What manga to read? 15 sci-fi & fantasy classics

20 recommended masterpieces to start reading sci-fi, fantasy and manga!

What manga cannot be missing from your library? The answer depends on the type of manga you want to read and the demographics (seinen, shonen, shojo, kodomo …), but in the case of seinen and shonen manga, there are true masterpieces that you should not stop reading (and give away! !).
If you like dark fantasy, dirty cyberpunk metal , stories of robots with a soul, steampunk, redeemed evil wizards, future dystopias in which the environment has been destroyed, or space stories, we recommend the following list science fiction and fantasy manga.
A ranking where we will find a large part of the great manga authors that we can ever find: Naoki Urasawa, Katsuhiro Otomo, Masamune Shirow, Eiichiro Oda, Kentauro Miura, Hiromu Arakawa, Osamu Tezuka, Tsutomu Nihei, Kazuo Koike, Akira Toriyama, Goseki Kojima and many more:

1- PHOENIX: RESURRECTION

Author:  Osamu Tezuka
Genre:  Fantasy, science fiction
Original publisher:  Various
Castilian Editorial:  Planeta Cómic
Between 1967 and 1988, Osamu Tezuka published his most mature, existentialist, philosophical and evolved title, in which he adds a deep reflection of where humanity came from and where it will go in the future. In this title, which had 12 volumes, he tells us in each one of them a self-concluding story. 
The only common factor among all of them is the appearance of a mysterious phoenix, which is revealed as the cause of some important point in each of the stories in this anthology. 
Osamu Tezuka used to say that this was the work of his life, and he turned all his art, from some gripping drawings, to a narrative that was a prelude to American graphic novels and the more mature seinen.
The reflections on fantasy or science fiction are among the best in the world of manga, especially the ninth volume, entitled ‘Resurrection, where a human dies in an accident when falling from his flying car, but resurrects in a robotic body.
how far does the concept of ‘soul’ go? What is the resurrection process like? Tezuka enters the soul of this boy to show what his resurrection was like, how he saw life or how he survived his robotic future. On the other hand, the other volumes are based more on fantasy, mixed with historical events that defined humanity.

2- AKIRA

Author:  Katsuhiro Otomo
Genre: Science fiction, cyberpunk
Original publisher:  Kodansha
Castilian publisher:  Norma Editorial
Katsuhiro Otomo’s masterpiece is one of the essential sci-fi manga . It is one of the first titles of any medium within cyberpunk, a subgenre that became famous in art thanks to this manga and the film Blade Runner. In Akira, the main character is Kaneda, leader of a group of vandal bikers living in a dystopian Tokyo in 2020. But, when after a mysterious accident, one of the bikers, Tetsuo, is kidnapped by government intelligence, they will uncover one of Japan’s best kept secrets.
Who is Akira? The manga has been awarded a multitude of awards including the Kodansha Award in 1984, the Harvey Award for ‘best foreign material’ in 1993 and 4 Eisner Awards.in the following categories: ‘Best American Edition of Foreign Material’ (2002), ‘Best Collection of Archives’ (2002), ‘Best Collection of Archives – Comic’ (2018), and ‘Best Publication Design’ (2018), the latter for its 35th anniversary edition. The work was adapted into an anime film that managed to make anime fashionable outside of Japan. Recently, it had a rerun in an IMAX version.

3- DEATH NOTE

Author:  Tsugumi Ōba, Takeshi Obata
Genre:  Fantasy, demons
Original publisher:  Shūeisha
Castilian publisher:  Norma Editorial

Death Note is pure fantasy, but it doesn’t lack sci-fi elements to give it a more pseudo-realistic tone. The plot introduces us to Light Yagami, a high school student who one day finds a book of supernatural origin, the ‘Death Note’, a book that has the power to immediately kill the person whose name is written on it. 
In addition, he will meet the shinigami who ‘lost’ him, Ryuk, and a stormy and dark relationship will begin between them, while Yagami begins to write down endless names that are changing the history of Japan. Although the background is pure psychological horror, the mythology and fantasy of the plot makes it one of the essential genre titles. 
In 2008 it won the Eagle Award for Best Manga, and has been nominated for the Eisners and the Tezuka. It has a fairly successful limited anime series, in addition to several live-action film adaptations, in Japan and the United States (Netflix).

4- FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST

Author:  Hiromu Arakawa
Genre:  Fantasy, steampunk, magic
Original publisher:  Enix
Castilian publisher:  Norma Editorial
Within fantasy and science fiction we find Fullmetal Alchemist, by Hiromu Arakawa, a manga that has a steampunk aspect , with a retrofuturism that exudes in each spore of the work, but that is based on magic. In the world of this manga, alchemy is one of the most advanced scientific techniques known. 
The plot centers on two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, who lost parts of their body – or the entire body, after trying to resurrect their mother, who had passed away. Their adventure pushes them in search of the philosopher’s stone, although they will find quite a few enemies looking for the same magical object. 
The manga was awarded the Shogakukan Award in 2004 and two Eagle Awards in the category of ‘Favorite Manga’ in the years 2010 and 2011. In addition, Fullmetal Alchemist has been adapted to anime films and series (and live-action films) with shattering success.

