Kosmogal Recommends 35 Hidden Treasures of Manga – The Most Underrated Series of All Time

Today, we have access to an enormous collection of manga with tens of thousands of titles and billions of volumes. The manga industry is highly competitive and diverse, with creators continuously striving to produce the next big hit like Demon Slayer or One Piece. Within this thrilling world, there are countless talented and skillful creators, some of whom become industry icons with legions of fans, while others remain in the underground manga scene. However, lesser-known manga is often just as exciting and incredible as their popular counterparts, and sometimes even more so. These hidden gems are some of the most unconventional, visually compelling, and enthralling works that a manga fan can discover.

Despite the abundance of great titles, many of them can be overshadowed by more mainstream options. Finding a high-quality but lesser-known manga can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. That’s why I’ve gathered a list of such titles here, with just two criteria: they must be truly excellent, and they must not be widely popular.

1. 🢒M⊙NS†ER🢐

Illustrated by: Naoki Urasawa

Original Run: December 5, 1994 – December 20, 2001

Number of Volumes: 18

Total Chapters: 162

Storyline: In Monster, Kenzou Tenma, a highly respected Japanese neurosurgeon working in post-war Germany, must make a difficult choice between operating on Johan Liebert, a critically ill orphan boy, or the mayor of Düsseldorf. Against the wishes of his superiors, Tenma chooses to save Johan’s life, resulting in disastrous consequences for his career and personal life. Stripped of his position and abandoned by his fiancée, Tenma’s life takes a drastic turn when the hospital director is mysteriously killed, leading him to become entangled in a series of gruesome murders that have taken place throughout Germany. As the head of the surgical department, Tenma finds himself face-to-face with a monster—the very same one he saved years ago.

2. Vinland Saga

Illustrated by: Makoto Yukimura

Original Run: 2005 onwards

Number of Volumes: 26

Total Chapters: 198

Storyline:  Vinland Saga is an epic manga set in 11th-century Europe, featuring Thorfinn, the son of a legendary Viking warrior. Thorfinn is a skilled fighter and a member of a group of mercenaries led by the cunning Askeladd. However, Thorfinn is not with the group for the riches they seek, but rather to seek revenge against Askeladd for a past tragedy that befell his family. As Thorfinn trains and fights alongside the mercenary crew, he finds himself caught in a world of violence and madness, where killing is just another part of life.When the group learns that a Danish prince has been taken hostage, Askeladd devises an ambitious plot that will determine the next King of England and have a profound impact on the lives of Thorfinn, the prince, and himself. With its vivid depiction of a brutal era, Vinland Saga offers a tale of bloody battles and gripping drama that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

3. Grand Blue (Grand Blue Dreaming)

Illustrated by: Kimitake Yoshioka

Original Run: 2014 – Present

Number of Volumes: 19

Total Chapters: 80

Storyline: Grand Blue is a comedic manga set in the seaside town of Izu, following the adventures of Iori Kitahara as he begins his freshman year at Izu University. After moving into his uncle’s scuba diving shop, Grand Blue, Iori eagerly looks forward to his dream college life, filled with beautiful girls and good friends. However, his plans are quickly derailed when he encounters a group of wild, naked upperclassmen who drag him into their boozy activities. Despite his initial reluctance, Iori soon becomes the life of the party, much to the dismay of his cousin Chisa Kotegawa, who catches him in the act. But Iori is undeterred and remains determined to have the time of his life at college, even if it means navigating through all kinds of hilariously absurd situations.

4. Vagabond

Illustrated by: Takehiko Inoue

Original Run: September 3, 1998 to May 21, 2015

Number of Volumes: 37

Total Chapters: 327

Storyline:  Vagabond manga takes place in 16th-century Japan, following the story of Shinmen Takezou, a wild and aggressive young man who seeks a grander life beyond his provincial village with his friend, Matahachi Honiden. They join the Toyotomi army, but after a crushing defeat, Shinmen returns home to notify Matahachi’s family of his survival, only to be framed for his friend’s murder and left to die. Rescued by a monk, he takes on a new name, Musashi Miyamoto, and embarks on a journey to become the “Invincible Under the Heavens.” Vagabond is a retelling of Miyamoto’s life, from a swordsman focused only on his own glory to an enlightened warrior who learns the importance of friendship and self-reflection.

