magazine. As of February 2022, Kingdom has over 87 million copies in circulation, making it one of the best-selling manga series of all time. In 2013, the manga won the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize. With how popular Kingdom is, here is a list of 15 manga titles that are like Kingdom and that you definitely need to check out.
Original Run: September 17, 1998 – May 21, 2015 (on hiatus)
Number of Volumes: 37
In 1600 the terrible battle of Sekigahara took place, which established the power of the Tokugawa shogun. Shinmen Takezo, son of a great samurai, is ready to do anything to survive among the fighters. Returning to his native village, he is rejected by the inhabitants for having deserted. Pursued, he then begins a long wandering with a single objective: to become the greatest samurai in Japan.
Vagabond is a long initiation manga, which leads the hero to discover, to understand the world around him and himself, dedicating himself to the way of the sword. Changing his name to Miyamoto Musashi, he challenges and confronts the most powerful samurai, carried away by a murderous spiral, and torn by his love for Otsu, his childhood friend.
2. The Heroic Legend of Arslan
Original Run: November 1991 – September 1996
Number of Volumes: 13
In an ancient fictional world, a war opposes two powerful kingdoms: Lusitania, in the west, which venerates the unique god Yaldobaoth and seeks to impose its religion on the other kingdoms, and Parse, in the east, a rich polytheistic kingdom whose power rests on slavery. On the plains of Atropatenes, Andragoras III, king of Parse, prepares to face the army of Lusitania.
He is extremely confident in his cavalry, whose reputation has crossed borders. Alongside his father, the young prince Arslân will fight his first battle at Atropatenes. But Atropatenes turns out to be a deadly trap: aided by the traitor Kahllan and led by a mysterious general hiding behind a silver mask, the Lusitanians inflict a crushing defeat on the Parses, capture King Andragoras III, and set out to besiege Ecbatana, the capital of Parse.
Arslan, who, thanks to General Darîun, managed to escape the assassins sent by Kahllan, will now look for allies in order to reorganize the forces of Parse to fight the invader.
Original Run: June 6, 2001 – October 4, 2014
Number of Volumes: 27
Claymore takes place in a fictional world co-inhabited by the human species and by a species of demons known as Yōma, which are natural predators of human beings (in the manga, they are also known as Specters). An innate ability of the Yōma is to take human form, which allows them to live hidden among humans.
The only beings capable of identifying these creatures and eliminating them are the female warriors known among humans as Claymores, who are beings created by a secret organization from humans. The name given to these warriors is due to the large sword they carry, known as a claymore. Although their appearance is very similar to humans, they have some peculiarities. The most outstanding physical feature is their silver eyes, which has also earned them the name “silver-eyed witches.”
4. Attack on Titan
Original Run: September 9, 2009 – April 9, 2021
Number of Volumes: 34
In the year 845, a giant about sixty meters high appears and with a kick creates a breach in the outer wall of Wall Maria, near the district of Shiganshina. The giants swarm inside it, devouring as many humans as possible, while these try in vain to defend themselves and transfer as many people as possible within the second circle of walls; but before the men are able to close the inner door of the walls, an armored giant smashes it through and the humans are forced to fall back on the Wall Rose.
Later they attempt a desperate reconquest of the lost territory, about a third of the total, which fails miserably. The enormous loss of men contributes to the food shortage created by the loss of such a large territorial portion. The colossal giant and the armored giant disappear mysteriously after clearing the way for their fellow men.
5. Altair: A Record of Battles
Original Run: July 26, 2007 – present
Number of Volumes: 24
We are on the continent of Rumelia. For 75 years two entities have opposed each other: on one side, to the east of the continent, is the military state of Türkiye, this nation was founded by the descendants of a nomadic people who came from the east and caused the continent to tremble with fear five centuries earlier, its economy was based on trade thanks to the great trading routes which intersected on its territory and which, together with Turkish craftsmanship, ensured the economic prosperity of the country.
On the other side, we find the empire of Baltrhain, a state formed five centuries earlier, very authoritarian and whose economy is essentially based on conquests made possible thanks to a powerful regular army, but maintaining in its provinces and colonies armed forces, which forces the empire to conquer more and more land to find enough to finance its imposing army.
Twelve years before the start of the story, Baltrhain went to war with Türkiye, but suffered a severe defeat. Among the victims of the war were the Türk tribe of the Tugrul, a small semi-nomadic tribe specializing in falconry and the training of eagles, who see their village ravaged and their people massacred when imperial soldiers decide to plunder it.
Only one survivor is found, a five-year-old child, Tugrul Mahmud. Adopted by Khalil Pasha, one of the members of the Divan who leads the Türkiye, he wants to become Pasha, the highest position in the meritocratic society of Türkiye, in order to prevent other people from suffering what he has experienced.
Twelve years later, Mahmud was named Pasha, at 17 he is the youngest Pasha in the history of Türkiye. It was then that an event occurred which could revive hostilities between the empire and Türkiye. Mahmud will then be drawn, with the friends he will meet, into a series of adventures that could lead to an all-out war between Baltrhain and the other states of Roumelia.
6. Sōten Kōro
Original Run: 1994 – 2005
Number of Volumes: 36
The story of Sōten Kōro is loosely based on the events that take place in the Three Kingdoms period of China during the lifetime of the last Chancellor of the Eastern Han Dynasty, Cao Cao (155-15 March 220), who is also the main character.
The Three Kingdoms period has been a popular theme in Japanese manga for decades, but Sōten Kōro differs greatly from most other manga on several points. One significant difference is his very positive portrayal of his main character, Cao Cao, who is traditionally the antagonist, not only in Japanese manga, but also in most novel versions of the Three Kingdoms period, including the original 14th-century version, Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong.
