10 Best Gangster Manga to Read
Here are the 10 best gangster manga that not only delivers high-octane fights but a fantastic story as well.
Often, they’re the villain. Sometimes they’re the hero—or antihero, as it were. After all, some of the popular manga from Japan fall under either action, adventure, or organized crime genres. Many mangas tell an exciting story about these powerful groups and gangs.
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10. Shinjuku Swan
Shiratori Tatsuhiko was a bum wandering the streets with no money to his name when he met Mako. He works as a scout for an agency called Burst which recruits girls on the streets for adult entertainment in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo. Tatsuhiko quickly learns the techniques of scouting and is even more attracted to how much money he can make.
But with how the industry is maintained, Tatsuhiko has to deal with lying, deception, violence, greed, and even the yakuza. He wants to keep the morals that he has, but it gets progressively harder and harder as he gets deeper into the other side of society. Purchase this manga on this.
Heat is a crime story featuring a young man named Tatsumi Karasawa, a mysterious character who suddenly appears in the city and becomes the owner of the host club “Shinjuku Sokai” in only two days. He then gathers a group of amateurs who aren’t afraid of gangsters, police, or so-called “professional” organizations. His self-proclaimed goal is to get to the top; he is the essence of Yakuza and gangsters.
We then get a series of chapters within the manga charting his various dealings and the goings on within Shinjuku and the underworld of Tokyo. Karasawa moves through it fearlessly, even when he is confronted with local gangs who have the backing of large Taiwanese or Cantonese Syndicates and course the big established Yakuza families.
Jonah is a child soldier, born amidst the chaotic conflicts that rage across West Asia, his family lost to a war fueled by weapons supplied by the so-called Merchants of Death—international arms dealers. Despite Jonah’s hatred of weapons and violence, he employs both extremely well in the service of high-flying arms dealer Koko Hekmatyar and her band of mercenaries. Their journey through the dark underbelly of the world’s arms markets may lead only to damnation, but will Jonah one day make his way back to the light? Only one thing is certain: it’s going to be a long, hard road out of hell…
In the Bureau of Health and Welfare’s Narcotics Control Department, Kai Etou and Haru Kurabayashi are new to their work as crime investigators. Kai is a weak but generous 22-year-old man who cannot hurt others, even if necessary. He becomes a “Matori”—a nickname for a criminal investigator in the Narcotics Control Department—to help people break away from drugs. Haru, a hard worker self-aware of his aptitudes, avoids associating himself with Kai since he is useless and empathetic toward everyone.
For their first assignment, Haru and Kai must arrest an infamous drug dealer. While at it, Kai gets into a fight with the suspect, triggering a “switch” that makes him ruthless and unstoppable. As Kai and Haru struggle to solve drug-related crimes, they edge closer to unveiling the cause of Kai’s behavior and his past.
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6. Lucky Dog 1 Blast
Giancarlo “Gian” Bourbon del Monte lives life at his own pace. It matters not if he is thrown in prison, because rest assured, he can leave whenever he wants to. As he is still deciding whether to give up his life of leisure behind bars, the unthinkable happens—four out of five captains of CR:5, the Italian mafia he belongs to, are arrested and incarcerated near-simultaneously. Gian knows of the captains—Bernardo Ortolani, Ivan Fiore, Luchino Gregoretti, and Giulio Di Bondone—but is familiar with only one, given that he holds a much lower rank in their organization. Therefore, it seems like a joke to be told that he has suddenly been promoted to their level.
Furthermore, if he can successfully jailbreak the entire up, then he will become the next CR:5 boss. Despite his confusion, Gian does not lack ambition, and he s not called “Lucky Dog” for nothing. He has no doubts about the future that awaits him once he brings his new friends to freedom.
In the crime-ridden city of Ergastulum, there exists a group of humans with super strength and speed dubbed “twilights.” These twilights define the city with their constant tension with normal humans, and powerful factions of the town—the Corsica Family, the Monroe Family, the Cristiano Family, and the Paulklee Guild—use them as a means to maintain the fragile balance that exists within the city. Enter the charming human Worick Arcangelo and the deaf twilight Nicolas Brown, two long-time friends and business partners of the neutral group “The Handymen.”
Working as muscle-for-hire, they are willing to take almost any job asked of them to make ends meet. One day, they find themselves receiving a seemingly regular job from the police: killing a rival pimp and his prostitute. However, this job is not all that it seems, as it takes the pair down a dangerous path and triggers events that could change the very framework of Ergastulum forever.
4. Tokyo Crazy Paradise
Life in the year 2020 in Tokyo is tough, as crime rates are high, and crimes against women rank second only to murders. To prevent their daughter from being exposed to these crimes, Tsukasa’s parents raised her to be a male. Tsukasa aspires to be a policeman fighting against the yakuza, just like her parents.
However, her parents died in the line of work, leaving behind Tsukasa and her 3 brothers to fend for themselves. Tsukasa must thus work as a bodyguard for her classmate, Ryuji, who happens to be the leader of the most powerful yakuza group in Tokyo, to pay off the family’s debts.
3. Black Lagoon
The story follows a team of mercenaries known as Lagoon Company, who smuggle goods in and around the seas of Southeast Asia. Their base of operations is located in the fictional city of Roanapur in Thailand, and they transport goods in the PT boat Black Lagoon.
Lagoon Company does business with various clients but has a particularly friendly relationship with the Russian crime syndicate Hotel Moscow. The team takes on a variety of missions—which may involve violent firefights, hand-to-hand combat, and nautical battles—in various Southeast Asian locations.
2. Wild Adapter
Makoto Kubota wandered through life, not taking things too seriously or looking too deep within himself. His job as the head of the Izumo Group’s youth gang kept him pleasantly occupied with yakuza wars, mahjong, and assassinations… Until the day he stumbled upon a strange drug called Wild Adapter that produces bizarre side effects—including death. Forever changed, Kubota becomes entangled with a drifter named Minoru Tokito, and the two form an unlikely companionship that draws them deeper into the mystery of Wild Adapter…
Akira Houjou and Chiaki Asami are childhood friends who have experienced hell and lived to tell about it. They arrive in Japan to attend school and soon witness the corruption and apathy of the country’s population. Enraged, Akira and Asami vow to create a new Japan; a sanctuary with a new form of politics, devoid of corruption, where people are empowered to participate in the politics and future of their country.
To accomplish this, Houjou and Asami aim to conquer Japan through two dramatically different routes: the Japanese Diet and the Yakuza. Decided by a game of rock-paper-scissors, Houjou ventures to seize control of the underworld while Asami pursues the position of Prime Minister. Sanctuary is a dark, political thriller that tells the story of these two friends as they attempt to change Japan from the inside out and create their sanctuary.
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