15 Best Manga Authors of All Time

Becoming a “mangaka,” or manga author, is no small feat. It demands not just artistic prowess but also the ability to captivate an audience while juggling tight deadlines.

Every mangaka brings a unique flair to the table, employing various genres and art styles to tell their stories. Whether it’s through spine-chilling horror or abstract art, the manga industry offers a rich tapestry of storytelling approaches.

15 of the Best Manga Authors In The Manga Industry

So, who has managed to rise above the rest, capturing the hearts and minds of readers with their unique blend of art and storyline?

In this article, we’ll spotlight 15 manga authors who have set themselves apart in the industry. While both storytelling and artistry are important, we’ll be putting a special spotlight on their artistic talents.


15 of the Best Manga Authors In The Manga Industry
AgeEarly 50s
Career Defining WorkCardcaptor Sakura

Founded in 1987 by four gifted manga artists, CLAMP is an all-female group that has played a pivotal role in shaping the “Shojo” genre within the manga industry. The original founding members—Satsuki Igarashi, Nanase Ohkawa, Mokona, and Tsubaki Neko (also known as Mick Nekoi)—remain the core of the group today.

Initially starting as an eleven-member ensemble, CLAMP assigned roles based on the specific manga project they were tackling. Over time, members began to depart, opting to pursue individual careers. Now, the group is back to its original four founding members.

CLAMP made their debut with the manga series RG Veda, which quickly received an anime adaptation. One remarkable aspect of CLAMP is the evolution of their art style; a comparison of their newer works with their older ones reveals significant development.

Their most iconic work, “Cardcaptor Sakura,” continues to enjoy widespread popularity. Other notable creations from CLAMP include “Chobits,” “xxxHOLIC,” and “Tokyo Babylon.” Additionally, they contributed the original character designs for the Code Geass anime series.

14. Osamu Tezuka

15 of the Best Manga Authors In The Manga Industry
Age60 (Deceased)
Career Defining WorkAstro Boy

The man, the myth, the legend: Osamu Tezuka is the visionary who not only revolutionized manga but also introduced it to a global audience. While the origins of manga can be traced back to the 13th century, it was Tezuka who modernized the form we recognize and celebrate today.

Originally on a path to become a medical practitioner, Tezuka graduated in 1951. However, he chose a different destiny, one that would etch his name into history. He began drawing manga and achieved widespread recognition with the publication of “Astro Boy,” earning him the title of “The Godfather of Manga.”

Tezuka’s first official manga, “The Diary of Ma-chan,” was published in 1946. His art style was simple, direct, and somewhat cartoonish, but as the saying goes, every legend starts somewhere. His inclusion on this list is well-deserved.

“Astro Boy” remains his most iconic work, spawning not only an anime adaptation but also an animated film in the United States. Other seminal works by Tezuka include “Dororo,” “Black Jack,” and “Phoenix.” He even established an animation studio, “Tezuka Production,” which continues to operate to this day.

13. Tatsuki Fujimoto

15 of the Best Manga Authors In The Manga Industry
Career Defining WorkChainsaw Man

The enigmatic Tatsuki Fujimoto prefers to remain a mystery, even as he pens some of the most compelling fiction in the manga world. His face remains unseen, and even his exact birthdate is a closely guarded secret.

Despite the lack of a formal art education or a nearby drawing school, Fujimoto began crafting manga at a young age. His early endeavors are compiled into two volumes, offering a glimpse into his work before he rose to prominence.

His debut manga series was a one-shot titled “A Couple Clucking Chickens Were Still Kickin’.” Fujimoto’s art style is straightforward but enriched with nods to popular media. He has earned a reputation as a standout writer, particularly in the “supernatural” genre.

However, it’s “Chainsaw Man” that has cemented his status as a manga legend. The series is widely regarded as one of the best ever created and has already gotten an anime adaptation by Studio Mappa. Fujimoto’s other notable works include “Fire Punch,” “Look Back,” and “Sayonara Eri.”

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12. Akihito Tsukushi

15 of the Best Manga Authors In The Manga Industry
Career Defining WorkMade in Abyss

With just a handful of manga titles to his credit, Akihito Tsukushi has crafted what many consider to be the pinnacle of “dark fantasy” in manga history. Before embarking on his manga career, he spent a decade working for Tonami.

