10 Mangaka Who Became Famous With Their Debut Manga

Creating a hit manga is incredibly hard. There are tons of mangaka who spend years crafting the best story that they can, and only gain a decent amount of mainstream popularity. However, there are some rare mangaka out there who manage to strike it big with their debut work. Their first mainstream manga becomes a viral sensation that is read by fans all over the world. And if you often read manga, chances are you’ve heard their name, or at least have read their work, before. These are 10 mangaka who became famous with their debut manga.

10. Kafka Asagiri and Harukawa Sango with Bungou Stray Dogs

Like most titles on this list, Bungou Stray Dogs achieved major mainstream success when its anime adaptation hit the world. The manga was first published back in 2012, and received an anime adaptation in 2016. It became an instant hit, and fans popped up all over the world. Needless to say, a successful anime adaptation also boosted the sales of the original manga.

As you might’ve probably noticed, Bungou Stray Dogs was created by the joint forces of Kafka Asagiri as the writer, and Harukawa Sango as the artist. Bungou Stray Dogs was the first major work for both of them, and it is still thriving till this day. As a matter of fact, there are several spin-off manga and light novels that center around different characters from the main series, and all of them receive a decent amount of success.

That being said, while the artist has been working exclusively on Bungou Stray Dogs, the writer has worked on a couple different projects throughout the years, teaming up with different artists. Unfortunately, none of those manga have received as much attention as Bungou Stray Dogs. Not only that, but some of those projects, such as a manga called Shionomiya Ayane wa Machigaenai, have actually been canceled with less than 5 volumes ever published.

9. ONE with One-Punch Man

The success story of ONE is actually one of the most heartwarming and inspiring stories in manga. As it turns out, he was merely drawing the story of One-Punch Man and posting it on his website as a hobby. The art leaves a lot to be desired, but the story is unbelievably absurd and hilarious. It didn't take a long time for people to notice this carefree-looking manga, with one of them being manga artist extraordinaire, Yuusuke Murata. Not long after, both of them decided to collaborate and remake the One-Punch Man manga under the banner of Shueisha’s Young Jump.

One-Punch Man instantly became a worldwide success. Yuusuke Murata is actually no stranger to success, either. After all, his early work, Eyeshield 21, had received a decent amount of popularity as well. To ONE, however, One-Punch Man was his first taste of stardom. What’s even more impressive is the fact that he went on to create another hit manga called Mob Psycho 100 while One-Punch Man was still at the height of its popularity. So now, ONE has two ongoing manga at the same time that have become massive hits all over the world.

8. Hideaki Sorachi with Gintama

Ever since Hideaki Sorachi published Gintama back in 2003, the fans have embraced it as one of the best humorous manga ever made. Its comedy, parody, satire, action, and just the sheer amount of absurdity of the story and characters are the things that made Gintama so unique and different from other manga that had come before or after it. And when it was adapted into an anime in 2006, its popularity exploded to every corner of the world, and kept on growing even after Sorachi published its last chapter in 2019.

Looking back on how successful Gintama truly was, it’s honestly quite amazing when you think about the fact that it is Hideaki Sorachi’s first ever major manga title. Interestingly enough, Sorachi never really tried to create anything other than Gintama. Sure, the idea may not have entered his mind while he was still working on the series, but even now, several years after the manga ended, he still hasn't written a new series. It’s unclear whether he will drop a new manga in the near future, or maybe he is already satisfied with Gintama as his one and only legacy. One thing is for sure, the fans are still reading Gintama and watching the old episodes till this day.

7. Sui Ishida with Tokyo Ghoul

An R-rated story filled with gore, violence, and blood is nothing new to the manga world. However, Tokyo Ghoul is different in the way that it never hesitates to take the readers into dark places, and how it weaves complex stories filled with an intricate web of character interactions. Not only that, it also has a unique mainstream appeal that makes manga readers and anime watchers alike flock to it en masse.

