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Summary

  • Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
    has evolved over its 30-year run, making it one of the longest manga series at 133 volumes.
  • Hajime no Ippo
    , spanning 139 volumes since 1989, is a great sports manga that explores the stories of multiple boxers.
  • The
    Ginga
    franchise, with a total of 147 volumes, follows the adventures of the dog Gin and his descendants as they survive in the wilderness.

While many manga creators like to create multiple smaller stories, there are some mangaka who pour their energy into continuing one long series, resulting in some of the longest manga of all time. This has led to the creation of some of the most iconic franchises in Japan and some of the best manga series out there. Despite their length or perhaps because of it, many of these manga are well worth reading.

When judging the length of a manga, there are a couple of different metrics that can be used. The most straightforward may seem to be chapter count, but this can be misleading as many series have different chapter lengths given whether they are published daily, weekly, or monthly. Length of time serialized could be another metric but given hiatuses, this can make shorter series seem longer than they are. While still imperfect, the best metric to measure this with is how many tankobon volumes a series has.

15 Little Rascal Kobo-chan – 113 Volumes, 13,352 Chapters

Created By Masashi Ueda

Series

Number of Volumes

Publisher

Dates of Publication

Little Rascal Kobo-chan

113

Houbunsha

1982 – Present

Little Rascal Kobo-chan (or Kobo, the L’il Rascal) is a popular gaga manga centering on the title character and his family. One of the most popular styles of manga in Japan is what is known as the Yonkoma (sometimes known as 4-koma) style of manga. Far from the story-driven manga fans might commonly associate with magazines like Weekly Shonen Jump, Yonkoma manga are quick gag manga with simple premises that are much more about delivering a punch-line than they are about developing characters or a plot.

Yonkoma manga are essentially the Japanese equivalent of newspaper comics, which helps to explain how Little Rascal Kobo-chan can go on for so long with so many chapters. While over 13,000 chapters might seem impressive, and undeniably is, that doesn’t mean Kobo-chan is ten times longer than something like JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.

Little Rascal Kobo-chan
is not available to read in English.

14 Tsuribaka Nisshi – 113 Volumes, 1,026 Chapters

Created By Jūzō Yamasaki & Kenichi Kitami

Series

Number of Volumes

Publisher

Dates of Publication

Tsuribaka Nisshi

113

Nihon Bungeisha

1979 – Present

As an island nation, fishing is incredibly popular in Japan, and that’s certainly evident in Tsuribaka Nisshi. The series follows a salaryman named Densuke Hamasaki who is so obsessed with fishing that it frequently gets in the way of his work, much to the chagrin of his boss. Despite his boss’ annoyance though, Hamasaki eventually befriends an old man who is also a fishing fanatic named Ichinosuke Suzuki who turns out to be the CEO of the company Hamasaki works for.

Tsuribaka Nisshi’s
title translates roughly to
Fishing Nut’s Diary
.

Fishing is famously supposed to be peaceful, which is what makes Tsuribaka Nisshi’s off-the-wall approach to the support so amusing. With a premise that seems purpose-built to fit in with any time frame, it’s no wonder that Tsuribaka Nisshi would end up ranking alongside the longest running manga in anime history.

Tsuribaka Nisshi
is not available to read in English.

13 Mahjong Hiryū Densetsu: Tenpai – 116 Volumes, 1,142 Chapters

Created By Tomoshi Kuga & Nobuaki Minegishi

Series

Number of Volumes

Publisher

Dates of Publication

Mahjong Hiryū Densetsu: Tenpai

116

Nihon Bungeisha

1999-2022

Though the game is undeniably niche outside of Asia, mahjong is huge in Japan, as can be seen with the long-running success of Mahjong Hiryū Densetsu: Tenpai. The long-running manga is about a young man named Shun who decides to drop everything to pursue his dream of becoming a mahjong player. What follows is a series that features intense games of psychology and strategy as Shun plays against some of Japan’s greatest mahjong players.

The world of manga is certainly no stranger to mahjong, as evidenced by Akagi, a mahjong manga by Kaiji creator Nobuyuki Fukumoto. Mahjong Hiryū Densetsu: Tenpai however sets itself apart with its incredible artwork and focus on intense strategy. Far from just a game, mahjong is a way of life in Mahjong Hiryū Densetsu: Tenpai, making it one of the best manga about mahjong.

Mahjong Hiryū Densetsu: Tenpai
is not available to read in English.

