In the vast pages of manga, countless formative stories await discovery, and many of today's beloved anime owe their existence to the written source material. Sustaining a long-running manga requires immense dedication and a strong work ethic, and it is truly remarkable when a single creative mind can weave their narrative over years or even decades.

Becoming a mangaka doesn't follow a fixed path; different creators have found their strengths through various approaches. Some manga writers have become celebrities in their own right, well-known within the fandom, while others prefer to remain elusive, staying away from the spotlight. A number of talented women mangaka have authored a diverse range of manga that resonates with audiences of all genders and ages.

Despite the unfortunate male dominance that still persists in the manga industry, several noteworthy female mangakas have risen to the top of the field. Overcoming discrimination and challenging working conditions, these writers and artists have delivered captivating stories that exhibit exceptional depth and distinctive artistry. This updated list showcases even more multifaceted works by women in the manga sphere, deserving of celebration and recognition.

16 Dai Dark

Q Hayashida

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Q Hayashida initially gained recognition through the success of her dark fantasy manga, Dorohedoro. Her latest creation, Dai Dark, delves even deeper into edgy humor, gruesome action, and lawless, violent realms.

Set in a strife-ridden outer space, Dai Dark follows the turbulent exploits of Zaha Sanko, a teenage alien wielding cursed powers. Sanko possesses the ability to fulfill any wish with his bones, making him the coveted target of the entire galaxy. However, Sanko is determined not to succumb to marauders who seek to tear him apart. Instead, he embarks on a perilous journey to track down and eliminate the one responsible for cursing him.


15 To Your Eternity

Yoshitoki Ooima

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Across the ages, the profound emotional and philosophical implications of immortality have captivated the imaginations of creators. To Your Eternity presents a thought-provoking and exhilarating perspective on eternal life, as it chronicles the growth and exploration of Fushi, an immortal shape-shifter.

Initially an entity devoid of self-awareness, Fushi undergoes a transformative journey of self-discovery through poignant encounters with various individuals. In a manner reminiscent of Yoshitoki Ooima's earlier work, A Silent Voice, To Your Eternity adeptly captures the intricacies of human emotions and fearlessly delves into challenging existential questions. Yet, it also injects a thrilling dose of action, adding an extra dimension to the narrative.

14 Pandora Hearts

Jun Mochizuki

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Jun Mochizuki, renowned for her enchanting art style and exceptional talent in crafting emotionally resonant tales, gained widespread acclaim for her shonen fantasy manga, Pandora Hearts. Initially, the series embarked on an exhilarating yet straightforward mystery adventure, following the journey of Oz Vessalius, a young aristocrat banished to the enigmatic Abyss, an otherworldly realm, due to mysterious crimes.

However, Pandora Hearts swiftly unravels the intricacies of its plot, delving deep into the complex pasts and motivations of its protagonists. As the story unfolds, the manga's heartbreaking yet masterful culmination solidifies its position as one of the finest works in the shonen genre.


13 Banana Fish

Akimi Yoshida

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One of the most unorthodox shojo series to date, Akimi Yoshida's Banana Fish started serialization in 1985 but only rose to global prominence through the 2018 anime adaptation. The manga follows New York City's gang leader Ash Lynx on his quest to trace the origins of the mysterious drug "banana fish."

Ash crosses paths with Eiji Okumura, a Japanese photographer whose practical and emotional support aids him in the search. A unique mix of crime drama and BL romance, Banana Fish stands the test of time in all its iterations.

12 Beastars

Paru Itagaki

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Allegorical worlds that explore real-life problems through the perspectives of anthropomorphic animals permeate all media outlets. In manga, no work does it better than Beastars, a coming-of-age shonen drama by Paru Itagaki.

Beastars focuses on the struggles of Legoshi, a timid and insecure gray wolf caught in the middle of a cultural split between carnivores and herbivores. Uncomfortable in his large, dangerous body and ashamed of his attraction to the dwarf rabbit Haru, Legoshi begins his self-acceptance journey, which leads him to his world's darkest corners.

11 The Rose Of Versailles

Riyoko Ikeda

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Even though Riyoko Ikeda started publishing The Rose of Versailles in 1972, it remains the gold standard for historical shojo manga to this day. The story chronicles the events that led to the French Revolution from the perspective of Lady Oscar, Marie Antoinette's bodyguard.

The character of Oscar became an icon of gender-nonconforming heroes. Despite being raised as a boy to succeed her father as the Commander of the Royal Guards, Oscar is open about being a woman, embracing both her feminine and masculine traits.


10 Nana

Ai Yazawa

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Ai Yazawa is a talented mangaka who's made a name for herself through her realistic depictions of realistic, flawed romantic relationships with rebellious characters who have a flair for fashion. None of Yazawa's manga miss their mark, but Nana may be the strongest of the lot.

The shojo manga follows two 20-year-olds, both of whom are named Nana, who move to Tokyo with bold aspirations for their independent lives as young adults. Nana Osaki strives to be a famous musician while Nana Komatsu just wants to find her soulmate, both of which turn into emotional journeys for the new friends.

