close

Manga

Manga

10 Dark and Mature Manga for Fans of Berserk

10 Dark And Mature Manga For Fans Of Berserk

Tired of waiting for a new Berserk chapter to come out amidst its constant hiatuses? Looking for a dark and gritty manga to read? You won’t find another manga series exactly like Berserk, but fortunately there are a few good alternatives with familiar themes, stories, and characters. Here’s a list of 10 similar manga to read while you wait for the new chapter.

Vagabond

vagabond manga volume 1 coverGenres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Historical

I have to start off the list by recommending Vagabond. It’s a fantastically realistic, but epic retelling of a story about a reckless samurai whose sole goal in life is to be “Invincible Under the Heavens.” Perhaps one of the most beautifully drawn and carefully crafted story there is, Vagabond stands at the peak of all manga series. Like Berserk, one of the first things you’ll notice is the gorgeous art. There are only a handful of series drawn with such detail and realism, it really makes the fight scenes that much more intense and the world-building that much more believable. There’s also a considerable amount of focus on character development. The protagonists from both manga do get stronger, but it’s more of a mental journey than a physical one.

Similarities:

– Mature protagonist and extensive focus on character development
– Beautifully detailed art that highlights intense action scenes, believable characters, and realistic settings
– Epic and gritty story with tons of world-building
– Lots of deaths, gore, and violence. People die if they are killed
– Main character doesn’t always win

Differences

– Set in 16th century Japan with almost no fantasy elements
– Not as dark, tragic, or disturbing as Berserk
– Love interest/romance doesn’t play a big part in the story
– Not a story of revenge

Kingdom

kingdom manga volume 1 coverGenres: Action, Drama, Historical, Military

Set during the Warring States period in China, Kingdom effortlessly blends history, politics, and military into an epic action-packed drama that rivals even Berserk in terms of world-building and character development. It’s a mature and grounded manga that follows Shin’s story to becoming one of China’s greatest generals, a very realistic and emotional journey featuring deaths, redemptions, loyalty, and ambition. Kingdom is an incredible manga that is both physically and emotionally intense. It’s always highly rated by those that have read it, but unfortunate not many have.

Similarities:

– Mature protagonist and extensive focus on character development
– Beautifully detailed art that highlights intense action scenes, believable characters, and realistic settings
– Realistically brutal depiction of the horrors of war and battle, including disturbing themes such as rape, plunder, and murder
– Emphasis on world-building and character development
– Features military combat and political intrigue

Differences

– Set during the Warring States period in China with no fantasy elements
– Much younger protagonist
– More focus on strategies and mind games rather than hack and slash
– Historically based story that focuses on the political and power struggle between different states
– Not a story of revenge. The main goal of the protagonist is to become a great general
– Not as dark, tragic, or disturbing as Berserk, but do visit dark themes of war at times

Vinland Saga

vinland saga volume 1 coverGenres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Historical

One of the most beautifully drawn and realistically depicted tale of love, betrayal, revenge, and redemption, this epic action adventure has the same depth of story and character development as Berserk. Set in 11th century Europe during the age of vikings, Vinland Saga illustrates a brutal era full of political conflicts and innocent bloodshed. The story follows a battle-hardened boy named Thorfinn and his violent quest for revenge against the man that killed his father.

Similarities:

– Beautifully detailed art that highlights intense action, realistic characters, and believable world-building
– Extremely dark and mature story that captures an epic tale of revenge, love, and redemption
– Realistically brutal depiction of the horrors of war and battle, including disturbing themes such as rape, plunder, and murder
– Emphasis on realistic world and character development
– Includes military battles and political intrigue

Differences

– Historically inspired story with minimal fantasy
– Fights are realistic, with little to no fantasy elements
– Currently no focus on romance/love interest for protagonist
– Current story is much more comedic and light in tone

Wolfsmund

wolfsmund volume 1 manga coverAlternate Names: Wolf’s Mouth: Wolfsmund, Ookami no Kuchi
Genres: Action, Drama, Historical

On top of being in a similar medieval European-inspired setting, Wolfsmund offers the same dark and uncomfortable themes as Berserk. Set in the alps during the 14th century, the story follows a band of rebels as they try to pass and overcome a heavily guarded fortress that’s ruled by a sadistic tyrant. It’s an extremely dark tale full of tragic deaths, excess gore, and disturbing violence.

