Top 25 Psychological Manga

I don’t know about you, but most people enjoy cuddling up with terrifying novels during chilly fall days. In this case, it’s a manga. We’ve already covered some of the finest horror comics, so we’re focused on psychological horror manga this time. To be clear, psychological terror is a major component in many horror mangas. Sure, some releases depend more on graphic violence and gore, but the finest series digs into the dark emotions that motivate such crimes. It’s a shame that male authors dominate this sub-genre, especially when we consider what’s accessible in English. There are several fascinating-looking mangas in this subgenre made by women, however, they are currently unlicensed. Alas, maybe one day they’ll make it to our shores!

Berserk

Guts, the Black Swordsman, is a fearsome fighter who is only spoken in whispers. His body is permanently scarred with The Brand, an evil emblem that lures the powers of darkness to him and dooms him as their sacrifice. He bears a massive sword, an iron hand, and the scars of many fights and tortures. But Guts isn’t going down without a fight; he’ll slash a red path through the ranks of the damned—and anybody else dumb enough to stand in his way! Guts pursue a terrible, bloodstained path that leads only to death or revenge, accompanied by Puck the Elf, who is more of a nuisance than a comrade.

Monster

At some time in their life, everyone is confronted with uncertainty. Kenzo Tenma, a great surgeon, is no exception. But he had no way of knowing that his decision to forego professional achievement and instead focus on his commitment to saving people’s lives would result in the birth of an abomination. The issues of good and evil have taken on a terrible new dimension. Years later, during the turbulent post-reunification period in Germany, middle-aged childless couples are being murdered one after the other. The serial killer’s identity has been revealed. The causes for his killings are not. Dr. Tenma sets out on a journey to find the killer’s twin sister, who may hold some clues to solving the enigma of the “Monster.”

Land of the Lustrous

Every unique gem must battle for their way of existence against the danger of Lunarians who would convert them into ornaments on a planet inhabited by crystalline lifeforms known as The Lustrous. Phosphophyllite, the most delicate and brittle of gems, yearns to fight. When Phos is instead tasked with compiling a natural history of their environment, it appears to be tedious and futile work. Phos’s new work, however, puts him into touch with Cinnabar, a gem condemned to dwell in seclusion. Can Phos’s seemingly little job lead both Phos and Cinnabar to the happiness they seek?

Kaguya-sama: Love is War

Kaguya and Miyuki are the cream of the elite as heads of their exclusive academy’s student council! But it’s lonely up there. Fortunately for them, they have fallen in love! There’s only one problem: they’re both too proud to acknowledge it. And so the daily plotting begins to persuade the object of their passion to reveal their romantic emotions first. Love is a conflict in which you win by losing. – Monthly Miracle Jump released the first ten chapters. It was changed to Weekly Young Jump, beginning with Ch. 11, and the chapter count was reset. The first ten chapters of Miracle Jump are still included in this section.

20th Century Boys

Humanity, which was on the verge of extinction at the close of the twentieth century, would not have entered the new millennium if it hadn’t been for them. They designed a symbol in 1969 when they were young. That sign reappears in 1997 when the impending calamity begins to take shape. This is the narrative of a gang of young lads who attempt to save the planet. When one of his boyhood pals unexpectedly commits himself, Kenji, a modest convenience store manager who once dreamed of being a rock ‘n’ roll singer, recalls a slew of memories from his past. Could this latest death be linked to the development of a strange new cult that has been linked to several previous killings and disappearances? Determined to dig deeper, Kenji reunites with some of his old buddies in the hope of learning the truth behind it all.

ReLIFE

When the responsibilities of adulthood and the nasty side of corporate bullying betray one’s childhood ambitions, many people wish they could go back in time to relive their lives and make the correct decisions. Arata Kaizaki, 27, is stunned by the offer made to him and wants to turn his life around through a once-in-a-lifetime chance. When Arata returns home from his part-time work, Ryou Yoake, an employee of ReLife Research Institute, convinces him to take part in an experiment that would help him overcome his troubles and re-enter corporate life. Arata’s body is reverted to that of a 17-year-old as part of the ReLife project, and all he has to do is recreate his high school life for one year. He has been trying to acquire a job offer since leaving his first firm awaits him at the end of the trial. He agrees to go through with this scheme because he has few other choices. However, with adult-like inclinations and many years since his last formal schooling, Arata enters unexpectedly difficult territory—a typical day of high school.

Bastard

Seon Jin has nowhere to turn for consolation. He gets brutally tormented at school because of his unsettlingly calm demeanor and frail looks. However, this is not the root of Jin’s overwhelming terror: he fears him to directorate more than anything else. To most people, Jin’s father is a successful businessman, a decent Samaritan, and a devoted father. But this is all a ruse; in reality, he is a crazy serial murderer, and Jin is his eager collaborator. They’ve been pulling this trick for years, with the cops completely unaware. However, when his father takes an interest in the pretty transfer student Yoon Kyun, Jin must make a decision—be the coward who sends her to the gallows like all the rest or be the bastard of a son who defies his wicked parent.