5. Oyasumi Punpun (Goodnight Punpun)

Illustrated by: Inio Asano

Original Run: March 15, 2007 to November 2, 2013

Number of Volumes: 13

Total Chapters: 147

Storyline:  Oyasumi Punpun follows the life of Punpun Onodera, an ordinary 11-year-old boy living in Japan. He is idealistic and romantic, and his world is forever changed when he meets Aiko Tanaka, a new girl in his class. As he navigates the complexities of maintaining a relationship, Punpun also begins to confront the harsh realities of adulthood, particularly when he witnesses his father’s assault on his mother.

As Punpun’s problems mount, he withdraws from the world around him, becoming increasingly reclusive. However, this only intensifies his internal conflicts and sends him down a dark path towards maturity in this poignant coming-of-age tale.

6. GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka

Illustrated by: Tohru Fujisawa

Original Run: December 11, 1996 to January 30, 2002

Number of Volumes: 25

Total Chapters: 208

Storyline:  The story follows the life of 22-year-old Eikichi Onizuka, a perverted former gang member who becomes a teacher at a high school. He faces numerous challenges, including a cunning Class 3-4 that is determined to have him removed from the school, the frustrated balding vice-principal, Hiroshi Uchiyamada, old enemies from his biker days, and his own unorthodox teaching methods. However, Eikichi remains determined to help his students, win over his love interest, fellow teacher Azusa Fuyutsuki, and earn his self-proclaimed title as the “Great Teacher Onizuka.” The series is known for its humor, social commentary, and heartwarming moments.

7. Dorohedoro

Illustrated by: Q Hayashida

Original Run: November 30, 2000, to September 12, 2018

Number of Volumes: 23

Total Chapters: 190

Storyline:  The story takes place in Hole, a dark and chaotic district where the strong prey on the weak and death is an everyday occurrence. The area is a testing ground for the magic users who dominate it, and they see the powerless Hole dwellers as nothing more than insects. Murdered, mutilated, and experimented on without a second thought, the powerless residents of Hole are left to suffer. Despite the magic users’ indomitable authority, Caiman, a man with a reptilian appearance, hunts them down on a quest for answers with only a pair of bayonets and his immunity to magic. He is cursed by his appearance and tormented by nightmares, and magic users are his only clue to restoring his life to normal. His companion, Nikaidou, runs the restaurant Hungry Bug and is his greatest ally.

“Dorohedoro” is set in a gritty and hellish world, with a unique blend of comedy and lightheartedness that contrasts with the death and carnage that pervades the story. The plot takes many twists and turns while following the lives of Hole’s residents, weaving a world of unearthly origin and dreary appearance that is not for the faint of heart or easily disturbed.

8. Kokou no Hito (The Climber)

Illustrated by: Shinichi Sakamoto

Original Run: November 1, 2007 to October 27, 2011

Number of Volumes: 17

Total Chapters: 170

Storyline: The story follows Mori Buntarou, a lonesome and solitary high school student who discovers his passion for rock climbing after scaling his school building without a harness.

After reaching the top, Mori sees another peak in the distance, which inspires him to pursue rock climbing as a serious sport. He becomes dedicated to the arduous and demanding practice, enduring pain, and hardship as he climbs to the top of some of the world’s highest and most treacherous mountains. Through his journey, Mori faces numerous challenges and meets a cast of unique and compelling characters, including fellow climbers who become his friends, rivals, and mentors.

 “Kokou no Hito” explores the themes of passion, determination, and the pursuit of greatness, as Mori strives to reach the top of the world and find his place in life.

9. Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End (Sousou no Frieren)

Illustrated by: Kanehito Yamada

Original Run: 2020 Onwards

Number of Volumes: 9

Total Chapters: 105

Storyline:  After the defeat of the demon king, mage Frieren and her hero party members reminisce about their journey before parting ways. However, due to the elven lifespan, Frieren witnesses her companions pass away one by one. Before his death, priest Heiter leaves a young human apprentice, Fern, in Frieren’s care. Together, they embark on a journey to collect magic spells and revisit the places their former companions had been. As they travel, Frieren comes to terms with her regrets and missed opportunities to deepen her bonds with her now deceased comrades.