12 Onihei Hankachō – 121 Volumes, 347 Chapters

Created By Sentaro Kubota & Takao Saito

Series

Number of Volumes

Publisher

Dates of Publication

Onihei Hankachō

121

Bungeishunjū

1993-Present

Onihei Hankachō is a long-running manga series based on a book series of the same name by Shōtarō Ikenami. The series follows a man named Heizo Hasegawa who is initially a hoodlum but eventually succeeds his father in becoming the Edo-era equivalent of a police officer. As an officer, Heizo eventually earns the nickname of Onihei, essentially labeling him a demon. The manga then follows Heizo as uses his criminal past to help solve mysteries that couldn’t be solved otherwise.

Essentially combining historical fiction, samurai stories, and a police procedural, Onihei Hankachō is a classic for a good reason. Above everything else, what makes Onihei Hankachō so compelling is the title character of Heizo himself. Heizo’s journey from nuisance to lawman is incredibly compelling and gives a unique perspective on Japanese history that many might not have considered.

Onihei Hankachō
is not available to read in English.

11 Edomae no Shun – 122 Volumes, 1,209 Chapters

Created By Mori Tsukumo & Terushi Satō

Series

Number of Volumes

Publisher

Dates of Publication

Edomae no Shun

122

Nihon Bungeisha

1999-Present

While some of the best anime ever are about food, what’s less well-known are manga about cooking and preparing good meals like Edomae no Shun. The series is about a young man named Shun who comes from a family famous for the high quality of their sushi. Eager to live up to his father’s legacy, Shun has a lot to learn before he can become a master sushi chef like his father before him.

Sushi making is a difficult art that takes a great deal of precision, and that’s perfectly represented in Edomae no Shun. Manga like Edomae no Shun can give readers a new appreciation for certain art forms like making sushi, showing the complexity that goes into creating things many people won’t think twice about. Unfortuantely, despite the series’ long life, the manga is relatively unknown outside of Japan.

10 Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – 134 Volumes, 969 Chapters

Created By Hirohiko Araki

Series

Number of Volumes

Publisher

Dates of Publication

Phantom Blood

5

Shueisha

1987-1987

Battle Tendency

7

Shueisha

1987-1989

Stardust Crusaders

16

Shueisha

1989-1992

Diamond is Unbreakable

18

Shueisha

1992-1995

Golden Wind

17

Shueisha

1995-1999

Stone Ocean

17

Shueisha

1999-2003

Steel Ball Run

24

Shueisha

2004-2011

JoJolion

27

Shueisha

2011-2021

The JoJoLands

2

Shueisha

2023-Present

Hirohiko Araki’s masterpiece Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is unique among other long manga for how its plot and characters constantly shift. Following the adventures of different members of the Joestar family over 9 parts, the series has evolved from the relatively simple sunshine karate of Phantom Blood to the complicated Stand battles in Stardust Crusaders and beyond.

Despite shifting from weekly to monthly chapters and going on a couple of hiatuses the series stands at a whopping 133 volumes published since 1987. This isn’t even considering spinoff series like Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan, which would make this number even more impressive. What makes JoJo’s run all the more impressive is that the series hasn’t dipped in quality. After its many years of publication, many fans feel that The JOJOLands is still revolutionary, cementing the series’ place in manga history as an all-time classic.

Read on MangaPlus

9 Hajime no Ippo – 139 Volumes, 1,452 Chapters

Created By George Morikawa

Series

Number of Volumes

Publisher

Dates of Publication

Hajime no Ippo

139

Kodansha

1989-Present

George Morikawa’s Hajime no Ippo is one of the best sports manga of all time. It follows the boxer Ippo as he improves his fighting skills and rises to battle for various Championship titles. Part of what makes this series so compelling is how it fleshes out the stories of not just Ippo but the other boxers it features as well. These narrative detours are a big part of what has made the series so long, clocking in at 139 volumes published since it began in 1989. However, the series is so good that no fan complains about the length.

Fighting in general and boxing in specific are classic subjects for manga, and Ippo shows how to keep that compelling even after decades of storytelling. With the manga still ongoing and a popular anime adaptation released in 2013, Ippo is still an incredibly important and influential franchise that anime and manga fans should check out, if only to understand the medium better.

Read on K Manga

8 Kinnikuman – 141 Volumes, 1,433 Chapters

Created By Yoshinori Nakai and Takashi Shimada

Kinnikuman Choushin Arc special full color manga art.

