When you’ve read as much manga as we have, you start noticing repetitive tropes and cliche storylines. And of course, mangaka themselves are as much readers as they are artists, so every once in a while, you get a brilliant satirical take on a genre.
From tongue-in-cheek humor to outright black comedy, parodies come in all shapes and sizes. Some are deliberate with their references while others work on satirizing the foundational pillars of a genre. With that in mind, we’ve come up with a list of the very best parody manga and why you should read them!
Join us today on Honey’s Anime as we discuss the Top 10 Parody Manga!
10. One-Punch Man
- Authors: ONE (Story), Murata Yuusuke (Art)
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi, Seinen
- Volumes: 23+
- Published: September 2015—present
A super-powerful martial artist who’s bored because of how strong he’s gotten? No, we’re not talking about Goku, but his brilliant parody in Saitama from One-Punch Man. For those of us who grew up with Dragon Ball Z and other fighting-focused manga, One-Punch Man is a direct parody of broken power-scaling and ridiculous villain names.
We follow Saitama on his quest to be a “hero for fun” and find a reason to keep fighting, while he meets whole colorful cast of characters along the way. Saitama’s power to win a fight in a single punch is (mostly) consistent throughout the series, but he’s often undone by his own laziness.
The series also parodies Kamen Rider, with the bicyclist hero “Mumen Rider,” along with various other shounen tropes and series. But at its heart, our shiny-headed hero Saitama is the perfect parody of Goku and the 90s era of big-haired fighters.
9. Machigatta Ko Wo Maho Shojo Ni Shite Shimatta (Machimaho - I Messed Up and Made the Wrong Person Into a Magical Girl!)
- Authors: Souryuu
- Genres: Action, Comedy, Drama, Ecchi, Seinen, Supernatural
- Volumes: 10+
- Published: October 2018–present
Another not-so-thinly-veiled parody of the 90s, Machigatta ko wo Mau Shoujo ni shite shimatta (Machimaho - I Messed Up and Made the Wrong Person Into a Magical Girl!) takes the innocent, beautiful magical girls of the past…and exchanges them for a violent delinquent instead.
Forget Sailor Moon fussing over her looks, because Majiba Kayo doesn’t have the time of day for you or her newly-attached magical critter. This rough-and-tumble gal is frequently smoking, and more than happy to deck her enemies in the face. Machimaho directly parodies the many magical girl franchises of the 90s and early 2000s by starring the very opposite of the traditional heroine.
The artwork leans into a heavily-ecchi style, but that only serves to contrast the “pureness” of the old magical girl franchises. If you ever dreamed of Sailor Moon taking off the gloves, go check out Machimaho - I Messed Up and Made the Wrong Person Into a Magical Girl!
8. Shingeki! Kyojin Chuugakkou (Attack on Titan: Junior High)
- Authors: Isayama Hajime (Story), Nakagawa Saki (Art)
- Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, School Life, Shounen, Supernatural
- Volumes: 5 (Complete)
- Published: March 2014—July 2018
Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) is a gory, dark series that tackles heavy, often taboo topics like war, racism, and nationalism. And then there’s the parody spin-off about the characters being in middle school.
Shingeki! Kyojin Chuugakkou (Attack on Titan: Junior High) is a hilarious spoof of Attack on Titan written by the same author - it directly references Eren’s rage issues, parodies the battle between Titans and humans with a volleyball match, and is all set entirely in a school between Walls Maria and Rose.
Definitely a series that benefits from already having read (or watched) Attack on Titan, the characters and events are all darkly humorous takes on the events of the main series. The English volumes are available as bind-ups, with five volumes covering all eleven of the original Japanese volumes!
7. Sakamoto Days
- Authors: Suzuki Yuuto
- Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Shounen, Slice of Life, Supernatural
- Volumes: 2+
- Published: April 2022—present
A comedic and light-hearted take on the “retired assassin” genre, Sakamoto Days gets the most laughs if you’ve watched a lot of action movies like “John Wick.” Picture the classic retired assassin, except now he’s gotten fat and runs a convenience store in the suburbs…and he’s protecting the neighborhood in secret!
Taro Sakamoto’s peaceful life is always disrupted by former assassins or small-time-gangs, but since he’s sworn off violence, he only murders his enemies in his thoughts! Both an homage to - and a parody of - the “retired assassin” trope, Sakamoto Days tells a sweet story about a found family while also serving as a light-hearted parody.
There are currently two volumes of Sakamoto Days available in English.
6. Tomodachi x Monster
- Authors: Inui Yoshihiko
- Genres: Action, Horror, Seinen
- Volumes: 3 (Complete)
- Published: February 2016—September 2016
The world of Pokémon has always been ripe for satire, because honestly, sending ten-year-olds out into a hostile world with nothing but a baby turtle at their side sounds like terrible parenting. And what do you really think happens when a Level 70 Charizard throws down against a defenseless Oddish? “Knocked Out” is a charitable way to describe that charred bowl of spinach.
Enter Tomodachi x Monster, a violent black parody of Pokémon where a sixth-grader stumbles into a dark world where monsters and kids are pitted against each other in death matches. Even the catch-line for the series—”Gotta Kill’Em All”—is a horrifically brutal satire of the Pokémon franchise.