Pluto

Someone or something has killed the Swiss solid robot Mont Blanc in an ideal future where humans and machines live. A major person in a robot rights group is assassinated elsewhere. The two events appear unrelated, except for one very obvious clue: both victims’ bodies have been fashioned into some strange collage, replete with artificial horns put beside their heads. Interpol assigns robot investigator Gesicht to this odd and difficult case, and he soon finds that he, too, is a target as one of the world’s seven great robots.

Mob Psycho 100

Do you or someone you know require the services of a low-cost exorcist? Reigen is your man! What’s his trick for catching ghosts while keeping pricing low? First, he’s a charlatan, and second, he pays his student helper Shigeo less than the minimum wage. Shigeo is an awkward but nice young man whose desire to assist people and get along with them is intertwined with the mental safety locks he’s set on his feelings. Reigen is well aware that he must abuse Shigeo to continue in business, but for better or worse, he is also his mentor and advisor. And he also understands that when the typically suppressed child’s emotions reach level 100, it may unleash more psychic energy than either of them can handle.

Fruits Basket

Tohru Honda, a spunky high schooler, takes matters into her own hands after a family tragedy flips her life upside down and moves out into a tent! Unfortunately for her, she chooses to build her new house on private land owned by the enigmatic Sohma clan, and it isn’t long until the owners uncover her secret. But, as Tohru discovers when the family agrees to take her in, the Sohmas have their secret: when touched by the opposite sex, they transform into the animals of the Chinese Zodiac!

Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare

Tasuku Kaname, a high school student in Onomichi, Hiroshima, is devastated after learning that he may have been outed for being gay. When he witnesses a lady leap out of a window of a neighboring house, he realizes his life is gone and his sorrow transforms into horror. Tasuku rushes to the house in a panic, only to learn that it’s a public meeting lounge owned by the woman he saw before. Tasuku comes face to face with the lady as she walks unhurt past him, but not before implying that she had been watching him from afar. Tasuku, perplexed, follows her to the top of a high hill, where she offers to listen to what’s on his mind for a few moments. Although Tasuku doesn’t go into too much detail, he later accepts her invitation to come to the lounge to meet others with similar troubles.

Death Note

As L and the cops draw in, Light puts the Death Note’s abilities to the test. Fortunately, Light’s father is the director of the Japanese National Police Agency, and important material regarding the case is left lying around the home. Light can stay one step ahead of the authorities with access to his father’s files. But who is the odd guy pursuing him, and how can Light protect himself against adversaries whose names he doesn’t know?

Umineko When They Cry

The time for rational discussion and magical ruses is over; the truth about Beatrice, the Golden Witch, is about to be revealed. Bernkastel, the game master, has chosen Will Wright, the Mage-Hunter, to go onto her board and solve a single question: Who killed Beatrice? Lion Ushiromiya, Krauss’s firstborn and heir, joins him in the game, though his purpose remains a mystery. Will’s line of questioning connects all the loose ends from the previous games, weaving them into a thread of truth, reliving Kinzou’s initial meeting with the young Beatrice and going through the tales that have subsequently sprouted up around her.

Pandora Hearts

The joy surrounding fifteen-year-old Oz Vessalius’ coming-of-age ritual swiftly turns to horror as he is sentenced for a transgression he does not know of. He is sent into the Abyss, an everlasting, impenetrable prison from which there is no escape. There, he meets Alice, a young girl who is not what she appears to be. Now that the merciless wheels of fate have begun to revolve, will they just lead to Oz’s crushing sorrow, or will there be some glimmer of hope for him to grasp?

I Had That Same Dream Again

What might three such disparate individuals have in common? An unhappy child who self-harms, a high schooler who her peers shun, and an elderly woman hoping to live out her final years in peace. Nanoka Koyanagi, a sixth-grader, is trying to find out. Asked by her instructor to describe what “happy” means to her, Nanoka seeks to discover her place in the world by examining her connections with these three strangers and learns to know herself through them.

Villains Are Destined to Die

I’m completely sucked into this game! It’s as though it’s taken over my life. Wait—HARD MODE IS ON. No-no-no-no-no! It has practically thrust me into the role of Penelope Eckhart. As the heroine, it’s simple to fall in love, but as the despised villainess, I’m fighting hard not to die. My brothers, the prince, a fork, every conceivable outcome is death! This universe is set against me, but can my wits and insider gaming knowledge win these male characters’ affection? Or how about the reset button?

Moriarty the Patriot

In the late nineteenth century, Britain ruled over a quarter of the world. Nobles live in comfort and luxury in their fancy homes, while the working class slaves away at their jobs. When young Albert James Moriarty’s upper-class family adopts two lower-class orphans, the violence the boys see at the hands of his family solidifies Albert’s loathing of the aristocracy he was born into. He invites the elder of the two boys, who possesses a brilliant mind and a killing instinct, to assist him in ridding the world of evil, beginning with Albert’s own family!

