Manga fans were treated to another phenomenal year of releases. In 2022 in particular we saw Shueisha and Kodansha increase the amount of series either getting simulpub chapter releases or increasing volume production with translated releases. Manga has been constantly growing to become bigger globally. With how many manga series we saw released in 2022 Rokk and I have voted on what are the ten best mangas released this year. It was a tough vote as we each had our respective favorites but were able to come down to ranking the ten best manga of 2022.
10) MASHLE: MAGIC AND MUSCLE
Mangaka: Hajime Komoto
Mashle: Magic and Muscles is another absolute gem. Hajime Kōmoto has done a phenomenal job with both the story and artwork in this manga. I fell in love with this manga with the very first chapter when it debuted back in January 2020. Mashle delivers fantastic comedy and action and should appeal to most readers of both genres. Kōmoto does an excellent job of creating so many interesting characters for the reader to enjoy.
Kōmoto has the ability to draw excellent exaggerated faces for his characters to carry the comedy. However, Kōmoto ability to deliver eye-popping fight scenes that are wildly entertaining. Kōmoto has good fight psychology and knows how to deliver compelling fight scenes. Luckily, Kōmoto stated back in March 2022 that Mashle was only halfway complete. So, we can look forward to plenty more Mashle in the next couple of years! – ROKK
9) JUJUTSU KAISEN
Mangaka: Gege Akutami
Gege Akutami entered 2022 for Jujutsu Kaisen by having the entire series headed in this unpredictable direction with The Culling Game Saga. Given that The Shibuya Incident arc, which ended in early 2021, is the longest arc in the series’ history, lasting 58 chapters, Akutami has made that a major driving force of this series since then. That was continued with The Culling Game Saga that we are still in the middle of. What’s worked well for Akutami is how he has returned to telling arcs within this current saga. This has allowed him to spotlight characters like Maki Zenin, Noritoshi Kamo, and Panda while bringing in a lot of new characters into play with roles growing as much as the main cast we’ve gotten to know since the start of the series.
As strong as Akutami’s writing has been it’s his artwork that continues to be what makes Jujutsu Kaisen a consistent standout. The Culling Game Saga is yet another chance for Akutami to deliver kick-ass action sequences with every single character coming out looking like a badass. Just read Sakurajima Colony Arc, which takes place between Chapter 191 to Chapter 198, and you’ll see how Akutami does an excellent job delivering strong action and hook endings. It all sets up 2023 for Jujutsu Kaisen to be another strong year for the series run. – KEVIN
8) GOODBYE, ERI
Mangaka: Tatsuki Fujimoto
For as much as Chainsaw Man is what Tatsuki Fujimoto is known for it is his work on the one-shot manga that has left the biggest impression of his talents as a creator. This year’s Goodbye, Eri one-shot is yet another example of how Fujimoto is second to none when it comes to crafting fully realized worlds and characters right out of the gate. From the moment you open Goodbye, Eri you are just immersed in what is going on.
What works so well with Goodbye, Eri is that Fujimoto plays with the readers’ expectations with how the story is framed between real life and what Yuta and Eri are filming. While you are creating questions about what we are supposed to believe as reality and part of a film Fujimoto keeps your attention on progressing through the story. It all leads to an ending that will leave you wondering to the point of creating theories about what you just read and the character arcs in the story. – KEVIN
7) KAIJU NO. 8
Mangaka: Naoya Matsumoto
What has made 2022 so special for Kaiju No. 8 is that Naoya Matsumoto has finally been performing a ton of world-building. Matsumoto is fleshing out how the Defense Force is constructed and the members of the various divisions. We are also learning more and more about Kaiju and how they operate and why they exist. This manga has really taken a step forward in the latter half of 2022.
Matsumoto does a great job with his characters and tries to make each one unique and interesting. We also get plenty of fantastic comedy along with more serious moments and badass action scenes. Of course, the star of the show in Kaiju No. 8 is Matsumoto’s gorgeous artwork. Matsumoto delivers pulse-pounding action and panels that are packed with intricate detail. Kaiju No. 8 is certainly one of the better-looking mangas on the market. – ROKK
6) ONE PUNCH MAN
Mangakas: One and Yusuke Murata
One Punch Man’s story is fantastic. One populates this manga with so many outrageous and lovable themed characters. Each character has a truly unique and sometimes hilarious gimmick. The characters in One Punch Man are reminiscent of the over-the-top and crazy characters that populate the Kinnikuman manga.
