The 10 Best Manga Created by Women Writers
Post by guest contributor Hayk Saakian.
Japan has always been associated with manga (漫画). Manga are graphic novels that invaded not just Japan but the entire world as well. This immensely popular art medium has been adapted into Anime, movies, live-action TV series, and plays.
Though the industry is dominated by men, women have also had their share of success. Their works are not just confined in Shoujo manga (targeted at women), but they are also excelling in Shounen (targeted at men) as well. In this list, you will find the 10 best manga created by women!
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic by Shinobu Ohtaka
Shinobu Ohtaka gained fame from her Seinen (for young adult men) rom-com Sumomomo Momomo. However, what further boosted her career was the best-selling Shounen fantasy adventure Magi. This manga made a remarkable run in the Weekly Shounen Sunday from June 2009 to October 2017. It also had an anime adaptation with season one, Magi: Labyrinth of Magic, released in October 2012 and season two, Magi: The Kingdom of Magic, in October 2013. Due to its immense popularity, it also had a spin-off series, Magi: Adventure of Sinbad, released in April 2016.
Magi is set in a fantasy world that took massive inspiration from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, commonly known as the Arabian Nights. The story follows a boy named Aladdin who has mysterious magic and who is loved by Rukh, the energy needed to use magic in that world. With his friends Alibaba, Morgiana, and a powerful djinn named Uraltugo Noi Nueph or Ugo, Aladdin sets off to explore this expansive fantasy world.
D.Gray-man by Katsura Hoshino
D. Gray-man was written by Katsura Hoshino and was serialized in the Weekly Shōnen Jump in 2004. This manga has been so popular and well-loved by fans that it is still up and running. It also had a 103-episode anime adaptation in October 2006. Season two was released 10 years later in July 2016. The long delay was due to Hoshino’s health concerns.
D. Gray-man is set in a fantasy 19th century Victorian Era. The manga follows an exorcist named Allen Walker. Allen is an orphan who possesses both a cursed eye and a shard of Innocence. In this world where Demons roam, Innocence is humanity’s only weapon against evil. However, not everybody can use it; only compatible hosts can wield its power. Since Allen is a compatible host, he joins the Black Order, an organization that is made to protect the world from Akuma (Demons). The story will revolve around his adventures of personal redemption, friendship, and secrets that are bound to destroy the world.
Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa
Hiromu Arakawa’s iconic Fullmetal Alchemist is a manga that is well-loved around the world. The characters and world that she created are gripping thanks to Arakawa’s compelling narrative. This manga was serialized in Monthly Shōnen Gangan from July 2001 to June 2010. Its first anime adaptation was released in October 2003, before a darker and more faithful-to-the-manga anime adaptation was released in April 2009.
Fullmetal Alchemist follows the story of brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric. Their story starts with the death of their mother. Unable to come to terms with her sudden passing, they decide to bring her back to life using alchemy. However, this world is governed by the alchemical law of equivalent exchange. To gain something, you need to sacrifice something of equal value. Their attempt is disastrous, with Edward losing an arm and a leg andAlphonse losing his whole body. Together, they travel the world as alchemists to find a way to restore their bodies.
Inuyasha by Rumiko Takahashi
Rumiko Takahashi’s Inuyasha is one of the most iconic manga ever written. Serialized in Weekly Shounen Sunday in November 1996, Inuyasha has been a household name ever since. It also had an anime adaptation in October 2000. It gained such global popularity that it spawned four feature films and tons of merchandise. Takahashi also wrote Ranma 1/2, another popular manga that had an anime adaptation.
The story revolves around a young woman named Kagome. Her family watches over an old shrine with an ancient well. One day, Kagome falls into the well and finds herself transported to Sengoku-era Japan. In this world, she meets a demon-dog named Inuyasha, who has been imprisoned by her ancestor. The two adventure together to stop an evil entity that threatens to destroy the world.
Noragami by Adachitoka
Noragami has enjoyed popularity not just in Japan but overseas as well. This manga is written by Adachitoka, a pen name that jointly represents two women: Adachi, who draws character art, and Tokashiki, who is in charge of backgrounds. This manga started its successful run in Kodansha’s Monthly Shounen Magazine in January 2011. Due to its warm reception, it got an anime adaptation in January 2014.
