If you’re like us, you’ve probably spent countless hours binge-watching your favorite anime series, like the legendary Naruto with its epic ninja showdowns or Dragon Ball Z with its earth-shaking martial arts clashes that get your heart racing. But what about those hidden gems in the manga world that never quite made it to the small screen?
Well, today’s your lucky day because we’re exploring the best martial arts manga that hasn’t been adapted into anime yet. These martial arts masterpieces are waiting for you to discover and enjoy them. Oftentimes filled with bone-crushing battles, life-changing training arcs, and unforgettable characters, they make for a truly engaging read.
Whether you’re a seasoned martial arts manga reader or a newcomer looking for your next thrilling read, this list is packed with hidden treasures that deserve a spot on your must-read list.
Let’s jump into the action!
15. Double Arts
- Author: Komi Naoshi
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Romance, Martial Arts
- Original run: 2008 – 2008
In a world where a deadly virus spreads through touch, Elraine Figarette, a girl with a mysterious immunity, joins forces with Kiri Luchile, a skilled martial artist. Together, they embark on a journey to find a cure for the virus while facing formidable foes and forming a bond that transcends physical touch.
Double Arts is a gripping read because it takes a seemingly simple concept and turns it into a thrilling adventure. The idea that two characters must constantly touch to stay alive adds a layer of tension and intimacy that keeps readers invested in their relationship. Unfortunately, Japan axed this promising series due to low popularity and sales and left it forever stuck on 24 chapters.
14. Gun x Clover
- Authors: Asou Haro, HIRASAKA Yomi
- Genres: Action, Comedy, Ecchi, Harem, Martial Arts, Romance, School, Shounen, Supernatural
- Original run: 2010 – 2012
Kurou Nashimiya, a high school student with an extraordinary talent for controlling firearms, finds himself caught in a deadly game when he’s recruited by a mysterious organization known as “C³.” As he battles dangerous foes and unravels the truth behind his abilities, Kurou needs to survive in a world full of assassins, superhuman powers, and dark secrets.
If you appreciate the adrenaline-pumping combat sequences and the intricate web of conspiracies that surround Kurou, give this manga a go. The series keeps readers on their toes with unexpected twists and power struggles.
- Authors: Yoon Joon-sik, Kim Dong-hoon
- Genres: Action, Martial Arts, Shounen, Supernatural
- Original run: 2005 – 2010
Chun Myung Hoon, a troubled high school student, crosses paths with a mysterious martial artist named Kang Baek Ho. Baek Ho introduces him to the world of martial arts, setting Myung Hoon on a path of transformation.
With breathtaking battles and a rich storyline, Veritas is a martial arts journey unlike any other. For those who like intricate martial arts systems, character development, and the exploration of the protagonist’s growth, Veritas won’t disappoint. The series delves into the philosophy of martial arts while serving up high-energy action.
12. Change 123
- Authors: Iku Sakaguchi, Shiuri Iwasawa
- Genres: Action, Comedy, Drama, Ecchi, Martial Arts, Romance, School, Shounen
- Original run: 2005 – 2010
Motoko Gettou appears to be a shy and unassuming high school student, but she harbors a secret. Due to her traumatic past, she developed multiple personalities, each with distinct martial arts abilities. When a group of delinquents targets her, Motoko’s three alter egos, HiFuMi, take over to defend her.
As Motoko deals with her complex psyche and faces various enemies, Change 123 explores themes of identity, trauma, and resilience, all against the backdrop of intense martial arts battles. The show defies the conventional martial arts genre by infusing it with psychological elements, creating a story that not only packs a punch in combat but also tackles the human psyche.
- Authors: Isutoshi
- Genres: Action, Comedy, Ecchi, Harem, Martial Arts, School, Seinen, Supernatural
- Original run: 2005 – 2012
In Aiki, the story follows Kunitoshi Joukyuu, a formidable martial artist who finds himself entangled in a series of bizarre and comical events. He encounters a girl named Elena, who possesses a mysterious power that leads to unpredictable situations.
Aiki takes the martial arts genre on a wild and comedic ride. Fans adore its unique blend of action and humor, making it a rollercoaster of a read. In this manga, martial arts prowess meets hilarious mishaps as the protagonist deals with outrageous situations, offering a fresh take on the genre.
10. Shinobi Life
- Authors: Konami Shouko
- Genres: Action, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Historical, Martial Arts, Romance, Shoujo, Supernatural
- Original run: 2006 – 2008
The story centers around Beni Fujiwara, a modern-day high school girl who gets transported back in time to feudal Japan, where she meets Kagetora, a young ninja with remarkable skills.
Shinobi Life falls into travel, romance, and ninja action genres, making it a good pick for fans of all genres. But what really makes it stand out is the sweet romance between Beni and Kagetora, which adds a unique flavor to the manga. This even earned it the adorable label of ‘ninja in a shoujo genre’.
9. Feng Shen Ji
- Authors: Zheng Jian He, Cheng Kin Wo
- Genres: Action, Fantasy, Historical, Martial Arts, Seinen, Supernatural
- Original run: 2010 – 2013
In a world where gods rule with an iron fist, and humans are pretty much their playthings, a young buck, Jiang Ziya, is armed with a mysterious sword and a burning desire to give divine oppression the finger. He’s the spark humanity’s been waiting for. As he battles godly foes and uncovers the secrets of his sword, you’ll be on a wild ride through a tale of rebellion, destiny, and justice that’ll leave you breathless.
Feng Shen Ji is a manga adrenaline rush that grabs fans by the collar with its eye-popping battles and a fresh spin on Chinese mythology. If you dig epic showdowns and gods duking it out with mortals, this manga’s got you covered.
