Zombie manga series are some of my all time favorites to read. Certain stories are thrilling and fun, while others are all too scary and realistic, so there are many different types of series you can explore. I especially love zombie manga that have a unique twist or spin on the zombie apocalypse, whether it be the designs of the zombies, the setting of the story, or the method in which the infection spreads. Some of these series even fall into other genres, including romance, sci-fi, comedy, and more. But out of all the zombie manga series that have released so far, which one's stand out from the horde?
Surprisingly, as of now, there aren't a whole lot of zombie manga series out there. I really hope more are released, because it is a genre I love and many of these series have risen to become some of my favorite manga of all time. Many of these series are also on my best horror manga list, so be sure to check that out for even more manga recommendations!
With that all said, here are the best zombie manga that have released so far!
Highschool of the Dead by Daisuke Sato & Shouji Satou
Highschool of the Dead is not only one of my favorite ecchi manga, but also one of my favorite zombie manga. It's as gloriously fun and action-packed as some of my favorite zombie movies, and I had a great time reading it.
Highschool of the Dead is about a group of high school students who work together to survive a zombie apocalypse. They have to overcome many obstacles as they learn to adapt to their scary new reality. Not only does it show how quickly these characters adapt to the situation, but it also shows how this new environment shapes and changes them. It also shows how humans can team up and come together to fight the zombies, but it also shows them when they're at their worst.
As commonly seen in zombie apocalypse manga, you witness both the worst and best of humanity. Throughout the chapters, we see that people can either work together to rise out of the darkness or they can fall farther into it. Most of all, though, it explores the gray area that many of these characters reside in. While the story itself is simple, it captures the complex, real-life experiences of the characters well.
I like all of the characters in this manga, each of whom has a special skill needed to survive in a zombie apocalypse. I also like the groups and factions present in this story, because each have different values as well as methods of surviving. The artwork is incredible, too. I especially love the detailed drawings of the zombies.
Highschool of the Dead is fast-paced manga with a lot of fan-service, and it is as violent as it is lighthearted. The story's high-stakes, blood, and gore contrast nicely with the action and ecchi moments, making it one of the best zombie manga series to release to date!
If you have yet to do so, you'll want to check out the Highschool of the Dead Full Color Editions. Shouji Sato's art is amazing already, but it's even more amazing in full color!
Biomega by Tsutomu Nihei
Biomega is a cyberpunk manga by Tsutomu Nihei, but it's also one of the best zombie manga to release so far. It's set far in the future and centers around a young man named Zoichi Kanoe and his partner Fuyu. The two are working together to stop an infection called N5S that turns people into zombies.
Tsutomu Nihei is one of my favorite manga creators, because he has a gritty, unique art style, he is a master of perspective as well as world-building, and more. You may also know him as the creator of one of my favorite manga of all time, Blame!. Needless to say a manga by Tsutomu Nihei that's also about zombies is a must-read, especially if you are a fan of his previous works.
It only has 6 volumes so it's a decently quick read. While you'll get through it pretty quickly, the story didn't feel rushed and it unfolded in a way that always kept things interesting. As always, Tsutomu Nihei’s art is incredible with highly-detailed backdrops and cyberpunk settings. I am a huge fan of his work, but Biomega is one of my favorites of his.
It has a cyberpunk yet apocalyptic feel with zombie-like creatures, which I love. The plot in the first few volumes seems pretty simple and straightforward, but it has some seriously strange twists that make it an exciting read. The protagonist, Zoichi, has a cool bike that defies gravity and he's a badass much like Killy is in Blame!. He's my favorite character, but I also like all of the supporting characters in this one, especially Kozlov the bear.
When you read Biomega, you are taken into its world while reading. It put a unique spin on the zombie apocalypse, much like Zom 100 and Magical Girl Apocalypse, and it's a stand out on this list.
