Mangaka: Naoki Urasawa
Genres: Seinen, Mystery, Historical
Naoki Urasawa is a mad genius storyteller. This story is about rock and roll, saving the world, friendship, and never being too old to give up on your dreams. Anyone that ever grew up, loves a good old good vs evil story told in a unique way, or is just looking for a good story will throughly enjoy this manga.
Mangaka: Akimi Yoshida
Genres: Shoujo, Historical, Mystery, Action
This manga is technically a shoujo, but it feels and reads more like a seinen with a heavy BL slant (Anime Planet doesn't mark is shonen-ai, but it should be). It's about drugs, gangs, political corruption, post-Vietnam War America, and prostitution that never stops delivering the thrills. If all shoujo were like this, it would be my favorite genre.
Mangaka: Yana Yoboso
Genres: Shonen, Historical, Supernatural
(so Banana Fish is shoujo and BB is shonen??? whatever.)
While the quality of the plot ranges from 'end the idol crap' to 'holy crap, that's awesome!,' it makes up for the dull parts with its artwork, characters, and humor. But it's at it's best when blending the macabre with the beautiful so seamlessly you might not even realize how dark things are going to get before the end.
Mangaka: Hiroaki Samura
Genres: Seinen, Historical, Action
A classic revenge tale that's unapologetically violent, Blade of the Immortal isn't for someone who doesn't have a decent threshold for violence and gore. Highlights include the artwork (especially the fights), the great characters, and the fun way is blends modern culture with feudal Japan.
Mangaka: Ayano Yamane
Genres: Yaoi, Fantasy, Action
Ayano Yamane is a gift. I love her brand of yaoi - which includes actual plot, action, and non-pathetic ukes. Crimson Spell is everything a yaoi manga should be. The art is fantastic, the characters are sexy and engaging, and the romance is hot and takes full advantage of both yaoi and fantasy conventions.
Mangaka: Katsura Hoshino
Genres: Shonen, Supernatural, Action
D Gray Man starts as a fairly standard shonen minus convenient nakama-power ups, thank God with a cool gothic feel and one of the sweetest lead characters around surrounded by a well-written supporting cast. Then it slowly starts to act more and more like a seinen, increasing the violence, the bleakness, the character depth, and world building. It also has the biggest art impovement I've ever seen.
Mangaka: Hiroki Endo
Genres: Seinen, Science Fiction
This manga isn't for the faint of heart or for people looking for an easy-breezy read. Characters die off at an alarming rate, it's fairly explicit at times, and sometimes its hard to figure out/remember what's going on. If you take the time, the pay-off is amazing. The art is detailed, the characters interesting, and the world fleshed-out.
Mangaka: Ayano Yamane
Genres: Yaoi, Action, Drama
If you like doe-eyed ukes that cry at a drop of that hat, yaoi with no plot, tame/sweet BL love stories only, this one probably isn't for you. If you want something dripping with sex and violence, incredibly hot guys, yaoi with an actual plot (that starts okay, but gets better), and one of the greatest uke/seme pairings in existence, then read this right now.
Mangaka: Hiromu Arakawa
Genres: Shounen, Action, Adventure
Fullmetal Alchemist is one of the most popular anime franchises for a reason. It's got a little of everything comedy, action, romance, etc . . . It's a shonen anyone can enjoy thanks to its great cast and epic plot. If you've seen the anime, you might want to check out the original story too.
Mangaka: Hideaki Sorachi
Genres: Shonen, Comedy, Action
While it's true that Gintama takes a long time to really get started, once it does, there's no turning back. There's a surprisingly large amount of heart in what some think is only a 'gag manga' before reading it and realizing how much you end up caring about the cast. A warning though, the more you know about Japanese and anime/manga culture, the funnier it is.
Mangaka: Haruichi Furudate
Genres: Shonen, Sports
Even if you usually don't care for scripted sports stories, Haikyuu's vibrant cast, smooth action, and off-the-scales ability to create tension and hype might just win you over. It did for me. If you find yourself getting emotional over high school volleyball games, it's okay. You're not alone.
Mangaka: Yasuhisa Hara
Genres: Seinen, Historical, Action
Just. Read. This. Manga. It feels a bit shonen when it starts, but quickly sheds that for battles and political posturing on a grand scale. There's so many things I want to praise this manga for, the hype, battle strategy, active characters, progressing plot, paneling, and more that there's just not enough room here. It's that good.
