The one Part has been running for a long time. In the 25 years since it began, countless other stories have come and gone. People who were teenagers when they first read the manga are now parents. However, Eiichiro Oda has announced that: A piece is coming to an end soon, and many fans are sadly eagerly awaiting the end of their beloved series.
Naturally, A piece isn’t the only long-running manga out there. These mangas are still going on despite being almost as old as A piece (or even older). Although they are not about pirates, they are just as exciting as Luffy’s adventures.
The Prince of Tennis (1999)
The Prince of tennis is a sports show written and illustrated by Takeshi Konomi and focuses on Ryoma Echizen, a tennis prodigy. Ryoma transfers to a prestigious school with a deep tennis tradition, handily defeats some of its best players and soon becomes part of the tennis team.
The Prince of Tennis initially started as a grounded sports manga with a strong foundation in real tennis techniques. However, as the years went on, each character developed more and more absurd techniques. However, it is always in the service of an exciting story.
Pokemon Adventures (1997)
Pokemon Adventures is written by Hidenori Kusaka and begins in volume 10, illustrated by Satoshi Yamamoto. The story follows the adventures of the various Dex Holders from the games, so each generation has a different character to follow in the world of pokemon.
Pokemon Adventures is a generally faithful adaptation of the franchise, but it stands out for one reason. Pokemon Adventures is considerably darker and grittier than the games’ generally light-hearted tone. While it’s still in the realm of fun kids’ manga, a few moments here and there leave the reader terrified of the pokemon world.
Baki the grappler (1992)
Baki the grappler is a martial arts action manga written and illustrated by Keisuke Itagaki. The story is about Baki Hanma, a young man in search of the strongest man in the world. Unfortunately for him, the strongest man in the world is his father. Brutal and ruthless, Yujiro Hanma isn’t about to give up the place so easily.
Baki the grappler is most known for his artistic license to grounded martial arts techniques and absurd muscle anatomy. They are pure testosterone fueled martial arts, and fighting is as much reader language as the text.
Detective Conan (1994)
Detective Conan is a mystery-adventure manga written and illustrated by Gosho Aoyama. It begins with Shinichi Kudo, a young detective on the rise, who suddenly turns into a child via an experimental drug. Under the alias of “Conan Edogawa” (a portmanteau of two famous mystery authors), he uses Kogoro Mori’s detective agency to solve crimes and find the people who made him a child.
Detective Conan has remained fairly consistent with its formula, and yet fans are still in love with it, 28 years into the franchise. For fans of detective series like Columbus, Detective Conan is the perfect story to follow.
Dragon Ball franchise (1986)
Dragon Ball (and its many spin-offs) is illustrated and written by Akira Toriyama. It follows the story of Goku, a Saiyan adopted by a kind old man, who instills in him compassion for life and a passion for fighting. The entire saga follows his growth from a rambunctious child to a warrior of gods.
Dragon Ball is a unique case. It ended its manga run in 1995, a respectable 9-year run, and didn’t get a sequel until 2015, with Dragon Ball Super. Hilariously, the push for this revival was due to the terrible adaptation Dragonball: Evolution. Toriyama feared the film would become his legacy and decided to save his franchise before it was too late.
Kung Fu Boy (1983)
Kung Fu Boy (or Ironfist Chinmic) is a martial arts manga written and illustrated by Takeshi Maekawa. The story follows Chinmi, a busboy for a restaurant who is a martial arts prodigy. He trains under the legendary master You Sen, and after being tasked with fighting a renegade student of his, the adventures really begin.
Kung Fu Boy is a simple and traditional story about a student who becomes a master. While certainly not a unique story, it just lends itself to a long-running franchise with an obvious passion for Chinese culture.
Hajime no Ippo (1989)
Hajime no Ippo is a boxing manga written and illustrated by George Morikawa. The story follows Ippo Makunouchi, a sweet-natured boy who spends his spare time helping out with their fishing boat business. One day, after being rescued from bullies by a huge man named Takamura, Ippo is discovered to have a powerful punch, and so begins his journey as a boxer.
Hajime no Ippo, in terms of raw chapter count, is by far one of the longest, with over 1,300 chapters as of 2022. Boxing is one of the best ways to tell great stories. It’s no surprise that fans still follow Ippo’s growth as a fighter throughout the series, whether they win or lose.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (1986)
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is a manga written and illustrated by Hirohiko Araki. The lack of a certain genre is because Bizarre Adventure refuses to lock himself up in a certain genre. It ranges from Victorian era horror to world trekking adventure to mysterious slice of life. The only constant continuous line is that each entry follows a member of the Joestar family.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure fueled by Araki’s refusal to stand still. The art and writing evolve and are more impressive and bizarre than the last. Each entry is vastly different from the last, and that diversity of stories is why so many fans continue to follow Araki to this day, 37 years later.
Captain Tsubasa (1981)
Captain Tsubasa is a soccer manga written and illustrated by Yoichi Takahashi. It follows the story of Tsubasa Ozora, a boy with a natural affinity for football. He dreams of reaching the world stage to show his talents to the world and his love for the sport. From school tournaments to the World Cup, Captain Tsubasa is the most comprehensive love letter to football ever made.
Captain Tsubasa is an incredibly influential manga. The manga is so influential that it has been cited by talented football players such as Zinedine Zidane and Fernando Torres as one of the matches that sparked their passion for the sport in the first place. There is no greater praise for a sports manga than being named by the best athletes in the world.
Kinnikuman is a wrestling manga written and illustrated by the duo Yoshinori Nakai and Takashi Shimada (collectively known as Yudetamago). That’s a lot of very Japanese words, but it makes sense if Kinnikuman is a very Japanese manga. It started as a parody of the then popular Ultraman TV series, but slowly became a real story about wrestling and how it is used to save the world.
Japan loves their professional wrestling, their shonen and parodying random things. Kinnikuman does all that and has an exciting story that gets crazier and crazier with each episode. It’s a wild ride, but the bulging muscles and awesome action have kept fans on board for over 40 years.
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