he trains to become the strongest martial artist in the universe.
The best Manga comics loved by South Asians are right here but there is much more to talk about than simple Manga rankings.
The British-Asian Manga community has increased to such an extent that being called a ‘weeb‘ has actually become a compliment.
Since garnering popularity in the 1960s, Manga comics have had more complex plots and more sophisticated artwork.
The acceptance of Manga within the adult community led to the increase of Manga and Anime cultures between the 1980s and 2000s.
It is between those decades that numerous Anime shows have been produced including many popular childhood cartoons, such as Heidi the Girl of the Alps, Doraemon, Sonic X and Yu-Gi-Oh!
As a result, many of these shows are popular all over the world.
The Manga community increased to such an extent, that now there are millions of people worldwide reading them.
Although there is the debate ‘Is Anime better than Manga?’, many popular Manga comics have produced an Anime version.
Here are some of the best Manga comics and Anime loved by South Asians.
Dragon Ball (Akira Toriyama) 1984 – 1995
Dragon Ball is considered to be the father of modern shonen. It is part of the ‘Big Three’ of the 90s and it is believed to be the ‘forbidden fourth’ of the 2000s ‘Big Three’.
Dragon Ball remains one of the best-known Manga series of all time, with 42 tankobon volumes, 519 chapters and 300 million copies sold worldwide.
Inspired by martial arts movies and the 16th-century Chinese novel Journey to the West, Toriyama designed the protagonist Son Goku with a monkey tail, influenced by the tale of the Monkey King, Sun Wukong.
The Manga was serialised into Weekly Shonen Jump from 1984 to 1995. In 1986, an Anime series was produced, finishing in 1989.
Since then, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT, Dragon Ball Super and Dragon Ball Heroes followed, which still continues.
Dragon Ball is about Son Goku’s life as he trains to become the strongest martial artist in the universe.
He ends up going on a quest to search for seven magical orbs, known as the Dragon Balls, scattered around the world.
It contains fantasy elements as well as advanced technology such as cyborgs and aliens.
The story follows Goku’s adventures as a child to adulthood until he becomes a grandfather.
With the mystical, peculiar conflicts presented, Dragon Ball easily became many people’s childhood and a source of inspiration for many.
One Piece (Eiichiro Oda) 1997 – Present
One Piece is part of the ‘Big Three’ Anime and Manga of the 2000s and is the most successful Manga series of all time.
With 992 chapters and 470 million sold copies, both the Manga and the Anime are yet to have an ending!
One Piece was inspired by various pirate events and the animated series Vicky the Viking, which led Oda to dream about drawing a pirate series from a very young age.
In August 1997, after One Piece became one of the premier Manga series in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump, the series rapidly increased in popularity and was serialised into an Anime in 1999.
The Manga artwork was shifting at the time, with more elaborate and refined art styles, which Oda adopted in order to create his very own style.
The adventure speaks of Monkey D Luffy in his attempt to become the Pirate King.
Along the way, the stories of his crewmates and the various complex adventures that follow, link with the dreams of each member of the Straw Hat Crew.
Their principal goal is to navigate all the oceans and reach the final island of the Grand Line in order to find the treasure left behind by the executed Pirate King, the One Piece.
The epic fights, the striking truths presented and the constant, yet enchanting character development of the cast, lead One Piece to be and remain one of the most phenomenal and unforgettable series ever made.
Naruto (Masashi Kishimoto) 1999 – 2014
Naruto is one of the top Manga comic series in Asia.
It is one of the bestselling Manga around the globe and remains part of the ‘Big Three’ Anime and Manga of the 2000s.
With 280 million copies sold and a total of 700 chapters, Part I of Naruto premiered in 1999 in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine.
Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece indirectly influenced the Naruto Series. Kishimoto’s admiration of Oda led to the birth of their rivalry, in which the two attempted to surpass each other.
In fact, this might be a reference of the characters Naruto and Sasuke, and their long-running rivalry.
Moreover, the Naruto series was inspired by Toriyama’s Dragon Ball, like many other Manga series.
In an interview, Kishimoto admitted: “There was something about his cartoony drawing style that felt right, more so than realistic drawings.
“I thought to myself, I want to become like Toriyama Sensei.”
Naruto is about Naruto Uzumaki’s aspiration of becoming the greatest Hokage (ninja) the village had ever seen.
Part I of the Manga follows 12-year-old Naruto desiring to be accepted by the Leaf Village, which outcasted him because of the Nine-Tailed monster sealed within him at his birth.
Twenty-seven volumes incorporate Part I, which is filled with plot-twists, riddles and mysteries. Part II sees those obstacles resolved.
The remaining 45 volumes are set two years later. Part II follows the chronicles of adolescent Naruto in the various attempts of saving his best friend, just before the greatest war begins.
Every character has a story, a dream, a failure, a success. With the legendary battles and sincere beliefs, Naruto is the one that taught people to believe in their dreams, until the last moment.