10. Witch Hat Atelier Mang (Tongari Boushi no Atelier)

Illustrated by: Kamome Shirahama

Original Run: 2017 Onwards

Number of Volumes: 10

Total Chapters: 58

Storyline: In the magical world of Witch Hat Atelier, Coco dreams of becoming a witch and learning the secrets of magic. When she accidentally discovers a magical book and starts experimenting with spells, she causes a disaster that puts her in danger. Fortunately, the skilled witch Qifrey saves her and takes her under his wing as his apprentice. Coco soon learns that there are strict rules governing the use of magic, and that not all witches are as kind as Qifrey. As she improves her skills, she must also navigate the treacherous politics of the magical world, including the dangerous Brimmed Caps, who seek to use forbidden magic to alter the human body.

Through it all, Coco remains determined to master magic and become a true witch. With the help of Qifrey and her fellow apprentices, she embarks on a journey of discovery and self-improvement, learning valuable lessons about friendship, courage, and the power of magic.

11. Our Dreams At Dusk (Shimanami Tasogare)

Illustrated by: Yuhki Kamatani

Original Run: March 6, 2015 to May 23, 2018

Number of Volumes: 4

Total Chapters: 23

Storyline: This manga explores the lives of a diverse group of people who gather at a lounge on top of a hill in Onomichi town. Tasuku Kaname, a high school student who is struggling with his sexuality, is about to commit suicide when he witnesses a woman jumping off a nearby building. He discovers that she is the owner of the building and goes to speak with her. Anonymous, as she is known, offers him a listening ear and helps him to come to terms with his struggles. The story follows Tasuku’s journey and those of other LGBTQ+ characters as they navigate their identities and relationships.

12. Usogui

Illustrated by: Toshio Sako

Original Run: May 11, 2006, to December 21, 2017

Number of Volumes: 49

Total Chapters: 541

Storyline: In the world of gambling, where the stakes are high, lies and cheating are commonplace. To ensure fairness in bets, a powerful organization known as “Kakerou” is in place. Baku Madarame, also known as “Usogui,” is a brilliant gambler who takes risks by betting more than just money. He competes against deranged opponents in dangerous psychological games, risking his own life. With his sharp wit and icy demeanor, Baku aims to not only defeat deceitful gamblers but also gain control over Kakerou itself.

13. A Sign of Affection (Yubisaki to Renren)

Illustrated by: Suu Morishita

Original Run: 2019 Onwards

Number of Volumes: 8

Total Chapters: 32

Storyline:  A Sign of Affection follows Yuki, a university student who has been deaf since birth and lives a relatively solitary life with her best friend Rin. However, one day she meets Itsuomi, a multilingual and understanding individual who is fascinated by Yuki’s experiences and doesn’t treat her differently due to her impairment. As they learn more about each other, Yuki begins to develop feelings for Itsuomi, and their relationship opens up a new world of possibilities for both of them.

14. Promised Neverland (Yakusoku no Neverland)

Illustrated by: Posuka Demizu

Original Run: August 1, 2016, to June 15, 2020

Number of Volumes: 20

Total Chapters: 181

Storyline:  It is a thrilling manga set in Grace Field House, a seemingly idyllic orphanage where children live happily under the care of their loving Mama. However, when Emma and Norman, two of the brightest orphans, discover a dark truth about their existence, they must rally their fellow children and plot their escape from the sinister fate that awaits them. With intense suspense and clever strategy, The Promised Neverland follows their harrowing journey to freedom.

15. A Man and His Cat (Ojisama to Neko)

Illustrated by: Posuka Demizu

Original Run: 2017 Onwards

Number of Volumes: 9

Total Chapters: 73

Storyline: A Man and His Cat,tells the story of a cat who has been waiting for a forever home in a local pet shop. Despite being passed over by potential owners, he is finally adopted by an elderly man named Kanda who is seeking companionship after his children have grown up and moved out. As Kanda and the cat, now named Fukumaru, get to know each other, they experience the ups and downs of living together and forming a bond that fills the emptiness in their lives. The manga is a heartwarming tale that touches on themes of love, companionship, and the joy of finding a place to belong.

