When you want to start reading manga, you might feel overwhelmed by the number of choices you have and the variety of genres to choose from. It might be a bit too much for a complete beginner. This is why I decided to create this article featuring the best manga for beginners that anyone can start reading, irrespective of their experience with this form of media!
At some point, anime fans eventually become interested in the world of manga. It happened to me, and it will also likely happen to you. However, for those interested in reading manga as a form of media, it can initially be a little intimidating.
The way dialogues work and how it portrays scenes and handles fighting and movement is all different. Manga is a world in itself, and carefully choosing the correct titles to begin your journey is probably the best way to start enjoying the media. For that reason, I will showcase a list of series I believe are the most beginner-friendly manga series, with a balance between dialogues and entertaining events to keep you motivated!
Best Manga for Beginners in 2023
1. One-Punch Man by ONE & Yusuke Murata
Today, One-Punch Man has become extremely popular thanks to its anime adaptation, which has two seasons. However, as you might have expected, the manga is much more advanced when it comes to its story and character development. If you liked the anime and wanna enjoy even more content, I recommend it!
For those who know nothing about One-Punch Man, the story follows a “hero” known as Saitama who has the strength to defeat all his enemies in just one punch, thus, One-Punch man. He eventually takes Genos, a cyborg, as his apprentice, and they involve themselves with different enemies and organizations.
This manga series has an outstanding balance between comedy and serious action. It also portrays an assembly of unique characters, and the way the fights are choreographed is one of the best you can find in the media. Yusuke Murata illustrates the manga, and his artwork is one the most significant reasons behind the title’s popularity!
2. Spy x Family by Tatsuya Endou
Right now, Spy x Family is a boom in the world of anime and manga. The plot is among the most interesting, and the way the series handles its premise is pretty good.
The manga starts with the agent, Twilight, who is rumored to be the best spy in Westalia. Twilight is ordered to spy on a significant leader of a rival country. Because of how secretive the target is, he will have to adopt and enroll a child in a prestigious school that the target’s son attends.
Twilight then changes his identity to that of Loid Forger and takes it upon himself to adopt an orphan and find someone to marry. What he doesn’t know is that the child he adopts, a little girl known as Anya, is an esper capable of reading minds. And the woman he decides to marry, Yor Briar? She’s the famed assassin known as the Thorn Princess.
And so, the spy, the assassin, and the telepath start living together as a family, each having their own agendas to fulfill!
3. Grand Blue by Kenji Inoue & Kimitake Yoshioka
Grand Blue is the story of Iori Kitahara, who’s about to start his first year at Izu university. He’s at his uncle’s scuba diving shop, where he’ll be staying for the time being, and he’s dreaming about having a perfect college life with beautiful girls.
But when he enters the scuba diving shop, he’s greeted by the sight of a group of naked men having fun. These naked men are his upperclassmen who are part of a scuba diving club, and they immediately rope in Iori into their over-the-top alcoholic activities. Iori doesn’t want to be a part of this men’s group, but it doesn’t take long for him to join them.
This may sound like a weak synopsis, but trust me, this is the manga you need to read if you are a beginner because it’s one of the best manga out there. The comedy is top-tier, the story is amazing, the characters are unique and loveable, and the art is just out of this world.
If you were to pick any one manga to read, make sure it’s this one because Grand Blue won’t disappoint you, and you’ll find it hard to stop reading!
4. Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa
Fullmetal Alchemist is possibly one of the most popular manga series you can find, and the community heavily appreciates it. There are many reasons for this, but I believe the main one is how the series culminates without leaving loose ends.
The series primarily focuses on a couple of characters, two brothers known as Edward and Alphonse. After losing their mother, they try to resurrect her using alchemy, an act that is forbidden because of the dangers it entails.
After all, alchemy is ruled by a fundamental principle – The Law of Equivalent Exchange, which states that an equal thing has to be lost to achieve something.
The ritual results in Edward losing one of his legs and an arm while Alphonse loses his entire body. However, Edward saves Alphonse by sealing his soul inside an iron armor. After many years, they venture on a journey to find the Philosopher’s Stone, an artifact of immense power that’s said to be capable of bypassing the Law of Equivalent Exchange and recovering what they lost during the tragedy.
5. Dandadan by Yukinobu Tatsu
If you like reading stories with action, adventure, and comedy with tons of fight scenes, lovely characters, and a unique plot, then Dandadan manga is what you should read!