Now, One’s story is great, no doubt about it, but it is Yusuke Murata’s mind-blowing artwork that makes this manga a must-read. I have always been a fan of Murata’s artwork ever since his work on Eyeshield 21. But, Murata has taken his art to an entirely different level with One Punch Man. Seriously, Murata’s art is unparalleled. There is no manga out there that has artwork as stunning, dynamic, and detailed as One Punch Man. There are moments when you are legitimately in awe of the artwork exploding off the page at you. For my money, One Punch Man is the best-looking manga on the market. – ROKK
Mangakas: Yuji Suenaga and Takamasa Moue
Yuji Suenaga and Takamasa Moue do not hesitate in the presentation of Akane Osaki, later known as Akane Arakawa, as a cool, confident, and talented character right out of the gate. Akane has a natural charisma that others, including the reader, can’t help but want to be around. Combined with how her family history drives her determination to become a top Rakugoka entertainer has made Akane-Banashi not only the best new series that debuted in 2022 but one of the best mangas of the year.
Even more impressive is the work Suenaga and Moue have put into getting over what the Rakugo art form is. This is a form of entertainment that is known in Japan but likely not known to the global audience Shonen Jump also has. Suenaga and Moue understand that Rakugo isn’t also something presented in a manga in the past as they make sure to put a lot of detail into explaining what Akane and others are doing. Suenaga writing for the Rakugo storytelling combined with how Moue shifts the character’s mannerisms during the performances timed with audience reaction is expertly done. Even if you haven’t heard of Rakugo before you’ll know and respect this form of entertainment when reading Akane-Banashi. – KEVIN
4) MY HERO ACADEMIA
Mangaka: Kohei Horikoshi
2022 is the start of the culmination of everything Kohei Horikoshi has been crafting in now the over 8 years of storytelling in My Hero Academia. We began the year wrapping up all the set-up for the big Final War story arc that went on to dominate the rest of the year. Endings are never easy to knock out of the park because, like many long-running series, Horikoshi has years of storytelling that is expected to be given major payoffs for all the characters we’ve followed since the beginning of My Hero Academia.
That is exactly what we are getting with the Final War arc as the further we get into the story the bigger the events are becoming. What’s made the pacing work is how Horikoshi carefully chooses to end each chapter. Not every chapter is a big action set-piece transition. Rather we get meaningful character arc moments from even heroes you wouldn’t expect because of their status in the cast of the series. It has all led to the Final War arc coming across as bigger than even when it started as the countless character arcs are as important as the explosive action Horikoshi is drawing. Where everything ends up only Horikoshi knows and should make 2023 a strong, and possibly final, year of My Hero Academia. – KEVIN
3) CHAINSAW MAN
Mangaka: Tatsuki Fujimoto
Chainsaw Man is the premier manga series at the moment. Tatsuki Fujimoto has started off Chainsaw Man Part 2 firing on all cylinders. There has been no drop-off at all in terms of story or artwork. It is obvious that the year-long break from Chainsaw Man allowed Fujimoto to recharge his batteries and become inspired to write a new and fascinating era in Chainsaw Man’s history.
Chainsaw Man Part 2 may occur after an unspecified time jump that places our hero, Denji, in a new setting and surrounded by new characters. However, the same dark humor, riveting character work, and bloody violence are just as good as it was during Chainsaw Man Part 1. You will not be disappointed. – ROKK
2) SPY X FAMILY
Mangaka: Tatsuya Endo
Spy x Family has been one of my favorite mangas ever since it debuted back in March 2019. Tatsuya Endo immediately captured my attention with a wonderful collection of characters, an interesting premise, and some well-crafted artwork. Spy x Family offers readers the perfect blend of action and comedy all wrapped up with some strong character work. You can check out my rankings of the Spy x Family story arcs as a primer for giving this manga a chance.
Endo has broken from the traditional approach of producing a chapter a week. We will have received a total of 24 chapters in 2022. I am perfectly fine with this approach. If a reduced schedule allows Endo to continue to deliver his artwork and story at such a high level of quality then I am happy with this tradeoff. I would never want Endo to give us anything less than his best work. Spy x Family is a special manga and the time necessary to craft such excellent stories is well worth the wait. – ROKK
1) SAKAMOTO DAYS
Mangaka: Yuto Suzuki
Yuji Suzuki’s Sakamoto saw a big jump in story quality in 2022. That is saying a lot as Sakamoto Days was already one of the best manga going into this year. You can really see from both his writing and artwork Suzuki is constantly progressing in his art form as a mangaka. That includes telling longer story arcs than we saw in the first year of Sakamoto Days. This entire year has been centered around the expansion of the assassin world we slowly exposed to more throughout the first year of Sakamoto Days.
It is the world and character building that makes Sakamoto Days the standout series of the year. Every single character, whether they are leads in Sakamoto and Shin or characters that only appear in a few chapters, they are given time to develop. That is credited to how Suzuki challenges himself to make sure every assassin that is part of the Japan Clear Creation Saga comes across as a badass. All of the action is incredibly smooth with Suzuki trying to top himself with every chapter by creating cool moments for Sakamoto, Shin, and others to have. – KEVIN