Similarities:

– Mature characters and story with a focus on revenge
– Set in a harsh and gritty medieval European-inspired world
– Mostly a tragedy with an excess of death, gore, nudity, and violence. People die if they are killed
– Realistically brutal depiction of the horrors of war and battle with incredibly disturbing and uncomfortable themes such as sexual violence and mutilation
– Main characters belongs to a band of rebels struggling against a seemingly unbeatable antagonist
– Includes military battles and political intrigue

Differences

– Historically inspired story with little to no fantasy elements
– Extremely short story with minimal world-building and character development
– No focus on romance

Claymore

claymore volume 1 manga coverGenres: Action, Adventure, Supernatural, Fantasy

Set in a dark and unforgiving medieval fantasy world with demons and monsters, Claymore is probably the closest series to Berserk in terms of characters, story, and setting. In this world, humans live in constant fear of man-eating creatures, and Clare is one of the only few individuals capable of killing these monsters. Armed with a gigantic sword and superhuman strength, the half-human half-demon protagonist embarks on a quest for vengeance.

Similarities:

– Mature and strong protagonist with a focus on revenge
– Set in a harsh and gritty medieval European-inspired world with dark fantasy elements
– Incredibly violent and gory with uncomfortable themes and imagery
– Beautifully detailed art that highlights intense action scenes and disturbing character designs
– Human protagonist fights against horrific demons and monsters

Differences

– A smaller cast of main characters
– Less focus on environmental art
– Overall a lighter story and world than Berserk
– Not much romance development

Shin Angyo Onshi

shin angyo onshi manga volume 2 coverAlternative Names: Blade of the Phantom Master, Phantom Master: Dark Hero from Ruined Empire
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Historical, Supernatural

If you love the dynamic characters and stories of Berserk, then you’ll definitely enjoy this series. Like Berserk, Shin Angyo Onshi features a mature story with realistic characters who make believable choices and mistakes. It’s a really enjoyable dark fantasy with a good blend of character development and intense action.

Similarities:

– Set in a harsh and gritty world with dark fantasy elements
– Incredibly violent and gory
– Beautifully detailed art that highlights intense action scenes and realistic environments
– Human protagonist chasing after a god-like antagonist

Differences

– Carefree protagonist who acts immature at times
– Story is much lighter in tone, and there’s plenty of comedy
– No romance
– Setting is inspired by both old Asian and medieval European times

Ubel Blatt

ubel blatt manga volume 0 coverAlternative Names: Evil Blade, Übel Blatt
Genres: Action, Adventure, Ecchi, Fantasy

20 years ago, the Emperor of Szaalanden sent 14 of their best people to stop a seemingly unstoppable invasion. They were successful, but of the 14, only 7 came back alive. The 7 survivors were named heroes, and the empire enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity. However 20 years later, a mysterious young man with unparalleled swordsmanship appears in the empire and vows to kill all 7 of the heroes. Ubel Blatt is great if you are looking a dark medieval fantasy manga full of betrayal and revenge. It shares a lot of themes and traits with Berserk, often times introducing characters and story elements that are similar in tone.

Similarities:

– Set in a harsh and gritty medieval European-inspired world with dark fantasy elements
– Betrayal and revenge are the main themes of the story
– Incredibly violent, gory, and sexualized
– Backstabbing antagonists who are now revered as saviors
– Includes military battles and political intrigue

Differences

– Quite a bit of the manga is backstory
– Some characters don’t stay dead
– Story is lighter in tone and not as tragic

Devilman

devilman manga volume 1 coverAlternative Names: Devilman: The Classic Collection
Genres: Action, Drama, Horror, Fantasy, Supernatural, Psychological

One of the most influential works in the 20th century, Devilman depicts a chaotic world controlled by violence and power. Although the art is a bit dated, the story still served as an inspiration for many popular series such as Berserk and Evangelion. If you read a bit of the original manga you’ll see why; the extreme sexual violence, explicit carnage, and raw emotions are able to highlight the realistic horrors of war, and the resulting complex turmoil within its characters.