It is a story about two students, Momo Ayase and Ken Takakura. Momo Ayase believes in ghosts and spirits but not in aliens; Ken Takakura believes aliens exist but doesn’t believe in ghosts. When their beliefs clash, they make a bet with each other to prove that they are correct, promising that if one of them is wrong, they’ll become the winner’s gofer.
So, Momo sends Ken to a haunted location while Ken sends Momo to a site believed to be an alien hotspot. It turns out that both of them were right; not only do ghosts and spirits exist, but aliens are real too.
This starts their unique friendship, where they will encounter many dangerous situations with ghosts, spirits, and aliens, and they’ll also try to retrieve Ken’s balls! You heard it right, Ken’s balls were stolen during his first encounter with a ghost! And when I say his balls, I mean his balls!
6. Dr. Stone by Riichiro Inagaki & Boichi
After the world is suddenly overwhelmed by a dazzling light, every single human being on the planet is turned into a stone statue. Years and years pass as the world is swallowed by the wonders of nature, and one day, more than 3,000 years later, our main character wakes up.
His name is Senku, and he is a proud genius and young scientist who tries to understand everything that surrounds him, and thanks to that, his mind is filled with knowledge most people ignore. He does his best to bring his best friend to life, and with his help, he will save everyone around him and put humankind back on the path toward progress.
7. Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama
The series is often referred to as the foundation that motivated and inspired many other creators to build their franchises. Dragon Ball is a classic among classics and a worldwide phenomenon still popular even to this day, decades later.
Most of us have grown up watching the Dragon Ball anime series and reading the manga, so there’s no doubt in my mind when I say it is one of the best manga for beginners!
It follows the legendary story of Goku after he meets Bulma, a young girl who managed to create a radar that could take her to the 7 Dragon Balls. These are mystical and legendary artifacts capable of achieving the impossible, i.e., fulfilling the dreams of those who collect all of them.
But the story does not end there! Goku and Bulma will make plenty of comrades in their travels and face many villains along the way, including aliens, cyborgs, and masters of martial arts.
8. Assassination Classroom by Yusei Matsui
Assassination Classroom is a masterpiece of comedy, action, and science-fiction. I believe it’s one of those titles that achieve an original and fascinating premise, masterfully developing the plot with a solid conclusion.
We start with most of the moon being blasted by an unknown creature. This creature seems to be a tentacle-legged yellow alien with a head similar to that of a lollipop and a big smile on his face. The creature also warns that he will destroy the earth in a year like he destroyed the moon, yet gives humankind a single chance of survival.
He will become the teacher of a class filled with marginalized students, and as he teaches them many life lessons, they must attempt to kill him. The students decide to call him “Koro-Sensei” using the combination of Kanjis that translates to “Teacher” and “Unkillable,” mainly because he’s capable of moving faster than the speed of sound, and he is virtually indestructible.
9. Chainsaw Man by Tatsuki Fujimoto
There are two approaches you can take when it comes to Chainsaw Man. You either wait for the anime’s second season, which is likely not to adapt the whole series right away, or you can both enjoy the manga and wait for the anime adaptation. Just so you know, I did the latter, and I have zero regrets!
Chainsaw Man is a peculiar series that shares some similarities to Devilman Crybaby. The central premise of the title focuses on the idea of devils and a world that was attacked by the Gun Devil, which managed to kill over a million people worldwide in an attack that lasted less than 5 minutes.
Our protagonist, Denji, is heavily involved with a gang of yakuza and eventually becomes capable of turning into a devil hybrid. However, the public association of Devil Hunters cannot allow this. As the Chainsaw Devil, he has to either join the hunters to find and kill the Gun Devil or face death at their hands.
10. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba by Koyoharu Gotouge
The story of Demon Slayer revolves around a brother-sister duo, Tanjiro and Nezuko. As a humble member of a family of coal burners, Tanjiro led a happy and simple life. Sadly, after returning home one day, he finds his family slaughtered by a demon, with only Nezuko, one of his little sisters, surviving the tragedy.
Yet, Nezuko herself ends up attacking him, becoming aggressive and bloodthirsty. As Tanjiro tries to calm her down, a mysterious character approaches the scene, trying to kill Nezuko in the process and claiming that she has turned into a demon.
Tanjiro, of course, tries to protect Nezuko in every way possible, and during the whole ordeal, Nezuko eventually tries to protect Tanjiro as well, which captivates the mysterious man. He introduces himself as Giyu, a demon slayer, and orders Tanjiro to find a man named Urokodaki, all for the sake of becoming a demon slayer and finding a way to turn Nezuko back into a human.
This title is undoubtedly one of the best manga for beginners because it has a straightforward story and an easy-to-understand plot. Once you read the manga, you will love watching its anime adaptation.
