También puedes leer este artículo en:Español
Martial Arts are an integral part of most action-oriented shounen and seinen manga. From real martial arts like Karate to fictional ones like the Water Stream Rock Smashing Fist from One-Punch Man, the art of hand to hand combat makes action sequences exhilarating for every reader.
This list is an updated top 10 list. As such, the entries will be entirely different from the old one. Be sure to check that one out for more good martial art manga recommendations. Not only that, but this list will also focus on manga that has been officially licensed in English. That means you can easily find any manga on this list in your favorite book store, or any other licensed distributor. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here is our list for the top 10 best martial arts manga.
10. One Punch Man
- Authors: ONE (Writer); Murata, Yuusuke (Artist)
- Genres: Action, Comedy, Sci-fi, Seinen
- Volumes: 23+
- Published: Sep 2015 - Present
One Punch Man tells the story of Saitama, a bald man who decides to become a hero as a hobby. In a society filled with heroes and monsters, not many people know about Saitama. But what everybody doesn't realize is the fact that Saitama is one of the strongest human beings on Earth who can kill any monster with just one single punch.
From laser beams to psychokinesis, there are all sorts of powers in One Punch Man, including martial arts. The most prominent martial artist in the series is the S-Class hero Bang, and his disciple, the hero hunter Garou. They both use Water Stream Rock Smashing Fist, which is a martial art that puts a heavy emphasis on rapid and fluid hand movements. In the hand of a master, this technique can be used to attack, parry, and even counter any attacks coming from all directions.
Martial arts may be just a small part of what makes One Punch Man such an exciting read. However, characters like Bang and Garou are such a crucial part of the overall story that it is hard to imagine One Punch Man without them. Not only that, but their fighting scenes also provide some of the most thrilling action sequences in the series.
9. Tokyo Revengers
- Authors: Wakui, Ken
- Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-fi, Shounen
- Volumes: 25+
- Published: Oct 2018 - Present
Takemichi Hanagaki is at the lowest point in his life when he hears about the death of his former girlfriend, Hinata Tachibana, at the hand of the notorious Tokyo Manji Gang. With a head full of regrets and heart broken to pieces, Takemichi suddenly finds himself going back 12 years in the past when the Tokyo Manji Gang was still in its infancy. Determined to change the future, Takemichi infiltrates this ruthless gang and tries to slowly destroy it from the inside.
Rather than proper martial arts, what Tokyo Revengers has to offer are lots of raw street brawls. There are few to no one-on-one duels in this series. Every problem is solved through street fights involving tens, if not hundreds, of people. In a way, this kind of street brawl can be said to be the reason why all kinds of martial arts were developed in the first place. This brutal display of grudges, anger, and vengeance is what makes the fighting scenes so interesting to see.
8. Dragon Ball
- Authors: Toriyama, Akira
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Shounen
- Volumes: 42
- Published: May 2003 - June 2006
Dragon Ball is the story about a boy named Son Goku who strives to be the strongest martial artist in the world. We follow his journey from when he’s a 12 year-old-boy who knows nothing about the world, all the way to when he becomes a grandfather and has fought the likes of aliens and androids.
Goku was raised by his grandfather to be a highly skilled martial artist, especially in something akin to Chinese Kung Fu. From Dragon Ball Z onwards, Goku often fights with his energy beams and special moves, but during his childhood times, we see him fighting against dangerous opponents purely using his martial arts skills.
As a matter of fact, there are multiple tournament arcs in the early part of Dragon Ball where we can see all kinds of martial artists, including Goku, battle it out to be the strongest fighter under heaven: the disciples of the Turtle School vs the Crane school, a world class boxer vs the strongest wrestler, and even something absurd like a monster vs an alien. Needless to say, those are some of the most fun storylines in the entire Dragon Ball series.
- Authors: Nakata, Haruhisa
- Genres: Action, Martial Arts, Sports, Seinen
- Volumes: 1
- Published: Sep 2019
In an alternate timeline where the world is run through the power of steam, the sport called boxing takes on an entirely different format. The fighters are equipped with steam-powered mechanical arms and they will fight until their opponents can no longer move.
Levius is a boy who lost his right arm in the previous war. He has always been fascinated with mechanical boxing. With the help of his uncle, Levius begins his journey as a boxer with his medical artificial right arm against boxers who use either custom-made or military-grade tech on both of their arms.
The fighting scenes are actually not that different from regular boxing. However, the additional explosiveness through the steam-powered mechanical arms turns the intensity of the fights all the way to eleven. Needless to say, the higher Levius climbs the ladder, the crazier the fighters and their powers get. And all of these incredible fights are rendered through the exquisite and highly detailed illustrations of Nakata-sensei.
6. Tenjou Tenge
Souichiro Nagi and his best friend, Bob Makihara, entered the Toudou Academy with the sole purpose of becoming the strongest people in the school. After all, Toudou Academy is the most famous martial arts school in the country.
Unfortunately, Nagi's dream is totally and instantly crushed by his seniors. So they decide to join the Juken club and receive proper martial arts training by one of the strongest fighters in the school, a bombshell girl called Maya Natsume. But the path to the top is way more difficult and dangerous than they ever thought.
Most characters in Tenjou Tenge use a mixture of street brawling and fictional martial arts. Nagi himself uses a blend of his street fighting and the Forged Needle attack that he learns from Maya. Each character uses a distinct style of martial arts and there are tons of one-on-one fights here. All of them start with a punch to the face and end up with broken walls and concrete.