Series

Number of Volumes

Publisher

Dates of Publication

Kinnikuman

83

Shueisha

1979-1987 and 2011-Present

Kinnikuman Nisei

57

Shueisha

1998-2004

The Kinnikuman franchise, based around the original manga by childhood friends Yoshinori Takai and Takashi Shimada (known collectively as Yudetamago) is as absurd as it is heartfelt. Originally starting as a parody of Ultraman, it follows the adventures of the muscular superhero Kinnikuman as he enters intergalactic wrestling competitions. The initial series ran from 1979 to 1987, but was then revived in 2011. Combined with its sequel series Kinnikuman Nisei following Kinnikuman’s son, there are 140 volumes total, attesting to the franchise’s popularity despite its relative obscurity in the West.

Western fans may know
Kinnikuman
better by the dub title of its sequel series,
Ultimate Muscle
.

Wrestling is huge in Japan, so it’s no wonder that a manga about the sport would be big. With its goofy character designs and big moments, Kinnikuman does the impossible of capturing all the absurdity and glory of wrestling in a manga. Given all these factors, Kinnikuman more than deserves its status as one of the longest-running manga of all time.

Read From Viz

7 The Ginga Franchise – 147 Volumes, 1,097 Chapters

Created By Yoshihiro Takahash

The main cast of Ginga

Series

Number of Volumes

Publisher

Dates of Publication

Ginga Nagareboshi Gin

18

Shueisha

1983-1987

Ginga Legend Weed

60

Nihon Bungeisha

1999-2009

Ginga Legend Weed: Orion

30

Nihon Bungeisha

2009-2014

Ginga: The Last Wars

22

Nihon Bungeisha

2015-2019

Ginga Legend: Noah

17

Nihon Bungeisha

2019-2022

The Ginga franchise is a series of manga created by Yoshihiro Takahashi that follows the adventures of the dog Gin and his descendants as they struggle to survive in the wilderness. Since the first series began publication in 1983, fans have seen Gin’s legacy grow even after the original star of the series has aged. This sort of depiction of the passage of time is only possible given the length of the franchise, which when combining all of its individual series totals 147 volumes. While no Ginga series is currently serialized, Takahashi could create another sequel and increase this number.

Manga about animals have always been a bit more of a niche, but with Ginga, fans can see an animal manga at its best. The series truly meets the definition of an epic, as the series’ length is more than justified given the size of its story.

The
Ginga
Franchise is not available to read in English.

6 Grappler Baki – 150 Volumes, 1,325 Chapters

Created By Keisuke Itagaki

Baki Hanma in a fighting stance with his eyes glowing red and clouds behind him.

Series

Number of Volumes

Publisher

Dates of Publication

Grappler Baki

42

Akita Shoten

1991-1999

Baki

31

Akita Shoten

1999-2005

Baki Hanma

37

Akita Shoten

2005-2012

Baki-Dou

22

Akita Shoten

2014-2018

Bakidou

17

Akita Shoten

2018-2023

Baki Rahen

0

Akita Shoten

2023-Present

While many manga readers look at Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure as the gold standard in absurd manga, Keisuke Itagaki’s brutal Baki arguably has it beat. Beginning in 1991 with its first series Grappler Baki following the titular fighter’s quest to hunt down and defeat his powerful father, the franchise in its current form has gone far beyond that, even reincarnating famous fighters from Japanese history. The fights are some of the wildest in all of manga making this series well worth a read for any Shonen fans. With 149 volumes total, there is plenty for fans new and old to enjoy.

Series creator Keisuke Itagaki is the father of
Beastars
creator Paru Itagaki.

Fans also have their choice of ways to enjoy Baki, as the franchise not only hosts 6 manga series but also 3 full-length anime series. Any fan of fighting owes it to themselves to read or watch Baki in some form, as the series is a truly wild ride that’s still finding ways to surprise its fans even three decades after it first started publication.

Baki
is not available to read in English.

5 Cooking Papa – 168 Volumes, 1,680 Chapters

Created By Tochi Ueyama

The cooking papa from Cooking Papa

Series

Number of Volumes

Publisher

Dates of Publication

Cooking Papa

168

Kodansha

1985-Present

Tochi Ueyama’s Cooking Papa is a cozy slice-of-life cooking manga following the salaryman Kazumi, who is a great chef but doesn’t want his coworkers to find out. The manga also includes recipes for every dish it features, which allows its readers to try its delicious food for themselves. Despite its simple premise, the series has been going strong since 1985 and is still being serialized today. For manga fans wanting a fun slice-of-life series with characters they won’t have to say goodbye to any time soon, Cooking Papa currently has 168 volumes for them to enjoy.