9 Fruits Basket

Natsuki Takaya

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Some of the most popular shojo series are humble slice-of-life affairs that examine grounded matters of the heart. Natsuki Takaya's Fruits Basket features supernatural elements in the sense that every male member of the Sohma family is cursed to become an animal from the Chinese Zodiac whenever they're hugged by a member of the opposite sex.

Fruits Basket has set a high standard for shojo series of this nature, and the love story between Tohru Honda and Kyo Sohma has melted the hearts of an entire generation. 2019's Fruits Basket reboot finally gives Takaya's source material an adaptation that does it justice.

8 Mushishi

Yuki Urushibara

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Mushishi is a cozy fantasy series that technically fits into the seinen genre, yet it's still a manga that's written and illustrated by a woman, Yuki Urushibara. There's an anthology-like quality to Mushishi's ten volumes, all of which detail Ginko's encounters with eclectic Mushi, supernatural creatures.

Mushishi is a welcome meditation on identity and an examination of the unusual instead of a manga that gets consumed with an intricate story and plot twists. With such a limited cast, Mushishi puts a lot of pressure on Ginko, and Urushibara makes her protagonist feel distinct.


7 Ranma 1/2

Rumiko Takahashi

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Rumiko Takahashi has created celebrated manga that toe the line between shonen and shojo content. Maison Ikkoku and InuYasha skew slightly more toward female audiences, but Ranma 1/2 is a battle shonen staple of the '80s and '90s. Ranma 1/2 doesn't initially feel like it's written by a female, but this suddenly softens its use of fan service when it comes to Ranma Saotome's female form.

Ranma 1/2 is more interested in zany gags and heightened fight sequences than it is in having a debate about gender or identity. Ranma 1/2 doesn't try to overextend itself, and its ability to so firmly understand itself helps its comedy and romance connect.

6 Blue Exorcist

Kazue Kato

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Assumptions get made far too often when it comes to the authors behind shonen and shojo series, which is why it's always important to dig deeper into a series' respective mangaka. Blue Exorcist is a shonen series that mixes together fantasy and horror once Rin Okumura learns that he and his twin brother are the sons of Satan.

Blue Exorcist is obsessed with male relationships, which makes it all the more fascinating that Kazue Kato is a woman. It allows Blue Exorcist to tackle standard shonen dynamics and bratty male protagonists with an important, fresh perspective.

5 Sugar Sugar Rune

Moyocco Anno

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Moyocco Anno is responsible for some exceptional magical girl shojo series that sometimes fly under the radar but are earnest attempts to fulfill and subvert the colorful genre's tropes. In Sugar Sugar Rune, Chocolat Meilleure and Vanilla Mieux are sent to Earth in a competition to become their Magical World's next queen that's dependent upon who can win the most boys' hearts.

Anno, who is also the wife of Evangelion's Hideaki Anno, has a flair for ornate characters and exaggerated designs. All of this is in full force in Sugar Sugar Rune's Magical World.


4 Black Butler

Yana Toboso

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Yana Toboso's Black Butler immerses readers in an alternate, magically-fueled version of 19th-century Victorian London that involves an orphan's revenge, demon butlers, and even a feud with Jack the Ripper. It's hard to deny the chemistry between the young, cocky Ciel Phantomhive and his supernatural servant, Sebastian.

Toboso creates high stakes and appealing characters, very few of which happen to be women. Black Butler's anime goes off the rails with its original storytelling in its second season, but Toboso's manga stays consistent and does its melancholy men justice.

3 D. Gray-Man

Katsura Hoshino

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D. Gray-man is a grim fantasy shonen that makes its mark by not being afraid to go for the jugular with violence and tragedy. D. Gray-man was one of the bigger superpowered exorcist series of the '00s, but it's grown into more of an obscure gem in recent years.

Allen Walker is a headstrong exorcist who aligns himself with a like-minded group known as the Black Order, who prepare to protect the world from Millennium Earl and his malevolent monster army. D. Gray-man is too intense for some younger readers, and its author and illustrator, Katsura Hoshino, has even voiced her own concerns regarding the brutality of certain scenes.

2 Cardcaptor Sakura


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Most of the medium's greatest magical girl manga come from women mangaka, and there are quite a few options to keep audiences entertained. Sailor Moon rightfully receives a lot of attention, but Cardcaptor Sakura deserves its due for some of the bigger swings that it takes in a shojo series.

Created by the all-female collective CLAMP, Cardcaptor Sakura remains one of the greatest magical girl adventures. There are complex characters and an engaging goal that's immediately established. However, it's the anime's battles and character-driven quests where Cardcaptor Sakura really shines above its peers.

1 Fullmetal Alchemist

Hiromu Arakawa

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A lot of Fullmetal Alchemist anime fans are shocked to believe that this incredible tale of two brothers is created by Hiromu Arakawa, a woman. The story that Arakawa tells across the pages of Fullmetal Alchemist is such a moving tale of the eternal bonds of family.

Edward and Alphonse accomplish unbelievable things through their use of alchemy, and by the end of their adventure, they're both willing to sacrifice themselves for the other. For an action-adventure series that has fleeting female characters, Arakawa absolutely nails the moody men of Fullmetal Alchemist.