Onani Master Kurosawa

Kakeru Kurosawa is a withdrawn junior high school student. He seldom interacts with his peers, and he regards them with disdain. But this is topped off by a terrible habit, a well-kept secret: every day after school, he slips into the seldom-used ladies’ restroom on the third floor and masturbates in a stall. Kakeru’s shady habit goes unnoticed until one day, when a petite girl from his class, Aya Kitahara, nearly discovers him. Their encounter kicks off a coming-of-age drama of extortion, bullying, vengeance, grief, and, eventually, forgiveness.

One Outs

The plot begins when Hiromichi Kojima, the star batter for the fictional Lycaons of Japan’s Pacific League, travels to the southern Japanese island of Okinawa to practice and get out of a rut. There, he met Ta Tokuchi, a 134-kmph (83-mile-per-hour) pitcher and the uncontested champion of “One Out,” a gambling variant of baseball. Tokuchi contracts for the Lycaons at the prompting of Kojima, under a unique contract in which he receives 5,000,000 yen (about US$46,000) for every out he throws but loses 50,000,000 yen (approximately US$460,000) for every point he gives up.

Parasyte

They come in complete darkness and stillness. They fall from the sky. They have a voracious appetite for human flesh. They are all over the place. They are parasites, extraterrestrial entities that must infiltrate and dominate a human host to exist. Once infected, they may take on whatever lethal shape they like, including monsters with huge teeth, flying devils, and creatures with swords for hands. Most, though, have opted to hide their murderous intent under regular human features. So no one knows about their secret–except a regular high school kid. Shin is fighting for control of his own body against an extraterrestrial parasite, but will he be able to warn mankind of the impending horrors?

The Flowers of Evil

Takao Kasuga, a middle school student, earns an F on a math test. But he doesn’t appear to notice since he’s too preoccupied with reading Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil covertly. And the rest of the day goes bad from there. In a moment of weakness, he discovers and steals the workout clothing of sweet, gorgeous Nanako Saeki, on whom he has a strong crush. Unfortunately for Takao, there is a witness to the theft: Nakamura, who has a large chip on her shoulder as well as a cruel streak. As the story progresses, we witness Takao struggle to determine whether to confess or cover up his wrongdoings while still attempting to win over the girl of his dreams and escape the blackmail attunement. Smart, funny, and emotionally engaging, The Flowers of Evil introduces a character who’s not a hero but just an ordinary teenager in search of true love and real friendship.

RAINBOW: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin

Six juveniles (16-17 years old) with the aliases Joe, Mario, Suppon, Baremoto, Hentai, and Kyabetsu are imprisoned for charges such as severe assault, swindling, and fleeing, and so on. Their time in hell begins right away. They are accommodated by a pedophilic doctor and placed under the watchful eye of a dictatorial and cruel staff. Tensions grow between the band of pals and their new “friend,” a particular Sakuragi (Anchan). A scuffle erupts, and our six captives are done rossés by the strange young man’s boxing prowess. The story will follow the lives of these seven characters surviving in their hellish environment and their disillusions due to the rejection by the outside world and by their close relations. This is about the extraordinary and invincible friendships between these young men.

The Legend of the Strongest, Kurosawa!

Kurosawa is bored and weary of his mundane life as the less popular site foreman at Anahira Construction. When his 44th birthday arrives and no one remembers or celebrates with him, he reaches a tipping point. Kurosawa, realizing he has led a life without passion or purpose, attempts to push himself beyond his comfort zone to change his life. Will his newfound antics help or damage him as he gets into confrontations with delinquents?

Tokyo Ghoul

In Tokyo, a constant sense of despondency lurks. Ghouls, mysterious man-eating creatures, prowl the streets of Tokyo. The existence of ghouls, whose actual identities are shrouded in mystery and who live unseen throughout ordinary life, perpetually terrorizes Tokyo’s people. Haise Sasaki has been assigned a task at CCG, the only entity that investigates and resolves ghoul-related matters. Haise’s days of agony begin while dealing with the rambunctious four problem youngsters known as “Quinx”…?!

Watashitachi no Shiawase na Jikan

“I have something I don’t want to lose,” she says, “to the point where these horrible sentiments have evolved.” Juri, a pianist who tried suicide three times, is transported to a jail where criminals who killed indiscriminately are condemned to death. There, she encounters Yuu, a guy who has killed three people. Antagonism from a mother—the loss of a brother. They welcome the violent revolt in their souls produced by the enormous, deep scars they bear as a group. However, they both soon embrace an earnest hope in their hearts. “I’d like to live.” Gong Ji-Young, South Korea’s most popular female author, has adapted her work.

What characteristics distinguish an excellent horror story? Is it the psychologically upsetting effects of gruesome body parts and haunted mansions? The pessimism does we want to see reflected by the story’s characters? Or the unpleasant and tense atmosphere produced by the tale and illustrations, which causes you to peek over your shoulder a few times? A good horror story frightens and disturbs, frightening, and inspires dread, but most importantly, it intrigues us with the instinctual reactions it elicits. I hope these horror manga selections will pique your interest because they cover a wide range of terror themes, from the occult to psychothrillers, from supernatural manifestation to nature.

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