Best Mystery Manga of All Time
Although many people cherish watching anime, they often forget that most anime serve as adaptations of the original source material. While there are some instances where the anime is better than the manga, those instances are few and far between. With the amount of manga released on a daily basis, it could be hard to cut through all those books to find the “Best of” for any chosen topic.
Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest, and unforgettable manga through the years. For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best manga, our attention this time turns to those with strong mystery elements. From episodic adventures to thought-provoking classics, there’s a good choice to whet your appetite.
Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below and we’ll get them added on!
Arisa – Natsumi Andou
Arisa is an enticing mystery manga centering around twin sisters named Tsubasa and Arisa who are reunited after years of separation. One sister can’t seem to make a friend while the other is extremely popular. They switch places for a day, and Arisa almost commits suicide due to Tsubasa failing to realize her and her friends’ hidden trauma.
Tsubasa poses as Arisa again to discover the truth. She witnesses the “King Time” event occur on Friday and notices people receive their deepest desires granted. She doesn’t take it seriously until someone’s wish inflicts severe harm on someone. We examine Tsubasa’s journey to find King’s identity and to understand how it ties directly to Arisa.
Natsumi Andou leaves readers with many questions. She wastes no time setting up the story’s multiple mysteries. This manga’s a page-turner with enough twists and turns to keep you occupied and interested. Characters receive great development throughout the piece, and it explores some touching themes like betrayal, identity, and family. If you’re searching for a well-crafted mystery manga, Arisa should be high on your reading list.
Detective Conan – Gosho Aoyama
Detective Conan is Gosho Aoyama’s answer to Sherlock Holmes. It ran into some localization issues in the west, so some fans may not it better as Cased Closed. Either way, it’s an episodic mystery manga with enough cases to pull you into its storytelling. It offers an excellent cast, fun crimes, and mature themes. Our story revolves around a high school detective prodigy named Shinichi Kudo.
He can solve any case granted to him without any issues. One day, he gets ambushed and drugged by two men. They wanted to kill him but unknowingly turn Shinichi into a toddler. This encourages Shinichi to adopt a new alias, Edogawa Conan. We examine Conan’s life of solving crimes while getting closer to the people who put him in this life-changing situation.
Although the story features Conan tackling random cases, there are story arcs implemented that are pivotal to his goal. Nonetheless, the small cases are intruiging and varied enough to get you talking. The manga has over 1,000+ chapters, so it can be a hassle to catch up to Conan’s adventures. If you’re okay with a story that tends to stray away from the protagonist’s mission, give this a read.
Bungou Stray Dogs – Kafka Asagiri
Bungou Stray Dogs is what happens when you give literacy authors superpowers. It’s an excellent mystery manga with crime and mafia themes. It follows Atsushi, an orphan who meets a mystical tiger that gets him removed from the orphanage. Atsushi stumbles upon Osamu, a supernatural detective who is investigating a strange phenomenon created by Atsushi’s tiger companion.
After resolving the matter, Atsushi joins Osamu and his friends on various supernatural-themed cases involving combative scenarios and entertaining hijinks. Atsushi is a great protagonist who receives genuine development over time. Many people will relate to his passion for helping others in need. Ironically enough, he’ll need the most help in the story.
The manga’s artist, Harukawa35, is insanely talented. Everything from the character to world designs looks visually appealing and expressive on the page. You’ll adore how their outfits fit the setting they’re a part of and how stylish the fight scenes appear. If you’re looking for a fancy, ongoing mystery manga with a compelling cast, give this a shot.
Bakemonogatari – Isin Nisio
What if you could gain the abilities of an animal after it bites you? This is a question that Bakemonogatari tackles with its narrative. It provides many mysteries surrounding a protagonist who endures issues related to this exchange. The protagonist in question is Araragi, who gains supernatural healing and vision powers from a vampire.
He tries to live a normal life but develops a passion for helping people who are undergoing similar issues. The story relies heavily on its back-and-forth dialogue between its cast to push it forward. Araragi and another female character clash multiple times due to their differing morals and personalities. Some side characters don’t add much to the plot and only feel like fan-service inserts.
Thankfully, Araragi meets people who will purposefully help him develop as a person. The story’s artist, Oh! Great, deliver quality designs for the narrative’s characters and world. Character expressions look genuine and pleasing to the human eye. If you’re okay with a story that offers a dash of fan service then I’d give Bakemonogatari a shot.
MPD Psycho – Eiji Otsuka
MPD Psycho is a darker version of Death Note. It contains excessive gore, sexual imagery, and mentally unwell characters. Its protagonist will remind many Death Note fans of Light’s insane and cunning behavior. MPD Psycho follows Kazuhiko, a detective suffering from severe multiple personality disorder. You’ll get to see his distinct personalities affect the way her handles scenarios.
The manga features some fun psychological battles that will keep you hooked. The plot is complex and dialogue-heavy at times. You’ll want to have a notepad and pen by your side while reading this work. Without these essentials, you may find yourself feeling lost. The story includes extreme violence to make things more engaging for its audience.
