20+ Best Manga Artists – Legends And New Masters

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Written by Juha

Manga is possibly one of the most important contributions that Japan has made to the entire world’s culture.

This is a fascinating phenomenon that dates back to the 11th century, with the popularization within this nation of satirical drawings of animals, known as ukiyo-e.

However, it would not be from approximately the year 1790 that the manga would take its first steps to become the extraordinary phenomenon that it is today.

It was due to Westerners’ arrival to the country, who were fascinated with the beauty of ukiyo-e. Eventually, manga began to be created with themes never seen in other parts of the world, with a graphic beauty that characterized it.

The die was cast, manga would become an unprecedented worldwide phenomenon.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the existence of the most incredible manga artists, and that is why here we bring you a list of the best exponents of this art:

Eiichiro Oda

Eiichiro Oda is one of the most recognized manga artists of today since he is not only the creator of “One Piece” but also is the best-selling manga of all time.

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He even obtained a Guinness record by managing to sell more than 400 million copies.

His beginnings in this profession occurred at the age of 17 when he sent his works to a manga called “Wanted,” which had a cowboy theme. However, he had assured that he wanted to dedicate himself to manga when he grew up from an early age.

Thanks to this work, he managed to win an essential series of awards, even reaching second place in the Tezuka Awards during its 44th edition.

This brought him many more accolades, and he performed in the manga as “Kami Kara Mirai no Present.” Eventually, in 1997, he publishes his best work yet, “One Piece,” which continues to be released to this day.

One Piece’s success has been so notorious that it was even turned into a long-running anime series. You can also find merchandise related to his most successful manga, such as different artbooks and official guides, as well as video games and even a card game.

Osamu Tezuka

Osamu Tezuka is definitely the most influential and important Manga artist within the world of modern manga, being that many have even dubbed him “The God of Manga.”

Walt Disney inspired him to rethink how manga artists made up comics to that point.

One of the most important contributions of him was that the traditional manga was replaced by the “Story Manga.”

This new way to create manga allowed the creation of much more complex stories, more elaborate plots, and longer duration than their predecessors.

To this day, manga artists rely on his style to create new works. Among his most recognized manga stands out “Ribbon No Kishi,” which experts consider as the first shojo in history.

Another successful manga was “Tetsuwan Atom.” Throughout his life, he created approximately 700 manga that ultimately changed the course of history.

Akira Toriyama

It is impossible to talk about manga without thinking about one of the most successful of all time in the entire world: Dragon Ball. Its creator, Akira Toriyama, is currently considered one of the most influential manga artists in manga.

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His works have inspired many to start within this art since he is not only the author of Dragon Ball, but his rise to fame was given by Dr. Slump, which was his first big hit, and it was published in the early ’80s.

In the case of Dragon Ball, this saga was adapted to anime, as well as it was versioned in Live Action, video games, and even participated in Cross Epoch.

This was a work that he did in conjunction with Eiichiro Oda, the creator of One Piece, where both manga were merged into a single story not related to the original works’ plot threads.

Hiromu Arakawa

This Japanese manga artist became well known after creating Fullmetal Alchemist, which achieved international fame and even became adapted to anime, video games, Live Action, collectible cards, books, and all kinds of associated merchandise.

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Other significant works created by this incredible artist are Hero Tales and Silver Spoon. In this last work, Arakawa, she tried to get out of the fantasy genre and make a more realistic story.

Her proposal was successful and became, within the Shogakukan, one of the best-selling works, even getting an anime adaptation.

Hirohiko Araki

Hirohiko Araki is well known for creating the manga called “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.”

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This work was released to the public in 1987 and has remained active since then, with 127 compilation volumes to date, which has made it the second manga with the most extended history.

One of the artist’s style characteristics is the strongly inked lines and the wide poses in hyper-masculinized characters.

This has given his works a characteristic visual appearance, which has been very well received by the national and international audience.

Masashi Kishimoto

Few Mangas are capable of achieving the success that Naruto achieved. The genius behind this creation is Masahi Kishimoto, a renowned manga artist who has become known as an artist since 1995.

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In 1997 he released the first issue of Naruto, but it was not until 1999 that this manga finally reached the weekly format.

This manga has an adaptation to the anime, which became a worldwide cult phenomenon.

