Monsters and demons are powerful creatures and to fight them sometimes it takes a monster to fight a monster. We have, however, think it's better to have something, someone who is part human to take up the task. We don’t want to face the strongest amongst monsters and watch them obliterate all of mankind, right? That being said, there are a lot of titles out there focusing on the idea of merging monstrosity and humanity. The manga world has approached the creation of these hybrid hero's in a multitude of ways from subtle and creative to more direct angles. Here are our best picks of manga series with half-human, half-monster protagonists.
10. All You Need Is Kill
- Mangaka: Takeshi Obata, Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Ryousuke Takeuchi
- Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Military, Seinen
- Publisher: Young Jump
- Published: January 2014 - May 2014
All You Need Is Kill follows the story of a recruit named Keiji Kiriya. The world is facing a grave threat from monsters known as mimics. Soldiers like Kiriya are being recruited to fight off these monsters. But when Kiriya is first deployed, he finds himself facing an opponent far beyond what he’s capable of defeating. He and his entire unit are wiped out. But instead of going to the afterlife, he wakes up a few days prior to his death.
All You Need Is Kill offers a unique ability to the half-human, half-monster trope. Instead of gaining incredible strength, Kiriya just gains the ability to travel back in time. He doesn’t get anything but his memories, sending him to an endless hell. If he wants to actually beat his enemies, he can only repetitively die and figure out how to surpass his previous death.
9. Kemono Jihen
- Mangaka: Shou Aimoto
- Genres: Action, Shounen, Supernatural
- Publisher: Jump SQ
- Published: December 2016 - Ongoing
A rural village has a mystery, the appearance of animal corpses, they decide to hire Inugami. Inugami is a special detective who solves this kind of case. During his investigation, he meets a bullied boy Kabane. He procures the boy’s help, then slowly unveils the mystery. It turns out that Kabane is the culprit behind it. However, he isn’t purposefully doing it. He unconsciously transforms into a ghoul and slays the animals. Inugami is then forced to put a bullet on his head.
Kemono Jihen’s protagonist became half-human and half-monster through the most natural way. His parents are a human and a ghoul, making him a half-ghoul, half-human hybrid. Because of this, Kabane is impossible to kill. That said, he gets gored, set ablaze, and mutilated most of the time. What’s great is that he doesn’t even bat an eye about it.
8. Kaijuu 8-gou (Kaiju No. 8)
- Mangaka: Naoya Matsumoto
- Publisher: VIZ Media
- Genres: Action, Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi, Shounen
- Published: July 2020 - Ongoing
Kaiju No. 8 is set in a world wherein giant monsters similar to Godzilla regularly appear. But instead of Ultraman or the Power Rangers, there is a special unit to obliterate them. The protagonist once wanted to join the troops, but he always manages to fail. He then settles into the aftercare unit. However, a new recruit changes his views forever. While trying to flee from a Kaiju, both of them manage to get hurt and are sent into a hospital. That’s when the protagonist is possessed by a Kaiju, allowing him to turn into a Kaiju at will.
Kaiju No. 8 features interesting action scenes that remind us of the classics like Ultraman, Godzilla, and even Power Rangers. However, it’s not just a reiteration of the past. The series has great artwork, as well as quirky humor, which makes it a truly great read.
- Mangaka: Muneyuki Kaneshiro, Kensuke Nishida
- Publisher: Big Comic Spirits
- Genres: Mystery, Drama, Horror, Supernatural, Seinen
- Published: February 2017 to Ongoing
During one seemingly normal day, a bunch of frogs rains down from the sky. Then, they went inside human beings. Yes, they didn’t have to be swallowed or whatnot. They literally just got absorbed from the skin. Everybody who got possessed by the frogs turned into monsters following the human’s desires. However, the protagonist only gets infected by a tadpole and not an adult frog. This allows him to gain supernatural abilities while retaining his sanity.
Monsters focused on realizing their desires, Jagaaaaaan can easily get into the mature side of things. It can get a bit heavy at times, but that’s far and in between. The action and story are interesting, although it may seem out of tangent at some moments.
- Mangaka: Q Hayashida
- Publisher: Gessan
- Genres: Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Horror, Seinen
- Published: November 2000 - September 2012
The world is being run by magic users, while creatures who look different are thrown and outcast into the cesspool that is the Hole. The Hole is littered by other hellish denizens like the protagonist, who is a bipedal caiman. Trying to restore his life to normal, he uses his immunity to magic to hunt the pesky magic users and seek the truth.
