Jujutsu Kaisen is one of the hottest manga around, and the first of the Dark Trio to make a true splash on the anime scene. It’s been a wild ride so far, with already over 200 chapters and counting. The series is penned by the mysterious Gege Akutami, with JJK being their first long-running ongoing title. But with this hit Shonen manga, you might find infrequent breaks between chapters, and if you’re looking for your fix of supernatural action, there are luckily plenty of alternatives. Here are 12 of the best manga to read if you like Jujutsu Kaisen!
What is Jujutsu Kaisen?
With a title translated to “sorcery fight,” you can safely guess that magic, supernatural, or occult forces are at play as the central gimmick in this Shonen manga. JJK is more than gimmicks, with some crazy art and fun characters encountered along the way. It deals with some pretty dark themes as a series, but you’ll find there is plenty of other Shonen manga you can experience with similar vibes.
12 Shonen Manga to Check Out if You Like Jujutsu Kaisen
Readers seeking similar experiences to Jujutsu Kaisen will like to see manga take a similarly dark route, but with a stronger balance of humor in the mix than, say, a Seinen series. Sometimes it’s just a matter of trading gimmicks or periods, sometimes it’s a matter of mixing in other cultural influences.
But perhaps more than anything else, sometimes readers just want something with a decently long run, with some quirky, nuanced Shonen protagonists at the helm.
12. Yu Yu Hakusho
I figured the best way to start this list was to ease you in with a Shonen classic. Created by Yoshihiro Togashi, who would later create Hunter x Hunter, this series was a first for many Western readers itching to get into the supernatural side.
The series follows Yusuke Urameshi, a high school delinquent who, despite his reputation, dies saving a child in an act of sheer instinctual kindness. He is later revived and recruited as a spirit detective tasked with rooting out demons from the human world.
It blends martial arts along with spiritual sensibilities including aura and channeling it into weapons like the Rei Gun to slay his opponents. Along the way, he recruits allies with diverse spiritual abilities including benevolent demons, and goes into some pretty spectacular tournaments. Jujutsu Kaisen is loaded with homages to this series and others, to be discussed later.
11. Black Torch
Meet Jiro Azuma. Jiro is a ninja who can talk to animals. Jiro takes in a Mononoke resembling an adorable cat named Rago, only to be killed by another Mononoke pursuing his new feline friend. Jiro is revived as repayment for taking Rago in, the latter fusing with him in the process. The pair become immensely powerful, capable of fighting other Mononoke, but gain the attention of the Bureau of Espionage.
The series is fiercely stylish with lots of personality in the characters. The series goes to some pretty crazy places with some gory fights. There are some pretty clear comparisons between this manga and others like Jujutsu Kaisen or even Chainsaw Man. The transformations and character designs are awesome. Shading is used to wonderful effect. Read this manga. Don’t be deterred by its 19 chapters, it’s a substantial read with no chapter dipping below 46 pages in length.
10. Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan
This series features Rikuo Nura, whose Yokai heritage is a source of great frustration for him. His position to ascend to leadership within the family is something he resents, yet he comes to terms with it. He is 1/4 Yokai, however, so he can only sustain his Yokai form 1/4 of the time, resulting in him juggling a human and demonic form.
It’s part coming-of-age, part Shonen action. There’s a duality to the characters Rikuo inhabits in his Yokai and human form respectively, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but benevolent. Sitting at 210 chapters, it’s a decently long series with some fascinating arcs.
But this gimmick of youth coming to grips with their supernatural abilities, wishing to do good deeds despite their potentially darker abilities, is something of a familiar trend between these series. You could say it’s a trope. Bet you didn’t think I’d be talking about these Shonen Jump series, and instead be talking about something predictable like Bleach, huh?
Spoke too soon. But this is also one of the best Shonen manga out there, and the only series to stand tall as one of the Shonen Big Three and be featured on this list. Bleach is one of the ultimate best-sellers in the world of manga, with 130 volumes sold, and is loaded with personality.
Ichigo Kurosaki finds himself thrust into the role of a Soul Reaper after his innate ability to see ghosts leads him down a rabbit hole including encounters with deadly spirits called Hollows. But with many story arcs and anime adaptations, you’ll find a mighty, satisfying 686-chapter run that’ll be difficult to read without pulling your jaw up from the floor. It’s got great character development, a host of “best manga” awards, and a worthy spot as a must-read manga for anybody uncertain how a series can stay good for so long.
8. Soul Eater
Soul Eater is one of the more distinctly stylized entries on this list. It’s got a crazy-varied art style and is ostensibly unique despite sometimes prioritizing fun over depth. The series’ characters study at the Death Weapon Master Academy in hopes to collect 99 human souls and then 1 of a witch for their headmaster.
Instead of being students as a secondary factor like in many other cases throughout this list, Soul Eater’s characters’ identities as students are major focal points in this manga. The characters consist of weapon meisters and their living weapons who can transform into humanoid figures. The main character is Maka Albarn, along with Soul “Eater” Evans, her partner whose main form is a deadly scythe. The series takes some strange routes, including demonic powers, but very on-brand for stories featured on this list.
7. Hell’s Paradise
This series deserves greater recognition for its manga. While the anime series is exciting even in the moments where it has some odd censorship choices, the manga has spectacular art. This isn’t even going into the insanely good cover art you otherwise never see with the anime renditions.
Hell’s Paradise also stands as one of the Dark Trio of Shonen manga, like Jujutsu Kaisen and Chainsaw Man. It goes, naturally, to some dark places and is inherently a very violent series. It dances around with the series’ age rating, too, and is a remarkably concise run.
