Along with zombie manga, the vampire genre is one of my favorite sub-genres of horror manga. As with everything, I really look for series that stand out in their category and are unique, whether it be in their tone, setting, take on vampires, and more.
Some of these series are bloody or action-packed and take inspiration from vampire classics, while others are modern takes that change as well as challenge the way we think about vampires entirely.
That all being said, here are the best vampire manga that have released so far! I have read all of the series on this list and I will continue to update this post as more vampire series are released.
#DRCL midnight children by Shinichi Sakamoto
Shinichi Sakamoto (The Climber, Innocent) showcases his highly-realistic and detailed art yet again in #DRCL midnight children, but its also one of my favorites thanks to its subject matter. #DRCL midnight children is based on Dracula by Bram Stoker. Horror is one of my favorite genres, so I couldn’t wait to see how Shinichi Sakamoto would reimagine this original classic. I'm happy to report that he far exceeded my expectations.
Set in a quintessential gothic setting in the 19th century, the landscapes as well as the backdrops that Shinichi Sakamoto drew further bring the world of Dracula to life and our MC, Mina, is a well-written and strong character. #DRCL midnight children pays homage to the classic by maintaining the same atmosphere and feel of the original, but it brings the series into the modern day and age with the topics and themes it explores. The body horror in #DRCL midnight children is amongst the best I've seen as well.
Viz are releasing the first volume of #DRCL midnight children on September 19, 2023 and it is a hardcover release. It's one of my most anticipated new manga releases of 2023!
Seraph of the End by Takaya Kagami, Yamato Yamamoto, & Daisuke Furuya
Seraph of the End takes place in a dark, post-apocalyptic world where vampires have taken over and enslaved the remaining human population. The story follows a young orphan boy named Yuichiro Hyakuya, who dreams of escaping his vampire captors and avenging his family's death at their hands. With the help of a secret anti-vampire organization, Yuichiro and his friends begin to fight back against their oppressors and uncover the secrets of the vampires.
Like many of the series on this list, Seraph of the End has great world-building and interesting characters, but it also has some of the best action scenes I've seen. Seraph of the End is ultimately a revenge story, but it also dives deep into more complex themes, such as discrimination. There's a lot of depth to this one, but it's a thrilling read as well, and it's one you'll especially want to check out if you enjoy manga that are set in a post-apocalyptic world.
Blood Lad by Yuki Kodama
Blood Lad isn't your traditional vampire manga. The Demon World in Blood Lad is unique, because its full of not only vampires, but werewolves, ghosts, mummies, and undead creatures of all kinds. Our main character Staz is a vampire who refuses to drink human blood. He's a territory boss for the Eastern District of Demon World and is obsessed with human culture, but more specifically otaku culture.
One day, a human girl, Fuyumi, appears in his territory and through a quick series of events is killed and turned into a ghost. This event sets Staz on a mission to bring Fuyumi back to life so she can regain her human form.
Blood Lad has a lot going for it. The world and characters in it are unique and interesting. Every character that's introduced has a purpose and they have interesting personalities. The comedic moments are also on point. Since Staz loves human culture, there are plenty of references to other manga, like Dragon Ball Z and Astro Boy to name a few, and this makes it even more of a fun and hilarious read. If you're looking for an entertaining story with great characters, comedy, and world-building, I highly recommend checking out Blood Lad.
Rosario Vampire by Akihisa Ikeda
Rosario Vampire by Akihisa Ikeda is set in a unique world where monsters, like vampires, werewolves and many more exist. A human named Tsukune Aono stumbles into this world and ends up going to school with said monsters, so it's funny but intriguing as well.
Moka, a vampire, takes interest in him because of his sweet blood, but her connection with him grows deeper over the course of the story. Initially, Rosario Vampire feels like a comedy, but as the stakes grow higher and as the action and battles become more forefront in this story, things take a turn for the serious. It doesn't forget its humorous ways, but there's a lot more to Rosario Vampire than meets the eye.
You can collect Rosario Vampire via the singles or the Rosario Vampire Complete Manga Box Set, which is one of my favorite manga box sets to release to date!
Mars Red by Bun-O FUJISAWA & Karakara Kemuri
Mars Red is a historical vampire manga set in Taishō Era Tokyo. The story follows the members of "Code Zero", a special unit of vampires that have been tasked with hunting the feral vampires in Tokyo for the Japanese Military. Things are not what they seem, though, and when S-Class vampire Defrott appears in the city, everyone's lives change for good.
For being such a quick read and having only three volumes, Mars Red packs a big punch. The world generally sees all vampires as monsters, and it's fascinating to see the members of Code Zero come to terms with their new reality. As they question their own existence, purpose, and what it means to be a vampire, each character grows a lot in a short period of time.