Another significant difference is that the story primarily uses the original historical account of the era, Records of the Three Kingdoms by Chen Shou, as a reference instead of the fantasy novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Because of this, the traditional Romance of the Three Kingdoms hero, Liu Bei, takes on relatively less importance within the story and is portrayed in a less positive light.
However, several aspects of the story are based on the novel version, including the use of its original characters such as Diao Chan, as well as anachronistic weapons such as Guan Yu’s Green Dragon Crescent Blade and Zhang Fei’s Viper Spear.
A constant theme throughout the story is Cao Cao’s perpetual desire to separate China and its people from their old systems and ways of thinking and initiate a focus on pragmatism over empty ideals. This often puts him at odds with the prevailing customs and notions of Confucianism and those who support them.
Original Run: November 1992 – November 1996
Number of Volumes: 11
In ancient China, at the time of the “Kingdoms of the Fighters”, the war between the different kingdoms is raging. At that time, several schools were in competition, including the famous school of Mo, where a single student had the ability to arrest more than 10,000 men. The secret of the power hiding behind the disciples of this school is their knowledge of military strategy and their ability to defend any town or village when they are allowed to take command of operations.
Among the greatest disciples of this school, Ke-ri, a man expert in combat and military strategy. His role: to organize the defense of cities that have asked for help from Mo’s men. Ke-ri will protect many cities, meet companions, and, above all, have to face the most formidable enemy he has ever known: his own clan led by Pei-Ping whose conduct seems to go against the original philosophy of Mo’s men.
8. Hell’s Paradise: Jigokoraku
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 a 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.
9. Fire Punch
Original Run: April 18, 2016 – January 1, 2018
Number of Volumes: 8
In a world where the “blessed” have special abilities, the Ice Witch, gifted with the power of Frost, has turned the world into a desert of ice and snow. No plant grows anymore and people have to live on the remaining food. Siblings Agni and Luna have the ability to regenerate, albeit more so in Agni than in his sister.
They keep their little community alive by Agni chopping off one arm over and over again, which then quickly grows back. One day, when soldiers reach the place and learn that human flesh is being eaten here, they burn it down with a fire spell. Luna also dies and only Agni survives thanks to his powerful regeneration. But the fire magic on him does not end either.
Agni, in his tormented, burning state, sets out in search of his sister’s killers in order to exact revenge. On the journey he encounters other blessed ones who use their abilities to dominate other people or who are forced to use their powers themselves.
10. Blade of the Immortal
Original Run: June 25, 1993 – December 25, 2012
Number of Volumes: 30
The story is set in Japan in the Edo era. The protagonist, Manji, is a warrior who has a great advantage over his rivals: no wound can kill him. In the past, he killed 100 other samurai, including his sister’s husband. An elderly nun, who is said to be 800 years old, grants him the gift of immortality through worms called kessenchū, which heal any wound and even restore amputated limbs even though the amputation was hours ago.
The death of his sister leads him to accept the mission that will end his immortality: he must kill 1000 evil men to redeem himself. Manji crosses paths with a young woman named Rin Asano and promises to help her avenge her family, who was killed by a group of expert swordsmen led by Kagehisa Anotsu. Anotsu killed Rin’s father and her entire dojo.
11. 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.
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.
12. Fist of the North Star
Original Run: September 13, 1983 – August 8, 1988
Number of Volumes: 27
After the Third World War, the planet became a desolate and hostile place, few people have survived this catastrophe and water became the most precious resource in the whole world, just as strength is the most necessary skill, because Only the strongest rule the world. This will change when a man, who is known by some as “the savior of the end of the century”, appears and practices the Hokuto Shinken, which is a martial art with devastating effects on opponents. With this, he will help himself to understand and fulfill his destiny in this new world, while he helps the defenseless survivors to achieve a more dignified life.
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 the relation between Guts and Griffith. It examines the particularly complex 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).
Original Run: January 25, 2003 – present
Number of Volumes: 11
The story begins with Hermias, one of Aristotle’s students, being tortured and interrogated in Assus, a city on the western edge of the Persian Empire. He is confronted by a Persian commander, Memnon, who asks him if his teacher is really worth dying for. The story then jumps ahead a few days to the ruins of Troy, where Aristotle, one of his students, and a slave find Eumenes in a boat trying to make oars.
They spend the night there, talking about various topics such as philosophy and slavery, and leave the next morning. Eumenes is then sought out by a Persian named Barsine, who questions him about the previous night’s visitors.
He claims not to have seen the people she asks him about, whereupon she returns to her escort of horsemen and departs. Shortly thereafter, Aristotle and his pupil come running toward Eumenes, pursued by the horsemen who had visited him moments before, and they immediately flee, narrowly escaping capture.
Barsine is then met by Memnon and says, “The next man to come across this channel will probably not be a philosopher.” Eumenes and his companions are met on the other side by a horse-drawn carriage that has been waiting for Aristotle. Eumenes notes that they are both headed toward Kardia, but the people in the cart refuse to take Eumenes there on the grounds that a slave can walk.
15. Blade of the Phantom Master
Original Run: 2001 – 2007
Number of Volumes: 17 + 1 Shin Angyo Onshi Gaiden
The story takes place in an unknown land. After the fall of the Jushin Empire and the death of the emperor, the country finds itself plunged into chaos, allowing terror and the law of the strongest to reign. Secret agents of the vanished kingdom, the Angyo Onshi had the mission of ensuring respect for the laws and punishing the governors who oppressed the people. Today, an Angyo Onshi named Mun-su continues this mission through the devastated country, accompanied by his faithful bodyguard (sando) Chun-Hyang, his squire, and a small desert bat.