10 Books/Manga Like I Am A Hero
I Am A Hero is a psychological horror manga written and illustrated by Kengo Hanazawa. It’s about 35-year-old Hideo Suzuki struggling to survive in a world overrun with zombies and other fierce monstrosities. It was serialized in Shogakukan’s Weekly Big Comic Spirits magazine between April 2009 to February 2017. This series is best known for having a gripping narrative, beautiful artwork, and well-rounded characters.
If you’re in the mood for more psychological horror books/manga that offers a similar vibe, fear not! We’ve gathered together 10 books/manga to check out when you’ve caught up with I Am A Hero. Of course, if you feel we’ve missed any of your favorites, do comment below and let us know!
Fort of Apocalypse – Yuu Kuraishi
Similarities – Zombie Apocalypse
Are you interested in reading another zombie apocalypse manga that’s shorter than I Am A Hero? Yuu Kuraishi’s Fort of Apocalypse is the manga for you. This manga is full of violence, suspense, and nightmarish imagery. It follows a new convict named Yoshiaki Maeda who gets sent to a prison that’s suffering from a violent power struggle.
However, that should be the least of Maeda’s worries. Outside their detention center lies herds of zombies sinking their teeth into human flesh. Furthermore, a van crashes into the prison and it’s harboring a boatload of infected humans. Maeda must work together with his fellow inmates if he hopes to make it out alive in this corrupt world.
The story is simple but offers incredible zombie designs. If you ever played the game Left 4 Dead, that’s the type of vibe you’ll receive from this manga’s monsters. Despite having typical personalities that match other zombie-themed works, Kuraishi gives the inmates raw backstories that will help readers appeal to them more. The artwork is great and captures the raw atmosphere you’d want in an action-packed survival horror work. If you love zombies and formidable human characters, this is the manga for you.
Highschool of the Dead – Daisuke Sato
Similarities – Action & Themes
Unfortunately, Highschool of the Dead remains an uncompleted work. Its author Daisuke Sato tragically passed away and his co-workers felt it was best to leave his work untouched. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a shot. Despite not having a proper conclusion, Highschool of the Dead is an action-packed thrill ride that will appeal to any diehard horror B-movie fanatic.
The story follows a group of humans stuck in a zombie apocalypse. They all have different personalities and features. However, these people have common goals. They want to locate their relatives and discover what led to the zombie outbreak. Therefore, we follow this group of formidable humans as they traverse multiple streets, homes, and beaches to accomplish their mission.
Highschool of the Dead is overly explicit, bloody, and funny. Its plot is simplistic and the characters follow specific archetypes you’d expect from other zombie flicks. However, it’s the bonds they share and the epic fights they endure that’ll keep people pulled in. Although it may never receive a solid conclusion, this is a zombie-themed work that’s worth giving a shot.
Gantz – Hiroya Oku
Similarities – Psychological, Mature Tone, Brutal Fights
Gantz is an action-packed horror manga that’ll toy with readers’ heads. It involves a man named Kei waking up in a weird game. This trial will test his morals, skills, and perseverance. Despite being a weak person all his life, Kei must put on a brave act if he wants to survive. This manga contains explicit imagery ranging from unclothed humans to grotesque monsters.
Like I Am A Hero, a good portion of Gantz’s storytelling is spent developing Kei into a strong protagonist. Readers will adore seeing how much this character grows by the series’s conclusion. As for the artwork, everything looks stunning and nightmarish. The fights Kei endures rival the bouts Suzuki endures in I Am A Hero. Furthermore, Gantz’s world offers a variety of beasts for Kei to fight like extraterrestrials, zombies, and other beasts. If any of this catches your fancy, then I suggest giving Gantz a shot.
Goodnight Punpun – Inio Asano
Similarities – Mature Storytelling & Themes
Don’t let the manga’s beautiful cover art fool you. This is a story oozing with dark themes and engulfs readers with its depressing atmosphere. Inio Asano’s art style is as mesmerizing as this manga’s heartbreaking narrative. Everything from its locales to the ways its characters emote per panel looks shockingly realistic and captivating.
Like I Am A Hero, this story isn’t for the faint of heart. It features some of the most mind-shattering events ever adapted into manga form. Despite its lack of happy moments, newcomers will find Goodnight Punpun’s narrative beautiful and memorable. In it, we follow Punpun Onodera, a toddler living in Japan. He’s idealistic, romantic, and loves to keep things to himself.
His life changes when he meets Aiko Tanaka. He gains wholesome feelings for Aiko, but Punpun’s not a pure soul. He lived a cruel life under the guidance of poor adult figures and will use what he learned from them to inflict endless torment on those he loves. This is a sad roller coaster ride that never stops. If you have a strong mindset and can endure topics like child abuse, molestation, and others like it, I’d give Goodnight Punpun a read.
Cradle of Monsters – Kei Sanbe
Similarities – Themes
Cradle of Monsters is an underrated manga series with an exhilarating plot. Fans of the horror genre will appreciate this work for its artwork and storytelling. It involves a ship capsizing in the middle of the ocean and many people perish as a result. While life remains aboard it, others have transformed into rabid creatures and begin attacking people.
Our protagonist Makoto is among the survivors and gets rescued by Yuuya, a fellow classmate. Yuuya, Makoto, and the other survivors must find a way to escape this zombie-themed cruise event before they become zombie chow. Some characters play excellent roles in the plot, while others feel unmemorable or die too soon to give readers a reason to care.