The art in this series is incredible as well from the action sequences to the elaborate outfits the characters wear. Mars Red has some romance and action, so it has a little bit of something that everyone can enjoy.
Happiness by Shuzo Oshimi
Happiness by Shuzo Oshimi, the creator of one of my favorite horror manga, Blood on the Tracks, follows Makoto Okazaki, a high school student who is constantly being bullied by the kids in his class. One night, during a late night bike ride, he's attacked by a mysterious vampire girl who gives him two options: Die or become a vampire too. Makoto quickly realizes his life will never be the same as he's forced to navigate his new life and his newfound and insatiable thirst for human blood.
The plot of Happiness isn't exactly breaking new ground for fans familiar with the genre, so some might find that disappointing; However, I think the simplicity of the story is refreshing and it's expertly crafted.
What I enjoyed most about Happiness is that you could see the world through Makoto's eyes. I haven't read many vampire manga that really make you empathize with the character as they're slowly transitioning from human to vampire and this was compelling to see. I would recommend Happiness for fans of the vampire genre that are searching for a manga with great storytelling, interesting characters and plenty of mystery.
Unholy Blood by Lina Im
Unholy Blood is a manhwa about vampires, but I wanted to include it on this list, because it’s an incredible read and it avoids the typical themes and characters that are commonly rehashed in the genre. It tells the story of a young woman who, after being attacked by a vampire as a child, finds out that she has been infected with his blood. As she grows older, Hayan's desperate desire to live a normal life comes into conflict with her thirst for revenge. This desire to blend in with human society is a interesting one, as many times, we get vampires that would rather seek dominion or control over humans instead.
Unholy Blood is an action-packed manhwa with a strong female lead, striking art, and a main character who’d give anything to be normal again. This series allows you to walk in the shoes of the vampire and see things from their perspective, and it’s told through the lens of a strong and kind lead. As a result, you are able to empathize with them more in this story. This is unique and is something that few series about vampires offer, especially given that they are oftentimes painted to be violent creatures of the night.
All in all, Unholy Blood’s biggest success is that it presents vampires in a different light. They are not affected by crosses, garlic, or sunlight in this world and instead walk among humans during the day. Many people do not know what they really are until it's too late and they blend into society as a result, which makes it an interesting entry in the genre.
You can read Unholy Blood now on manhwa readers like Webtoon!
Call of the Night by Kotoyama
Call of the Night is a modern take on a classic vampire romance manga. Ko Yamori is a middle school boy who's become bored with his current life and has developed a bad case of insomnia as a result. To deal with his trouble sleeping, Ko roams the streets at night. One night, he meets Nazuna, a vampire girl he's determined to fall in love with.
To his surprise, Nazuna bites him, and before he knows it, he finds himself immersed in the world of the vampire. From then on, he has one goal, to become a vampire himself, so that he can enjoy the quiet of the night and forever escape the bores of everyday life. The path to achieving his goal is a little complicated, though, because vampires aren't simply created with a bite in this story, they are born out of love.
What makes Call of the Night unique is that is not only takes inspiration from multiple different genres, but that it makes use of them well. It has enough mystery to keep you guessing, but there's a little bit of romance and elements of horror sprinkled in at times too.
Kotoyama's depiction of the night, and its beauty, is compelling. There's much to love about nighttime—the dark yet vibrant skylines, the neon or warm glow of the street lamps and lights, the emptiness of the streets and commonly crowded areas like playgrounds, pools, and schools. Watching these two characters, Ko and Nazuna, grow and bond together in the nights they spend together, and their dynamic with one another, makes Call of the Night both an endearing and fun read.
The Witch and the Beast by Kousuke Satake
The Witch and the Beast is a supernatural, dark fantasy manga that follows a quiet man named Ashaf, and an abrasive, hot-tempered girl named Guideau, who are members of The Order of Magical Resonance, as they investigate mysterious cases of supernatural phenomena from witches to necromancers to vampires.
Even though The Witch and the Beast only has one arc that involves vampires, it's so good that it's earned a spot on this list. The world-building in this manga is incredible, mainly because of the way the world is set up, but also because many distinct worlds exist within this series. One of these worlds being the vampire realm.
One of Kousuke Satake's greatest strengths is his ability to quickly and vividly create a world and drop you right in the middle of it. The vampire world in The Witch and the Beast is your classic Victorian setting, which is in stark contrast to the human world this story mainly takes place in. The way you're brought up to speed on all of the various clans and politics is effortlessly executed as well.
The art in this manga is incredible, but the art in this arc is even more breathtaking. From the extravagant clothing to the gothic architecture, not a single detail was spared. The fights contained within this arc are also some of the most exciting to experience. If you're a fan of dark fantasy manga and are open to a manga that doesn't revolve wholly around vampires, I recommend giving this one a shot.
