27 of the Bestselling Manga of All Time

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Patricia Thang is an educator located in Los Angeles. Though a native Angeleno through and through, her heart also belongs to Tokyo, where much of her family is from. Besides books, she is an enthusiastic devourer of many things, including podcasts, television, and J-pop. She realizes there’s not enough time in the world to consume all of that content, but she’s trying anyway. Other endeavors to which she has dedicated herself include cuddling her dogs until they’re annoyed and taste-testing every vegan ice cream she can find.

Twitter: @aintnopthang

Even if you’re not an avid manga reader, you’ve likely heard of at least a few of the bestselling manga of all time. I’m talking about those huge blockbuster hits that very often also become wildly popular anime that have international viewerships. But a more holistic view of the bestselling manga series will reveal plenty more than just those Big Names — and may very well introduce you to older classics, hidden gems, unexpected sensations, and other such titles that are lesser-known in Western markets. So here I’ve gathered a selection of some of the bestselling manga out there for both longtime manga readers and newbies alike to explore!

A few notes before we jump into this list of bestselling manga. First off, while I’ve certainly hit on as many of the big players as possible, this list is not a comprehensive one of every one of the bestselling manga. (Un)surprisingly, the manga industry is extremely male-dominated, as most publishing markets still are. This list is more of a sampling of a much more extensive and complete ranking of the bestselling manga in order to make for a more inclusive and varied selection. Second, most of the numbers listed below reflect what many Japanese publishers report most, which are circulation numbers versus actual sales, and may result in some discrepancies. The numbers also reflect a number of tankōbon volumes and do not include individual chapters published in manga magazines, which are nearly impossible to track by series.

The circulation/sales numbers I’ve listed below come from Manga Zenkan, a Japanese online manga seller that has aggregated and maintains a ranking of all-time manga sales by series based on reports and announcements that have been released by the publishers themselves. Where possible, I have also corroborated the numbers with English-language sources.

So what are we waiting for? Let’s dive in!

Bestselling Manga

One Piece by Eiichiro Oda cover

One Piece by Eiichiro Oda

Original run: 1997-present

Tankōbon volumes: 106

Copies in circulation: >516 million

The number one bestselling manga of all time, as you may have already known, is One Piece. The series, about Monkey D. Luffy’s quest to become the King of Pirates and find a great treasure called “One Piece” alongside his crew, also holds the Guinness World Record for its feat. It is widely considered one of the best manga in history, and its unbelievable sales numbers certainly support that case.

Golgo 13 by Takao Saito cover

Golgo 13 by Takao Saito

Original run: 1968-present

Tankōbon volumes: 208

Copies in circulation: >300 million

The second bestselling manga has longevity on its side. Golgo 13 began serialization 55 years ago and is still running! The series also holds the Guinness World Record for the most tankōbon volumes published for a single series. The story follows a contract assassin with the codename Golgo 13 as he completes various jobs. Though mangaka Takao Saito unfortunately passed away in 2021, the manga continues to be produced by a group of creators known collectively as Saito Production, in accordance with Saito’s wishes.

Case Closed by Gosho Aoyama cover

Case Closed by Gosho Aoyama

Original run: 1994-present

Tankōbon volumes: 102

Copies in circulation: >270 million

Case Closed, alternatively known as Detective Conan, is another long-running series that continues to be beloved by the Japanese public. The popular mystery series follows a boy detective who solves crimes that the pros can’t. The anime series adaptation is also widely popular and has been on the air since 1996.

Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama cover

Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama

Original run: 1984-1995

Tankōbon volumes: 42

Copies in circulation: >260 million

In comparison to the top three bestselling manga series, Dragon Ball was a relatively short series, having only run for just over 10 years and with a meager 42 tankōbon volumes. And yet its overall sales don’t trail very far behind the number two and three spots, illustrating the incredible popularity of the series, which was widely credited with contributing to manga’s all-time high circulation numbers during the years it ran. The story of Dragon Ball is inspired by Journey to the West, a classical Chinese novel, and follows the protagonist, Son Goku, as he embarks on a journey to find magical orbs called the Dragon Balls.

Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto cover

Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto

Original run: 1999-2014

Tankōbon volumes: 72

Copies in circulation: >250 million

I work with kids in my day job, and what with how ubiquitously popular the Naruto franchise is among all of them at all ages, it’s no surprise that it’s also one of the bestselling manga out there. Naruto is a modern classic of the shōnen coming-of-age genre, following Naruto as he endeavors to become the strongest ninja of all. Much of the story is inspired by various aspects of Japanese mythology and traditions, and it played a significant role in helping to popularize Japanese culture across the world.