16. Holyland

Illustrated by: Koji Mori

Original Run: October 13, 2000, to May 23, 2008

Number of Volumes: 18

Total Chapters: 182

Storyline:  Holyland is a gripping manga that follows the story of Yuu Kamishiro, a tormented soul who finds no place in society. Constantly bullied by his peers, Yuu drops out of school and roams the streets at night, searching for acceptance. He discovers his calling in the world of violence and lawlessness and begins training in boxing to become stronger and protect himself. As he becomes known as the “Thug Hunter,” Yuu finds himself drawn deeper into the dark underworld of street fighting, battling both physical and emotional demons along the way. With each fight, he inches closer to his goal of finding his “holyland,” a place where he can finally belong.

17. Dandadan

Illustrated by: Yōhei Yasumura

Original Run: 2021 Onwards

Number of Volumes: 9

Total Chapters: 87

Storyline:  In Dandadan, Momo Ayase finds herself feeling down after being rejected, only to stumble upon a boy being bullied. After saving him, the two get into an argument over whether the occult or the supernatural is real. To settle the debate, they decide to visit respective locations associated with both, and to their surprise, both are real. Thus begins their surreal adventure to fix the supernatural and occult elements around them and return to normal life.

18. The Flowers of Evil (Aku no Hana)

Illustrated by: Shūzō Oshimi

Original Run: September 9, 2009, to May 9, 2014

Number of Volumes: 11

Total Chapters: 58

Storyline: Takao Kasuga is a solitary middle school student with a passion for literature, specifically Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal. He harbors a secret crush on his classmate, the charming Nanako Saeki, who is admired by everyone. In contrast, Sawa Nakamura is a rebellious and unpleasant girl who has no interest in school. One day, Takao forgets his book at school and returns to retrieve it. But he is stopped in his tracks when he comes across Nanako’s gym clothes lying on the floor. A strange impulse takes over Takao, and he steals them like a twisted pervert. Overwhelmed by the guilt of his crime, Takao struggles to live a normal life. However, Sawa, who witnessed Takao’s theft, has her own plans for him…

19. Sanctuary

Illustrated by: Ryoichi Ikegami

Original Run: 1990-1995

Number of Volumes: 12

Total Chapters: 108

Storyline: Sanctuary is a political thriller that follows childhood friends Akira Houjou and Chiaki Asami as they witness the corruption and apathy of Japan’s population. The two vow to create a new Japan, free of corruption and with citizen empowerment in politics. To achieve this goal, Houjou and Asami take two very different routes: Houjou aims to take control of the underworld while Asami pursues the position of Prime Minister. As they work to conquer Japan, the two friends must navigate dangerous political waters and face difficult moral dilemmas in their quest to create their sanctuary.

Sanctuary is a complex and riveting story that explores the intricacies of power and politics.

20. Iryuu: Team Medical Dragon

Illustrated by: Akira Nagai

Original Run: November 1, 2002, to January 28, 2011

Number of Volumes: 25

Total Chapters: 210

Storyline:  The story follows Dr. Akira Katou, who aims to reform the corrupt Japanese medical system by gaining a professorship at Meishin University Medical Center. To do so, she decides to focus her research on the Batista, a difficult surgical procedure that has never been accomplished in Japan. Dr. Ryutaro Asada, a genius surgeon, becomes her first recruit. However, Asada’s rebellious nature causes trouble at the hospital, jeopardizing Katou’s career. The manga explores the conflict between Katou’s desire for reform and her need to conform to the system to achieve her goals.

21. Sakamoto Days

Illustrated by: Yuto Suzuki

Original Run: 2021 Onwards

Number of Volumes: 10

Total Chapters: 110

Storyline:  Tarou Sakamoto, once known as the greatest hitman of all time, gave up his life of crime for the love of a woman and now runs a convenience store. But his past catches up to him as former rivals and partners refuse to believe he has left the business. In order to protect his family, store, and town, Sakamoto must use his skills to subdue his enemies without killing them. With his creativity and quick thinking, Sakamoto proves that even a former hitman can become a hero.