Shou Taijima, the manga artist, has a unique way of making people look and feel overly realistic. He applies simple and clean lines to his illustrations to capture Eiji Otsuka’s thought-provoking aura in his writing. If you’re ready for a tale that will make your mind melt from its heavy information drops, give MPD Psycho a shot.
Moriarty the Patriot – Ryousuke Takeuchi
Moriarity the Patriot revolves around a criminal mastermind named William. He likes composing countless heists and schemes to disrupt the corrupt and unequal society of Victorian England. This story features a gripping narrative with several plot twists and turns that will make its narrative feel unpredictable at times. The characters have enjoyable backstories, personalities, and abilities.
William steals the manga for most folks, but the supporting cast also has fascinating weaknesses and strengths. Our protagonist’s adversaries provide him with a neat challenge that will keep readers glued to the plot. Moriarity the Patriot’s artwork is fine, but won’t blow readers away. Ryousuke Takeuchi’s handling of the story’s setting and the cast’s attire is noteworthy.
Everything looks accurate to the time period, heightening one’s immersion in the piece. This is all thanks to Hikaru Miyori’s excellent artistic contributions. For those looking for a manga with a satisfying mystery aura, give this one a shot.
Monster – Naoki Urasawa
Monster is a realistic, dramatic, and psychological work of art. This is all thanks to Naoki Urasawa, known for being one of the greatest manga authors of all time. Monster offers a well-rounded cast and a riveting plot. It’s a tightly-packed story that will appeal to anyone who is a fan of crime or mystery shows. Monster focuses on Kenzou, a proficient surgeon who is on the hunt for a man named Johan.
Kenzou saved his life as a child and regrets it. This is because Johan grew up to become a serial killer. Kenzou’s also getting blamed for the murder, which adds more dilemmas for him to overcome in the plot. He’ll dodge the police’s sites at every corner while offering less fortunate individuals a helping hand. He’s a kind man who must forgo his joyous behavior if he wants to take Johan down.
Urasawa’s known for making most of his chapters conclude with a sensational cliffhanger. This entices people to continue reading the story to identify what will occur next. Furthermore, Monster offers incredible plot twists and turns that will shock you. For those looking for an excellent mystery manga that will keep you on your toes, Monster will satisfy you.
Spiral: The Bonds of Reasoning – Kiyo Shirodaira
Spiral: The Bonds of Reasoning is a murder-mystery manga that will impress many people. It doesn’t have the strongest start, but the story spirals into something enticing toward the middle half. It’ll leave you wanting answers right away and delivers a satisfying page-turning experience. In it, we follow Ayumu and his brother Kiyotaka’s wife as they contemplate what happened to Kiyotaka.
He’s been gone for years and left behind a strange “Blade Children” message. After Ayumu learns that the “Blade Children” were involved in a recent murder, he becomes more invested in learning more about them. Kiyo Shirodaira knows how to make the tale deeply immersive and mind-numbing with his satisfying twists and turns.
Eite Mizuno, the series’s artist, provides compelling imagery that gets better over time. It won’t be to everyone’s liking since her depiction of Shirodaira’s characters feels more in line with shoujo manga illustrations. If you’re okay with manga that looks like they were based on CLAMP’s work on Tsubasa Chronicles and Cardcaptor Sakura, then this manga is worth reading.
The Apothecary Diaries – Natsu Hyuga & Itsuki Nanao
The Apothecary Diaries follows the life of Maomao, a young girl who was kidnapped and forced to work as a servant at an emperor’s palace in ancient China. She overhears the emperor’s children have fallen ill and wants to assist them anonymously. After someone spots her incredible talent, Maomao finds herself in the emperor’s inner court where she’ll put her skills and knowledge to the test.
This story gives readers an engrossing page-turner experience despite being a fairly new work. Natsu Hyuuga and Itsuki Nanao brilliantly hide their plot developments to entice readers to read about Maomao’s endeavors. The manga’s episodic-like storytelling is authentic, and captivating, and creates a profound sense of mystery.
Maomao is an entertaining character to follow due to her intelligence and observational skills. She can come off as a bit crazy due to having wicked facial expressions, but she offers enough entertaining commentary to keep you invested in her. With its blend of historical and mystery elements, you’ll have a blast binge-reading through this story.
Ghost Hunt – Shiho Inada & Fuyumi Ono
Ghost Hunt is a great mystery series with pleasant story beats, likable characters, and a grim atmosphere. It revolves around students hunting down supernatural entities. It tackles a range of scenarios involving religious practices to heartbreaking tragedies. Ghost Hunt mixes its romance, supernatural, and mystery elements well and offers an episodic plot structure.
Each story arc harbors something to ponder over. Its horrific imagery may appeal to some folks, but others may find it less terrifying than other horror-themed works like Franken Fran or Uzumaki. The manga adapts a similar shoujo approach toward its character and creature design, so many horror fanatics won’t find that satisfying either.
The characters have likable personalities and receive more attention here than in the anime. Unfortunately, some characters lack enough depth for them to feel memorable. If you’re searching for a ghost-hunting manga that will keep you interested in its peculiarities, Ghost Hunt’s worth your time.
So, there we have it, our picks for the best mystery manga through the years!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!