Bleach (Tite Kubo) 2001 – 2016
Bleach is part of the ‘Big Three’ of the 2000s, with 120 million copies sold, 74 tankobon volumes and 698 chapters.
Toriyama’s Dragon Ball has once again inspired another dynamic comic series, as the designs of the villains had a great influence on the antagonists in Bleach.
In the same way, the incredibly popular shonen Manga Saint Seiya was directly responsible for the weapon’s artwork and the illustrious fighting scenes seen throughout the Manga.
It tells the story of high school student Ichigo Kurosaki, who has the ability to see ghosts.
After becoming a substitute Soul Reaper, Ichigo starts working for the Soul Society in order to expel evil souls and send them to peace.
Although the story concentrates on human characters, as many events unravel the Manga begins to dive deep down into the world of Shinigami.
In this way, Ichigo discovers that the world is in more danger than anyone could have imagined.
With an utterly different definition of Shinigami, the innovative Manga twists the appearance of what was supposed to be the Gods of Death, with samurais dressed in black that possess their own Zanpakutou (unique swords).
One of the most attractive traits of the Manga is Kubo’s ability to draw detailed art and great design. This is added to his ability to create an accessible plot and easy-to-follow narrative.
Bleach is one of the most conflicted Manga comic series ever but it’s artwork and contradictory plots are what makes it so popular.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (Hirohiko Araki) 1987 – Present
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a classic Manga that is popular among Manga enthusiasts, which is why it is loved in Asia.
With 127 volumes, 917 chapters and 100 million sold copies over the globe, JoJo’s story is one of the bestselling Manga series in history.
Serialised in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1987 until 2004, it has then been transferred to the monthly magazine Ultra Jump, where JoJo’s story continues.
With its 127 volumes, it is Shueisha’s second-longest-running Manga series.
The distinctive, eye-catching colours and the muscular appearance of JoJo have been inspired by a French artist called Paul Gaugin.
Additionally, the love for American and British pop/rock music and the ingenious, unparalleled style of clothing is very noticeable in the Manga.
In fact, Araki enjoys naming characters after musicians and bands and uses a noteworthy clothing trend, which is typical of JoJo’s style.
The versatile, melodramatic conflicts are defined by diverse sets of supernatural powers, morals and ambitions, usually embedded in comedy.
The tones in the adventures alternate between suspense and horror in certain parts.
Every part begins with the story of men correlated by the name JoJo; each of them is set in different time periods.
Currently, ‘JoJolion’ is Part Eight of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and is still ongoing.
With its principal focus on the family of Joestar, the Manga follows each character in their attempt to solve one problem, with the help of supporting characters.
Numerous fans admit that JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures does not fall into the traditional category of shonen, but it’s very original and follows its own diverse style.
Attack on Titan (Hajime Isayama) 2009 – Present
Attack on Titan continues to stay popular with its gory and captivating plot.
With 100 million copies sold, 32 volumes and 130 chapters, Attack on Titan has been serialised into Kodansha’s monthly Bessatsu Shonen Magazine since September 2009.
Inspired by his experiences, Isayama decided to write about humanity being held captive by walls. He wanted humanity to feel safe, secure, sheltered, before breaking and smashing every hope to the ground with no exception.
Isayama grew up into a Japanese town surrounded by the mountains. He desired to go beyond them, as he said in an interview: “I desired to dwell in a world still unknown to myself.”
As the series is based on his life, it is easy to see why the protagonist Eren Jaeger resembles Isayama in a variety of ways, particularly in his thirst to leave the confines of his home.
The story is set in a world where for 100 years, gigantic creatures devoured humans for no reason. To protect themselves, humans resided in cities protected by enormous walls, of which nobody knew their origins.
The gory Manga centres around the stories of Eren Jaeger, Mikasa Ackermann and Armin Arlelt.
Their lives change when a Colossal Titan appears and destroys the gates of the walls.
Such action results in the other titans to slaughter the district of Shiganshina. This also leads to the death of Eren’s mother.
Eren vows revenge devotes his life to kill every titan. Eren, Mikasa and Armin finally join the Scout Regiment, an elite army that fights titans outside the walls.
But Attack on Titan is much more than the fight of humanity against the titan species.
The secrecy, the afflictions and the evilness of humanity are portrayed with no fear.
The deplorable truths, the catastrophic massacres and the exterminating fury of the characters are what makes Attack on Titan a masterpiece.
Death Note (Tsugumi Ohba) 2003 – 2006
Death Note is a classic Manga series, which represents the dark side of humans.
There are questions over questions about Tsugumi Ohba’s inspiration that led him to create this masterpiece. Two intriguing comments from Quora sought to answer this question
Manami Yda wrote: “According to him [Ohba], there is no inspiration or something.
“He was just exploring the thought of the good and the evil and the right to pass judgement on another’s action which he thought of ‘God-like’.