22. Boys Run the Riot

Illustrated by: Keito Gaku

Original Run: January 27, 2020 to October 14, 2020

Number of Volumes: 4

Total Chapters: 37

Storyline:  The series follows the story of Ryou Watari, a boy born in a girl’s body, who struggles with rejection due to his gender identity. Ryou finds solace in expressing himself through his fashion choices and a buzzcut. Things take a positive turn when he meets Jin Satou, a fearless and accepting classmate who proposes they start a clothing brand together. With the help of other talented outcasts, the boys strive to break gender norms and express themselves through fashion, one step at a time.

23. The Witch and the Beast (Majo to Yajuu)

Illustrated by: Kousuke Satake

Original Run: 2016 Onwards

Number of Volumes: 10

Total Chapters: 30

Storyline:  The story follows the arrival of Guideau, a feral girl with sharp fangs and a beastly gaze, and Ashaf, a gentle man who carries a coffin on his back, in a town that is ruled by a witch. Despite the townsfolk seeing the witch as their savior, Ashaf and Guideau have their own agenda and will stop at nothing to settle their scores, even if it means taking down anyone who stands in their way.

24. X

Illustrated by: Clamp

Original Run: March 24, 1992 to March 24, 2003

Number of Volumes: 18

Total Chapters: 158

Storyline: It follows the story of Kamui Shirou, who returns to Tokyo to face his “destiny” after the death of his mother. Upon his return, he is approached by two factions—the Dragons of Heaven and the Dragons of Earth—who both want to recruit him for their cause. As Kamui uncovers the truth about the impending “promised day,” he must decide which side to ally with and determine the fate of the world.

25. Nozoki Ana

Illustrated by: Honna Wakou

Original Run: Jan 23, 2009, to Feb 1, 2013

Number of Volumes: 13

Total Chapters: 117

Storyline: Nozoki Ana follows the story of Tatsuhiko Kido, a college student who moves to the city with dreams of a normal college life. However, things take a sharp turn when he discovers a hole in his apartment wall and peeks through to see his neighbor, Emiru Ikuno, masturbating. Caught in the act, Kido is blackmailed into a mutual peeping relationship by Emiru, who also happens to be in his class at school. As their relationship progresses, it begins to take a toll on Kido’s mental health and his relationships with other women. Despite the erotic themes, Nozoki Ana is a psychological story that delves into the complexities of guilt, desire, and finding love in unexpected places.

26. Bambino

Illustrated by: Tatsuya Hamazaki.

Original Run: Dec 6, 2004 to Feb 23, 2009

Number of Volumes: 15

Total Chapters: 164

Storyline:  Shogo Ban, a college student from Fukuoka, has a passion for cooking. He lands a job at Trattoria Baccanale, the best Italian restaurant in Roppongi, Tokyo, thanks to the owner of the restaurant where he worked part-time. However, he quickly realizes that working at a high-end restaurant is more challenging than he had imagined. The manga follows Ban as he navigates the demanding workload, competitive environment, and relationships with his colleagues. Meanwhile, he also deals with personal issues such as his long-distance relationship with his girlfriend Eri, who remains in Fukuoka.

27. Bartender

Illustrated by: Kenji Nagatomo

Original Run: 2004 -2021

Number of Volumes: 21

Total Chapters: 166

Storyline:  At the heart of the story is Ryuu Sasakura, a young and talented bartender who runs Eden Hall, a hidden bar in Ginza. Despite its obscurity, Eden Hall attracts a diverse range of customers, each with their own problems and heartaches. With his remarkable skill in crafting cocktails, Ryuu becomes a confidant and counselor to his patrons, offering them solace and wisdom through his drinks. Through the course of the manga, readers witness the transformative power of a well-made cocktail and how it can heal even the deepest wounds of the human soul.

28. The World is Mine

Illustrated by: Hideki Arai

Original Run: January 23, 1997 to March 15, 2001

Number of Volumes: 14

Total Chapters: 163

Storyline:  In this manga, readers follow the journey of Mon, a violent killer who is only loyal to his own explosive desires, and his meek companion Toshi, a demolition-devil with an insatiable thirst for destruction. As they embark on a killing spree across Japan, their path is bound to cross with that of the massive creature known as “Higumadon,” which is wreaking havoc from Hokkaido to Tokyo, much like Godzilla.