At first glance, Tsukushi’s art style might be described as “cartoonish,” leading some to mistakenly assume he creates children’s manga. However, his work often explores themes so dark they could bring adults to tears. He enjoys embedding unsettling elements within his panels, rewarding attentive readers with increasingly disturbing details.

His initial foray into manga, “From Star Strings,” fell short of expectations. When he began working on “Made in Abyss,” it seemed like the ideal project, but he nearly abandoned it due to the absence of a crucial character. That changed with the introduction of “Nanachi,” who breathed new life into the series and convinced Tsukushi to see it through to completion.

Originally launched as a web manga, “Made in Abyss” was later published in physical form by Seven Seas Entertainment. The series has also been adapted into both an anime and a video game.

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11. Junji Ito

15 of the Best Manga Authors In The Manga Industry
Career-Defining WorksUzumaki, Tomie, and Gyo

More commonly known as the “King of Horror,” “Junji Ito” is a manga artist who revolutionized horror manga. His journey to drawing horror manga began at the young age of four, inspired by the works of Kazuo Umezu, another renowned horror manga artist. As of this year, Ito’s contributions have been recognized with three Eisner Awards.

Like Osamu Tezuka, Junji Ito had to choose between being a mangaka and a medical practitioner (a dentist). So, he took the risk and is now known as the master of horror. His stories are inspired by real-life experiences, which he modifies into a creepy story in his manga series.

“Tomie” was Junji Ito’s first manga series, which continued its serialization for thirteen years. Junji Ito’s classmate, who died in high school, inspired this story. His art style is creepy and nerve-wracking, combined with a compelling story, which is rare in horror manga series.

“Uzumaki” and “Gyo” are also his major career-building manga series. Some other famous manga series are his horror short story collections like “Shiver,” “Smashed,” “Fragments of Horror,” and “Venus in the Blind Spot.”

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10. Hirohiko Araki

15 of the Best Manga Authors In The Manga Industry
Career Defining WorkJojo’s Bizarre Adventure

Renowned for his groundbreaking work, Hirohiko Araki is a manga artist who gained immediate recognition by winning the Tezuka Award for his debut piece. His influence extends beyond the manga world, as evidenced by collaborations with global fashion powerhouses like Louvre, Gucci, and Balenciaga.

Araki’s passion for manga was ignited at a young age, inspired by his father’s collection of picture books. His distinctive art style is heavily influenced by fashion giants like Versace and Gucci, yet it retains a classic manga aesthetic, paying homage to his roots.

While his debut work, “Poker Under Arms,” earned him initial acclaim, it was “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure” that catapulted him to international fame. Particularly noteworthy is Part 7 of the series, which showcases Araki’s unparalleled skills in both storytelling and artistry.

The series has been adapted into multiple anime versions and continues to be a fan favorite.

9. Akira Toriyama

15 of the Best Manga Authors In The Manga Industry
Career Defining WorkDragon Ball Series

A hero to countless childhoods, Akira Toriyama is a manga artist whose works have captivated generations. For many born in the 1990s and 2000s, series like “Dragon Ball” and “Dr. Slump” were defining features of their youth, reaching peak popularity in their respective eras.

Toriyama’s journey into the world of manga began with “Wonder Island,” but it was the publication of “Dr. Slump” that catapulted him to global fame. His art style, characterized by clean lines and meticulous detail, instantly draws readers into his imaginative worlds.

In addition to his individual accomplishments, Toriyama founded his own anime studio, “Bird Studio,” named after the Japanese word for bird, “Tori.” However, the studio’s significant contributions waned after the conclusion of the “Dragon Ball” series.

His most iconic work remains “Dragon Ball Z,” which not only received an anime adaptation but was also reimagined as “Dragon Ball Z: Kai.” Other notable works by Toriyama include “Sand Land,” “Neko Majin,” and “Kajika.”

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8. Mamashi Kishimoto

15 of the Best Manga Authors In The Manga Industry
Career Defining WorkNaruto Series

Masashi Kishimoto, the creative mind behind “Naruto,” is a manga artist who has taught audiences worldwide that meaningful dialogue can resolve conflicts. Inspired by legendary artists like Akira Toriyama, Kishimoto has made a lasting impact on the genre.

