As a school librarian, it is clear that manga has come back stronger than ever in popularity (has it ever dissipated?). It is nearly impossible to keep copies of certain series on the shelves. Students of all ages are flocking to the library to borrow a huge range of titles. I wanted to highlight the ones that are the most popular. Some of these are more popular with ages 11 and 12 but still work for high schoolers, whereas others are a huge hit with teens, some of them up to age 18.
Manga and anime are a phenomenon that in my experience students flock to and never really get out of. That’s a good thing in my opinion, and I run a weekly manga club to bring in new faces and to let the students watch Studio Ghibli films or other anime. It’s a huge hit and a lot of fun. I would recommend starting a manga club to any school librarian if you have the time.
Now, on to the manga. In addition to checking our catalogue for borrowing stats, I asked our manga club what were the most popular titles, here’s what I came up with. Titles are listed in terms of popularity with our students.
The Most Popular Manga for High School Students
The first issue of this manga is over 20 years old but this is by far the most popular manga with our students. It tells the story of a young ninja seeking approval and power, great stuff!
Blue Exorcist, Vol. 1 by Kazu Kato
Next on the list is a manga about a teen who discovers he is the son of Satan himself. That’s right! The teen then decides he’s going to destroy the lord of darkness by enrolling in an exorcist academy so he can learn the right skills to kill.
Assassination Classroom, Vol. 1 by Yusei Matsui
This science fiction comedy manga is all about a powerful octopus that moonlights as a junior high teacher. The creature is about to destroy the earth but the Japanese government offers a huge sum of money to his students, hoping one of them will kill the creature. It gets complicated, it’s silly, it’s very popular.
Ouran High School Host Club, Vol. 1 by Bisco Hatori
Another comedy manga, this one revolves around a rich student in Tokyo who stumbles upon a Host Club and inadvertently becomes their errand boy after he destroys a valuable vase of theirs.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Vol. 1 by Koyoharu Gotouge
This fantasy manga follows a teen who vows to become a demon slayer after his family was murdered by one and his sister was transformed into a demon herself. It is set during the early 1900s, the main character desperately seeks a cure for his sister’s affliction while joining a secret demon slaying cult.
Bonus: Which Kimetsu No Yaiba Hashira are you? Take the quiz to find out!
The Devil Is a Part-Timer!, Vol. 1 by Satoshi Wagahara
More Satan! This time he wants to conquer the world with the help of his demon lord generals. Long story short, Satan gets a part time job at a fast food joint named MgRonald’s and a lot of weird stuff happens.
One Piece by Eiichiro Oda
This is such a popular manga that I thought for sure it would be number one! It’s about a boy named Monkey D Luffy who has a rubber body. He is the head of a crew of pirates and they explore the world looking for a secret lost treasure known as the One Piece, which will make Monkey the King of Pirates!
Barakamon by Satsuki Yoshino
A professional calligrapher who punches an old man gets sent to a remote island where he meets all kinds of cool people and learns his own style of calligraphy.
My Hero Academia by Kohei Horikoshi
A boy born without superpowers lives in a world where almost everyone else has them. He dreams of being a superhero himself and is eventually scouted by the world’s greatest superhero who chooses the boy as his successor.
One-Punch Man by Yusuke Murata
Last but not least we have a manga that tells the tale of a superhero who can defeat any opponent with one punch. The problem is he’s bored, so he seeks out a worthy challenger by joining the Hero Association and fighting aliens.
These are the manga that are so popular I cannot keep them on the shelves. They get worn out, they get borrowed before they leave the returns cart. I recommend them for your library shelves as well! For a younger audience, here are some manga for early to middle grade readers.