5- METROPOLIS

Author:  Osamu Tezuka
Genre:  Science fiction
Original publisher:  Ikuei Shuppan
Castilian publisher:  Planeta Cómic
The story begins with a scientist, Dr. Yorkshire Bell, noting that dinosaurs once flourished and became extinct when they advanced beyond their ability to adapt to change. Giant mammals, such as the saber-toothed tiger (smilodon) and the mammoth, came and went the same way. 
Humans, the current dominant life form on Earth, had a special asset, intelligence, that allowed them to advance further than all the creatures before them. Dr. Bell wondered if humans could one day advance beyond the point of no return and become extinct. 
Of course, this Osamu Tezuka manga, originally published in September 1949, represents one of the quintessence of science fiction. A story that raises a modern and existential theme of how far humanity can go, with characters of relative depth and a landscape that began to deal with the robotic theme. A jewel of the God of manga. The play was adapted into an anime in 2001, into a hit movie.

6- THE GHOST IN THE SHELL

Author:  Masamune Shirow
Genre:  Science fiction, cyberpunk, robots
Original Publisher:  Kodansha
Castilian Editorial:  Planeta Cómic
If with Akira, by Katsuhiro Otomo, the obsession with cyberpunk began in the middle of manga and anime, with The Ghost in the Shell would arrive the absolute confirmation that this genre was unstoppable. 
Masamune Shirow created a plot of robots, futuristic city, crime and black genre that still persists today, with series on Netflix, a film starring Scarlett Johansson, new spin offs in the world of manga. 
The world he connived perfectly mixes the most technologically advanced elements possible, with a dark, impenetrable, neon-lit atmosphere, bullets, blood, sensuality and inherent elements of social criticism that suits the science fiction genre so well. Do robots (shell) have a soul (ghost)?

7- BERSERK

Author:  Kentauro Miura
Genre:  Dark fantasy, horror
Original publisher:  Hakusensha
Castilian publisher: Panini
Magic, fantasy and horror find in Berserk one of their greatest exponents. Kentauro Miura created a plot starring a tormented man, Guts, who bears a certain resemblance to the protagonist of The Fist of the North Star or the Witcher, who is a demon hunter, who goes in search of atrocious creatures to end once and for all all with them. 
For this he uses a sword known as the Dragon Slayer, and an imperious armor that is proof of the horrors that he encounters. The mythology of his world does not stop growing as the plot progresses, presenting increasingly great, fearsome and horrifying beings.

8- PARASYTE

Authors:  Hitoshi Iwaaki
Genre:  Science fiction, horror
Original publisher:  Kodansha
Castilian publisher:  Planeta Cómic

In 1995, Hitoshi Iwaaki began one of the most intriguing horror manga seinen ever. Sinichi, the main character in the play, is a shy young teenager, like many other boys his age. But his life changes when a being of unknown origin enters his body, eats his arm and replaces it. 

Now, his arm speaks, goes to him and orders him to do things … and the real problem for Sinichi is that his hand is not the only one of its kind.

9- ATTACK ON THE TITANS

Authors:  Hajime Isayama
Genre:  Fantasy, steampunk, science fiction
Original publisher:  Kodansha
Castilian publisher:  Norma Editorial

One of the most interesting modern science fiction steampunk manga of today. It mixes many concepts of both genres, including some terrible giants (titans) of fantastic origin. In the distant future, humanity has succumbed to the attack of dangerous titans who eat them, and they have had to create a fortified city with huge walls to prevent them from entering it on their own.
But, in addition, the humans have created a specialized squad to destroy these monsters. until one appears, bigger than any other, and breaks the main wall! Thus begins one of the most terrifying, haunting, and overwhelming science fiction titles ever made. It also has four spin offs and a highly successful anime series among the fandom.

10- DRAGON BALL Z

Authors:  Akira Toriyama
Genre:  Fantasy, science fiction, superheroes
Original publisher:  Kodansha
Castilian publisher:  Planeta Cómic
The success of Dragon Ball Z was the huge mix of concepts and genres; from the superhero world, embodied by hyper-powerful characters (Son Goku, Son Gohan, Vegeta, Piccolo …) who fight for good, to save the planet from a terrible evil or to be more and more powerful; they also contain a very important part of fantasy, with all the mythology of the Dragon and the Dragon Balls that must be gathered to invoke a wish, and, finally, it should be noted that it is one of the manga that poses sci fi in a way more practice. 
There are many elements, from Earth’s own society, with humans among humans, and dinosaurs in natural freedom, to any element of cities: their buildings, vehicles, technologies. Also, the character is an alien, who discovers that he belonged to a planet called Vegeta of space warriors (saiyans) that was subjugated to an unprecedented galactic empire, in the purest space opera style. Dragon Ball is still considered one of the best manga in history and Akira Toriyama knew how to mix its ingredients very well.