The series follows several convicts with deadly combat abilities and near-inhuman endurance who venture to the island of Shinsenkyo to search for the Elixir of Life. The supernatural angle here shows itself pretty clearly soon, with seemingly nature-defying creatures and Tao energy serving as a source of power honed by its users as incredible weapons in battle. The series is relatively brief with 127 chapters, but in a way that feels incredibly substantial, and among the best-looking manga around, certainly the prettiest of the Dark Trio.
6. Blue Exorcist
Following the tropes mentioned previously with most other entries in this list, Blue Exorcist follows Rin and Yukio Okumura who learn they are the sons of Satan. They live in a bifurcated universe, split among Assiah among the humans, and Gehenna among the demons. Demons have ventured into Assiah often undetected, except those who have been in direct contact.
The series follows Rin in his journey to defeat Satan, becoming an Exorcist in the process. He joins his brother Yukio in this quest, one that spans 28 volumes so far and received a short anime adaptation. The series is ongoing as a monthly story with new chapters to this day, so be sure to check it out!
5. Shaman King
Anybody remember this series? Back when Shonen Jump was releasing monthly magazines in North America (the good old days) this series featured from March 2003-August 2007. It also received one mid anime adaptation people might be more familiar with, but the truth is, it censored a lot of the violence from the original.
It was a series that blended multiple cultures and how they commune with the dead, be it channeling their spirits to use in battle, or outright using the bodies of the dead as their fighters. Yoh Asakura is the main character, a lazy teenager who finds himself engaged and wants to give a good life to his fiance, Anna. Yoh’s supporting characters includeAmidamaru, his ghostly companion, Anna, an Itako, his friend Manta, and more.
The series has quite a few fascinating characters who embody numerous cultural and spiritual identities, including Daoshi, Aboriginal American Shamans, and a descendant of Doctor Faustus. The crazy part is, the original series ended years ago, but the property was picked up from Shueisha by Kodansha and has numerous spin-offs. Shaman King: The Super Star is still going on to this day!
4. Black Clover
It’s easy to think of Black Clover as a less popular series due to its anime treatment leaving something to be desired. But with over 360 chapters and counting, it’s clear the magical manga resonates with plenty of fans in the present.
It doesn’t hurt that the recent film adaptation, Sword of the Wizard King, has had a strong reception among the fans. It’s an uplifting series meant to restore your spirits, and this manga does so wonderfully. You can see the influence that classic stories have left on Black Clover, from Shonen hits like Dragon Ball Z and Bleach to Seinen masterpiece Berserk.
3. Jiangshi X
I wanted to personally add this entry because it not only fits the bill of a supernatural world where young students are pitted against deadly, often demonic entities, but it’s also just really easy to pick up and read. Available as a current ongoing Shonen Jump+ series, as well as for Western readers through the Viz Media portal or the Shonen Jump app, or even Manga Plus, this series is young and you should give it a shot.
It features Xiaohu, a young Daoshi fledgling who, along with his friends, find themselves in over their heads against deadly threats including Jiangshi, essentially monstrous and powerful zombies. Xiaohu must get stronger to avenge the death of his father at the hands of an extremist group called the Wu Dou Jiu Dao.
Jiangshi X has martial arts, with a touch of that Chinese supernatural warrior angle that makes it a fascinating manga to read if you like Jujutsu Kaisen, although it could easily be compared to other popular hits like Naruto.
2. Demon Slayer
The stylish manga has captivated readers and anime fans for years now, it’d be surprising if you haven’t at least heard of it. Clocking in as the no. 9 best-selling manga of all time despite being not only the newest of the top 10 but also the shortest run, Demon Slayer hit hard and hit fast when it joined the scene in 2016.
There’s plenty of reason to see why. The characters are fun and varied (for the most part) with plenty of emotional stakes that compel readers to follow for dozens of chapters beyond what they expected. While the anime’s pacing leaves a lot to be desired, it retains the striking visual aesthetic of the manga for the most part and results in one of the best-looking series around.
The series follows Tanjiro Kamado who trains to be a demon slayer after his family is killed by one, while also trying to return his surviving sister, Nezuko, to her human form after she becomes a demon herself. Come for the epic story, and stay for the awesome fights.
1. Chainsaw Man
What list of manga like Jujutsu Kaisen would be complete without Chainsaw Man? This series has it all in terms of comparable elements. It has a sympathetic yet nuanced teenage protagonist who, despite a tragic past, has inherently silly qualities and a supernatural plot gimmick that makes him uniquely powerful. It also oozes style and is immensely culturally savvy.
If you recall Black Torch earlier in this list, you might notice that this series also features a dying character revived by their supernatural animal friend. In this case, Pochita, the Chainsaw Devil’s sacrifice gives Denji the ability to take on a violent, powerful demonic form based on the fear of chainsaws, able to use them in combat against the devils that populate his world. It doesn’t hurt that, much like Black Torch, this series has awesome art.
But beyond this relatively cut-and-dry premise, we see a character who continuously experiences loss. Despite having incredibly simple goals in life, Denji’s truest desire is simply to feel loved, and this creates some complicated moments throughout the series. Counter to other manga like Jujutsu Kaisen though, Chainsaw Man shifted focus away from Denji when the manga resumed in the summer of 2022, but remains just as good, if not better.
What you might find from this list is just the sheer variety of Shonen manga that play around with familiar tropes, yet achieve wildly different results. Some are concise, beautiful self-contained stories, while others stand the test of time as some of the best long-running series ever. Supernatural Action stories are the bread and butter of Shonen manga, and Jujutsu Kaisen is merely the tip of the iceberg.
- This article was updated on September 7th, 2023