With a cast filled with creatures that seemed to have come straight from hell, Dorohedoro is surprisingly centered on comedy. Although the action is also top-notch, the seemingly dark story is actually quite easy to follow. Interestingly, Dorohedoro isn’t like any other manga. Its originality is unquestionable, making us admire its mangaka more.
5. No Guns Life
- Mangaka: Tasuku Karasuma
- Publisher: Ultra Jump
- Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Seinen
- Published: September 2014 to Ongoing
Humanity doesn’t stop at any length when it comes to increasing military might. It has come to a point where people are being modified into weapons and calls them Extends. No Guns Life’s protagonist gets his head turned into a gun. The catch is that he can only be fired by someone behind him, which is taken up by a girl he has taken in. He doesn’t have any memory of his previous life, so he only works in cases concerning Extends.
No Guns Life’s greatest strength is the world it’s built-in. It’s been carefully built wherein even the finest details are taken into consideration. However, the characters and story may be quite confusing at first reading, but hey, that’s just a good reason to give it a second read.
- Mangaka: Sun Takeda
- Publisher: Young Magazine the 3rd
- Genres: Action, Mystery, Supernatural, Seinen
- Published: October 2015 - Ongoing
If you’re thinking No Guns Life’s protagonist has it bad, Gleipnir has something else to offer. The protagonist just one day wakes up in a fluffy body of what looked like a mascot. However, it has supernatural strength and senses. Despite such a state, he still retains his sanity. He does his best to live based on what his human morals dictate, but a psychopathic girl will be testing his mettle.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, Gleipnir features a lot of blood and gore. Thrown into the world of monsters, our protagonist’s sanity and morals are tested as a psychopath controls his body for survival.
3. Jujutsu Kaisen
- Mangaka: Gege Akutami
- Publisher: VIZ Media
- Genres: Action, Demons, Fantasy, Shounen, Supernatural
- Published: March 2018 - Ongoing
Cursed Energy is born through humans’ negative emotions. Too much Cursed Energy then gives rise to Curses. However, there are some humans who can control Cursed Energy, and they are called Jujutsu sorcerers. The strongest amongst the curses have already been sealed, and all his fingers are scattered. Jujutsu Kaisen’s protagonist then consumed one of his fingers, granting him the power to use Cursed Energy and fight Curses.
Jujutsu Kaisen has soared in popularity and is even considered as one of the best in its era. We can’t agree more. The series has an interesting lore, and the characters aren’t the typical idiotic shounen cast. Even the artwork has realistic proportions, making us turn each page with great awe.
2. Chainsaw Man
- Mangaka: Tatsuki Fujimoto
- Publisher: VIZ Media
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Demons, Shounen
- Published: December 2018 - December 2020
Forced to shoulder his father’s debt, Chainsaw Man’s titular protagonist goes to every length to pay off his debt. That includes selling everything he can sell, which interestingly includes his testicle. During one of his side-hustles, however, he becomes the prey of demons and gets his heart crushed. His pet demon decides to repay his kindness and turn into his heart, turning him into a chainsaw demon.
Chainsaw Man both has quirky humor and intense action. The series has multiple twists, which basically makes it really hard to predict. Even though it’s tagged as shounen, it borderline threads the line of seinen. It occasionally gets dark and deep, making it more interesting.
1. Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)
- Mangaka: Hajime Isayama
- Publisher: Kodansha Comics
- Genres: Action, Mystery, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Shounen, Super Power, Supernatural
- Published: September 2009 - Ongoing
Humanity has been forced to hide between a walled settlement. Naked, man-eating giants roamed the outsides of the wall. To fight these Titans, humanity has devised gears to help them maneuver mid-air. However, the peace gets disrupted when the outermost wall gets breached. Then, it’s further revealed that the protagonist of the series possesses the power to turn into a Titan.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Attack on Titan is a colossal success. The series has continuously topped sales and popularity ranking, and it continues to rise as the series reaches its conclusion. Admittedly, the series can get a bit heavy, especially when everything seems hopeless. But what can we expect from a series featuring humanity needing to fight for their survival by the day?
Monsters are often the bad guys in all kinds of stories. We can’t blame the writers. After all, monsters are often hideous and vile-looking. Of course, not every monster is bad. There are also series with good monsters as protagonists. But for the series on this list, it’s cool and refreshing seeing the protagonist obliterate the evil monsters. Saving humanity is just a bonus.