11. The Fable by Katsuhisa Minami
I have no idea why this manga isn’t as famous as many other titles on this list, but if you like reading a series with not only comedy and action but a badass main character, then you need to start reading The Fable!
This title focuses on the life of a legendary hitman who has always completed his mission. But when the number of people he has eliminated becomes too high, he is ordered by his boss to lay low and get out of the killing business for a while. Further, he is ordered to live as an ordinary citizen as the experience will help him in his future work.
So, the hitman, known only as Fable, is accompanied by the woman who drove him everywhere, and the two assume the identities of siblings. They take the names Akira Satou and Youko Satou and start living away from the underworld.
However, it won’t be a good story if the legendary hitman doesn’t get to flex his skills on common thugs and organized crime syndicates, now would it? So, Akira takes out everyone who’s an obstacle to his year of laying low, but he doesn’t kill anyone because he is a professional and was ordered not to kill anyone during the year!
12. Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya
Fruits Basket is that series anyone who’s a fan of the shoujo and romance genre should read, especially since fans acclaim it as one of the most enjoyable pieces one can start.
The shoujo manga series revolves around a female character known as Tohru Honda as she struggles after her mother passes away due to a car accident. At first, she intends to move in with her grandfather, only to end up camping because of a problematic family member.
Sadly, a landslide stops her journey as a camper, and Yuki Sohma, one of her classmates, decides to give her a hand. Tohru will then meet other members of the Sohma household and learn the secret of the Sohma family, a curse heavily linked to the Chinese zodiac, which she will try to lift.
13. Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku by Yuuji Kaku
Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku is the story of Gabimaru who was raised in a shinobi village specializing in assassination arts. So, he’s been taught to be an emotionless killing machine with no attachments in life since he was a child. The training to become an assassin is so tough that the ninjas develop supernatural bodies.
However, he was set up by his fellow ninjas on one of the missions, and he’s now captured and on death row. Gabimaru himself wants to die, but no matter what execution methods are used, none of them work on him because no matter how much he says he wants to die, he actually has a reason to live. He wants to live for his wife, who was the only good thing about his violent life, and to return to her.
So, when Sagiri, an executioner from a famous executioner family, comes with a proposal that promises to pardon him for all his crimes if he manages to travel to a mysterious island and find the elixir of life, he immediately accepts the proposal.
However, the island in question is mysterious and extremely dangerous because multiple expeditions have gone to the island, but not a single soul has returned alive!
14. My Hero Academia by Kohei Horikoshi
My Hero Academia was acclaimed to be the title that would replace Naruto in the Shonen Jump. Although some believe it didn’t fit the big shoes of its predecessor, it still managed to achieve a great deal of popularity and success.
The story of My Hero Academia focuses on Deku, a quirkless teenager in a world where everyone has superpowers or special abilities. This breaks his heart because he has dreamed of becoming a hero since he was a kid, the same as the person he admires the most – All Might, the greatest hero of all time.
After trying to save his childhood friend and bully, Katsuki Bakugo, from a villain attack, he catches the interest of All Might himself. After the ordeal is solved, the hero tells him he will become his mentor and guide him on the path of becoming his successor and the greatest hero there is.
15. One Piece by Eiichiro Oda
One of the most admired series and one of the longest titles in the world of manga, One Piece might not seem like the best manga for beginners at first glance.
However, I recommend trying it primarily because of its incredible premise, progressive plot, and interesting and enchanting assembly of characters. If you start reading the series and like it, you’ll probably read it entirely and reach its latest chapter within a few days.
As an introduction to the series, the title revolves around Monkey D. Luffy, a young man who wants to become the pirate king. Yet, this can only be achieved by finding the “One Piece,” the treasure left by the first and last pirate king, Gol D. Roger.
As a man made out of rubber due to eating a devil fruit, Luffy can fight with a unique style. He will become friends with other characters and eventually fight even more unique enemies while remaining true to himself in his search to find Roger’s legacy.
16. Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! by Take
If you are just starting your manga reading journey, it’s a good idea to pick up a title that’s a light read. And so, consider reading Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out, which is one of the best manga for beginners to read!
The story is about Shinichi Sakurai, a third-year student who likes to spend his time in peace and mostly alone, and Hana Uzaki, his lively junior who’s made it her mission in life to spend time with him. Uzaki is worried that Sakurai will end up spending all his time in his house, so she makes him hang out with her by dragging him out of the house to do all sorts of fun activities.
Although Sakurai seems annoyed at this sudden turn of events, he enjoys spending time with his enthusiastic junior.
