Manga, also known as Japanese comics, first began in the late 18th century but soon grew in popularity following the growth of American comics. Today, the manga business stands as one of the most prominent entertainment mediums in the world.
The best-selling manga series of all time have copies sold in the tens and hundreds of millions. Monumental best-selling manga series like Astro Boy and Sazae-san paved the way for newer entries on this list, like Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba and more. These popular series stand out as some of the most recommended manga in history.
1. One Piece (1997-Present)
The unstoppable juggernaut One Piece from legendary creator Eiichiro Oda has a record-breaking number of sales and no intention of stopping anytime soon. The story of Monkey D. Luffy and his journey to find the mysterious One Piece and become the king of the pirates has sold about 520 million copies.
2. Dragon Ball (1984-1995)
The monumental action series about the alien boy, Goku, who comes to Earth, only ran for about 11 years. However, it sold approximately 300 million copies thanks to its beloved anime adaptation and classic fight sequences, making it the second-best-selling manga ever.
3. Golgo 13 (1968-Present)
This manga series has immense popularity in Japan, even if it doesn’t quite reach the same level of fame in the rest of the world. It follows the quiet hitman Golgo 13 as he takes on various assassination missions. Its lengthy ongoing run has resulted in about 300 million copies sold so far.
4. Detective Conan/Case Closed (1994-Present)
This ongoing manga series often feels like the Japanese family-friendly version of Sherlock. It follows a master detective stuck in the body of an elementary school student as he solves mysterious cases. Its 104 volumes and counting sold more than 270 million copies.
5. Doraemon (1969-1996)
This cutesy series about a boy named Nobito and his robot pal Doraemon has a classic serial comedic drama styling to it. Each chapter follows the duo as they deal with a new ridiculous futuristic gadget and problem. It sold about 250 million copies.
6. Naruto (1999-2014)
Many people know the popular anime series about a ninja orphan boy who saves his world, but its manga source also amassed immense success during its publication. The series and its 72 volumes reached about 250 million copies.
7. Slam Dunk (1990-1996)
This basketball series succeeds in its genre better than any other sports manga out there. It only ran for about six years, but its sales then and after reached about 170 million copies in total. This manga remains so popular that it still sells new copies through reprints.
8. KochiKame: Tokyo Beat Cops (1976-2016)
This serial comedy series follows a police officer in Tokyo and the shenanigans he gets into on the daily as he patrols around his small police station in town. It has a light-hearted approach with tons of random antics throughout its 40 years of publication. It sold around 156 million copies during its time.
9. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (2016-2020)
This dark fantasy action series stands out as one of the newest entries on this list, but it skyrocketed to fame and success in only a few years. It tells the story of Tanjiro, a boy who trains to slay demons and get revenge for his dead family and demon sister. It has a whopping 150 million copies and counting in a far shorter time than any other series here.
10. Crayon Shin-chan (1990-Present)
This children’s manga series tells the story of the 5-year-old boy Shin and the chaos he gets into on a daily basis. It focuses on him, his friends, and his family. It has some magical moments as he imagines whacky scenarios and thrilling adventures. Its simplicity worked well, with around 148 million copies in the wild.
11. Attack on Titan (2009-2021)
This beloved action series follows a young boy named Eren and his quest to vanquish the disturbing, hulking Titan creatures who destroyed his home. Its serious tone, intense gore, and frequent surprise character deaths led to around 140 million copies in its time.
12. Oishinbo (1983-2014)
Oishinbo, or The Gourmet, focuses on a food critic who goes on a journey across Japan to taste various dishes and come up with the ultimate culinary menu. Its unique approach and dramatic food-driven stories garnered 135 million copies in its time. The series has an indefinite hiatus right now, with a potential for a return someday.
13. Bleach (2001-2016)
This action series follows Ichigo, a boy who becomes cursed with powers similar to the Grim Reaper. He fights against other reapers, travels to ghost worlds, and helps spirits move into the afterlife. It sold about 130 million copies in its lifetime.
14. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (1987-Present)
This ongoing manga series tells the story of a family with various protagonists taking over during its nine-story arcs and counting. It has a rich art style with deep, dark borders around the characters and colorful action. Its passionate fan base helped it reach 120 million volumes and counting.
15. Astro Boy (1952-1968)
Astro Boy came from the brilliant manga creator Osamu Tezuka, who helped create the modern manga style. This series about a robot boy and his creator has such a heart-warming and whimsical style. Its legendary status in the medium helped it reach 100 million copies sold.
16. Fist of the North Star (1983-1988)
This manga series follows a man named Kenshiro in a post-apocalyptic future where he uses his mastery of martial arts to fight back against gangs and warlords in the desolate world. Its stylish nature has helped it reach about 100 million copies so far.
17. Hajime no Ippo (1989-Present)
This story begins with Ippo, a high school boxing star, as he trains to become one of the best in the world. The journey chronicles his life as he loses to rivals, wins vital matches, and secures championships. It has almost 100 million copies and counting.
18. The Kindaichi Case Files (1992-Present)
This manga series has about 100 million volumes sold worldwide. It focuses on a high school detective who solves murders and other mystery cases for fun while he tries to live up to the legacy of his world-famous detective grandfather.
19. Kingdom (2006-Present)
This fascinating ongoing manga takes place during the Warring States period in China from the perspective of historical military general Li Xin. Its intense drama, twists, and battles ensured it reached about 100 million copies so far.
20. Touch (1981-1986)
This fascinating sports manga series blends together elements of romance and baseball with its love triangle premise. It follows a younger twin brother who sits in the shadow of his famous baseball-playing brother. They both battle against each other to prove themselves to the childhood friend they both love. It sold around 100 million volumes.
21. Captain Tsubasa (1981-Present)
This ongoing sports manga follows the titular Tsubasa as he helps his friends and football (soccer) team grow. Fans see the student go through struggles, lose matches, deepen his bond with his teammates, and succeed. It has 90 million copies in circulation.
22. Sazae-san (1946-1974)
This series remains by far the oldest on this list and one of the most essential manga series of all time. It has a nostalgic approach, following Sazae, a Japanese wife, and her daily adventures. It has such a grounded approach to its storytelling about appreciating the smaller things in life.
While its anime adaptation exists as the longest-running animated series of all time, the manga also has immense success, with around 86 million copies sold.
23. Baki the Grappler (1991-Present)
This action series tells the story of a high schooler who fights in hand-to-hand combat against opponents. He has no problem putting his very life on the line to prove his power over someone else, leading to thrilling fights. The ongoing series has sold about 85 million copies and counting.
24. My Hero Academia (2014-Present)
This superhero action manga series feels close to its end but it remains one of the most popular of all time. My Hero Academia feels like Japan’s take on Marvel and even seems to take place in the same universe.
It follows a boy named Deku who starts out with no superpowers but soon gets them through the help of a mentor and then uses his growing strength to become the greatest superhero in Japan. Its emotional moments and broad appeal helped it sell more than 85 million copies and counting.
25. Akira (1982-1990)
Many people know the ground-breaking and instrumental cyberpunk anime film from 1988, Akira. But it based itself on a manga series, which began in 1982. It follows the same story about a biker who gains supernatural powers shaping his world and relationships.
Akira’s sales figures remain a bit of a mystery, but estimations have it around 10 million. However, its older production could mean it has much more than that over several decades.