Bakemonogatari by NISIOISIN & Oh! Great
Bakemonogatari’s manga adaptation, which features art by one of my favorite manga artists, Oh! Great, the creator of Air Gear, Tenjo Tenge and more, is another series I highly recommend. Out of all the manga titles on this list, it is the most unconventional take on vampires.
There’s so much going on in this series. There’s action, drama, horror, a little romance, supernatural elements, and some mystery and humor too. Nothing about Bakemonogatari from its art, which I give a 10/10, to its characters and story is typical, and this is part of the reason why I love it so much.
Its concept of monsters is more abstract, which I love, and it’s unlike any other supernatural story I’ve read before. While it’s otherworldly, the human experience and the struggles the characters face are explored well here, so it’s extremely relatable too.
If you are looking for an eccentric and entertaining series with good character dynamics, highly-detailed, stunning art and a unique story, Bakemonogatari is one you need to check out. Vertical is releasing the series with English translation, and so far, 14 volumes have been released!
Vassalord by Nanae Chrono
Vassalord by Nanae Chrono follows Charley and Johnny Rayflo, two vampires with a unique relationship. Charley is a cyborg vampire hybrid and a Vatican vampire hunter, while his master, Johnny, enjoys a playboy lifestyle. While fighting crimes involving vampires, Charley struggles to control his lust for blood and for Johnny, but his feelings aren't one-sided.
Vassalord has everything you’d expect from a good vampire story: A conflict between vampire hunters and vampires, but the line between them is not so clear cut, especially with Charley, who’s part cyborg and works for the Vatican as a hunter. It is full of action, but mystery and intrigue too. There's a lot that this series explores and it dabbles in a lot of different genres, including comedy, mystery, action, and more.
Since it only has 7 volumes it's a short and quick read, but it's an amazing read and Vassalord's story develops incredibly over the course of the chapters. It's one of the best vampire manga you can check out thanks to its compelling premise, but also because of the unique dynamic that exists between its characters and the world it's set in.
Hellsing by Kohta Hirano
Hellsing by Kohta Hirano, who is also the creator of Drifters, is a bloody and thrilling manga that follows the vampire Alucard and the organization, Hellsing, as they battle a range of monstrous foes.
Our main character, Alucard is likable, but he has a sadistic side to him that makes him entertaining. There are a number of other characters, like Integra Hellsing, Seras Victoria, and Walter C. Dornez, that make this one such an enjoyable read as well. Many of these series are full of terrifying monsters, but none are quite as fearsome as the vampire Alucard, the Hellsing Organization's most powerful weapon.
The art style used in Hellsing is unique and raw; It has a very distinctive look that makes it stand out among other works of similar genres. The art improves over time as well, becoming more detailed as you progress through volumes of the series.
If you enjoy manga where the main character is more of an anti-hero that blurs the line between protagonist and antagonist, that’s action-packed and full of blood and gore, Hellsing is one you’ll want to check out. It’s one of the more mature vampire manga series on this list too being that it’s a seinen and it’s pages are horror-filled more so than others on this list. Because of this and more, it’s one of my favorite vampire manga that has been released so far.
You can collect Hellsing via the singles or the Hellsing Deluxe Editions released by Dark Horse!
The Case Study of Vanitas by Jun Mochizuki
The Case Study of Vanitas is a manga series by Jun Mochizuki, who you may also know as the creator of Pandora Hearts. It's a whimsical series set in a dark steampunk Paris, where rumors abound of a clockwork grimoire said to sow curses among the vampires exists. Now, guided by the Book of Vanitas, two men begin their journey: Noé and Vanitas.
It's an interesting tale that combines mystery and horror with a bit of humor. The characters are likable, if not outright lovable, and the story is full of twists and turns. One of my favorite things about The Case Study of Vanitas is the setting. It has a wonderful victorian and steampunk setting reminiscent of those you’d find in 19th century mystery novels, but it feels modern too. The two main characters, Noé and Vanitas, have totally different personalities, which makes for an interesting dynamic.
On top of having a wonderful story and great characters, the art in The Case Study of Vanitas is beautiful to witness. The character expressions are great. The backgrounds are also gorgeous. They're detailed enough to be interesting but not so much that they distract from the story or characters. The level of detail in the panels is incredible and, as always, I love the designs of Jun Mochizuki’s characters.
The story itself is full of mystery and it really peaks your curiosity about what's going on in this world. So if you are looking for a vampire manga that's shrouded in mystery, The Case Study of Vanitas is an incredible choice. As of now, there are many questions left unanswered, but I'm excited to see how things develop in the coming volumes.
These are the best manga about vampires you should check out now! Many of these series fall within the supernatural manga category as well, so be sure to check out that list for more manga recommendations. As new vampire series are released, I will continue to update this post, so stay tuned!