Makgaka: Yuki Urushibara
Genres: Seinen, Supernatural
Even the most ordinary things become magical in Mushishi. If you're looking for something relaxing and comtemplative, you'll be hard pressed to find something better than this manga. The artwork is stunning, and it doesn't get so caught up in its folktale-like stories to forget to develop the characters.
Writer: Je-Ho Son Artist: Gwang-Su Lee
Genres: Action, Supernatural
There's nothing terribly unique about Noblesse, but it's very good at being what it is, a shonen-esque action story. The art's some of the best I've seen in a webcomic, the comedy is funny, the fights are intense, there's no random power-up bullshit, and the characters are honestly badass. They're also what elevates this above so many other simliar stories.
(note: Technically, this is a webtoon, not a manga, so if you decide to check it out, it reads left to right, unlike manga)
Mangaka: Matsuri Akino
Genres: Josei, Supernatural, Horror
This is like xxxHolic Josei style and also better. The creepy pets, interesting art, and interesting episodic mysteries are good enough to keep someone reading, but what really sells this manga is how our two leads develop over throughout the story and through their relationship with each other and yes it is like that, but also maybe not.
Mangaka: Nobuhiro Watsuki
Genres: Shonen, Historical, Action
Don't get me wrong, even without Himura Kenshin, I'd recommend reading this manga. But it wouldn't be good enough to get on personal favorites list. He's just that strong of a character. It helps that it's set during one of my favorite historical eras (the Meiji Revolution), but really, Kenshin is what takes this being a decent/solid manga to an incredible one.
Mangaka: Hinako Takanaga
Genres: Yaoi, Comedy, Drama
I think the author said, what if I make the uke act like a seme and the seme act like an uke and decided to write this. Turns out, what happens is a throughly entertaining yaoi manga. It's one of the funniest I've read across genres. It helps that the characters are engaging, and I can't say enough about the artwork.
(Note: I'd advise you read the manga Challengers first, since this story really starts there)
Mangaka: Ha-jin Yoo
Genres: Yaoi, Comedy, Drama
Essentially, this yaoi manga imagines what happens when a super!seme decides to make an uke out of another seme, throw in some mafia drama and great characters into the mix, and you've got one of the funniest yaoi around. If you like ukes that take no shit, then this one is for you.
(Note: this is another Korean story, so it reads left to write. It's formatted exactly like a manga otherwise)
Mangaka: Kou Yoneda
Genres: Yaoi, Drama, Psychological
It took all of a few panels to realize I'd come across something special. The artwork is stunning, the characters are well-developed, and the plot is fairly intense. It's nothing like the other yaoi I've read. Yashiro, our MC, is one of the most fascinating characters I've ever come across. Even if yaoi isn't your thing, you might want to check this one out. It's that good.
(Note: There are two prequal one-shot chapters, including Tadayoedo Shizumaru, Saredo Naki mo Sezu and Don't Stay Gold. I'd advice you read them first, especially Tadayoedo)
Mangaka: Junji Itou
Genres: Seinen, Horror
You've probably seen zombies, psycho kids, and creepy guys with masks and oversized weapons, but have you ever seen horror spirals before? I had no idea who Juniji Itou was when I started Uzumaki and wondered how a town possessed by spirals would go. It turns out, this isn't just one of the best manga I've read, it's one of the best horror stories I've ever read or saw. You'll never look at spirals the same way again.
Mangaka: Riyoko Ikeda
Genres: Shoujo, Historical, Romance
This re-imagined version of the French Revolution is surprisingly loyal to the actual events, right up to killing off the majority of the cast. The manga smartly sets aside Marie Antoinette's forbidden love to focus on Oscar Francois de Jarjayes' internal struggle that shows both sides of the revolution. It's a prime example of classic shoujo and a tearjerker.
Mangaka: Moto Hagio
Genres: Josei, Drama, Psychological
A Cruel God Reigns is not for someone looking for a light, easy read. It deals with abuse in a heart-breakingly realistic way. Many stories like this end up being too dramatic or too gratuitous, but this manga never even gets close. Instead, it tells a highly emotional story, featuring some of the most well-written characters in manga and stunning artwork. Recommended for anyone who can get through the tough subject material.