These are the scariest or darkest manga, where creators fearlessly explore the macabre, the psychologically intense, and the outlandish.
Prepare to be scared and darkest as you navigate through narratives that challenge conventional norms and provoke unsettling emotions, making them not only unique but undeniably some of the most haunting and thought-provoking stories within the manga realm.
Here is the list of the scariest or darkest manga to read:
Set in Neo Toyo 38 years after World War III, Akira unfolds in the aftermath of a psychic incident that devastated the original Tokyo. The story centers around Canada and Tetsuo, members of a biker gang. Their lives take a dramatic turn when Tetsuo, following a motorcycle accident, starts displaying powerful psychic abilities similar to those of Akira, a mysterious child responsible for Tokyo’s earlier destruction.
Tetsuo’s newfound powers draw government attention, leading to events that put Neo Tokyo at risk. As Tetsuo struggles to control his powers, he becomes fixated on finding Akira to unlock his potential.
Meanwhile, Canada and a group of resistance fighters strive to stop Tetsuo’s rampage. Akira has been a significant inspiration across various media genres, especially in the cyberpunk realm, earning its classic status.
19. Violence Jack
Created by Go Nagai, known for Devilman, Violence Jack unfolds in the Kanto region post a devastating earthquake, causing chaos. Amidst the turmoil, gangs and nomads exploit the tragedy for violent acts.
Violence Jack, an enigmatic figure, emerges after the earthquake, opposing the violent thugs. While his intention is generally to assist the weak, his brutal style sometimes results in unintentional harm to innocent bystanders.
Ibitsu follows Kazuki, who encounters a teen girl in a Lolita outfit covered in filth. After mistakenly affirming he has a little sister, the girl declares herself as his sister and begins stalking him.
Kazuki’s real sister becomes a target, and the suspense escalates as the ambiguous nature of the girl—whether ghost, demon, or mere creep—unfolds. With long slashes on her arms stitched back up, she adds a chilling element to the horror narrative.
17. Ijousha No AI
Translated as “The Love of an Abnormal Person,” this story follows Kazumi, traumatized by a gruesome event in middle school. Meto, a classmate, confesses her love, leading to a rejection that sets off a chain of disturbing events.
Fast-forward to high school, and Kazumi’s life takes a dark turn as Meto reappears, kidnapping his new crush and plunging the narrative into twisted territory.
16. Good Night Punpun
Good Night Punpun, or Osami Punpun, delves into the life of Punpun from elementary school to his early 20s. The story, narrated with Punpun and his family as simplistic birds, unfolds with heavy themes of depression.
Punpun’s life is marred by abusive parents, a troubled relationship, and distressing events, making it a somber exploration of his journey through a challenging existence.
15. The Summer Hikaru Died
This tale follows two teenage boys, Hikaru and Yosiki, on a hiking trip. Hikaru faces a fatal injury, leading to a mysterious eldritch monster consuming his body.
Upon Hikaru’s return, Yosiki notices a change, and the story unfolds as Yosiki attempts to save Hikaru from the entity while the creature wreaks havoc in the town.
Pygmalion revolves around mascots transforming into flesh-eating monsters during a festival celebrating mascots. K, a high school boy, and his companions must navigate the chaos as mascots transform into gruesome creatures.
The premise, initially lighthearted, takes an interesting turn with underlying mysteries and a unique transformation element.
13. Doku Mushi
Doku Mushi, or The Killing District, centers on a group awakening in an abandoned school with a countdown timer and cameras.
The group faces the grim realization that they are meant to kill and consume each other. Trust erodes, paranoia intensifies, and violence ensues as the countdown ticks down.
12. Mayonaka No X Giten
Translated as “The Midnight Cross Method,” the story follows Heroki, a high school student drawn into a murder mystery. After a body-switching ritual, Heroki’s sister is found dead, and he embarks on a quest to uncover the truth behind the murder, leading to intriguing twists.
11. Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service
This manga follows five Buddhist University graduates with supernatural skills related to the dead. The main character, Kuro Kurotu, communicates with the deceased, forming the foundation of their business—fulfilling the last wishes of corpses.
The story blends dark themes with humor, making it an engaging exploration of mystery and supernatural elements.
Also Read: 8 Best Psychological Manga to Read
10. Dinjen N (Electricman)
Dinjen N, also known as Electricman, follows Tahiro, a convenience store worker leading a challenging life. After an unfortunate incident, Tahiro gains the ability to manipulate electricity after his death.
Driven by revenge and obsession with a Teen Idol named Masaki, Tahiro embarks on a series of creative and gruesome killings to ensure Masaki’s success. The narrative escalates as detectives investigate the mysterious murders.
9. Ajin Demi Human
This manga unfolds in a world where extraordinary beings known as Ajin possess the ability to swiftly recover from injuries and summon powerful entities called black ghosts. These entities are visible only to other Ajin. Despite their rarity, K, a high school student in Japan, discovers his Ajin identity after an unfortunate incident.
However, society views Ajin as unique individuals. This leads to their capture by the government for scientific experiments. K finds himself caught in this predicament and encounters other Ajin with diverse motives. The story shares some thematic elements with narratives exploring the tension between supernatural entities and humans, similar to the X-Men series.
8. Lychee Light Club
In this intriguing manga, a group of adolescent boys forms a club with the peculiar objective of finding exceptionally beautiful women. Their unconventional means involve a robot named Liy, designed to assist in this pursuit.
Led by Zer, an intelligent but complex character, the club employs unconventional methods, presenting a unique blend of dark themes and humor.
7. As the God Will
“As the God’s Will” follows a group of students facing unexpected challenges when their teacher experiences a dramatic event. When forced to participate in life-threatening games, the consequences of failure are dire.
While there are similarities to later works such as Squid Game, the story unfolds as a distinct and engaging narrative.
6. Fire Punch
Set in a frozen dystopian future dominated by the Ice Witch, “Fire Punch” follows Agny and Luna, siblings with remarkable regenerative abilities. In a village grappling with food scarcity, Agny sacrifices his own limbs to provide for the community.
When a military force arrives, seeking resources and enslaving the villagers, Agny embarks on a quest for justice, utilizing his newfound control over undying flames. The manga delves into dark themes and evolves into a gripping narrative with unexpected twists.
5. Bradhurley’s Coach
This enigmatic manga revolves around the Bradhurley family’s annual tradition. Nicola Bradley, a wealthy patriarch, adopts young women from orphanages, promising them a life of prosperity.
However, the reality takes a dark turn as the girls face challenging situations. The narrative explores the family’s motives and the struggles of those unwilling to participate in unsettling events.
“Brutal” introduces Dan, a successful detective harboring a chilling secret—he’s a vigilante targeting criminals.
The story unfolds with intense depictions of both criminals’ actions and Dan’s pursuit of justice. While not traditional horror, the manga explores disturbing and tragic themes surrounding a 15-year-old boy’s life.
3. Die Wergelder
Set on a secluded island where desires are fulfilled at great cost, “Die Wergelder” follows three women entangled in its complex operations.
The narrative involves intense themes, presenting a challenging read with intricate concepts and visuals.
“Freesia” explores a society where the Vengeance Act allows families to seek justice against criminals. Kano, an ex-military assassin, becomes a proxy killer, excelling at his job with a lack of emotional attachment.
The manga weaves a tale of revenge, strange abilities, and a world filled with peculiar elements.
1. God’s Left Hand Devil’s Right Hand
This manga begins with a dramatic scene, setting the stage for a series of unsettling events. Following Sue, a boy with unique dreams and abilities, the stories delve into grotesque imagery.
The anthology series explores dark and disturbing themes with vivid and imaginative details. Authored by Kazuo Umezu, known for works like The Drifting Classroom, it presents a series of narratives with a focus on horror elements.
Also Read: Best Horror Manga To Read Ever
So this is the list of the 20 scariest or darkest mangas ever to read. I hope you like the list.