Slam Dunk by Takehiko Inoue cover

Slam Dunk by Takehiko Inoue

Original run: 1990-1996

Tankōbon volumes: 31

Copies in circulation: >170 million

Lauded as one of the greatest sports manga of all time and definitely the bestselling one, Slam Dunk continues to move and inspire readers to this day. The series is about Hanamichi Sakuragi, a high school gang leader who joins the basketball team on a whim but soon finds himself passionately devoted to the sport. And as a result, the national population found themselves caught up in the sport, too, as the series helped to skyrocket the popularity of basketball, a previously highly-overlooked sport in Japan.

Kimetsu no Yaiba by Koyoharu Gotouge cover

Kimetsu no Yaiba by Koyoharu Gotouge

Original run: 2016-2020

Tankōbon volumes: 23

Copies in circulation: >150 million

In case anyone ever questioned how large a phenomenon Kimetsu no Yaiba actually was, here are the numbers, and numbers don’t lie! For such a new and short-lived series, especially relative to most of the others on this list, these circulation numbers are beyond impressive. In fact, the entire franchise has become a major cultural touchstone in Japan, with Mugen Train beating out Spirited Away as the country’s highest-grossing film of all time. Just in case you’re not already familiar, the story is about the young Tanjiro, who trains to become a demon slayer after most of his family is killed by ruthless oni.

Oishinbo by Testu Kariya and Akira Hanasaki cover

Oishinbo by Tetsu Kariya and Akira Hanasaki

Original run: 1983-2014

Tankōbon volumes: 111

Copies in circulation: >135 million

In a slight departure from the many adventurous and plot-heavy series that often become best-sellers, Oishinbo is a food-themed manga about a newspaper food critic who has been assigned the task of creating a so-called “Ultimate Menu” to celebrate the newspaper’s 100th anniversary. Follow him and his partner as they research and look for inspiration for the recipes they will include as part of this project. In addition to the gentle and comedic storyline, the series is also informative as hell about Japanese cuisine and its history and even includes some recipes for readers to try themselves!

Bleach by Tite Kubo cover

Bleach by Tite Kubo

Original run: 2001-2016

Tankōbon volumes: 74

Copies in circulation: >130 million

Bleach follows the adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki, a teenager whose ability to see ghosts enabled him to encounter the Soul Reaper Rukia Kuchiki and receive her powers. Having these powers also means having Soul Reaper duties, and Ichigo finds himself suddenly responsible for protecting humans from evil spirits and helping to usher souls to the afterlife. After a 10-year wait, the final arc of Bleach has finally received an anime adaptation that premiered in 2022, and if the incredible fervor of the fan community at that moment wasn’t an indication of the series’s popularity, I don’t know what is.

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure by Hirohiko Araki cover

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure by Hirohiko Araki

Original run: 1987-present

Tankōbon volumes: 132

Copies in circulation: >120 million

As the title suggests, JoJo’s is definitely a bizarre series in the best possible ways! The supernatural series spans generations, with each arc following a new main character who is descended from the Joestar family and takes on the nickname “JoJo.” While each individual arc depicts an independent storyline, the first six follow within a single continuity. But to mix things up, the most recent three arcs take place in an alternate timeline in which the Joestar family tree is very different.

Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama cover

Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama

Original run: 2009-2021

Tankōbon volumes: 34

Copies in circulation: >110 million

Attack on Titan is a post-apocalyptic fantasy about the last remnants of human civilization, which has been all but completely wiped out by humanoid creatures called Titans. Teenager Eren Yeager seeks revenge against the Titans, who killed his mother in an attack on the self-contained, walled community within which the surviving human population resides. Towards this end, Eren and his friends go through military training in order to try to join the Survey Corps, which seeks to defeat the Titans. Attack on Titan is not just wildly popular as a manga but also its anime adaptation, which is slated to air its final part in November 2023.

Astro Boy by Osamu Tezuka cover

Astro Boy by Osamu Tezuka

Original run: 1952-1968

Tankōbon volumes: 23

Copies in circulation: >100 million

Osamu Tezuka is dubbed the “father of manga,” so it’s only natural that his biggest work, which basically set the expectations for how manga is defined today, is also one of the bestselling series in history. The series, which is about an android with human emotions, significantly influenced later manga artists. Additionally, Tezuka was also a pioneer in anime, and the Astro Boy anime series was the first in Japanese history.