At the height of its popularity in 2014, Sui Ishida decided to end Tokyo Ghoul, with one of the biggest cliffhangers in the history of manga. And then, just a month later, he started the sequel of Tokyo Ghoul called Tokyo Ghoul:re. And just like its predecessor, the fans were patiently waiting for every chapter and every volume of Tokyo Ghoul:re. Although they’re technically two different titles, most fans consider Tokyo Ghoul and Tokyo Ghoul:re as one single manga that is separated into two parts, sort of like Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Super.

That being said, while Tokyo Ghoul and Tokyo Ghoul:re were highly successful, the same cannot be said about Ishida’s new manga, Choujin X. For some reason, people just aren’t as excited with this new one as they were with Tokyo Ghoul. It might be too soon to tell though, because Choujin X hasn’t received its anime adaptation yet. Maybe once people can see it on screen, that’s when Choujin X will finally attain the same height as its predecessor.

6. Kentaro Miura with Berserk

In more ways than one, Berserk and Tokyo Ghoul are actually quite similar. After all, both are manga that tell predominately dark stories involving things and concepts that some people might feel uncomfortable reading. The main difference between the two, however, is the fact that Berserk never tries to appeal to a mainstream audience.

The late Kentaro Miura was a perfectionist who simply wanted to write the best story that he could, and draw it as best as he could. This perfectionism is one of the reasons why every page of Berserk is a work of art, and also why the publication of this manga was often delayed. The fans knew and loved that dedication that he gave to his craft, and always patiently waited for every new chapter.

Throughout his life, Kentaro Miura dedicated his heart and soul in order to make Berserk the best it could be. That is why he didn’t really have the time to work on any other long projects. We got some short stories that he wrote before and during Berserk, but till this day, Berserk remains his most successful work.

5. Hajime Isayama with Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack On Titan)

Starting from this entry, we’ll talk about manga that have become a worldwide phenomenon with thousands, if not millions, of fans all over the globe. The first debut manga that deserves to be mentioned in this prestigious list is none other than Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan. Truth be told, when the manga first published back in 2009, the manga only enjoyed a rather modest success. It wasn’t until the anime hit the screen in 2013 that it was transformed into a worldwide hit.

Hajime Isayama’s gritty story comes alive thanks to Wit Studio’s stellar animation. From the dynamic movement of the characters to the terrifying expressions of the Titans, audiences were captivated by every aspect of this series. Needless to say, the success of the anime adaptation translated directly into the increasing popularity of the manga as well. The fans who couldn’t wait for the next season of the anime chose to read the manga in order to satisfy their curiosity, which further boosted the sales of the original manga.

Attack on Titan ended its story in 2021, but since the anime is still ongoing, people still flock to the manga till this day. As for the fans who wish to read the next big thing from Hajime Isayama, well, we still need to be patient for now, because there hasn’t been any announcement about any new series from this beloved mangaka.

4. Gege Akutami with Jujutsu Kaisen

Similar to Attack on Titan, Jujutsu Kaisen also took the world by storm when its anime aired back in 2020. Unlike Attack on Titan, however, Jujutsu Kaisen manga actually enjoyed quite a successful run before it received an anime adaptation. That is why it already had quite a lot of fans even before the anime aired its first episode.

That being said, the anime is certainly a catalyst that took Jujutsu Kaisen to an even greater height. After all, the world was in the middle of a global distress at the time, so the arrival of a new and thrilling anime series like Jujutsu Kaisen was a much needed distraction for anime watchers around the world.

Jujutsu Kaisen is Gege Akutami’s first big series, and it received thunderous praise and support by the fans all around the globe. And since the manga is still on going till this day, the mangaka is seeming to dedicate themselves to this series with no plan to create any new manga series in the near future.

3. Koyoharu Gotouge with Kimetsu no Yaiba (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba)

If there’s any manga from the current generation that managed to achieve the same height as the best of the Big Three, then it has to be Koyoharu Gotouge’s Demon Slayer. It’s true that just like the other manga on this list, Demon Slayer also enjoyed a healthy boost of popularity once the anime adaptation aired all over the world. What makes Demon Slayer different from the rest, however, is the massive difference in popularity that this series got due to the anime adaptation.

Before the anime came out, Demon Slayer couldn’t even break into Oricon’s Top 10 manga of the year. However, the year after the anime aired its first season, Demon Slayer suddenly sat on top of the chart as the number 1 manga in Japan, and it continued to perform well for as long as the anime stayed on the air.

