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Revenge. It is one of the oldest literary themes in the book. From Shakespeare to Stephen King, The Count of Monte Cristo to Gone Girl, revenge stories have always drawn readers. What can I say? Sometimes we just love dark shit and see people get what’s coming for them. Manga readers are no exception, so I’ve compiled a selection of the best revenge manga out there for you to enjoy and redirect your IRL stress.
By its definition, manga is a wonderful medium for revenge stories. You can literally see all the action and outrage right on the page, giving you even more immersion in the story. The art can envelop the reader in the dark, grisly atmosphere of these stories while allowing a little more room for the imagination than something like a movie or TV show. Here are some of the best revenge manga that do just that, with plenty of options whether you’re a longtime manga fan or just starting out.
A quick note before we delve into the picks themselves. If you’re watching the best revenge manga, please note that many come with a whole bunch of content warnings. All will contain some level of violence, with some including depictions of subjects such as torture, sexual assault and harm to children, among others.
Best Revenge Manga
The Count of Monte Cristo by Ena Moriyama
Speaking of The Count of Monte Cristo, let’s start with this manga adaptation of the 19th-century novel by Alexandre Dumas. Although the manga is only one volume, it remains fairly faithful, albeit condensed, to the original story of Edmond Dantès’ dogged quest for revenge on those who wronged him. If you’re new to manga, a remake of this classic, this time accompanied by beautiful illustrations, could be a great stepping stone into the format.
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Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama
A hundred years ago, giant creatures known as titans destroyed much of the human population, and those that remain now all live together in a walled civilization. It was always believed that there was safety behind these walls, but one day a colossal titan breaks through. Teenage boy Eren Yeager loses his mother in the deadly incident and decides to get revenge on the Titans. The hit manga follows Eren and his friends as they undergo military training and try to infiltrate the Recon Corps, an exclusive group that travels outside the Walls to fight the Titans in hopes of eventually taking back the world.
If you’re already a fan of Attack on Titan, check out these manga to enjoy even more similar stories.
Bazaar by Yumi Tamura
In a post-apocalyptic Japan controlled by an oppressive ruler, a prophecy states that a child born in the village of Byakko will become the leader of a revolution to rid the country of tyranny. When the twins Tatara and Sarasa are born, the Prophet decrees that one of them will be this child of destiny, and everyone assumes that it will be the boy Tatara. However, when the village is destroyed by the Red King, Tatara is beheaded, allowing Sarasa to assume his identity to lead the rebellion and avenge his death.
Lone Wolf and Cub by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima
Ogami Ittō, the former executioner of the shōgun, lost his family in a brutal massacre and was mistaken for a traitor based on fabricated evidence planted by the Yagyū clan. Disgraced, Ogami wanders the country with his young son, the sole survivor of the murders. The pair embark on an epic journey to destroy the Yagyū clan to avenge the death of their family and Ittō’s fall from grace.
Black Butler by Yana Toboso
Ciel is a young boy in Victorian London who holds the position of Earl of Phantomhive after the death of his parents on his 10th birthday. Sebastian Michaelis, a demon bound to Ciel in a contract to help the boy get revenge on the people responsible for his parents’ deaths, acts as his butler, working with Ciel to solve crimes for examine the queen.
Berserker by Kentaro Miura
Armed with a monstrous sword and a prosthetic arm with a built-in cannon, Guts is a fearsome lone fighter known as the Black Swordsman. With Guts marked with the Sacrificial Brand, he is doomed to be the target of dark forces and spirits attempting to claim his life. But he is out to seek revenge on whoever bestowed upon him this time, brutally cutting down anyone and everything that stands in his way in order to survive long enough to complete his quest.
Full Metal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa
This best-selling manga series deserves a spot on this list for the story of one of its main characters, Scar. Introduced as a villain in the series, Scar is a serial killer who targets government alchemists like our protagonist Edward. As a survivor of Ishvalan’s civil war, Scar seeks revenge on the alchemists and holds them accountable for their role in the mass murder of his people. Arakawa was inspired by the complex history of her native Hokkaido, originally home to the Ainu but conquered by the Japanese. The course of Scar’s revenge plan and his character development are anything but simple and have been praised by critics.
My Favorite Self with Malice Aforethought by Hajime Inoryu and Shota Ito
At first glance, Eiji seems like your typical college student who just wants to hang out with his friends and meet girls, but he has quite a secret: he’s the son of a notorious serial killer who died when he was a little boy. Because of this, Eiji tries to live a low-key life, but one day he wakes up to find that he has lost three days of his memory and eventually finds out that he suffers from dissociative identity disorder. To make matters worse, a copycat killer of his father’s has emerged, and evidence points to Eiji’s second identity as the killer! What’s exciting about this manga, however, is that it doesn’t resort to the boogeyman trope of insanity, instead it turns it on its head. This intense, fast-paced manga is filled with twists and turns, with revenge playing a big part as more is revealed.
Burn the House Down by Moyashi Fujisawa
Although more on the psychological side than the action-oriented titles that make up the bulk of this list, Burn the House Down is definitely an equally thrilling revenge tale. A young woman becomes a housekeeper to get close to a snobbish socialite to uncover the truth behind a crime her mother has been wrongly framed for. Both women hold secrets, and neither will likely escape unscathed. To get even more excited, Netflix will get a drama adaptation of the manga later this year.
Want more manga? We’ve got you covered! Check out some of our other listings below!