Although the infected humans display zombie-like feats, they can still talk and act rationally. For those who adored Hanazawa’s well-detailed action panels, you’ll be impressed by Kei Sanbe’s artwork for Cradle of Monsters’ gore-centric segments. Otherwise, the rabid humans have passable designs that fit for themes Sanbe’s going for. If you’re looking for a satisfying horror manga to read after I Am A Hero, give Cradle of Monsters a chance.
Gyo – Junji Ito
Similarities – Apocalypse Setting, Psychological, Horror
Junji Ito’s known for converting mundane objects and organisms into something absolutely dreadful or horrible. Gyo presents readers with a world where disease-carrying fish roam the streets to attack people. It offers a unique spin on the zombie formula by mechanizing and reanimating humans and corpses. It follows the Tadashi and Kaori who are spending their trip on Okinawa’s coast.
They witness an apocalypse forming before their eyes. A four-legged fish enter their cabin, but they kill it. This is only the beginning of their worries as they’ll realize more are soon to come. Therefore, they embark on a treacherous quest to locate this apocalypse’s unknown cause. If you found the zombies and monsters disturbing in I Am A Hero, you have no idea what you’re in for with Gyo.
The artwork is superbly detailed and will certainly make your skin crawl. The characters receive decent development, but horror fans will adore this manga more for its gripping plot and mesmerizing imagery. Give this a shot if you need something to spook you during the night.
Homunculus – Hideo Yamamoto
Similarities – Deep Storytelling & Themes
Homunculus and I Am A Hero explore the dark sides of human nature and the human psyche. They tackle themes regarding identity, mental illness, and social pressure. They do so in entirely different ways to avoid feeling too similar. In Homunculus, we examine the life of a middle-aged man named Nakoshi who spends his time among the homeless.
A young man approaches Nakoshi one day and asks him to partake in a trepanation experiment. After his car gets towed off, Nakoshi proceeds with the experience in exchange for 700,000 yen. Although all seems fine, Nakoshi develops the ability to spot the homunculus in every person. We examine his struggle to cope with this power throughout the narrative.
Homunculus and I Am A Hero specialize in focusing on psychological horror. You’ll be left confused and intrigued by Nakoshi’s interactions and ways of interpreting the world now. Nakoshi is a complex and multifaceted character who struggles with his identity. This plot point helps push the narrative forward and leads to some of the series’ best moments. Despite being more surreal and abstract than I Am A Hero, readers will enjoy reading through Homunculus.
The World Is Mine – Hideki Arai
Similarities – Themes
The World Is Mine is a psychological thrill ride from beginning to end. It explores themes like identity, madness, and societal pressure like I Am A Hero. The World Is Mine is about a violent killer and his timid companion who go on a killing spree across Japan. Suddenly, their paths intersect with a Godzilla-themed beast named Higumadon who’ll present them with a worthy challenge.
This manga’s extremely violent and contains immense gore. The art appears stale at first but slightly improves over time. It captures the manga’s dark aspects while giving fans some fuel for their nightmares. The story isn’t groundbreaking but offers two separate storylines that intertwine to form something you’d wish you’d seen coming.
Characters receive excellent development and have many interesting qualities that’ll appeal to horror enthusiasts. The protagonists endure many psychological breakdowns that’ll make them feel unforgettable. The side characters get some time to shine, but most are reserved for comedic roles, which is slightly disappointing. However, if you’re looking for a deep manga with great artwork, give The World Is Mine a chance.
School-Live! – Norimitsu Kaihou
Similarities – Horror, Psychological, Drama
School-Live! is an impressive manga that mixes cute girls with horror. In it, we follow a group of high school students who seem to be living typical human lives. Despite our characters participating in wholesome school-themed fun, readers will realize the darker aspects brewing behind the scenes. This manga offers fun storytelling, satisfying conflicts, and intense drama among the characters.
Unlike I Am A Hero, School-Live! offers a female dominant cast. Each girl offers something intricate and memorable to the team to make things intruiging. For instance, Yuki, the female on the above cover art, suffers from multiple mental disorders. Her friends have a tough time dealing with Yuki’s mental issues and it leads to some of the series’s best external conflicts.
Despite being girls, they know how to fend for themselves. However, the manga can feel a bit too wholesome at times. There will be times when you wish Norimitsu Kaihou took things a step further. Furthermore, the manga repeats old ideas, which makes the story feel less fresh and a bit bland. Nonetheless, if you like stories like Puella Magi Madoka Magica and The Promised Neverland, you’ll adore this one a lot.
Magical Girl Apocalypse –Kentaro Sato
Similarities – Horror, Violence, Survival
Magical Girl Apocalypse offers a gore-centric take on magical girls. It doesn’t offer the most well-crafted narrative, but those who adored I Am A Hero’s action and characters will enjoy what this manga offers. It revolves around a high schooler named Kii who can’t believe what he sees outside his school’s window.
A creepy girl repeats the term “magical” in his ears while slaughtering Kii’s friends and classmates. Kii and his friend Tsukuna witness their dead classmates resurrect into zombie-like mobs. The zombies scream “magical,” frightening Kii and Tsukuna. After meeting a few other survivors along the way, Kii and Tsukune vow to discover the root cause behind this madness.
Despite both containing extreme violence, Magical Girl Apocalypse offers a surreal take on the gore as opposed to I Am A Hero’s realistic depictions. You can expect foes to use magic to kill enemies unlike I Am A Hero’s cast who wield weapons like shotguns, bats, etc. Magical Girl Apocalypse showcases the strain the apocalypse has on its cast, allowing audiences to develop empathy for them. While its narrative isn’t the best, it offers enough clever material to keep you hooked.
So there we have it, our 10 books/manga to read after you’re caught up with I Am A Hero.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!