29. Mairimashita Senpai  (You Got Me, Sempai!)

Illustrated by: Azusa Mase

Original Run:  Jun 24, 2016 to Oct 24, 2020

Number of Volumes: 10

Total Chapters: 40

Storyline:  When Serina discovers that her desk has been vandalized with the lyrics to a love song, she never expects to find out that Mizukawa-senpai, a boy one year her senior, is the culprit. Despite his cold attitude towards her, Serina wants to get to know him better. As she discovers his awkward and endearing side, she can’t help but ask him out. With each passing day, Serina’s heart races a little faster as she gets to know Mizukawa-sempai better.

30. Kiba no Tabishounin: The Arms Peddler

Illustrated by: Night Owl

Original Run:  May 7, 2010 to February 3, 2017

Number of Volumes: 7

Total Chapters: 61

Storyline:  In a lawless world, overrun by demons and bandits, Sona Yuki is traveling with his family when they are attacked, leaving him with a snake mark on his hand and his loved ones dead. As he lies dying, Garami, a weapons merchant and hired gun, offers him a choice: die peacefully or serve her and live in this harsh world. Yuki chooses the latter, and becomes a peddler of arms alongside Garami, witnessing firsthand the brutal and unforgiving nature of their surroundings.

31. Iris Zero

Illustrated by: Hotaru Takana

Original Run:  2009 Onwards

Number of Volumes: 8

Total Chapters: 44

Storyline:  In this world, most people possess unique abilities known as “Irises,” but Tooru Mizushima is an exception as an “Iris Zero.” Due to his lack of Iris, Tooru is often bullied and tries to keep a low profile. However, when Koyuki Sasamori, a popular schoolgirl with a unique Iris, approaches him for help finding the next student council president, Tooru’s life takes an unexpected turn. Despite his initial reluctance, Tooru becomes involved in Koyuki’s mission and uses his exceptional deduction skills to solve mysteries and meet new people.

32. Yongbi the Invincible (Yongbi Bulpae)

Illustrated by: Ryu Ki Woon

Original Run:  1998 to 2002

Number of Volumes: 23

Total Chapters: 124

Storyline:  Yongbi, the main character, is a bounty hunter known for his fearlessness and love for drinking and women. He’s not afraid to take on any challenge and has a charming personality. When he meets a boy with a valuable medallion, he becomes his protector, and those who dare to oppose them will face the consequences of crossing paths with Yongbi.

33. Itsuwaribito (Itsuwaribito◆Utsuho◆)

Illustrated by: Ryu Ki Woon

Original Run:  January 28, 2009 to September 3, 2013

Number of Volumes: 23

Total Chapters: 224

Storyline:  “Can a liar lead a life of good?”

Utsuho, a troublemaker since childhood, decides to lie from that day forward after an enormous catastrophe resulted from his truthfulness. Raised in a village of orphans by a monk, Utsuho’s mischievous nature continues. However, the monk inspires him to help people and Utsuho uses his talents for deception and mischief to do good deeds.

34. I Think Our Son Is Gay (Uchi no Musuko wa Tabun Gay)

Illustrated by: Okura

Original Run:   November 02, 2018 to December 19, 2022

Number of Volumes: 5

Total Chapters: 104

Storyline:  “I Think Our Son Is Gay” is a heartwarming family comedy featuring Tomoko is a doting mother to her two beloved sons, Hiroki and Yuri. While her husband is away at work, Tomoko and her sons go about their daily lives, with Hiroki now in his first year of high school. As Hiroki starts to explore his sexuality, Tomoko can’t help but notice his slips of the tongue when he talks about his crushes. She suspects Hiroki might be gay but decides to let him figure it out for himself. However, Hiroki is not great at keeping his secret, and hilarity ensues as the family navigates this new territory with love and support.

35. Dai Dark

Illustrated by: Q Hayashida

Original Run:  2019 Onwards

Number of Volumes: 5

Total Chapters: 31

Storyline:  In Dai Dark, Zaha Sanko possesses a body with great and terrible powers that can grant any wish to those who possess his bones. But Sanko is just a teenage boy, and he’s not going to let anyone kill him for his bones. With the help of his skeletal friend Avakian, Sanko will use his dark powers to defend himself while searching for the person who cursed his bones. His ultimate goal is to kill them and end the madness so he can go back to enjoying his favorite spaghetti.

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