8. The Legend of the Northern Blade
- Authors: Hwang Min-seong, Kim Hye-jin
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Martial Arts, Shounen, Supernatural
- Original run: 2018 – Present
Imagine a world where martial arts clans rule the roost. Our hero, Hae Yu, is on a mission for vengeance after his clan gets wiped out. Armed with the legendary Northern Heavenly Technique, he’s out to settle scores and uncover dark secrets. On this wild journey, he faces fierce enemies, untangles ancient mysteries, and becomes a legend in the making.
The Legend of the Northern Blade is a hidden gem that blends martial arts action with an awesome storyline. Fans love it for the epic battles and insane martial arts moves. The story goes beyond just fists and kicks, adding some supernatural spice to the mix.
7. Dragons Rioting
- Author: Tsuyoshi Watanabe
- Genres: Action, Ecchi, Harem, Martial Arts, School, Shounen, Supernatural
- Original run: 2012 – 2015
Rintarou is a high school student with a unique problem. Whenever he gets aroused, he faints. But things take an interesting turn when he joins an all-girls martial arts school to conquer his condition.
Dragons Rioting is an action-packed martial arts manga that doesn’t shy away from epic battles and fan service. Fans love it for the adrenaline-pumping fights and, well, let’s just say the artist has a knack for drawing attractive characters.
- Author: Yosuke Nakamaru
- Genres: Action, Historical, Martial Arts, Shounen
- Original run: 2009 – 2013
Set in the Edo period of Japan, the story follows Gama Kurogane, a young swordsman seeking to avenge his father’s defeat and restore his family’s honor. To achieve this, he must defeat the 100 masters of the martial arts schools known as the “Yagyuu,” each with their unique and deadly techniques. Gama faces off against formidable foes, forms alliances, and undergoes grueling training, all in his quest for strength.
If you’re a fan of intense battles, complex characters, and a healthy dose of martial arts philosophy, Gamaran is a must-read that will keep you eagerly turning the pages to see how Gama conquers his challenges and grows as a warrior.
- Authors: Tanaka Akio, Hashimoto Izou
- Genres: Action, Drama, Martial Arts, Mature, Psychological, Seinen
- Original run: 1998 – 2015
Shamo follows the turbulent life of Ryo Narushima, a young martial artist who descends into a life of crime and violence after a traumatic incident. Expelled from society and stripped of his karate skills, Ryo is determined to find redemption and regain his martial prowess.
Shamo is not your typical martial arts manga. It’s a gritty, intense, and sometimes disturbing journey of a fallen fighter’s quest for redemption and self-acceptance in a harsh and unforgiving world.
4. Angel Densetsu
- Authors: Yagi Norihiro
- Genres: Action, Comedy, Martial Arts, School, Shounen, Supernatural
- Original run: 1992 – 2000
Kitano Seiichiro is a high school student who has a heart of gold but looks like a fearsome delinquent with a demonic face. His terrifying appearance leads to misunderstandings and fear among his peers, causing him to be labeled as a troublemaker.
Despite the constant turmoil caused by his appearance, Kitano is genuinely kind and wishes to make friends. He crosses paths with several characters who also challenge societal stereotypes, leading to comical situations and heartwarming friendships.
Fans love Angel Densetsu for its clever humor, endearing characters, and its message that true beauty lies beneath the surface. It’s a delightful manga that reminds us not to judge a book by its cover and to find the good in everyone, no matter how they may appear. While martial arts are a recurring theme, they are primarily used as a tool to highlight the stark contrast between Kitano’s appearance and his true personality.
3. Girls of the Wild’s
- Author: Hun
- Genres: Action, Comedy, Drama, Martial Arts, Romance, School, Shounen
- Original run: 2011 – 2016
Wild’s High School is a prestigious all-boys school known for its martial arts program. When Song Jae Gu, a tough and street-smart teenager, enrolls as the first and only male student, he becomes embroiled in the world of intense martial arts battles and school rivalries.
For those looking for a manga that offers thrilling martial arts battles, well-developed characters, and a touch of romance, Girls of the Wild’s is an excellent choice that combines these elements into an engaging and enjoyable story.
- Author: Kouji Mori
- Genres: Action, Drama, Martial Arts, Psychological, Seinen
- Original run: 2001 – 2008
Yuu Kamishiro is a young man who initially leads a life of isolation and bullying. However, things take a drastic turn when he discovers an abandoned lot that becomes his secret training ground.
As Yuu honks his fighting skills, he starts to transform both physically and mentally.
Holyland is known for its gritty and realistic portrayal of street fighting and martial arts. While it has gained popularity among manga readers, it has not received an anime adaptation, making it one of the notable martial arts manga series that never made it to the small screen as an anime.
1. The Breaker
- Authors: Park Jin-hwan, Jeon Geuk-jin
- Genres: Action, Comedy, Drama, Martial Arts, School, Shounen, Supernatural
- Original run: 2007 – 2010
Shiwoon Yi is a high school student who becomes the disciple of Chunwoo Han, a legendary martial artist. As Shiwoon navigates the treacherous world of martial arts, he discovers hidden powers within himself and uncovers a conspiracy that threatens the balance of power in the martial arts community.
With more than 139,000 fans on MAL, The Breaker is the type of manga that, once you introduce it to your friends, they’ll become completely addicted to it and possibly even a bit mad at you for causing their newfound addiction. This series offers a flawless fusion of comedy, romance, and, above all, action. It’s a huge shame that this popular martial arts manga never received an anime adaptation.