Fist of the North star by Buronson and Tetsuo Hara cover

Fist of the North Star by Buronson and Tetsuo Hara

Original run: 1983-1988

Tankōbon volumes: 27

Copies in circulation: >100 million

After nuclear war, Earth has become a post-apocalyptic wasteland, where whatever remains of the human population fights over the few remaining resources. The warrior Kenshiro is the successor of the powerful martial art known as Hokuto Shinken and takes it upon himself to protect the innocent from evildoers who prey upon them. The manga has been highly influential, introducing a specific level and style of violent action to manga that many artists since have been inspired by.

The Kindaichi Case Files by Yozaburo Kanari and Fumiya Sato cover

The Kindaichi Case Files by Yōzaburō Kanari, Seimaru Amagi, and Fumiya Satō

Original run: 1992-present

Tankōbon volumes: 90

Copies in circulation: >100 million

One of the earliest mystery manga and the one that really helped the genre take off, The Kindaichi Case Files remains a hugely popular and influential franchise in Japan to this day. It draws inspiration from Seishi Yokomizo’s Kosuke Kindaichi series (which includes the novels The Honjin Murders and The Inugami Curse), and stars Hajime Kindaichi, the grandson of the famed detective. With numerous adaptations and spin-offs, audiences continue to be charmed by the clumsy and careless, yet smart and observant, teenage detective.

Sazae-san by Machiko Hasegawa cover

Sazae-san by Machiko Hasegawa

Original run: 1946-1974

Tankōbon volumes: 45

Copies in circulation: >86 million

One of the very first examples of modern manga, Sazae-san is another long-lived franchise that continues to have an audience today. It follows the daily life of the quirky young woman Sazae and her family in postwar Japan. It is one of the fundamental works that helped establish the yonkoma structure for manga, as well as the emergence of slice-of-life stories in the medium. The anime series, which has been on the air since 1969 and is still going strong, is history’s longest-running animated show.

Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa cover

Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa

Original run: 2001-2010

Tankōbon volumes: 27

Copies in circulation: >80 million

Though the shōnen category is heavily dominated by male creators, Fullmetal Alchemist proves that a series written by a woman could also be a blockbuster hit! This dark fantasy series about two alchemist brothers on a quest to find the Philosopher’s Stone is widely acclaimed for its complex characters, action sequences, and social commentary.

Boys Over Flowers by Yoko Kamio cover

Boys Over Flowers by Yoko Kamio

Original run: 1992-2003

Tankōbon volumes: 37

Copies in circulation: >61 million

The vast majority of the bestselling manga of all time are from the shōnen category, but here’s where we’ll finally start running into shōjo titles. Boys Over Flowers is recognized as the most published shōjo series in manga history and is a hit throughout Asia, having received adaptations in numerous countries. It’s a classic enemies-to-lovers romance between two high schoolers, a strong working-class girl and a pretentious, hot-headed boy.

Ranma 1/2 by Rumiko Takahashi cover

Ranma ½ by Rumiko Takahashi

Original run: 1987-1996

Tankōbon volumes: 38

Copies in circulation: >55 million

Rumiko Takahashi is a prolific mangaka and perhaps one of the most successful and well-known. She has been the recipient of the Grand Prix de la ville d’Angoulême, a lifetime achievement award for comics authors, as well as the Medal with Purple Ribbon from the Japanese government in recognition of her contributions to the arts. Ranma ½ is her bestselling manga series, a martial arts adventure and romantic comedy with a gender-bending twist. Among Takahashi’s many other popular and acclaimed series are Urusei Yatsura, Mermaid Saga, and Inuyasha.

Nana by Ai Yazawa cover

Nana by Ai Yazawa

Original run: 2000-2009

Tankōbon volumes: 21

Copies in circulation: >50 million

Though Nana is categorized as a shōjo manga, the series depicts the realistic and gritty aspects of love, friendships, and pursuing your dreams as a 20-year-old. Two young women, both named Nana, become friends after meeting each other when they move to Tokyo to follow their respective dreams. It is a beautiful and sophisticated series that is both critically and commercially acclaimed for deftly exploring what it is like to navigate young adulthood without shying away from mature themes.

Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi cover

Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi

Original run: 1991-1997

Tankōbon volumes: 18

Copies in circulation: >46 million

For revolutionizing the magical girl genre, Sailor Moon’s place on this list is beyond well-deserved. Boys long had their Kamen Rider and Super Sentai, and now girls could finally have transforming superheroes of their own. No more were the girls who had silly powers that simply caused trouble, but now they had great strength that could be used to defeat evil.

The Promised Neverland by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu cover

The Promised Neverland by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu

Original run: 2016-2020

Tankōbon volumes: 20

Copies in circulation: >42 million

The Promised Neverland follows a group of children who have grown up in an orphanage with a seemingly idyllic lifestyle but find out dark truths about their existence. This thrilling story of bright, resourceful kids working together to find their way out of a sinister situation has been a big hit among readers, praised for various aspects, including its plot and world-building.

Nodame Cantabile by Tomoko Ninomiya cover

Nodame Cantabile by Tomoko Ninomiya

Original run: 2001-2009

Tankōbon volumes: 23

Copies in circulation: >39 million

At first glance, you may not think that a classical music-themed manga would be one of the bestselling series out there, but Nodame Cantabile proves otherwise! Through just the art on the page, Ninomiya is able to convey the heart of the music being played, and the series has even been credited with increasing the popularity of classical music during its run. The slice-of-life romance story boasts popular adaptations and has also been cited as an inspiration by other artists for later music manga.

Kimi ni Todoke by Karuho Shiina cover

Kimi ni Todoke by Karuho Shiina

Original run: 2005-2017

Tankōbon volumes: 30

Copies in circulation: >36 million

After Boys Over Flowers, Kimi ni Todoke is probably the next shōjo manga that I’ve perceived as a major cultural phenomenon. Its tankōbon volumes quite consistently appeared in weekly best-seller rankings, and its various adaptations have always been met with great buzz and anticipation. The story is about Sawako, a shy and misunderstood high schooler who suddenly finds her life changing after Shota, a popular boy at school, begins taking an interest in her and slowly gets her to open up. What makes this series appealing is not just the sweet romance, though, but also the excellently portrayed friendships between Sawako and other girls at school.

Itazura na Kiss by Kaoru Tada cover

Itazura na Kiss by Kaoru Tada

Original run: 1990-1999

Tankōbon volumes: 23

Copies in circulation: >35 million

A classic romantic comedy shōjo manga series, Itazura na Kiss continues to enjoy popularity to this day, with numerous adaptations that have been made and remade over the years. The story follows Kotoko, who finally confesses her feelings to her classmate Naoki, whom she has had a crush on all through high school. Naoki rejects her, but as fate would have it, the two end up living under one roof after Kotoko’s home is destroyed in an earthquake. She and her father go to stay with her father’s childhood friend and his family until their home is repaired, and her father’s childhood friend just happens to be — you guessed it — Naoki’s dad!

Black Butler by Yana Toboso cover

Black Butler by Yana Toboso

Original run: 2006-present

Tankōbon volumes: 32

Copies in circulation: >34 million

Black Butler is a supernatural dark comedy, taking place in Victorian London, about a young earl and his butler — who is actually a demon he has made a binding contract with in order to avenge his parents’ deaths. While the two slowly progress on this quest for revenge, they also work together to investigate underground crimes on behalf of Queen Victoria. With its gothic aesthetic, dark humor, and interesting characters, Black Butler is a big fan favorite in both manga and anime form!

Chibi Maruko-chan by Momoko Sakura cover

Chibi Maruko-chan by Momoko Sakura

Original run: 1986-2022

Tankōbon volumes: 17

Copies in circulation: >32.5 million

Another popular and beloved franchise, Chibi Maruko-chan is the story of Maruko, a playful and spunky young girl, and her family’s daily suburban life. It has been adapted into another long-running anime series that continues to have a wide viewership today. The manga is unfortunately not available in English, but the official YouTube channel for the anime series provides episodes dubbed in various languages in order to share Maruko’s hijinks internationally!

Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya cover

Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya

Original run: 1998-2006

Tankōbon volumes: 23

Copies in circulation: >30 million

There’s no more fitting title to wrap up this list of bestselling manga than with this widely-beloved shōjo classic. In Fruits Basket, orphan girl Tōru Honda discovers that the family that has taken her in has a secret. They are cursed, and different spirits of the Chinese zodiac possess each family member. While agreeing to help keep their secret, Tōru also attempts to help find a way to break the curse.


Want even more manga goodness? Check out our lists of the most influential manga and the best manga overall. And if that’s still not enough, our manga archives are always open for you to peruse to your heart’s content!

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