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The Most Influential Manga of the 21st Century: A Listicle

Manga, a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels, has captured the hearts of readers worldwide. With its unique art style, engaging narratives, and diverse genres, manga has become a significant cultural export influencing pop culture globally. As we delve into the 21st century, let's explore some of the most influential manga series that have left a lasting impact on readers and the industry.

The Most Influential Manga of the 21st Century: A Listicle

1. "One Piece"

One Piece Cover

One Piece, created by the talented Eiichiro Oda, has solidified its position as a monumental work within the manga industry. With its captivating storytelling and visually stunning illustrations, the series has captured the hearts of readers worldwide. The protagonist, Monkey D. Luffy, leads a charismatic crew on a journey filled with excitement, danger, and self-discovery as they navigate through a vast and intricately crafted world.

What sets One Piece apart is not just its enthralling plot, but also its richly developed characters. From the enigmatic Roronoa Zoro to the charming Nami, each member of Luffy's crew brings a unique set of skills, quirks, and personal motivations to the table, creating a dynamic and diverse ensemble that resonates with fans on a profound level.

Beyond the surface-level action and adventure, One Piece delves into profound themes of camaraderie, loyalty, and the pursuit of dreams. The bonds forged between the Straw Hat Pirates serve as a powerful testament to the strength of friendship, while Luffy's unwavering determination to become the Pirate King inspires audiences to never give up on their aspirations, no matter how daunting the challenges may seem.

As the narrative unfolds, Eiichiro Oda masterfully weaves together intricate plotlines, unexpected plot twists, and heartwarming moments that keep readers eagerly anticipating each new chapter. The world-building in One Piece is nothing short of extraordinary, with diverse cultures, unique islands, and a complex network of political intrigue adding layers of depth and complexity to the story.

It is no wonder that One Piece has amassed a dedicated global following over the years. Its ability to blend action-packed adventures with profound character development and thought-provoking themes sets it apart as a timeless masterpiece that continues to captivate audiences of all ages.

2. "Naruto"

Naruto Cover

Masashi Kishimoto's Naruto is a captivating coming-of-age narrative that delves into the life of Naruto Uzumaki, a spirited young ninja brimming with ambition to rise as the most formidable ninja leader. The series intricately weaves together themes of redemption, camaraderie, and unwavering determination, striking a chord with audiences globally. Through Naruto's journey of self-discovery and growth, viewers are not only entertained but also inspired by the underlying messages of perseverance and resilience. The profound impact of Naruto extends far beyond its initial storyline, as it has significantly influenced popular culture. The franchise has become a cornerstone in the realm of anime and manga, with its characters and storylines leaving a lasting imprint on fans worldwide. The emergence of conventions dedicated to Naruto , a plethora of video games, and the creation of spin-off series all attest to the enduring popularity and cultural significance of this beloved classic. Moreover, Naruto has managed to transcend generational boundaries, captivating audiences of all ages with its blend of action, humor, and heartfelt moments. Its exploration of complex emotions, moral dilemmas, and the value of friendship resonates with viewers on a profound level, fostering a deep connection that endures long after the series has concluded. In essence, Masashi Kishimoto's Naruto stands as a testament to the power of storytelling, showcasing how a tale of a young ninja's quest for greatness can evolve into a timeless masterpiece that continues to inspire and captivate audiences around the world.

3. "Attack on Titan"

Attack on Titan Cover

Hajime Isayama's Attack on Titan revolutionized the manga industry with its captivating blend of dark fantasy elements and compelling storytelling. Set in a world where humanity is on the brink of extinction due to the threat of giant humanoid creatures called Titans, the series delves deep into themes of survival, sacrifice, and the complexities of human nature. Through its intricate narrative, Attack on Titan explores the harsh realities of a society under constant siege, where political intrigue and power struggles shape the fate of mankind.

What sets Attack on Titan apart is its ability to keep readers on the edge of their seats with unpredictable plot twists, moral quandaries that challenge the characters' beliefs, and a rich tapestry of personalities that evolve and grow throughout the series. Characters like Eren Yeager, Mikasa Ackerman, and Levi Ackerman are not just warriors fighting against the Titans; they are symbols of resilience, hope, and the human spirit in the face of overwhelming adversity.

The success of Attack on Titan lies in its ability to resonate with audiences on a profound level, sparking discussions about power dynamics, the consequences of war, and the essence of freedom. Its impact on the manga community is undeniable, as it continues to garner critical acclaim and maintain a dedicated fanbase eagerly awaiting each new chapter. In a genre filled with fantastical worlds and epic battles, Attack on Titan stands out as a thought-provoking and emotionally charged masterpiece that has left an indelible mark on the medium.

4. "My Hero Academia"

My Hero Academia , created by Kohei Horikoshi, combines the superhero genre with classic shonen elements to deliver a compelling narrative. Set in a world where individuals possess unique powers called Quirks, the series follows Izuku Midoriya on his journey to become a top hero. Through themes of heroism, identity, and society, My Hero Academia resonates with readers of all ages, celebrating the power of resilience and teamwork.

5. "Death Note"

Death Note , penned by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, explores the consequences of power and morality through a gripping cat-and-mouse game between Light Yagami and the mysterious detective L. The series delves into themes of justice, hubris, and the essence of good and evil, captivating audiences with its psychological depth and intricate narrative.


The 21st century has seen a surge in diverse and impactful manga series that have transcended borders and captivated audiences worldwide. From the high seas of One Piece to the ninja world of Naruto , these manga have shaped readers' imaginations and left a lasting legacy in the world of storytelling. Whether you're a longtime manga enthusiast or a newcomer to the genre, exploring these influential series can offer a glimpse into the rich tapestry of manga storytelling in the modern era.

Dive into these captivating worlds, uncover the magic of manga, and let these iconic series take you on unforgettable adventures that define the essence of storytelling in the 21st century.

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