10 Books/Manga Like Ashita No Joe
Ashita No Joe is a legendary boxing-themed manga with a great story, cast, and action. It’s written by Asao Takamori and illustrated by Tetsuya Chiba. The manga follows Joe, a boy who picks fights with people with nefarious intent. A boxing coach watches one of Joe’s fights and asks him if he wants to become a professional boxer. What happens afterward is an epic journey of hardship and self-discovery that will leave a lasting impression on you.
If you’re in the mood for more sports or action-centric books/manga that offer a similar vibe, fear not! We’ve gathered together 10 books/manga to check out when you’ve caught up with Ashita No Joe. Of course, if you feel we’ve missed any of your favorites, do comment below and let us know!
Hajime No Ippo – George Morikawa
Similarities – Boxing, Action, Story
Hajime No Ippo is a marvelous boxing manga that can be a hassle to binge but is well worth your time. It follows Ippo, a bullied boy who meets a professional boxer named Takamura. Ippo trains effortlessly to impress Takamura. Once he does, Takamura guides him to his gym and inspires him to become a professional boxer. Like Joe, Ippo is a great underdog protagonist.
Readers will adore seeing Ippo struggle in his fights. He’ll do everything from push-ups to sparring sessions with Takamura and his friends to achieve dominance in the ring. Like Joe, Ippo develops useful techniques that will aid him in battle and help him stand out as a boxer.
If you want another boxing series that’ll inspire you to push through life’s obstacles to achieve your dreams, Hajime No Ippo is worth a read.
Slam Dunk – Takehiko Inoue
Similarities – Characters, Sports, Realism
For those looking for a sports series with a dash of realism, look no further than Slam Dunk. This basketball manga follows Hanamichi, a boy who aspires to find himself a female companion. After attempting to impress a girl, she introduces Hanamichi to the school’s basketball team. Despite being disinterested in the sport, Hanamichi must gear up and lead his team to victory.
Like Joe, Hanamichi is a great competitor who’ll do his best to succeed. He’ll put in a lot of work and practice alongside his teammates to help them win in basketball games. Those who found Joe’s intense training regime motivational will adore the effort Hanamichi and his pals put in.
Furthermore, Slam Dunk likes to focus on its cast’s social lives outside the court. This allows readers to get a genuine feel for the characters and gives them time to breathe after the intense games their characters compete in.
If you’re okay with a story that focuses on basketball, then you’re guaranteed to love Slam Dunk.
The Legend of the Strongest, Kurosawa! – Nobuyuki Fukumoto
Similarities – Action, Drama, Themes
The Legend of the Strongest, Kurosawa is another fabulous action drama for Ashita No Joe fans to check out. In it, we follow Kurosawa, a middle-aged man who can’t stand working at his construction company gig. However, when he picks a fight with a group of middle schoolers, his life takes a drastic turn.
Like Ashita No Koe, The Legend of the Strongest Kurosawa is a tale of redemption and growth. Throughout Kurosawa’s journey, he’ll experience many ups and downs in his life that will only make him stronger. From societal issues to internal conflicts, Nobuyuki Fukumoto pulls all the stops to keep readers invested in his work. Like Joe, many readers will be inspired by Kurosawa’s willingness to overcome his flaws and insecurities.
On top of having rich character-driven segments and stellar action-heavy segments, The Legend of the Strongest, Kurosawa is a must-read for Ashita No Joe fans.
Ping Pong – Taiyou Matsumoto
Similarities – Characters & Sports
Ping Pong is a fascinating sports series with emotional depth and intrigue. The story centers around two companions named Peco and Smile. They’re gifted ping-pong players with different backgrounds and personalities. They must find a way to retain their love for the sport before they compete in an important ping-pong tournament.
Like Ashita No Joe, Ping Pong delivers an excellent portrayal of table tennis and how it affects the protagonists’ physical and mental well-being. Like Joe, Smile and Peco will discipline themselves to strive toward their goals. Both manga have interesting art styles that capture the intensity and authenticity of their respective sports.
Both manga explore themes regarding self-improvement and friendship. By the end of each tale, you’ll realize why it’s important to conquer your fears and embrace competition.
Give Ping Pong a read if you’re after another complex sports story.
Rikudou – Toshimitsu Matsubara
Similarities – Boxing, Characters, Drama
For those looking for another motivational and dramatic boxing manga to read, Rikudou is worth your time. This manga centers around Riku, a boy who kills his mother’s yakuza member boyfriend after a life-or-death situation ensues. This results in a former boxer named Tokorozawa introducing Riku to boxing and giving him a new goal to strive for in life.
Like Ashita No Joe, this story features a protagonist who hails from a difficult background and faces countless hardships during their rise to glory. Riku’s life of poverty, bullying, and abuse will compel readers to root for his success in the boxing world. Riku will try his best to push through the challenges set in his way like Joe.