“If you also noticed, his Manga theme is suspense/thriller, but there is no fight scene. Right from the start, he decided to make it an intense battle of the wits.”
Harshit Doshi said: “We, the filthy humans, are the inspiration behind death note.
“We have corruption at all levels. Everywhere. We fight each other and kill each other for all to no reasons at all.
“Death Note highlights us and our behaviour. From murderers to rapists, politicians to corporate thugs – we are the vermin.
“Now even when one of us has the power to wipe the rest of us out, play God, we still get corrupted. We cannot handle power, yet we still try to seize it.
“Death Note is just a reminder to us. We are the worst species alive.”
Harshit’s comments echo what Death Note represents.
In fact, the story follows Light Yagami in his attempts to create a New World where evil is non-existent, by using a supernatural notebook which allows him to kill anyone by writing their name in it.
His aspires to become the God of the New World. With Shinigami Ryuk, Light faces numerous conflicts with all of those who attempt to help him or to destroy his ambition.
The Manga series questions human nature and is a representation of Yin and Yang.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba (Koyoharu Gotoge) 2016 – 2020
Many believe that this Manga series will be a part of the new ‘Big Three’ due to all the records it has broken.
It tells the story of Tanjiro, whose life changes after his whole family, apart from his sister, has been murdered by a demon.
Tanjiro’s mission is to kill the demon and to turn his sister back to human, as she was transformed into a demon herself.
This leads to a set of gory conflicts and bloodstained blades.
Compared to other main characters, Tanjiro does not just focus on the sentiments of anger and revenge.
This makes Demon Slayer a series worth reading to find out what happens next.
The Manga entices audiences with beautiful artwork and refreshes them with a change in the attitude of demons, by focusing on the rights and the wrongs as well as their pasts.
The brilliant storyline and the fact that it is concentrated on the idea of care and family, are the principal reasons why this Manga slayed all the records and achieved success.
My Hero Academia (Kohei Horikoshi) 2014 – Present
My Hero Academia has quickly become the biggest ongoing Manga franchise with 28 million sold copies.
It is set in the modern-day, where most people have special powers called ‘Quirks’.
Quirks led to the creation of Pro Heroes, who ward off supervillains.
The story centres on Izuku Midoriya who is born without ‘Quirks’ but still dreams of becoming a hero himself.
Izuku encounters Japan’s greatest hero All Might and is later enrolled in a prestigious high school for heroes in training.
My Hero Academia is one of the few Manga who breaks the cliché, overpowered main character, and is one of the main reasons why it’s Anime adaptation is one of the most popular in Japan.
With the great animation, intense plot-twists and the superb portrayal of the villains, it is no surprise that it is considered to be part of the new ‘Big Three’.
Black Clover (Yuki Tabata) 2015 – Present
Black Clover’s popularity continues to increase, with a growth of one million sold copies per year.
The Manga comic’s fanbase keeps increasing and now, the story is enjoying the spotlight of being one of the most popular Manga and Anime in the world.
Tabata has not told his audience where the inspiration for Black Clover came from, but many believe it came from Manga series’ such as Berserk, Naruto and Fairy Tail.
In fact, there are similarities between Hiro Mashima’s Fairy Tail and Tabata’s Black Clover: a chaotic guild where members love and enjoy fighting, the magic, the Clover city.
However, there is no question in saying that the two Manga series are both intriguing and enthralling in their own ways.
As a matter of fact, Black Clover centres around the orphans Asta and Yuno, both with the dream of becoming the Magic Emperor of the Clover Kingdom.
Main character Asta is born without magic which contrasts with talented magic user Yuno.
At their age ceremony, Asta receives a five-leaf, black grimoire where the Devil resides, whilst Yuno receives a rare four-leaf clover grimoire.
Afterwards, the two leave towards the capital in order to enter the Order of the Magic Knights.
Readers eagerly await which one will have enough power to become Magic Emperor.
One person gave their review on the Anime adaptation:
“In the opening moments of this episode, I was sceptical. The characters were annoying, and the plot predictable.
“But something happened. I don’t know quite how to describe it, but the story hooked me.”
“I feel for the characters and follow along with the edge-of-the-seat-hand-shaking-in-stupid-ways hype that only Anime fans know.”
It is not just these Manga series which are popular, there is a huge list of captivating stories such as Tokyo Ghoul, Fairy Tail, One Punch Man, The Seven Deadly Sins, Owari no Seraph and Haikyuu.
British-Indian student Anesha said that Manga is “a unique style of merging text/art” which must be added to the truthful comment “Manga have some elements that Anime don’t”.
Sixteen-year-old Tanvir agreed: “Anime and Manga are two faces of the same coin: they achieve things that the other cannot.”
Another student, Sanjana, said: “Overall, I think Manga are very interesting, creative and fun to read.”
Manga comics have immense popularity all over the world thanks to their intricate artwork and enjoyable stories. It is certain that it will only continue to increase in popularity.