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11 Best Zombie Manga That Stand Out From the Horde

The best zombie manga that stand out from the horde!

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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 survival manga that has 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 by 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 series that have been released so far, which ones stand out from the horde?

Surprisingly, as of now, there isn’t a whole lot of manga featuring zombies 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.

With that all being said, here are my top zombie manga recommendations that have been released so far!

Highschool of the Dead Full Color Editions Review
Credit: Anime Collective. Pictured: Highschool of the Dead Full Color Editions

Highschool of the Dead by Daisuke Sato & Shouji Satou

Highschool of the Dead is not only one of my top 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 most manga about a zombie apocalypse, 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 has 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 a 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!

TACIT by KimDazzi

TACIT by KimDazzi

TACIT is an underrated sci-fi zombie manhwa that definitely deserves more attention. The story centers around Ruby, a kind-hearted and inquisitive young girl, who unexpectedly encounters a mysterious boy with an uncanny resemblance to a zombie. Despite his appearance, he exhibits human-like behavior, so Ruby decides to rescue him. Once they return to the Amina Safe Zone, a series of unforeseen events involving the boy take the story in a fascinating direction, and that’s about as much as I can reveal without getting into spoiler territory.

From the start, TACIT intrigued me with its compelling characters, immersive sci-fi world-building, and stunning art. Within just a few chapters, you’ll already be questioning the motives and secrets of various characters. The snowy backdrop creates the perfect stage for the artwork to truly shine, showcasing a brilliant use of color, distinctive character designs, and detailed scenery.

The futuristic setting and the role of technology in this world set TACIT apart from other zombie manhwas. However, it’s the characters that make it impossible to stop reading. Initially, Ruby is a carefree and rebellious teenager, and I couldn’t wait to watch her character develop as she uncovers the true nature of the world she lives in. TACIT easily ranks among the best zombie manhwa and can be read for free on Webtoon.

Best Zombie Manga - Biomega
Credit: Tsutomu Nihei

Biomega by Tsutomu Nihei

Biomega is a cyberpunk manga by Tsutomu Nihei, but it’s also one of the best manga in the zombie genre 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 genre, much like Zom 100 and Magical Girl Apocalypse, and it stands out on this list.

Best Ecchi Manga - Sankarea Undying Love Manga
Credit: Mitsuru Hattori

Sankarea Undying Love by Mitsuru Hattori

Sankarea Undying Love, a unique entry in the zombie genre, is one of the best ecchi romance 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 the zombie genre or you’re a fan of romance manga, Sankarea Undying Love is one you don’t want to miss.

Best Zombie Manga - Magical Girl Apocalypse Manga
Credit: Kentaro Sato

Magical Girl Apocalypse by Kentaro Sato

Magical Girl Apocalypse is one of the best zombie manga 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 is one of the goriest manga I’ve ever read with its over-the-top violence, but it never interferes 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 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 manga in the zombie genre revolves 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 survival 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!

Best Zombie Manga - Zom 100 Bucket List of the Dead
Credit: Haro Aso & Kotaro Takata

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 of the zombie genre 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 also 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.

Best Horror Manga - I Am A Hero Manga
Credit: Kengo Hanazawa

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 zombies, he finds himself struggling to survive with his trusty old shotgun against hordes of the undead 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 survival 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 begins 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 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 top zombie manga you need to check out! You can read I Am A Hero via the 2-in-1 omnibuses released by Dark Horse.

Best Zombie Manga - Fort of Apocalypse Manga
Credit: Yuu Kuraishi & Kazu Inabe

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 doesn’t develop the characters enough, but Fort of Apocalypse does.

The story is about Yoshiaki Maeda, who has been falsely accused and imprisoned at 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 canceled 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!

The Last Human by Amazing Works

The Last Human is a zombie manhua and it is a really interesting addition to the genre. In the first couple of panels, you see the main character Zuo Tian Cheng right in the middle of a zombie horde and seemingly about to meet his end. Then, all of a sudden he is sitting in his high school classroom, 10 years in the past and 2 hours before the zombie outbreak is about to start. What will he do differently this time around? What did he learn while being forced to survive amongst zombies for the last 10 years? Because of this setup, it is unlike any other zombie series I’ve read before.

I love so much about this series. First off, since the main character Tian Cheng has already experienced the zombie outbreak, we get to skip the unnecessary part of the story where the main character would usually be in denial about their new reality. Instead, it’s replaced by him preparing for the impending doom with the help of his best friend, Gao Fei. 

Another aspect of this series that makes it unique is that the zombies evolve very quickly. The characters are faced pretty early with zombies that have evolved to a point where they cannot be hurt by handguns, that can communicate, and rally other zombies. You also learn early on that the humans that weren’t turned by the virus gained special abilities, which they hone to fight against the zombie hordes. This makes for some great action sequences and unexpected plot developments throughout the course of the series.

The only negative about the series is there’s no official English translation, so in various parts of the story, the translations get pretty bad. I’m really hoping the series will be officially translated one day because it’s one of my favorites in the zombie genre!

Sweet Home by Carnby Kim and Youngchan Hwang

Sweet Home by Carnby Kim and Youngchan Hwang is a gem among horror manhwa. While it doesn’t strictly follow the norms of a more traditional zombie story, the unique atmosphere and unsettling transformations its characters undergo make it a must-read for any fan of zombie or apocalyptic manhwa.

What really sets Sweet Home apart for me is its unique combination of haunting and claustrophobic atmosphere, fast-paced action sequences, terrifying monster designs, and its deep exploration of the human psyche. There’s a remarkable attention to detail in illustrating the monsters in Sweet Home and each one is more terrifying than the last.

The way Sweet Home delves deep into the human psyche and explores how people react when confronted with existential threats, and the resilience or despair that emerges in the face of such adversities made this one impossible to put down. The psychological aspects add a layer of depth, making it not just an effective horror manhwa, but also a compelling study of humanity in the face of catastrophe.

Final Thoughts

Because of their unique twists and spins on the zombie apocalypse, these zombie series stand out from the horde. As new zombie manga releases that we enjoy, we will continue to update this post, so stay tuned for more!

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