Tomodachi x Monster errs on the grittier, more serious side of a parody, but it’s well worth checking out if you want a dark take on a beloved franchise.
5. Mahou Shoujo Ore (Magical Girl Ore)
- Authors: Moukon Icchokusen
- Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Gender Bender, Romance
- Volumes: 2 (Complete)
- Published: 2014, available digitally via Manga Club
Another excellent spoof of magical girls, Mahou Shoujo Ore (Magical Girl Ore) is a hilarious gender-bender that stars the hapless 15-year-old Saki Uno. When her aging mother passes down the role of “magical girl” to her, Saki uses the power to fight cute-faced monsters and protect her crush, the popular idol Mohiro.
The only problem? Saki’s magical-girl form is that of a large, well-muscled, yakuza-like man in a frilly uniform, which causes endless embarrassment—and it only gets worse when Mohiro becomes attracted to this muscular, manly “magical girl”!
Largely mocking the hapless romances of magical girl series like Sailor Moon, this tongue-in-cheek series also received a rather excellent anime adaptation. If you want more magical girl parodies, check out Magical Girl Ore!
4. Shokugeki no Sanji (Food Wars! Shokugeki no Sanji)
- Authors: Oda Eiichiro, Tsukuda Yuuto (Story), Saeki Shun (Art)
- Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Shounen, Slice of Life
- Volumes: 1 (Complete)
- Published: July 2022
Less of a direct parody and more of a hilarious “what-if,” Oda Eiichiro of One Piece joins forces with the writer and artist from Shokugeki no Soma (Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma) to tell a culinary tale of the Straw Hats’ famous chef.
Combining Oda’s characters with Saeki’s brilliant artwork, this one-shot riffs on Food Wars!’s over-the-top cooking sequences, while maintaining the beloved banter between the Straw Hat Pirates. While only a single volume, there’s plenty of action, cooking, and humor, while blending the best of both One Piece and Food Wars! together.
If you’ve ever wanted to see Sanji fulfill his true purpose in life—becoming a top-class chef—then check out Food Wars! Shokugeki no Sanji, available digitally via MangaPlus.
3. Hetalia – Axis Powers
- Authors: Himaruya Hidekazu
- Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Historical, Seinen, Slice of Life
- Volumes: 6 (Complete)
- Published: September 2010—January 2014
Winston Churchill famously said that “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” But history isn’t always the easiest to learn, so what if the world’s nations were personified as stereotypes of themselves?!
Hetalia - Axis Powers reimagines global superpowers as bishounen boys, and loosely follows the events of the second world war. There’s the stern and strict Germany, the fast-food-eating America, and the romantic France. Soon, Italy joins the party with Japan and Germany, forming the infamous Axis Powers of WWII.
Hetalia is a send-up of countries, stereotypes, and anime tropes themselves. If you’re a history buff, or just know a lot about different European superpowers, you’ll find a lot to love in the over-the-top characterizations of Hetalia – Axis Powers!
2. Deadpool: Samurai
- Authors: Kasama Sanshirou (Story), Uesugi Hikaru (Art)
- Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Shounen
- Volumes: 2 (Complete)
- Published: February 2022—June 2022
Arguably the king of parody and fourth-wall-breaking, Marvel’s Deadpool explodes into the world of shounen manga with Deadpool: Samurai, an official Marvel/Viz crossover manga. Aside from the general humor you’d expect from Deadpool, the famous “merc with a mouth” opens fire on shounen tropes and the manga industry as a whole.
Somehow managing to insult Shonen Jump themselves (by criticizing their publishing deadlines), poking fun at the amount of time assistants work on background shots, and making meta-jokes about anime and manga, Deadpool: Samurai pulls off the perfect parody of Marvel, Shonen Jump, and the shounen genre itself.
Even if you’re not a fan of Deadpool or Marvel, we highly recommend picking up Deadpool: Samurai—the satire and comedy is well worth the price of admission.
1. Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku o! (Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World) [Manga]
- Authors: Akatsuki Natsume (Story), Watari Masahito (Art)
- Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Ecchi, Fantasy, Harem, Romance, Shounen
- Volumes: 13+
- Published: November 2016—present
The isekai genre is ripe with overused tropes and cliches, so it’s surprising how few genuine parodies have emerged. The king of isekai parody is undoubtedly Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku o! (Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World), and particularly the wonderful manga adaptation of the light novels.
Konosuba riffs on isekai plots from the very start, by having our useless main character die from a heart attack while trying to save a girl from a slow-moving tractor (he thought it was a truck). After that, his adventures begin in a messed-up world where he frequently dies (and is revived), finds treasure he can’t equip (because his stats are too low), and gets dragged into saving the world (against enemies that are often just as useless and perverted as he is).
Konosuba manages to parody the general concept of isekai without resorting to deliberate call-outs, and in doing so, crafts a genuinely engaging and utterly hilarious series. If you’ve grown tired of the “standard isekai” or just want a few laughs, you’ll undoubtedly find something to love in Konosuba!
The humble parody is difficult to pull off, needing to straddle the line between comedy and irony, without falling prey to the tropes they’re mocking. These are just a few of the best parody manga out there, but the bigger some of these genres get, we’re certain we’ll see even more great parodies in the coming years!
Did you find this article interesting? Let us know down in the comments below, and as always, thank you for reading!