Similarities:

– Set in a harsh and gritty world with dark fantasy elements
– Incredibly violent, tragic, and gory with extremely disturbing themes and imagery
– Protagonist has to fight monsters by turning into one himself
– Story has romance

Differences

– Somewhat outdated art and character design
– Set in 20th century Japan
– Very expressive characters, art, and story

Blade of the Immortal

blade of the immortal manga volume 1 coverAlternative Names: Mugen no Juunin, Inhabitant of Infinity
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Historical, Supernatural

Tired of his immortality, a cursed samurai named Manji seeks to regain his mortality by killing 100 evil men for every good one he’s killed. During his quest, he meets a girl named Rin who’s on her own quest for revenge against the people that murdered her family. Having been reminded of his sister, Manji decides to travel with her. Together, they embark on a long and winding journey.

Similarities:

– Extensive focus on character development
– Beautifully detailed art that highlights intense action scenes
– Lots of death, gore, and violence.
– Story has a focus on revenge and the consequences that come with it

Differences

– Protagonist is more carefree
– Set in Feudal Japan with low fantasy elements
– Not as dark, tragic, or disturbing as Berserk
– No romance
– No military battles

Blaster Knuckle

blaster knuckle manga volume 1 coverGenres: Action, Fantasy, Historical, Horror, Supernatural

Blaster Knuckle is basically Berserk set in the 1880s with the Black Swordsman being actually black. It’s a tragic story about a man’s quest for revenge against the ones that killed his father. Although it has similar themes and a familiar protagonist, Blaster Knuckle doesn’t have the same depth of story progression or character development as Berserk. But nevertheless, it’s still an enjoyable ride throughout.

Similarities:

– Set in a harsh and gritty world with dark fantasy elements such as demons
– Human protagonist fighting against humans and man-eating monsters alike
– Mature and hardened protagonist with a focus on revenge
– Incredibly violent and gory

Differences

– More focus on action rather than world-building
– Takes place during the 1880s
– No Romance
– No military battles or political intrigue
read more
Manga

Gundam Manga: Side Stories

gundamthunderboltposter

Mobile Suit Gundam is a massive franchise, spanning across multiple universes, and is the originator of the real robot genre of mecha anime and manga. That said, the gundam universe with the greatest amount of depth is its first one, the Universal Century. From the many anime that was based in this universe spawned many side stories. Here are some of the Gundam manga that compliment the main stories of the Universal Century.

Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt

Alternate Names: Kidou Senshi Gundam Thunderbolt
, 機動戦士ガンダム サンダーボルト

Genres: Mecha, Sci-Fi, Military, Action

During the One Year War, in the Thunderbolt Sector, a chaotic, bloody battle ensues. Currently this manga follows Federation pilot, Io Flemming, and Zeon pilot, Daryl Lorenz, as their respective sides vie for control over this key strategic sector of space.


gundam legacy cover

Gundam Legacy

Alternate Names: Kidou Senshi Gundam Legacy, ガンダム レガシー

Genres: Mecha, Sci-Fi, Military, Action

Gundam Legacy is a series of side-stories from the Universal Century plot-line of the Gundam franchise, spanning from the timeline of the original Gundam series up until Char’s Counterattack.

Overall Gundam Legacy features the side-stories of Gundam video games and manga all of which show glimpses of the Universal Century that have been overlooked by the main series entries of the franchise. One of the recurring side-stories involve characters from Mobile Suit Gundam: Zeonic Front, an early Playstation 2 title that shows the One Year War through the eyes of Zeon soldiers. While the manga gives a brief introduction to the characters, these side-stories could only be truly appreciated with knowledge of the main story that accompanies it. This is likewise for the other portions of the manga, although there are some side-stories that only require familiarity with the series proper. As such, it’s clear that this manga was intended for fans of the series who are familiar with the accompanying games and manga.