Films, video games, art books, card games, and even sequels to this work have also been produced due to the significant impact on the audience and its popularity.

Junji Ito

Junji Ito is considered by many to be the great master of terror. This Manga artist’s works focus on the horror genre, where he has stood out for creating disturbing stories that quickly become addictive.

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Part of the elements that can be found consistently within his works are blood, characters that inexplicably begin to behave irrationally, terror, deep water organisms, the rupture and decomposition of society, and of course, stand out death.

Among his best-known works, Uzumaki and Tomie stand out. The latter is among his most significant commercial successes since there have even been films based on this work and an anime adaptation.

Go Nagai

Go Nagai is an innovator in the world of manga. There are many who consider him as the father of the Super Robot genre.

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It is not for less, since his work Mazinger Z marked a before and after in the world of manga, reaching international fame and marking millions of young people with his stories.

But he has not only created Robots Manga, as he has also successfully ventured into other genres such as Magical Girl with his work “Cutie Honey.”

Also, he tried with the action and romance genre with “Devilman.” Just as he also created a successful ecchi called “Harenchi Gakuen,” a genre in which he also pioneered with this work.

Naoki Urasawa

Naoki Urasawa is, without a doubt, one of the most relevant, significant, and important Manga Artists of today.

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He is actually known as “the master of suspense.” and has won a wide variety of awards due to his works’ quality and depth.

Among his most recognized manga, “Monster” stands out, allowing him to develop his own style further. Likewise, sometimes like “20th Century Boys” and “Yawara!”, They have also become very popular, even adapting to anime.

His drawings tend to be extremely detailed, bordering on realism, as he also creates characters that can be easily and quickly identified.

Urasawa is recognized as one of the most important references for new artists due to his incredible talent and how difficult it is to match his works’ quality.

Takeshi Obata

Can you imagine having a notebook that had the power to take the life of someone just by writing their name? That was what Takeshi Obata thought when creating his famous work, “Death Note.”

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This Manga Artist decided to dedicate himself to this art because he has always loved to draw, and in 1985 he began to take the first steps of his professional career.

He had his first big hit with “Hikaru No Go” in 1998. He later released “Death Note,” and it became a huge cult phenomenon despite the great controversy it generated.

In fact, this manga is one of the best sellers in Japan in recent times. This manga has been versioned in the form of anime, movies, video games, and even into a Live-Action by Netflix.

Rumiko Takahashi

This Manga Artist actually studied chemistry at the university while she was drawing Mangas.

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She has a great career and quite impressive success, which has earned her the title of “The Queen of Manga.” In fact, she became the first female Manga Artist to sell over a million copies during 1978.

Among her most important works are “Ranma 1/2”, “Yatsura” and “InuYasha.” In the case of InuYasha, it was adapted to anime and video games because it is very popular. This manga has won awards inside and outside the Japanese territory.

Katsuhiro Otomo

Drawing from the art book Akira Club

Katsuhiro experienced firsthand all the demonstrations that occurred in Japan in the 70s, and he became a fan of Mangas from that period, such as “Astro Boy” or “Gigantor,” among others.

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Both things became a significant influence to develop as a Manga Artist, a profession he has dedicated himself to since 1973.

He has created a lot of manga; his first big hit came with “Domu,” which earned him an award. However, one of his most recognized works is Akira, where he developed a great story over eight years and helped him establish himself internationally.

Naoko Takeuchi

Naoko Takeuchi is a pharmaceutical chemist but has developed professionally as a Manga Artist.

She started this career without having received any previous education in the area of illustration, but this has not been an impediment since she has tremendous natural talent.

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The most recognized works of her are “Codename Wa Sailor V” and “Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon.” The latter reached the public in 1992 and was published until 1997, in 18 volumes.

After selling some 300,000 copies in Japan at the time, it became one of the most successful manga until it was eventually brought to anime.

Takehiko Inoue

Before dedicating himself to Manga, Takehiko was dedicated to practicing basketball, which served as inspiration for the central theme of his most important work: “Slam Dunk.”

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This manga came to be recognized as the best-selling of all history, until the arrival of “One Piece.”

Takehiko published 31 volumes of Slam Dunk, and his success moved to anime, movies, and video games. He is currently working on “Real,” which focuses on wheelchair basketball. To date, this manga has sold up to 14 million copies in Japan alone.

