Manga is rarely the place many people look to explore theology. Nevertheless, manga often explores the relationship between man and gods. Sometimes these gods bear striking similarities to the characters found in biblical and holy texts; other times, they are beings with powers beyond the limits of human comprehension.
We're not having a discussion on manga theology but thought it would be interesting to take a look at the gods of manga and see how they compare. The gods who made it in this list have proven themselves to encompass what one thinks of when they imagine a god. It's not for mere mortals to judge gods but judged them we have. Here are the Top 10 God Characters in Manga.
10. Afro God from Goodnight Punpun (Oyasumi Punpun)
- Authors: Asano, Inio
- Genres: Drama, Slice of Life, Psychological, Seinen
- Volumes: 13
- Published: March 2016
Goodnight Punpun tells the story of Punpun, while also focusing on the human condition. In many cases, this is synonymous with pain and struggle. For PunPun the persona he calls on, literally, is his personal god, God. With the call "Dear God, dear God, tinkle tinkle hoy," PunPun is able to summon God to ask for help. Although PunPun calls God for advice, he very rarely gets a straight answer.
God seems to be omnipresent often appearing to Punpun in the most like places. It's later realized that God is actually the manifestation of Punpun's dark thoughts, which explains why he only shows up in Punpun's times of need. Although Punpun manages to kill off his god, God later appears, implying that perhaps he isn't just Punpun's dark thoughts and is, in fact, a great divine being as he claims to be.
9. God from A Catastrophe Report (Shuumatsu no Tenki)
- Authors: Sakumoto, Kenji (Story) & Tsuha, Keiichi (Art)
- Genres: Drama, Horror, Supernatural, Seinen
- Volumes: 3
- Published: July 13, 2015
Toru Kurokawa is a 25-year-old with his life on the fast track to go nowhere. He can't hold a job, can't get a girlfriend, and has no strong desires in his life, whatsoever. One night in a dream, he is visited by a person in a hood that gives him the power to erase people whom he deems unnecessary. After erasing 100 people, Toru is teleported to a white world where he finds the people he erased, as well as the person who gave him the power.
Toru learns that he was chosen to sort 100 people who he thought were necessary. There in the white world, the hooded person lets everyone know that in 7 days the Earth will be flooded, and, as long as they are holding the ticket given to them, they will be allowed to board the arc that will take them to the new world. Though not called a god by name, the mystery person displays many of the powers and abilities commonly associated with gods, namely his ability to manipulate time and space and most importantly the power to determine the fate of the world.
8. Hades from Olimpos
- Authors: Aki
- Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Josei, Philosophical
- Volumes: 2
- Published: November 16, 2007
Olimpos is an interesting manga that explores the difference between the Greek Gods and the humans they look over. Taken by his immense beauty, Apollo decides to kidnap Ganymedes, the prince of Troy, and lock him in a heavenly garden with no way out. During his time in the garden, Ganymedes comes in contact with several of Olympus' gods, interacting mainly with Apollo, Zeus, and the god of the underworld, Hades.
Olimpos explores the difference and similarities between the two races. Hades, however, manages to stand out from the crowd for several reasons. One of Hades most god-like features is his appearance: Hades' appearance is a reflection of the heart of the person who looks at him. Due to this, he can appear in many different ways, ranging from simply having horns to being an unearthly beast.
Olimpos is a very philosophical manga, with the gods and their "pet," Ganymedes, engaging in deep conversations. Hades is often the god that is able to provide the most concrete and clear answers or questions that will help to further their discussion.
7. Themis from Saint Seiya Episode G
- Authors: Kurumada, Masami (Story) & Okada, Megumu (Art)
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Shounen
- Volumes: 20
- Published: December 19, 2002
Saint Seiya is a classic manga that sees mystical warriors, the Saints, aid Athena in her battle with the other Olympian gods, who aim to dominate the earth. Saint Seiya Episode G is a prequel manga, which features the Saints going up against the Titans, the original Greek gods. During their battle, the Saints do battle with Themis, the Titaness of Justice and Righteous Conduct. A truly great god must be just, which Themis surely is.
Themis' power is her ability to use people's sins to judge them. When Themis dishes out justice, she doesn't make it quick. Instead, she prefers to have her enemies die slowly so that they can truly feel the power of Justice. Themis judges based on her perspective as a god, and as such, how grave a sin is and the severity of its punishment, are all decided by her. A titan able to dish out judgement as she sees fit, Themis is definitely a god who deserves utter reverence.
6. Marie Hankinton from Karakasa no Saien
- Authors: Hikagi, Tatsuhiko
- Genres: Comedy, Romance, Harem, Seinen
- Volumes: 2
- Published: December 19, 2007
Karakasa no Saien tells the story of Rokusuke Ibusuki as he works at a magical inn owned by a goddess, Marie Hankinton. Marie isn't just a goddess in name, either: she is your classic deity. Centuries before the events of Karakasa no Saien, Marie regular accepted female virgins as sacrifices brought to her by the people of the land. Marie is able to eat her virgin sacrifices whole.
It's not a good idea to go against a god or to go back on your word to one, either. Hoping to get out of his contract at the inn with Marie, Rokusuke offers a girl Otome as his virgin sacrifice. Rokusuke tries to back out of the sacrificial ritual, but it's very rare that you can take back a sacrifice to a god.