Sankarea Undying Love by Mitsuru Hattori
Sankarea Undying Love, a unique entry in the zombie genre, is one of the best ecchi manga you'll ever read as well. The story follows Chihiro, a guy who's obsessed with zombie movies. But rather than feeling for the survivors of the apocalypse, he's more interested in the zombie girls they kill instead.
Chihiro is a boy that longs to have a zombie girlfriend, but he needs the help of a living girl to make his dreams a reality. More specifically, someone that will act as a test subject for his formula that brings people back to life. Sanka Rea is an attractive yet troubled girl who’s ready for anything for the sake of her own happiness. And who better than Chihiro to make that happen? Because of its premise, it feels a bit like Reanimator or Pet Semetary, but it has a more comedic and lighthearted tone that makes it completely different from these two.
This zombie manga has a uniquely original and unexpected premise. Aside from that, it's also an adorable romance. The love story is endearing and you will fall in love with the relationship between these two characters. So whether you're a fan of zombie manga or you're a fan of romance manga, Sankarea Undying Love is one you don't want to miss.
Magical Girl Apocalypse by Kentaro Sato
Magical Girl Apocalypse is one of the best horror and zombie mangas I've ever read because of its bonkers premise and excellent execution. Kii Kogami, an ordinary high school student, finds himself in a world where magical girls are real—but they aren't at all what he expects. Instead of being cute and cuddly, they're vicious, have a sweet-tooth for murder, want to take over the Earth, and everyone they kill turns into a zombie.
This manga features a lot of gory, over-the-top scenes, but they never interfere with the plot. The art style is also very unique and it's a surreal read. I also like how this manga contrasts cute characters and a sweet art style with extremely violent events. Because of this and more, Magical Girl Apocalypse is unlike anything I've ever read before.
The story twists and turns a lot, especially in later volumes—you can tell Kentaro Sato really wanted to draw out certain scenes to put you on the edge of your seat. Magical Girl Apocalypse is a unique take on a zombie apocalypse and you'll never come across another series like it.
School-Live! by Norimitsu Kaihou & Sadoru Chiba
School-Live! is a truly unique series on this list, because it's both a zombie manga and a slice-of-life manga. I was worried that these two genres wouldn't blend well together, but Norimitsu Kaihou and Sadoru Chiba made the combination work beautifully. School-Live! follows the everyday lives of lives of the girls of the School-Life Club, who are trying their carry on with their lives even though the world is crumbling around them due to a zombie outbreak.
It's ultimately a story about escapism, though, because the characters act as if nothing has changed despite the fact that they are now living in a zombie apocalypse. The weight of knowing such a thing would be crushing, so they act like everything is fine.
While most zombie stories revolve around a few members of a group who have become dehumanized by the world they are in, School-Live! is centered on a group of girls who are still human at heart and still believe that there is good left in the world. You will find yourself fearing for their safety as though you knew them personally. Out of everything, I think this is the main thing that makes School-Live! different from any other zombie manga I've ever read.
If you are looking for a zombie-slaying adventure, this series will most likely not satisfy you. However, if you want an entertaining story that's sweet and lighthearted, with charming characters, you'll enjoy School-Live!
Zom 100 Bucket List of the Dead by Haro Aso & Kotaro Takata
Zom 100 Bucket List of the Dead illustrated by Kotaro Takata, the creator of Hallelujah Overdrive!, and written by Haro Aso, the creator of one of my favorite death game manga of all time, Alice in Borderland, is a zombie manga series that distinguishes itself from the rest with its fresh take on the zombie apocalypse.
Not necessarily in terms of the zombies themselves at first, which look and act like your typical zombies, that is until later on -Zombie shark anyone?-, but in the way that the main character responds to and reacts to his new reality. Where most stories show its main character trying to survive at all costs and living in fear of the zombies, Zom 100 Bucket List of the Dead flips the script and gives you a MC that isn’t concerned as much about surviving but living life to its fullest instead.