The story follows a minor Shinto god named Yato. Since he is not that well known compared to other gods, he is working hard to climb up the god ladder by taking odd jobs answering prayers from mortals. However, things get interesting when he meets a mortal high-schooler named Hiyori Iki. Due to an accident, Hiyori finds herself owning a phantom body, and it’s up to Yato to fix everything—a tall task for a minor god with no shrine whatsoever.
Kuroshitsuji by Yana Toboso
Kuroshitsuji is a Victorian-inspired fantasy manga that is written by Yana Toboso. This manga made its debut in Gangan Comics’ Shounen manga in September 2006 and is still running today. Immensely popular among young adults, this manga has been adapted into multiple animer series. Season one was aired in October 2008, season two in 2010, and season three, titled Book of Circus, in July 2014. A two-part OVA titled Book of Murder was released in October 2014, and a movie adaptation titled Book of the Atlantic was released in January 2017.
Kuroshitsuji follows the story of a young noble called Ciel Phantomhive. Orphaned by a fire that killed his parents, Ciel takes over the Phantomhive estate and the role of Queen’s Lapdog at an early age. With a demon butler at his side named Sebastian Michaelis, Ciel embarks on a journey that leads to him to sell his soul to the devil to get revenge.
Cardcaptor Sakura by Clamp
Cardcaptor Sakura is a Japanese Shoujo manga written by an all-girls mangaka team called Clamp. This manga made its debut in Nakayoshi in May 1996 andspawned anime adaptations and even a crossover with xxxHOLIC and Tsubas Chronicles, both also written by Clamp.
The story revolves around Sakura Kinomoto, a grade-schooler who receives magical powers after she accidentally frees a set of magical cards. These cards were made by a powerful sorcerer called Clow Reed, and each card possesses immense power. Sakura must hurry and collect all the cards to prevent a catastrophe from befalling the world. With the help of Keroberos and her childhood friend Tomoyo, Sakura does everything in her power to stop the cards from running amok.
Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches by Miki Yoshikawa
Miki Yoshikawa’s Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches is a popular manga for young adults. This manga was serialized in Kodansha’s Weekly Shonen Magazine in February 2012. It also had an anime adaptation in 2015. Both the manga and anime were well received and earned praise in Japan and overseas.
Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches is a romantic comedy with fantasy elements. The story follows Ryuu Yamada, a delinquent high schooler who discovers that he can switch bodies with anyone he kisses. Together with an honor student and the student council vice president. Yamada must discover the reason for the strange phenomena happening in his school.
Ouran Highschool Host Club by Bisco Hattori
Ouran High School Host Club is a famous manga series written by Bisco Hatori. It was serialized in Hakusensha’s LaLa magazine in September 2002. Since it earned positive feedback, this manga was adapted into an anime series in 2006. It was so popular that it even spawned an audiobook and a live-action movie adaptation.
This manga follows the story of a scholarship student named Haruhi Fujioka at the exclusive Ouran High School. This school houses kids from wealthy families, and Haruhi is the only poor student on campus. However, her ordinary school life gets complicated when she becomes entangled with the enigmatic Ouran Host club. When an accident lands her $8 million in debt, Haruhi must conceal her gender and work as a host to pay back what she owes.
Blue Exorcist by Kazue Kato
Blue Exorcist is a dark action fantasy written by Kazue Kato. The manga was serialized in Jump Square in April 2009 and was very well received by fans. Due to its popularity, an anime adaptation made its debut in 2011.
The manga Blue Exorcist focuses on the half-demon Okumura Rin. Everything is set in motion when Rin’s adoptive father, Fujimoto Shiro, is killed. During this incident, Rin discovers he and his twin brother, Yukio, are sons of Satan. In order to destroy his own father, Rin vows to become an exorcist and continue his adoptive father’s legacy.
With all these great titles on this list, it is hard not to start binging them all at once. Imagine: you, with the best tablet for reading in one hand and a cup of hot cocoa in the other, getting lost in these stories. The world of manga is a huge and exciting one, so it’s not surprising if you haven’t read them all yet.
Before you get started, though, let us know what you thought of which manga made our list. ? Which are your favorites? Did any surprise you? Tell us more in the comments below!
Hayk Saakian is a software developer and an entrepreneur with years of experience working with clients in various industries. He is an expert in building mobile apps and scaling websites to thousands of requests per day. Visit his blog to read his in-depth tech analysis, gaming earbuds review and more.