Not only that, the movie adaptation of the Mugen Train arc also broke the record as the highest-grossing film of all time within the Japanese Domestic Market, which further propelled the sale of the original manga. No matter how you look at it, it’s not an exaggeration to say that Demon Slayer is one of the most popular manga in this generation.

One thing worth noting, however, is the fact that compared to the other titles on this list, Demon Slayer can be said to be a rather short-lived series, which is rather odd for a successful shounen manga. As a matter of fact, most of those record-breaking numbers happened after the series ended in May 2020. So the fans of the series have actually been waiting for quite some time for a new series from Koyoharu Gotouge, but alas, there’s no news about that yet.

2. Masashi Kishimoto with Naruto

There are certain manga that managed to gain legendary status due to the sheer power of their popularity and influence. There’s only a handful of manga that can claim that status, and every single one of them is destined to be remembered for decades to come. One of those manga is Naruto.

Whether you like this series or not, nobody can deny the fact that this manga is a global phenomenon that has been part of the childhood of thousands, if not millions, of people around the globe. From an average office worker, to a world-famous musician, to a Mixed Martial Arts Champion, you can find Naruto fans in every walk of life.

The fact that it was actually Masashi Kishimoto’s major debut makes it even more impressive. Add to that the fact that he managed to keep the series ranked near the top during its 15 year run that spanned across 72 volumes is nothing sort of mind blowing.

Similar to Sui Ishida, Masashi Kishimoto also continued the legacy of Naruto with its sequel, Boruto. Since this new series is a direct continuation of the behemoth that is Naruto, lots of people are naturally attracted to it. However, it remains to be seen whether or not it will get to enjoy the same level of popularity and influence as the original.

1. Eiichiro Oda with One Piece

If it’s hard for a new manga that is published today to replicate the success of Naruto, it’s nearly impossible for them to achieve the same level of popularity as One Piece. Because while One Piece can be said to have relatively the same amount of fame as Naruto had in its heyday, there is one simple thing that makes this series stand at a different height than its fellow Big 3, which is the fact that it is still going strong till this day.

After more than 25 years in publication, with content spanning across 1000+ chapters, 100+ volumes, 1000+ episodes, and glorious achievements such as the Guinness World Record for the most copies published by a single author, One Piece is still reigning in the top 5 of Oricon’s Best Selling chart for the last ten years, only slipping into the top 10 once in 2021.

Crafting a hit manga is difficult, having a long-lasting series in a highly competitive space like shounen manga is incredibly hard, and although it’s possible to create a hit manga with your debut work, as proven by this list, it is still not something that you can purposely aim for. With One Piece, however, Eiichiro Oda managed to do all three of them at the same time. At this point, it’s not even an exaggeration to say that One Piece is the most successful manga in history.

Since Oda-sensei himself has said that One Piece still has a couple more years to go, he will continue to focus his mind on this series with little to no plan for creating other manga. However, we can safely assume that One Piece will be Eiichiro Oda’s greatest and only masterpiece. Because while he may craft other manga after One Piece, it’s nearly impossible for him to create another manga that can dominate the industry for more than 25 years like One Piece.

Final Thoughts

This list represents some of the mangaka who managed to strike gold with their first major work. And whether they proved to be a one-hit wonder or ended up crafting the most successful manga of all time, one thing is for sure - none of them set out to achieve such a level of success.

Maybe it is because they got lucky, maybe it is due to their hard work, or maybe everything happened to line up in the universe in order to give them such blessings. We don’t know the exact reasons behind their success, but we can only hope that there are more mangaka who can achieve similar levels of success in the future.

Do you know any other mangaka that deserve to be on this list? If you do, let us know in the comment section below.

Tokyo-Ghoul-wallpaper 10 Mangaka Who Became Famous With Their Debut Manga


Author: Harry

Harry is a manga addict first and freelance writer second. While he hasn’t read every manga under the sun, he has read an unhealthy amount of Shounen and Seinen manga. When he’s not writing in Honey’s Anime, you can find him in his personal blog: MangaDigest.com.

Previous Articles