Manga with a post-apocalyptic setting are quite common. However, thanks to how vague “post-apocalyptic” really is, as it could mean absolutely anything set in a destroyed world, there is a huge variety of titles. There are post-apocalpytic manga of just about every genre, even slice of life, as you will see on this list.
Here are 5 great manga set in a destroyed world (in no particular order):
1) I Am a Hero
By Hanazawa Kengo
What better way to start this list than with a zombie manga! And the best one there is, at that. I Am a Hero has some of the best art I’ve ever seen in manga, it’s truly a superb piece of work.
It’s also not just a regular zombie show focused mainly on action and/or gore, but instead, the focus is on the main character, who has a few mental issues (hallucinations and stuff like that), and how it develops as the story advances. Of course there are also plenty of good action scenes. He’s also a one of the lucky enough to have a gun license, which is extremely rare in Japan.
This meant that he had a readily available shotgun and knew how to use it as the apocalypse started, so he sort of becomes a strong person, in the survival sense, in the zombie apocalypse. He probably realizes this, which is why he wants to become a hero who helps others, but is constantly scared and has to work around that.
The zombies aren’t just regular, classic zombies. They get weirder and more interesting throughout the story, and a few chapters are even told through the eyes of a zombie. There is an evolution in the zombie’s behaviour, they behave differently as the manga progresses. All in all, “I Am a Hero” is a very good, fast-paced post-apocalyptic manga with superb art.
Hotel is the story of a world where climate change made the planet impossible for life to exist. The main character is not a human but a computer, the last remainder of human civiilzation, and its struggle to complete its assigned mission millions of years into the future. With their dying breath, mankind constructed a tower to preserve the DNA of most living species in the world, a “hotel” for the genetic sequence of Earth’s life.
It’s a one-shot manhwa, so it’s very easy to read through quickly, but it’s one of the prime examples of quality being entirely separate from quantity: A lovely, even touching story is told with very few words and excellent use of art and paneling.
You might be surprised to find out that Boichi is also the author of the famous Sun-Ken Rock, a manhwa vastly different from this one! There’s also 4 more short stories by Boichi all compiled in the same volume as Hotel, so check them out too. It’s one of the best short manga that I know.
3) Eden: It’s an Endless World
By Endo Hiroki
Endo Hiroki is, in my opinion, one of the greatest mangaka alive, and it’s mainly because of this manga (and All Rounder Meguru, #5 in my Top 10 Sports Manga list).
In this world, a virus has wiped out the vast majority of the human race, and the world we see is a mostly abandoned one, where different groups and factions are rising and trying to become the biggest and most powerful one. There are drug lords, governments, etc.
The entire cast is very solid, with realistic characters, each with a unique background story that gets unraveled as they develop. You also very quickly learn to not get too attached to any of them, as Endo is not afraid to kill off any characters. Eden: It’s an Endless World also has very good, albeit standard, art.
4) Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou
By Ashinano Hitoshi
I’ve already written about Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou plenty of times. In fact, I’ve written a whole review on it. One of my favorite manga of all time. It’s a slice of life manga, which is rare enough when you consider the fact that it’s set in a post-apocalyptic world.
It’s never quite explained just what happened in YKK’s world, but the slow rising of the oceans and the deterioration of the cities among other things are used as the main marker for the passage of time. If you like slice of life manga, this is for sure the one to check out in this list.
5) Imawa no Kuni no Alice
By Aso Haro
Imawa no Kuni no Alice, also known as “Alice in Borderland”, is a great Life or Death Game manga with a post-apocalyptic setting. The main characters, three high school boys, get teleported to what seems to be a desolate future — a city taken over by nature, with broken-down buildings, animals in the street, rusty abandoned cars, and all that.
In this world, they have to play deathly games to earn days of their lives. For instance, if they win a game worth 5 points, they get to live for 5 more days, but if they run out of points, then their head explodes.
If you like manga about being teleported to other worlds, check out this list for some great ones. If you know any other cool post-apocalyptic manga, feel free to comment below!