11- PLUTO

Author:  Naoki Urasawa
Genre:  Science fiction, robots, future
Original publisher:  Shogakukan
Castilian publisher:  Planeta Cómic
One of the most important manga in science fiction was Astroboy, by Osamu Tezuka, which during the 1950s was a pioneer in showing elements of robots as no one had ever done. In fact, he was a contemporary of Isaac Asimov, and both came up with similar laws to control the population of robots in a society that contained them. 
Well, Pluto in particular is based on one of the stories from the original series, ‘The greatest robot on Earth’, a story that in its original conception was already deeply complex and interesting, but that at the hands of the master of the seinen , Naoki Urasawa (20th Century Boys), turned out to be more disturbing, serious and, above all, adult. It introduces us to the original Tezuka characters reformulated from a modern and reformist perspective.

12- APPLESEED

Authors:  Masamune Shirow
Genre:  Science fiction, cyberpunk, robots
Original publisher:  Kodansha
Castilian publisher:  Planet Comic

Shirow Masamune’s Appleseed is a perfect example of the mixture of two subgenres of science fiction that have always triumphed in manga: cyberpunk and mecha. The plot of Appleseed takes place in a time after World War III, a time when humans are implanted with cybernetic implants and technology has taken over the way we live. 
The story features two former members of the SWAT team, in their ongoing efforts to bring law and order to a country that has long been morally broken. Masamune Shirow enters the psyche of two very different characters, full of robotic and technological mechanisms, but with souls that can be seen in every emotional situation. Appleseed began publication in 1985, four years before The Ghost in the Shell, and served as an influence for its greatest critical and best-selling triumph. Masamune Shirow’s First Great Masterpiece!

13- ASTROBOY

Author:  Osamu Tezuka
Genre:  Science fiction, robots
Original publisher:  Kobunsha
Castilian publisher:  Planeta Cómic
Astroboy is the quintessential robot manga. The first stone where the future of the mecha sleeves was built and forged, with a dramatic, serious and mature character, despite being initially conceived for young audiences. The plot, which began in 1951, posed robotic laws and explained all too well what a new society that includes robotic beings in it could look like. 
The story follows the adventures of an android named Astroboy, who fights for good, helps the police and tries to help those in need, seeing himself involved in numerous situations that will put him in check and show us the moral ambiguity of society in the world. that we live. The original series was published between 1951 and 1968.

14- ONE PIECE

Autor: Eiichiro Oda
Género: Fantasía, piratas, magia
Editorial original: Shueisha
Editorial castellano: Planeta Cómic
One Piece es una de esas joyas del manga shonen que aún hoy en día sigue triunfando en su versión de papel que empezó a publicarse en 1997 y en el anime. La trama de Eiichiro Oda y su estilo narrativo se vio enormemente influenciado por Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball), creando una historia de aventuras con muchas sagas, grandes villanos y raduales de épica.
La trama de One Piece comienza así: Hace 22 años, el Rey Pirata, Gol D. Roger , fue ejecutado. Pero antes de su muerte, reveló a todos que su tesoro, el One Piece, estaba oculto al final de Grand Line. Esto inspiró a las personas a convertirse en piratas y navegar hacia el tesoro, comenzando la Gran Era de los Piratas.
Doce años después, un joven del East Blue llamado Monkey D. Luffy soñaba con encontrar el One Piece, aunque había perdido la capacidad de nadar después de comer una Fruta del Diablo, lo que le permitió estirar su cuerpo como el caucho. El pirata Shanks, con el acuerdo de que devolvería el sombrero una vez que se convirtiera en pirata y superara a Shanks. Pasaron diez años, y Luffy se embarcó a la edad de 17 años, comenzando una aventura sin parangón en busca del bien y de un tesoro que todos anhelan.
15- LEVIUS

Author:  Haruhisa Nakata
Genre:  Science fiction, steampunk
Original publisher:  Shogakukan, Shueisha

As society rises from the ashes of war, cybernetically augmented arena fighters fight for fame and fortune … or die trying! We are in the 19th century, and the world has entered the Age of Renaissance , reeling from the devastating flames of war. The sport of mechanical martial arts has galvanized nations. Cybernetically augmented fighters turn their blood to steam and their bodies to brutal fighting and slaughter machines. Young Levius is one of those arena fighters, hell-bent on winning in order to survive. We are facing a refreshing steampunk workwhere Haruhisa Nakata performs one of the most fascinating manga arts of the medium, with a fine and elegant line, modern but with a certain classic touch that takes us directly to this retro-futuristic era that works so well. Its publication began in 2015 and its success has been so great that it currently has an anime series that debuted in November 2019 on the Netflix platform.

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