Mobile Suit Gundam Side Story: The Blue Destiny

Alternate Names: Kidou Senshi Gundam Gaiden: The Blue Destiny, 機動戦士ガンダム外伝 — The Blue Destiny

Genres: Mecha, Sci-Fi, Military, Action

This manga follows the exploits of Yuu Kajima, an Earth Federation soldier during the One Year War of Gundam’s Universal Century, and his mysterious Mobile Suit, Blue Destiny. It is based on the video game series of the same name that was released on the Sega Saturn. The original manga focuses on the events of the first two games in the series. There is a 2015 reboot of the manga, however it is currently incomplete.


Mobile Suit Gundam Side Story: Space, to The End of a Flash

Alternate Names: Kidou Senshi Gundam Gaiden: Sora, Senkou no Hate ni…, 機動戦士ガンダム外伝 宇宙、閃光の果てに…

Genres: Mecha, Sci-Fi, Military, Action

Revolving around the crew of an Earth Federation warship, this manga’s original story was created for the Gundam video game, Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space. It was later adapted into a manga, where it focuses on events leading up to one of the most pivotal battles in the One Year War.


Mobile Suit Gundam: Ecole du Ciel

Alternate Names: Kidou Senshi Gundam: École du Ciel, 機動戦士ガンダム École du Ciel -天空の学-

Genres: Mecha, Sci-Fi, Military, Action, Drama

Taking place two years before the Zeta Gundam series Ecole Du Ciel follows Asuna Elmarit a student at a military school for future Mobile Suit pilots. After unexpected events occur, Asuna comes to realize what war is really like.


read more
Manga

Top 10 Best Isekai Manga List (Recommendations)

shield-hero-01

The word isekai means another world. When it comes to an isekai anime, manga, or light novel, the story usually follows a main character who gets transported to a new world and is introduced to a completely different setting than the one they are used to. Over the past few years these type of anime and manga have gained a huge boost in popularity. As a result, an abundance of them have been coming out in a short amount of time. I read almost all of them just to make a list of my top 10 isekai manga recommendations. I purposely picked 10 isekai manga that are currently not adapted into anime yet so if you were wondering where Overlord, Re:Zero, or KonoSuba are, don’t worry I didn’t forget about them. Check out the top 10 isekai anime list for those.


the wrong way to use healing magic manga cover

10. Chiyu Mahou no Machigatta Tsukaikata: Senjou wo Kakeru Kaifuku Youin

Alternate Names: The Wrong Way to use Healing Magic, 治癒魔法の間違った使い方~戦場を駆ける回復要員~
Genres: Action, Comedy, Adventure, Fantasy

In his final attempt to save his kingdom from the Demon King’s army, the king of Lyngle tries to summon heroes with aptitude from a different world. On that fateful day, three high schoolers: Suzune, Kazuki, and Ken are summoned. Suzune and Kazuki are shown to have immense magical combat abilities while Ken is only gifted with healing powers, but it seems like only two heroes were supposed to be summoned that day. Ken, our protagonist who displays no combat aptitude, was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Like the title suggests, the main character in The Wrong Way to use Healing Magic has a very unconventional way of using his healing ability. Although he can use his healing ability to heal others, he mainly uses it to constantly heal himself while training his body past the human limit. What I love about this manga is how consistent the main character’s progression is; he doesn’t just suddenly get a power boost or a new ability, you can actually see all the work he puts in to become stronger. The two other characters are more of a typical isekai protagonist than the main character as they are given overpowered abilities and proclaimed actual heroes. It’s an interesting heroes vs demons story told from the perspective of a healer.


chronicles of my adventures in another world with kawazu san manga cover

9. Ore to Kawazu-san no Isekai Hourouki

Alternate Names: Chronicles of my adventures in another world with Kawazu-san, 俺と蛙さんの異世界放浪記
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Slice of Life

A great magician uses his remaining life to cast a final spell that summons Kouno Tarou, an ordinary university student, into his world. Upon being summoned, Tarou realizes that his magical powers exceeds 8 million (8 million times more powerful than an average magician). He then uses his overpowered magic to revive the great sage who summoned him into the closest living vessel he could find, the body of a frog.