In addition to the original manga, there is also a 151-episode anime series that ran from 1992 to 1995 produced by the anime studio Eiken, who also produced the anime adaptation of the similarly long-running Kobo-chan series.

Cooking Papa
is not available to read in English.

4 Minami no Teio – 176 Volumes, 1,648 Chapters

Created By Dai Tenoji and Rikiya Go

The main character of Minami no Teioh

Series

Number of Volumes

Publisher

Dates of Publication

Minami no Teio

175

Nihon Bungeisha

1992-Present

Minami no Teio is a relatively obscure series created by the team of Dai Tennoji and Rikiya Go. The manga follows a loan shark named Ginjirou Manda whose ruthless commitment to debt collection has given him a fearsome reputation. While the series doesn’t have much of a following in the West, in Japan it has spawned multiple movies. In addition, since its debut in 1992, it has released 175 volumes.

For manga fans who want to read a series with a unique main character, this means there are plenty of chapters of Minami no Teio to satisfy them. Unfortunately, the series’ relative obscurity means that it has never received an official English translation, so fans who are interested enough in the series to give it a try will either have to know Japanese or have to learn it to enjoy Minami no Teio.

Minami no Teio
is not available to read in English.

3 Kochikame: Tokyo Beat Cops – 201 Volumes, 1,960 Chapters

Created By Osamu Akimoto

The main cast of KochiKame

Series

Number of Volumes

Publisher

Dates of Publication

Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Koen-mae Hashutsujo

201

Shueisha

1976-2016

Osamu Akimoto’s Kochikame is a gag manga following a group of police officers patrolling in downtown Tokyo. The manga doesn’t really have a grand overarching story, instead often lampooning various fads at the time of its publication. This makes it very interesting to read in the present day as it can serve partially as a cultural history of society as it underwent major changes in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. With 201 volumes published since it began serialization in 1976 it certainly captures a large snapshot of time with its unique satirical voice.

Kochikame is absolutely huge in Japan, being a staple of Weekly Shonen Jump long before breakout titles like Dragon Ball and Naruto would define the popular manga magazine. Kochikame is so well-known and beloved that it’s actually received numerous shoutouts in popular manga and anime like One Piece.

Kochikame
is not available to read in English.

2 Dokaben – 205 Volumes, 1,814 Chapters

Created By Shinji Mizushima

The Main cast of Dokuben

Series

Number of Volumes

Publisher

Dates of Publication

Dokaben

48

Akita Shoten

1972-1981

Dai Koshien

26

Akita Shoten

1983-1987

Dokaben Professional Baseball

52

Akita Shoten

1995-2003

Dokaben Superstars

45

Akita Shoten

2004-2012

Dokaben Dream Tournament

34

Akita Shoten

2012-2018

Shinji Mizushima’s Dokaben franchise is made up of multiple series following the baseball careers of its main cast of characters from middle school to high school and beyond. The series took a more grounded approach to the sport than a series like Prince of Tennis did for its sport. This apparently influenced the iconic Slam Dunk, which took a similar approach to its chosen sport of basketball. From when it began in 1972 to when it ended in 2018, the Dokaben franchise produced 205 volumes, making it the longest sports manga of all time.

Sports is a popular genre for long-running manga for good reason. Though players aging out of their sport is always a concern, the constant shuffle of players in and out of a team in addition to the possibility that a main character could be a coach means that creators have ample room to continue sports stories for quite a long time. Still, being in publication for fifty years is a serious accomplishment.

Dokaben
is not available to read in English.

1 Golgo 13 – 212 Volumes, 975 Chapters

Created By Takao Saito and Saito Production

Golgo 13 from Golgo 13

Series

Number of Volumes

Publisher

Dates of Publication

Golgo 13

212

Shogakukan

1968-Present

Takao Saito’s Golgo 13 manga is a very unique series. Beginning publication in 1968, it’s the oldest manga still in publication and has continued even after Saito’s death in 2021. The series follows the hardboiled assassin Golgo 13 as he takes on various missions. Many of these missions were written by other writers, which can give the series an almost anthological feel to it at times. But this sort of system has enabled it to last for over 50 years.

It may be wild to think that a manga that began in the 1960s is still running, but thanks to Takao Saito and The Saito Production’s hard work, Golgo 13 has been going strong for more than fifty years. While Saito himself may have passed, his production company still continues to produce the manga. With 211 volumes out now and more likely on the way, Golgo 13is the longest manga of all time.

Read From Viz



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