Kishimoto has always been fascinated by the theme of war, a subject he explored in depth in his iconic series, “Naruto.” After concluding the series, he transitioned to a supervisory role, passing the torch to his assistant, Mikio Ikemoto, for the sequel series “Boruto: Naruto Next Generations.”

However, the series began to falter under new leadership, prompting Kishimoto to step back in and assume full control. His intervention revitalized “Boruto,” elevating it to the level of craftsmanship fans had come to expect.

In addition to the “Naruto” and “Boruto” series, Kishimoto also penned “Samurai 8,” a manga with a more niche focus. Despite its unique theme, the series struggled to find an audience and concluded after just one year.

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7. Makoto Yukimura

15 of the Best Manga Authors In The Manga Industry
Career Defining WorkVinland Saga

Makoto Yukimura is a manga artist renowned for his unflinching portrayal of the realities of war, most notably in his acclaimed historical series “Vinland Saga.” Before striking out on his own, Makoto-sensei honed his skills as an assistant to manga artist Shin Morimura.

His inspiration to create manga was sparked by the iconic series “Fist of the North Star.” Interestingly, the war-centric “Attack on Titan” also played a significant role in shaping his approach to “Vinland Saga.” Reading it and other manga helped him find a sense of calm during the writing process.

Yukimura’s art style is as captivating as one would expect, drawing influence from a diverse range of manga genres. While working on “Vinland Saga,” he became a fan of series like “My Dress-Up Darling” and admired the work of horror manga artists such as Junji Ito and Motosuke Takaminato.

In addition to “Vinland Saga,” Makoto-sensei has also gained recognition for his work on “Planetes.” While the anime adaptation of “Vinland Saga” faced some controversy during a studio transition, Yukimura’s endorsement silenced critics and affirmed the series’ quality.

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6. Inio Asano

15 of the Best Manga Authors In The Manga Industry
Career-Defining WorkOyasumi Punpun

Inio Asano, a manga artist who has redefined the “slice-of-life” genre, has shown that this category isn’t always about capturing life’s lighter moments. He’s particularly known for his art style, which leans towards hyper-realism.

Asano-sensei made his debut with “Subarashi Sekai,” a series that was warmly received by fans. However, it was “Goodbye Punpun” and “Solanin” that truly put him on the map, resonating deeply with audiences worldwide.

His storytelling prowess is often likened to that of novelists, given his penchant for intricate plot twists and callbacks to earlier scenes in his series. Asano has also made a name for himself in the “psychological” genre, further showcasing his versatility.

Beyond “Oyasumi Punpun” and “Solanin,” Asano’s other notable works include “A Girl on the Shore” and “Dead Dead Demons Dedede Destruction,” both of which have been praised for their exceptional art and storytelling.

5. Yusuke Murata

15 of the Best Manga Authors In The Manga Industry
Career Defining WorkOne Punch Man

Yusuke Murata, a manga artist whose artistry seems to improve with age, continues to amaze audiences even as he approaches his 50s. He began his career as an assistant to Takashi Obata, the creative force behind “Death Note.”

Initially, Murata dabbled in one-shots and took on minor roles as an animator in anime adaptations, revealing his deep affection for the medium. However, it was his work on “Eyeshield 21” as an illustrator that first started turning heads and gaining him recognition.

Much like Masashi Kishimoto, Murata cites Akira Toriyama as a significant influence on his art style. While “Eyeshield 21” showcased his considerable talents, it was his work on “One Punch Man” that truly stunned the global audience.

One Punch Man is originally a webcomic created by author ONE. However, Murata is drawing its comic version while also adding a few additions to the story. It was Murata’s iconic work that made One Punch Man a global hit.

What’s remarkable is that Murata continues to produce exceptional art at an age when many manga artists consider retirement from drawing and only provide story guidelines. In addition to “One Punch Man” and “Eyeshield 21,” his portfolio includes notable projects like “Cockroach Buster.” He is also currently developing his own original anime series.

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4. Urasawa Naoki

15 of the Best Manga Authors In The Manga Industry
Career Defining WorkMonster

Urasawa Naoki, the undisputed master of the “mystery” genre, has etched his name into manga history as one of the greatest mystery authors ever. While his storytelling prowess often takes center stage, his artistry in creating some of the most haunting panels in manga should not be overlooked.