This manga is a slice-of-life story with tons of comedy involved because no matter what Uzaki and Sakurai are up to, most of their encounters often lead to misleading situations that are just hilarious!
17. Bakuman by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata
Bakuman is a series I recommend to people who like complex stories that tackle real issues. It comes from the hands of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, the authors of Death Note.
In this particular case, it is heavily recommended for those interested in the world of art, comics, manga, or content creation. It showcases how harsh the manga industry can be, which is something that many other fields can share.
The story tackles the lives of Moritaka Mashiro, an artist, and Akito Takagi, a writer, who decide to work together to create a successful manga. Along the way, they face the harsh reality of the world, deal with intellectual differences, and compete against other creators to achieve their dreams.
18. Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata
Although it comes from the authors of Bakuman, Death Note is a series that primarily focuses on the psychological thriller, mystery, and paranormal genres. It is also considered a must-read for most manga enthusiasts, so I would absolutely recommend you give it a chance if you enjoy mystery and intellectual duels.
What’s more, this title is a completed manga series, which means you can read it to its conclusion without waiting for the next chapter to release!
Death Note is the story of a young man, Light Yagami, who’s frequently deemed a genius. One day, however, this genius finds a mysterious notebook on the floor titled “Death Note.” After touching the note, Light becomes capable of seeing Ryuk, a death god and owner of the book, and he tells him that the note has the power to kill anyone whose name is written on it.
Instead of being intimidated by it, Light takes this as an opportunity to eliminate criminals and make the world a “better” place by killing them. This act of violence eventually catches the government’s eye, and an exceptional detective known as L, swears to capture Light. As you might have guessed, this results in an epic war of wits, strategy, and patience!
19. Naruto Series by Masashi Kishimoto
Naruto is one of the best manga for beginners that belongs to the group frequently referred to as the Big Three, including Bleach and One Piece. And just like its comrades, it might be a little intimidating for beginners due to its length, but it is a great read and served as an entry-point for many otakus around the world.
There’s a certain appeal to starting long series that other series won’t provide – character and plot development. Naruto series takes its time to deliver its plot, showcasing the main character’s growth in the process. Of course, changes also affect many other characters, including his team members, Sakura and Sasuke.
Initially, though, the series follows the story of Naruto as a marginalized young ninja as he tries to prove to himself and others that he is capable of holding the title of Hokage. He eventually ends up in a team with Sakura, Sasuke, and their teacher, Kakashi, and they slowly but steadily become better ninjas, facing many challenges and enemies in the process.
20. Orange by Ichigo Takano
Orange could be simply described as a romance manga. Still, it is much more than just that, which is why I heavily recommend it if you are interested in reading a compelling story about friendship, love, and enough sadness to bring someone to the verge of death.
It starts with our female lead, Naho Takamiya, as she receives letters from her “future” self asking her to do specific things to avoid several of her future regrets. And most of these things involve a new transfer student named Kakeru Naruse.
At first, Naho is reluctant to follow the instructions, but noticing that not following them results in bad things, she starts to follow her future self’s advice to the best of her ability. By reading the letters, Naho eventually learns that Kakeru will commit suicide in the future and that it’s up to her to save him from his sadness.
21. Haikyuu!! by Haruichi Furudate
This manga series is a sports manga on the list, and I believe it is the easiest to enjoy among the many sports titles you can read as a beginner.
Haikyuu!! revolves around volleyball. More specifically, it follows the story of a very short volleyball player named Shoyo Hinata, who dreams of becoming as good as the player who inspired him, the one they call “The Little Giant.”
Because of his stature, though, Hinata is often judged by others, but he showcases incredible athleticism and jumping capabilities. He eventually joins Karasuno High School’s volleyball team, having to work beside the guy who humiliated him before this event, the genius Tobio Kageyama, whom people call “the King of the Court.”
22. Berserk by Kentarou Miura
Berserk is the title that most people consider a masterpiece of the manga world. If you enjoy seinen manga in general, I believe it is the one series you will eventually have to read, even more if you enjoy dark fantasy, adventure, and a combination of grotesque and wholesome developments.
The manga series first introduces Guts, the black swordsman, as he saves an elf from being tortured by a gang of bandits. Guts is shown as a ruthless and apathetic man willing to do everything to hunt down demons, even sacrificing his own kind to achieve his revenge. Then, the series introduces his backstory in an arc called the Golden Age, a story when he was a much younger, lonesome mercenary.