The story is about Akira, a 24-year-old office worker who's become a zombie in his own right thanks to his job, little rest, and no time off. He dreads heading into the office each day; He wants to quit, but he can't find it in himself to do so. But one day, he finds a way out thanks to the zombies that now roam the streets. The world has changed, and Akira is finally free to do what he wants.
Zom 100 Bucket List of the Dead has a great set of characters, but it also has an interesting premise. While the world is going to hell, the main character of the story is getting his act together and trying to make up for lost time. This perspective is really interesting to me and it's an angle that’s rarely, if ever, explored. The series also features the perfect balance between comedy and horror; It never leans too far into one genre over the other. While I love a good gorefest, there has to be more to the story, and Zom 100 Bucket List of the Dead has that and so much more.
The entertainment factor alone of Zom 100 Bucket List of the Dead makes it worth checking out. It’s one that doesn’t follow the horde in terms of its premise and this gives it a lot of potential. So far, it’s off to a good start and I can’t wait to see how its characters and story develop in the volumes to come.
I Am A Hero by Kengo Hanazawa
I Am A Hero by Kengo Hanazawa tells the unforgettable story of an average man forced to become a hero. It is a zombie manga series with an engaging plot and a relatable main character that must face extraordinary circumstances.
I Am a Hero is one of my favorite horror manga, and I highly recommend it to any zombie fan. It tells the tale of an average guy named Hideo Suzuki, a 35-year-old manga assistant who more often than not seems to be the butt of other's jokes. When the world is taken over by a zombie apocalypse, he finds himself struggling to survive with his trusty old shotgun against hordes of zombies and other survivors.
The plot in this manga is great. It's a more realistic telling for a zombie manga, which I don't see too often in other series. The ending had mixed reception, but it's an incredible journey that's still worth the read. It's amusing and fun, but it's also very gory and can get pretty dark at times as well. This series is very psychological too. You even get a glimpse into how it affects the MC's psyche, which is something I haven't seen explored in any other zombie manga, at least to this depth.
Another strong suit of I Am A Hero is that it gets to the core of its story fast. This trait is common for zombie manga, which often begin with a situation that rapidly deteriorates into a full-blown apocalypse. In this way, I Am A Hero begins like many others in the genre, but it does so without sacrificing context or setup. One minute you see this guy struggling in his average daily life and the next you see him trying to survive in a zombie apocalypse.
For these reasons and more, I Am A Hero is one of the best horror and zombie manga you need to check out! You can read I Am A Hero via the 2-in-1 omnibuses released by Dark Horse.
Fort of Apocalypse by Yuu Kuraishi & Kazu Inabe
Fort of Apocalypse by Yu Kuraishi and Kazu Inabe, who also created Starving Anonymous, is one of my top zombie manga, up there with the likes of I Am A Hero. Out of all the zombie manga series I recommended on this list, these two are the ones I'd recommend checking out the most.
What makes Fort of Apocalypse unique from the other manga series on this list, is that it's set in a prison, but it also has some of the creepiest, most unique zombie designs I've ever seen. The zombies are the stuff of nightmares. Apart from being terrifying, you also connect with the characters through their backstories. Most zombie manga don't develop the characters enough, but Fort of Apocalypse does.
The story is about Yoshiaki Maeda, who has been falsely accused and imprisoned in Shouran Institute, a juvenile correctional facility that's more violent than your average prison. Yoshiaki is the typical boy next door until he finds himself in this terrifying place.
As if things weren't bad enough, his cellmates—Iwakura, Yamanoi and Yoshioka—pull him into a feud going on in the prison. Just when he thought his life couldn't get worse, a van carrying inmates crashes into the facility, but what crawls out of the wreckage is anything but human. Yoshiaki initially thought he'd have to survive a life in prison, but now he has to survive a zombie apocalypse as well.
The story was cancelled at volume 10, which is a shame, because it is one of the best zombie manga I've read to date. The ending felt a bit rushed as a result, but please don't let this stop you from experiencing this incredible manga. Fort of Apocalypse has only been published with English translation digitally. I hope we get a print announcement someday!