Interestingly, Naoki-sensei began his career with a romantic comedy series called “Yawara!” which garnered a favorable reception. However, it was in the 1990s that he truly made his mark with the creation of the mystery-thriller “Monster.” The series also got an anime adaptation.

His art style can be unsettling at times, perfectly complementing the dark themes he explores in his work. The sheer brilliance of his approach to the mystery-thriller genre can only be fully appreciated through firsthand experience. He draws inspiration from the legendary mangaka, Osamu Tezuka, further solidifying his connection to manga history.

In addition to “Monster,” Naoki-sensei has also penned other acclaimed works like “Billy Bat,” “20th Century Boys,” and “Pluto.” The latter is particularly noteworthy as it serves as a dark reinterpretation of the pioneering manga series “Astro Boy.”

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3. Eiichiro Oda

15 of the Best Manga Authors In The Manga Industry
Career Defining WorkOne Piece

Commonly referred to as “GODA,” Eiichiro Oda is a manga artist who seems almost otherworldly in his talents. He began his illustrious career under the mentorship of Nobuhiro Watsuki, the creator of “Inuyasha,” and his trajectory has been nothing short of extraordinary since then.

Much like Masashi Kishimoto, Oda cites Akira Toriyama as a major influence on his decision to become a manga artist. His magnum opus, “One Piece,” holds the title of the best-selling manga series ever and is often hailed as one of the greatest works of fiction.

Despite his staggering success and numerous accolades, Oda remains remarkably humble. He maintains a wide circle of friends, ranging from fellow manga artists to anime producers and voice actors. Known for his intense work ethic, Oda sleeps just 3 to 5 hours a day in his quest to bring “One Piece” to its conclusion.

Oda’s storytelling and world-building are unparalleled. He enjoys planting subtle references in his chapters, which he later revisits to astonish his readers. Countless fans, including YouTubers and Reddit users, have attempted to predict the ending of “One Piece,” but none have succeeded.

Beyond “One Piece,” Oda has also contributed ideas through one-shots like “Romance Dawn” and “Monster.” One Piece series has been adapted into an anime, inspired multiple video games, and a live-action adaptation by Netflix.

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2. Inoue Takehiro

15 of the Best Manga Authors In The Manga Industry
Career Defining WorkVagabond, Slam Dunk

Takehiko Inoue, a manga artist and director known for his meticulous attention to detail, has set a new standard for visual storytelling. His art style is so lifelike and dynamic that it often appears as if the characters are in motion. The intricacy of each panel he creates is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Inoue-sensei began his career as an assistant to Tsukasa Hojo, the creative mind behind “City Hunter.” A lifelong sports enthusiast, Inoue’s passion naturally led him to create sports-themed manga, which has been universally lauded by fans.

His magnum opus, “Vagabond,” stands as one of the finest historical manga series ever created. But his talents don’t end there; other works like “Slam Dunk” and “Real” are also highly regarded, often cited as some of the best sports manga series in existence.

1. Kentarou Miura

15 of the Best Manga Authors In The Manga Industry
Age54 (Deceased)
Career Defining WorkBerserk

The late Kentarou Miura, a manga artist whose impact is felt far beyond the manga community, revolutionized the concept of “dark fantasy.” His influence extends across various media, inspiring projects like the Dark Souls video game and the Re: ZERO anime/light novel series. His seminal work, “Berserk,” has left an indelible mark on the genre.

Interestingly, despite its monumental influence, “Berserk” has struggled to receive a worthy modern anime adaptation. This has led fans to appreciate the older version, which had the benefit of Miura-sensei’s direct involvement.

Much like Makoto Yukimura, Miura found inspiration in the iconic “Fist of the North Star” series, which fueled his desire to become a manga artist. His art style can only be described as awe-inspiring.

According to his editors, Miura was so committed to perfection that he would withdraw his weekly submissions if he noticed even minor errors. This level of dedication to “Berserk” is truly admirable.

In addition to “Berserk,” Miura’s portfolio includes works like “Giganto Makhia” and “Duranki.” We at Anime Senpai offer our heartfelt prayers for the peaceful rest of Kentarou Miura’s soul.

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What are your thoughts on the best manga authors of all time list? Did we overlook any of your favorite manga authors? Share your opinions in the comments below.

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