That said, both manga aren’t afraid to showcase the darker side of the boxing world. Riku frequently endures several injuries after his fights and will experience psychological trauma from most of them. This mirrors the physical toll the sport has on Joe.
Therefore, if you’re after another emotional and unforgettable boxing manga that’ll leave you in awe, check out Rikudou.
The Climber – Shinichi Sakamoto & Yoshirō Nabeda
Similarities – Sports, Themes, Characters
The Climber is a unique, atmospheric sports series. It’s based on a real-world mountain climber named Buntaro Katao and a novel written by Jiro Nitta. What starts off as your run-of-the-mill sports series transforms into a tale of depth and maturity. Like Ashita No Joe, this story excels at portraying its lead’s uphill battle with adversity.
The protagonist, Mori Buntarou, faces numerous challenges on his path to becoming a great rock climber. He endures physical obstacles, harsh weather conditions, and skepticism from his fellow climbers. This mirrors the issues Joe endures in Ashita No Joe such as the strong opponents he fights in the ring to the grueling training regimes he participates in.
In addition to tackling themes like redemption and self-discovery through their protagonists’ journey, The Climber is a phenomenal sports manga that’s worth looking at.
Baki The Grappler – Keisuke Itagaki
Similarities – Action & Characters
While Baki The Grappler’s tale is simplistic at best, it delivers enough satisfying characters and fights to appease Ashita No Joe fans. The story takes place in an underground fighting arena where fighters demonstrate their skills and styles. Our lead protagonist, Baki enters this dastardly world of martial arts to prove his worth.
He hopes to battle as many people as he can to gain the strength to defeat his father, Yuujirou. Like Joe, Baki has an unwavering spirit and is determined to become the best at his desired sport. He’s not afraid to fight people who appear stronger than himself. The fighters he meets have different fighting styles, showcasing the author’s deep understanding of martial arts.
The battles in both stories are intense and well-illustrated. You’ll find it difficult to keep your eyes off the page as you read through each work.
On top of displaying the toll each sport has on its protagonists’ minds and bodies, Baki The Grappler is a gripping action manga that’ll impress Ashita No Joe fans.
Holyland – Kouji Mori
Similarities – Boxing, Drama, Characters
Holyland is a gloomy and mature boxing manga. The story revolves around Yuu, a boy who abandons his education because he doesn’t fit in with his school’s student body. While traversing the streets, Yuu develops a fondness for boxing and fights notorious criminals who mess with him. After earning the moniker, Thug Hunter, Yuu sets his sights on reaching the land of his dreams.
Like Ashita No Joe, Holyland features intense physical confrontations that’ll leave you speechless. Characters express realistic emotions like anger and pain. Both mangas’ contain rich illustrations that capture characters’ expressions and reactions to situations authentically.
Holyland highlights multiple forms of martial arts unlike Ashita No Joe though. Nonetheless, it’s another great tale with themes of identity and self-discovery that you don’t want to overlook.
Rookies –Masanori Morita
Similarities – Sports, Drama, Themes
Rookies is a great sports drama that highlights baseball instead of boxing. Nonetheless, it’s another work with a captivating tale that showcases one’s path toward personal growth and redemption through sports. In Rookies, we follow Koichi Kawato, a Japanese teacher who becomes invested in his school’s baseball club.
While its club members only value women and smoking, Koichi is determined to help these students become legendary champions. Like Joe, the students come off as delinquents at first and don’t have the experience necessary to achieve greatness in their sport. By receiving proper guidance from their coaches and taking part in intense games, they’ll become protagonists worth rooting for like Joe.
On top of having excellent visuals and great character-driven segments, Rookies is a phenomenal sports series that’s worth your time.
Teppu – Moare Ohta
Similarities – Action, Drama, Sports
If you’re after a fantastic sports series with strong female leads, Teppu should interest you. This story follows Natsuo, a girl who can proficiently tackle any sport she wants. One day, a girl named Yuzuko invites Natsuo to join a mixed martial arts club. After accepting Yuzuko’s offer, Natsuo finds herself challenging many skilled combatants, including one that may be stronger than her.
Like Joe, Natsuo’s a fantastic, inspiring lead protagonist who relentlessly pursues excellence in her desired sport. She’s driven by her insatiable appetite to become the strongest fighter in her universe. She’ll constantly seek out challengers to test her skills and push herself to improve through rigorous training and battles.
Not only will Natsuo endure grueling physical training, but she’ll also endure various emotional challenges during her journey. Moare Ohta excels at delving into the sacrifices and doubts that stem from one’s journey to the top.
If you’re looking for a great action manga with an entertaining batch of characters. check out Teppu.
So there we have it, our 10 books/manga to read after you’re caught up with Ashita No Joe.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!