Ore to Kawazu-san no Isekai Hourouki is a fantasy isekai manga mixed with a bit of comedy, adventure, slice of life, and action. Like the title suggests, the manga follows the adventures of the main character, Tarou, and the great sage, Kawazu. The main character is overpowered and he has no trouble overcoming any obstacles which makes the story quite mellow, but if you just want to relax and read something funny and pleasant, this manga is for you.


8. Tondemo Skill de Isekai Hourou Meshi

Alternate Names: Gourmet Adventure of Legendary Tamer, Tondemo Skill, Regarding the Display of an Outrageous Skill Which Has Incredible Powers, とんでもスキルで異世界放浪メシ
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Slice of Life

When Mukouda Tsuyoshi is summoned from modern day Japan to a different world and asked to become a hero, he quickly declines. Realizing that his base stats are far lower than the other heroes he was summoned with and that the whole ordeal seems kinda shady, he leaves the castle with a small bag of gold to start his adventure not as a hero, but as a commoner.

Tsuyoshi Tondemo Skill de Isekai Hourou Meshi is an isekai cooking manga that follows the adventures of Mukouda Tsuyoshi and his familiar, Feru. Tsuyoshi is pretty weak himself so he relies on Feru to fight monsters while Feru relies on him for food. Definitely check it out if you just want to lay back and read a slow isekai manga about cooking. Currently, this manga does not feature a harem, romance, or any kind of antagonist so the story might seem slow for some people, but for others, these non-eventful adventures are relaxing. It might not seem like a top 10 isekai manga, but give it a try nonetheless, you might be pleasantly surprised.


isekai izakaya nobu manga cover

7. Isekai Izakaya “Nobu”

Alternate Names: Otherworldly Izakaya “Nobu”, 異世界居酒屋「のぶ」
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Slice of Life
Where to Buy/Read: Amazon

A bar called ‘Izakaya Nobu’ sets shop in a medieval town and brings otherworldly cuisines to a world that’s unfamiliar with ours.

Isekai Izakaya “Nobu” is a slice of life comedy isekai with mostly episodic chapters. There are a few recurring side characters, but the main focus of this manga is on the bar, it’s staff, and their food. The manga is very light-hearted and although there isn’t much of an overarching plot or story driven drama, pacing feels just right. Because much of the story is set in the bar, world building is done through character interactions. The characters in Isekai Izakaya “Nobu” are quite wholesome, their conversations feel genuine and their personalities are kind. The anime adaption for the light novel was announced last year so look forward to the anime soon.


moon led journey across another world manga cover

6. Tsuki ga Michibiku Isekai Douchuu

Alternate Names: Moon-led Journey Across Another World
Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Slice of Life

When high schooler Makoto Misumi gets summoned to another world, the goddess in charge of that world deems him too ugly and casts him aside. As Makoto falls from heaven, he meets a different god called Tsukuyomi, who gives him some divine power and wishes him the best in his journeys to come.

In the beginning, Tsuki ga Michibiku Isekai Douchuu follows a very familiar isekai formula that focuses on its overpowered main character doing good deeds. However, as more characters are introduced and their backstories/motivations get revealed, the story gradually shifts away from its typical isekai plot and adapts a darker undertone. But that’s not to say that the manga becomes mature and depressing. In fact, story progression is slow because this manga mostly focuses on its character interactions. Comedy is a huge part of this series and personally, I read this manga for the fun interactions that Makoto have with the side characters.


the new gate manga cover

5. The New Gate

Alternate Names: ザ・ニュー・ゲート
Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

After defeating the final boss in an online death game that trapped millions of players, the main character, Shinya Kiritani, is finally able to log out. Before he does, Shin decides to wait for all his friends to go first. After seeing all his friends offline, Shin tries to log out himself, but a mysterious door suddenly appears behind him and engulfs him in white light. He gets transported to what he believes to be a another world, but in reality, it is the same game just 500 years in the future.