- Authors: Kazuyoshi, Ishii (Writer); Hanamura (Artist)
- Genres: Action, Comedy, Martial Arts, Seinen
- Volumes: 8+
- Published: Jun 2022 - Present
Kazuyoshi Ishii, the former leader of the K-1 martial arts organization, is hit by a truck and dies. Just before he moves on to the higher place, a mysterious cat appears and offers him a second chance in life. Suddenly, Kazuyoshii wakes up in the body of a high school girl named Kei Ichinose who's been in a coma for the past three days.
After some digging, he finds out that Kei is the heir to a rundown karate dojo that was left by her late father, along with mountains of debt. So begins Kazuyoshi's effort to restore Ichinose dojo to its former glory, and also revitalize the nation's interest in karate at the same time.
Other than proper karate techniques, there are also countless insights into the Japanese martial arts business in Dollkara. But the highlight of the story is definitely the fighting scenes. From karate to kickboxing, Dollkara showcases all kinds of real martial arts fights, clashing in highly dynamic action sequences.
4. Abyss Rage
- Authors: Narita, Nariaki
- Genres: Action, Drama, Martial Arts, Shounen
- Volumes: 7
- Published: Jan 2019 - Feb 2021
Shinobu has been blind since birth, but his love for his childhood friend, Mikoto, motivates him to learn Mikoto's family martial arts, the "Mibuchi Toshujutsu". Mibuchi martial arts used to be a deadly technique that targeted vital areas like the throat, joints, and the genitals, but the one that Shinobu is learning is the non-lethal version of it. And thanks to his keen hearing, echolocation technique, and years of daily training, Shinobu finally earns the right to inherit the Mikoto dojo.
That is when a mysterious man appears, beats up Mikoto's father, and kidnaps her. The man then invites Shinobu to participate in his death game. He will be put into a prison and tasked to kill 100 men if he wants to save his girlfriend. Thus begins his deathly match against numerous dangerous martial artists within the lawless prison.
Other than the aforementioned Mibuchi martial art, most of the martial arts shown in Abyss Rage are real-life martial arts, such as Sumo and MMA. The fighting scenes alone are already exciting to watch, but the fact that Shinobu is a blind fighter creates a whole different dynamic in the action sequences.
3. Hinomaru Zumou (Hinomaru Sumo)
One of the most unique things about Sumo is the fact that there is actually no weight class division in this ancient martial art. Therefore, the bigger athlete will clearly have the upper hand against the smaller one. With a height of just around 5'2", Hinomaru Ushio is obviously not a good fit for the sport. However, his unwavering love and determination for Sumo allowed him to face opponents far bigger and stronger than he is using his own brand of fighting. And this is the tale of his journey to be the highest ranked sumo wrestler in the country, the Yokozuna.
Sumo is an ancient Japanese martial art, and for the most part, the rules and principles behind the sport remain relatively unchanged till this modern day. Hinomaru Sumo is great because it clearly lays out the path of somebody who strives to be a professional sumo wrestler - from school competitions all the way to being a professional athlete. Not only that, but every sumo fight in the series also looks so intense and thrilling. It truly is a one of a kind martial arts story.
2. Sun Ken Rock
- Authors: Boichi
- Genres: Action, Comedy, Romance, Seinen
- Volumes: 25
- Published: May 2020 - Jul 2021
Kitano Ken is a brutal guy who won't hesitate to plunge himself into any fight against anybody. But when it comes to the battle of love, he lost miserably. His first love, Yumin, flatly rejects his confession and returns to Korea in order to become a police officer.
Feeling that there's nothing in his life that is worth fighting for, he saves up and buys a one way ticket to South Korea to meet Yumin. One thing leads to another, and Ken ends up becoming the leader of a small gangster group and the protector of their neighborhood.
In a way, Sun Ken Rock is the mature version of Tokyo Revengers. After all, most of the action comes in the form of street brawls with fists and baseball bats. The only difference is in the scope and details. Every fighting scene in Sun Ken Rock is drawn with an exquisite level of detail. You can feel the movement through every line in the pages. It is brutal, ruthless, raw and also mesmerizing at the same time.
1. Kengan Ashura
- Authors: Sandrovich, Yabako (Writer); Daromeon (Artist)
- Genres: Action, Drama, Martial Arts, Shounen
- Volumes: 27
- Published: Oct 2021 - present
Ever since the Edo period in this world, every dispute between merchants and the noble factions has been settled through something called the Kengan fights. Each party chooses a fighter to represent their cause, and whoever wins the fight wins the dispute. This unique tradition has been kept alive all the way through to this modern time.
Tokita Ohma is the fighter that represents the Nogi Group conglomerate in a dispute over the ownership rights for a building. Compared to the other fighters from other companies, Tokita is a young man with an average build. And yet, he somehow always manages to overwhelm his opponents and beat them up until he finally finds the one monster that he's been looking for all his life.
Similar to other entries on this list, Kengan Ashura showcases a mixture of both real and fictional martial arts. All of them are presented in a highly exaggerated, yet somehow still believable and incredibly exciting way. From the unique premise to the creative and fast-paced action sequences, Kengan Ashura is definitely one of the best and most interesting martial arts manga to read.
Some of the manga on this list will give you the excitement and entertainment of high level martial arts fights, while some others may have the ability to awaken your interest into the rich world of martial arts. And that is a testament to the power of a well-written manga.
Have you read any of the manga on this list? Or maybe you know other titles that deserve a spot? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.