The young Guts finds himself in front of Griffith, an intriguing character who appears to be the leader of the Band of the Falcon, a mercenary band renowned as one of the most capable in the kingdom. Guts would join the band after losing a duel against Griffith, greatly intertwining their fates as a result.
23. Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori
Primarily focusing on comedy and romance, Ouran High School Host Club revolves around the “host” culture. Just so you know, a host is a male entertainer that uses his charisma and intellect to attract and entertain female customers as they spend money in the store.
The Ouran High School, famous for being a school for the rich, has a host club where female customers can attend and meet its members. And, perhaps due to bad luck, our main character visits it and ends up accidentally breaking a vase valued at 8 million Yen.
Thinking that Haruhi is a man because of her silhouette and appearance, the club members make her join the club to pay off her debt, soon discovering that she’s a girl. But she turns out to be a pretty good host, so they decide to continue the facade.
24. Blue Lock by Muneyuki Kaneshiro & Yuusuke Nomura
If you like sports manga, consider reading Blue Lock because it is one of the best sports titles in recent years! It’s a story featuring insane soccer matches, unique individuals who train to become the best, and a plot unlike any you’ve seen.
This manga starts fwith the main character, Yoichi Isagi, a soccer player doubting his skills after failing to make his team win a match. He receives an invitation to join the Blue Lock project, which aims to create the best striker in the world. However, there’s a catch, if you fail to survive in the project and are eliminated, your career as a soccer player will effectively end.
Yoichi finds the proposal risky, but he’s all in, and joins the project. There, he meets several like-minded individuals who are there to become the best striker in the world.
This project is run by Jinpachi Ego, an eccentric coach hired by the Japanese Football Association to revamp the state of Japanese soccer and give them a player that would lead the country to World Cup victory. And his training methods are unique, but they are effective as the players in the facility soon find their skills reaching new levels!
25. Vinland Saga by Makoto Yukimura
Vinland Saga is a complex story about vengeance that revolves around Thorfin as he travels alongside the man who killed his father, Askeladd, and his group of mercenaries as they involve themselves in different Bellic events.
However, the manga series takes a fascinating approach to the struggles and fights depicted at the time, making it a pretty good choice for those who love historical plots, tales of adventure, and one of the best character development plots you will ever witness. If you love Vikings and medieval tales, this one is definitely for you!
26. Nichijou by Keiichi Arawi
Nichijou is known for being a four-panel comedy manga showcasing the story of a group of different characters. It mainly revolves around 6 of them, though, as they interact with themselves and their surroundings.
For instance, we have Yuko as the girl who aspires to lead an interesting life at the cost of her grades. Mio, who, contrary to Yuko, is pretty studious and smart and also likes to draw BL, which is her biggest and most embarrassing secret. Mai, the one who barely talks and is often perceived as an oddball person with a deadpan expression, and of course, Nano, a cyborg who wants to live a normal life, constantly struggling to keep her secret and her composure.
On the other side of the spectrum, we also have a tiny little girl known as “the professor,” who created Nano, and a talking cat named Sakamoto, who can talk because of one of the professor’s inventions.
I admit it when I say that Nichijou is my favorite comedy series and is one of the best manga for beginners because of its 4-Koma nature. If you can, try it and see if you fancy it!
27. Made in Abyss by Akihito Tsukushi
Although the series appear cutesy at first, Made in Abyss often portrays scenes that are pretty hard to handle, even for people who have consumed similar series before. This, of course, adds to its personality but can be something that puts off some people, so start it at your own risk!
The series’ plot follows an orphan who lives in Orth, a town that surrounds a giant hole known as the Abyss. The orphan’s name is Riko, and she dreams of becoming one of the best Cave Raiders and obtaining a White Whistle, just like her mother.
But this involves great dangers as she will have to explore even the deepest parts of the Abyss, which afflicts a curse upon its visitors that only gets worse the deeper they go. However, she finds a robot during one of her adventures, which she decides to name Reg.
Riko and Reg eventually decide to traverse the Abyss to find out more about Reg and meet Riko’s mother, who is apparently waiting for her at the very bottom of the pit.
Finding a good manga to read as a beginner is a matter of choosing the right genre and the right length. It is also true that some series are more difficult to consume than others, which is why I showcased the ones I believe are the best for newcomers.
If one of the series catches your interest, I recommend trying it and reading ten chapters at the very least. If those ten chapters are enough to keep you hooked, you know you’ve found something worth reading!
So, let me know which title you will start reading in the comments section below. And if you have read a couple of titles and think there are other titles worthy of being considered the best manga for beginners, share them with us!
Also Read: Best Isekai Manga Series of 2023