The New Gate is by no means original. The story can be a bit predicable and the characters follow a generic formula, but its great execution makes the manga really enjoyable. The main character, Shin, is overpowered, but he doesn’t show it much. This means the story is a bit slow and mostly revolves around him solving small/medium conflicts well below his level. Personally, I enjoy these stories where overpowered characters do small side missions, but I understand the story might be too slow for some people.


mushoku tensei jobless reincarnation manga cover

4. Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu

Alternate Names: Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation, 無職転生 ~異世界行ったら本気だす~
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Where to Buy/Read: Amazon

After wasting his life away, a 34 year old NEET gets reincarnated into a fantasy world as a baby with all his past memories intact. He is very regretful of his past life so tries to live his new life, as Rudeus Greyrat, in full. Using his past knowledges, Rudeus strives to become the strongest mage in the world, but more importantly he strives to become a better person than his past self.

In Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu, Rudeus Greyrat doesn’t always make the right decisions, but he learns from his mistakes and tries to do better. It’s this constant character progression that separates him from the other overpowered isekai protagonists. And it’s not just the protagonist that has good character progressions, the side characters also have differing backgrounds and views. This makes character interactions quite dynamic as the side characters don’t just follow the protagonist blindly. Currently, this is one of the longest running and more popular isekai manga so expect an anime adaption soon.


so im a spider what about it manga cover

3. Kumo desu ga, Nani ka?

Alternate Names: So I’m a spider, what about it?, 蜘蛛ですが、なにか?
Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
Where to Buy/Read: Amazon

After being reincarnated into a new fantasy world as a baby spider to a child-eating cannibalistic mother, the main character escapes, only to find more monsters and enemies lurking at every turn.

Kumo desu ga, Nani ka? is a fantasy isekai manga with a focus on leveling, exploration, and action. It’s a saturated formula for isekai stories, but the two aspects of this isekai leveling manga that separates it from others are the main character’s fun personality and her smart approach to everything. She is constantly facing foes that are stronger, so her battles are mostly hard fought through wits and strategy. But despite her shortcomings as a small spider in a harsh dungeon, she makes the story quite positive and enjoyable to read with her funny and cheery narrations.


that time i got reincarnated as a slime manga cover

2. Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken

Alternate Names:That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Regarding Reincarnated to Slime, 転生したらスライムだった件
Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
Where to Buy/Read: Amazon

After dying to a stab wound from a passing robber, the main character is reincarnated into a completely new and different fantasy world as a slime with unique abilities. Once there, he meets and befriends a ‘catastrophe-level’ monster called Storm Dragon Verudora. The two give each other new names as a token of their bond and the main character adopts the name Rimaru Tempest.

Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken is a fun isekai manga with an overpowered, but laid-back main character. The story isn’t too complicated and the characters are pretty simple, but the story-driven city building elements and the wholesome character developments make this manga such an enjoyable read. In the earlier arcs there isn’t really an overarching plot so if you love a good isekai with lots of potential, then check this one out.


the rise of the shield hero manga cover

1. Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari

Alternate Names:The Rising of the Shield Hero: The Manga Companion, 盾の勇者の成り上がり
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Where to Buy/Read: Amazon

Naofumi Iwatani was just reading a fantasy book at his university when suddenly, he gets transported to a new world. Naofumi, along with three others, are proclaimed heroes by the king and was asked to save the world from the impending calamity. The four heroes are each bound to a unique weapon, but Naofumi is stuck with a shield. Outcasted as the weakest hero by everyone and later deceived by an enemy, Naofumi is left with nothing but his shield.

When there’s a list about the top 10 best isekai manga, Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari is always on it. And for a good reason too. This manga strays away from the average isekai story and focuses more on a darker tale with flawed characters. Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari is a manga about betrayal and revenge, but ultimately it is a story of redemption. The story starts off like a typical isekai, but it quickly changes to a darker tone when the main character gets betrayed and loses everything. The action packed story has a good flow and Naofumi’s journey towards redemption is an enjoyable read. The anime was recently announced so now is a good time to check the manga out.


read more