5. Animus from Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer (Hoshi no Samidare)
- Authors: Mizukami, Satoshi
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Seinen
- Volumes: 10
- Published: June 30, 2005
Animus isn't a god, per se. He is a powerful esper who considers himself to be a god. The powers he has, however, allow him to put himself on the on the same level of a god. Animus has control over space-time, being able to teleport himself or anything in any place or time in the space-time continuum. Animus is able to hide himself and anything from existence and manipulate manner as he sees fit.
Animus has shown the ability to create life also, as he has created several golems for the sole purpose of serving him. Animus is virtually immortal, only capable of dying at the hands of someone just as powerful as he.
4. God from Demon Lord Dante (Maou Dante), Devilman, & Devilman Lady
- Authors: Nagai, Go
- Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Shounen, Supernatural
- Volumes: 3
- Published: January 1, 1971
Devilman tells the story of Akira Fudo who is chosen for his pure heart to be possessed by a demon, in order to be humanity's sole hope against the demons that hope to eradicate the human race. Its spinoff, Devilman Lady, and the manga that inspired it, Demon Lord Dante all share the same universe and thus the same god who caused the events of the series.
Like a true deity, the God of Devilman series rarely makes an appearance for himself, often sending his warrior angels in his stead. The God of Devilman is shown to be a truly powerful and fearsome god, as he created humans and demons, a sub-race, which he viewed to be abominations. God has shown his power several times throughout the series, the most common being his ability to create a time loop, used several times as a punishment, often causing those subjected to it to relive moments or lifetimes of suffering endlessly. God has also shown his power and, perhaps, mercy when he turned all of Moscow into salt, to prevent a demonic plan to destroy the world.
3. YHWH from Angel Sanctuary (Tenshi Kinryouku)
- Authors: Yuki, Kaori
- Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Shoujo
- Volumes: 20
- Published: February 1995
Angel Sanctuary is a fantasy shojo manga about Setsuna Mudo, a high school who learns that he is the reincarnation of the angel, Alexiel. In an attempt to reunite with his sister, Setsuna travels to Heaven and Hell and eventually goes up against YHWH. YHWH had sentenced Alexiel to continually be reincarnated and live a life of suffering due to his rebellion.
It is revealed that YHWH is a formless being that created the entire universe in order to test out an equation. As such, YHWH is shown to care very little about the suffering of humans, nor that of the angels, most of which was caused by his disappearance. YHWH shows himself to be all powerful by destroying humans, demons, and angels. YHWH is eventually defeated, but the fact that the universe is not destroyed along with him suggests that he, as all gods should be, is unable to be killed.
2. Idea of Evil from Berserk
- Authors: Kentaro Miura
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Supernatural, Psychological, Seinen
- Volumes: Ongoing
- Published: August 25, 1989
Berserk is a dark fantasy manga that follows Guts, a lone mercenary, and Griffith, the leader of a band of mercenaries. Griffith is a great example of a fall from grace. Early in the story, Griffith is seen as a savior across the land, as he and his mercenaries helped to end the Hundred-Year War and bring peace to the land. After the departure of his trusted friend, Guts, Griffith engages in relations with the princess, which results in his imprisonment, torture, and lack of relevance.
Griffith eventually becomes the demon, Femto, as part of the God Hand, a group of demons who have affected the course of humanity. During this transformation into Femto, Griffith meets the Idea of Evil, also known as God. The Idea of Evil, tells Griffith that it was born of humans desire to understand their own suffering. Although the Idea of Evil was born of human's subconscious, it is responsible for what happens to all of humanity, including Griffith's life.
Idea of Evil's place as a god in manga is especially relevant on a meta level. Though, Idea of Evil was originally included in chapter 83 of Berserk, at the request of Miura, that chapter and mention of Idea of Evil have been removed from any subsequent reprints. As a result, the Idea of Evil's influence on the world of Berserk, existence, and overall canonicity is left to the reader to determine if they believe or not.
1. Zenou from Dragon Ball Super
- Authors: Toriyama, Akira
- Genres: Action, Comedy, Shounen
- Volumes: Ongoing
- Published: June 20, 2015
Don't be fooled by his short stature and cuteness. Zenou is the king of all things, the god of gods, and the most powerful being in all of the Dragon Ball series. In all of Dragon Ball, one's strength is generally determined by their skills in combat. Despite not having or showing any combat ability, Zenou is undeniably the strongest being. He is so strong, that all gods, including Beerus and Champa, the Gods of Destruction, are afraid of him and cower at the mere mention of his name.
Zenou is said to have created all 12 universes in the Dragon Ball multiverse. In fact, there were once 18 universes but he is said to have destroyed six of them out of anger. Due to his ability and nonchalant attitude in regards to destroying entire universes, he is both revered and feared by all other gods. His power is so great that he is able to destroy an entire universe, including a being granted immortality by the super dragon balls, effortlessly.
With the power to create and destroy anything, including entire universes with no effort, Zenou establishes his worthiness of the title of "god among gods" and the top god in all of manga.
Whether the gods of myths and ancient religions or new gods of awesome fantastical worlds, much different manga find their characters interacting with deities in one way or another. Often times the protagonists find themselves going up against the most powerful beings in the universe. Sometimes, they even find themselves befriending a god and fighting side by side. One thing is for certain, however, and that is that these gods are some of the most powerful, feared, and impressive characters to grace the pages of manga.
Who's your favorite manga god? Let us know in the comments below!