Yusuke Murata

Murata twice won a villain design contest for Mega Man, at the age of 12. Still, it wasn’t until 1995 that he debuted as a Manga Artist. Over time, he was winning important awards for his work.

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By 2002 he worked on the illustration for “Eyeshield 21”, which had 333 chapters and was eventually turned into an anime.

Likewise, he has worked on the illustration for One-Punch Man since 2009, which has become an international phenomenon, selling millions of copies since its release.

Tite Kubo

Kubo’s story could be one of the failures; however, a twist of fate allowed this artist to achieve international fame.

In 1999, he managed to publish his first manga, which was called “Zombie Powder,” but after only four volumes, it had to be canceled because it was not popular, and its content was too violent for the audience.

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Later, in 2002, he began publishing “Bleach,” but initially, it had a fairly modest reception from the public.

This made the artist feel very discouraged, and he thought that his second work would also be canceled, but the creator of “Dragon Ball,” Akira Toriyama, actually handed him a letter to encourage him to continue.

Fortunately, Kubo was very inspired by this gesture, and the rest is history, since “Bleach” is currently one of the most successful Manga works in the world.

Yoshihiro Togashi

Since he was a child, he began to draw manga in a very casual way. In 1986 he finally took his first step as a Manga Artist by publishing “Buttobi Straight,” with which he won a relatively important award. He rose to fame after publishing “Yu Yu Hakusho” in the 1990s.

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Upon completing this manga, and after selling almost 50 million copies in Japan alone, Togashi takes a creative break because he felt exhausted. He then reappears with some exciting works with short stories.

But in 1998, he created “Hunter X Hunter,” with which he again achieved international fame thanks to the great success he obtained.

Kentaro Miura

Miura had a precocious start as an artist, since when he was ten years old, he made his first manga for school, which had 40 volumes, and was called “Miuranger.”

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A few years later, he began to use better drawing techniques, improving his works’ quality until he finally got his first professional publication in 1982.

By 1988 he created what would be his most significant work, “Berserk Prototype,” which became a manga called “Berserk” for 1989, which continues to be published today.

Although this work was initially moderately successful, his fame grew to help him become one of the most excellent Manga Artists today.

Hajime Isayama

There are times when it is possible to be successful almost on the first try, as was the case with Isayama.

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This artist published the first chapter of “Shingeki no Kyojin” in 2006. Although he received some negative reviews for the quality of his drawings, he still kept trying.

Just three years later, in 2009, Hajime received an award for that same manga, now with better drawings. It is currently one of the best-selling Mangaworlwide.

Its cultural impact has been so significant that it has been adapted into video games, visual novels, Anime, Live-Action movies, and more.

Akihito Tsukushi

This artist has been a Manga artist since the late 70s. He is actually known for his work as an original character designer of “Otogi-Juushi Akazukin,” where he shows great talent.

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But that’s not all. He is also the author of the famous Manga “Made in Abyss,” which has a very successful anime version.

Moto Hagio

If you are a lover of the shōnen ai genre, you should know that Moto Hagio is one of these stories’ pioneers. However, this artist has been involved with many other themes, such as science fiction and even romance.

One of his most popular creations has been Pō no Ichizoku, Thomas no Shinzō, and, of course, Zankoku Na Kami Ga Shihai Suru, which is one of the most recent and deals with quite sensitive topics, such as child abuse by his father, and homosexuality.

Mato’s legacy has been so positive that she has received multiple awards for her writing innovation for younger girls.

Hiroyuki Takei

Hiroyuki Takei, 48, is an artist who debuted in the world of manga illustration in 1997. At that time, he marked his style, including details in stories such as mythology and the occult.

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A year later, he released one of his best and most recognized works, Shaman King, with which he managed to sell up to more than sixteen million copies around the world and which had a total of 32 volumes.

This artist has also stood out as a screenwriter, as is the case with “Ultimo,” a manga series that was published by the famous Japanese magazine Jump Square.

Inspiration and entertainment for equal doses

The stories of these Manga Artists are undoubtedly an example to follow for many. Every day, millions of people worldwide are transported to other realities through these works, and they dream of being part of these universes.

It only remains to hope that new stars appear within the Manga universe every day because if there is one thing for sure: there are always more stories to show.

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