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It is not an exaggeration to say that Akira is not only one of the best manga ever created, but it is also one of the most important manga in history. This 2000+ pages epic has influenced generations of readers and writers.
It’s hard to find something that is exactly like Akira, so let’s try to find bits and pieces of what makes it so great and start from there.
The following ten manga are what I believe fit the bill. These are great manga that have elements of Akira scattered throughout their pages. In no particular order, let us start with the one that was made by the same person.
1. Domu by Katsuhiro Otomo
Similarities: Same author, supernatural, violence, strong female lead
Domu is the story about a mysterious massacre that takes place in a public housing complex. Unbeknownst to everybody, there’s a man with a strong supernatural power who lives among them.
He practically lives like a tyrant behind the curtain. That is until a new tenant comes in with an even stronger supernatural power and begins to challenge his authority.
Domu is basically a short prototype of Akira. You’ll find the absurd supernatural assault, the extreme violence, gore, and destruction within its compact one-volume format that you’d surely read through in one sitting.
2. Ghost in the shell by Masamune Shirow
Similarities: Cyberpunk, military, violence, politics, strong female lead, great worldbuilding
Ghost in the shell is easily the one title that would be spawned into our head when we heard the word “Cyberpunk”. It manages to maintain its status as one of the best cyberpunk manga till this day. Honestly, I believe Ghost in The Shell is way more Cyberpunk than Akira.
I mean, a story about a law enforcer with a cybernetic body that tries to trace terrorists who like to hack cybernetic brains so that they could steal information and plant false memories….damn! It won’t get any more cyberpunk than that.
3. Battle angel Alita by Yukito Kishiro
Similarities: Cyberpunk, wasteland, violence, strong female lead, great worldbuilding
For a long time, I always thought Battle Angel Alita (BAA) as the natural progression after the era of Ghost in The Shell (GITS). In GITS, you get people with cybernetic body parts but still mainly human. In BAA, on the other hand, people with fully robotic bodies with only their brain left organic are pretty much the norm.
And when it comes to world building, I believe BAA is a tad more fleshed out than GITS. The scavenger way of living, the next door doctor/mechanic, the life-threatening sports and profession, the high-tech slum, and the lawless society with terror and violence. We get to see it all in Alita.
4. Eden – It’s an endless world by Hiroki Endo
Similarities: Dystopia, cyberpunk, great worldbuilding, great character development, strong female lead, violence, politics, military
In terms of technological advancement, Eden is quite similar to Ghost in The Shell. With the main difference being the setting. One takes place in a metropolitan city while the other is a dystopian wasteland.
The world of Eden has collapsed decades before the series began because of a deadly pandemic. So you know, a perfect read for this post 2020 pandemic world.
Eden has lots of similar high concepts to GITS, but it somehow manages to retain the look and feel of the world like it’s still in the late 90s or early 2000s. This juxtaposition is what makes the overall tone and atmosphere of the story so unique and interesting.
5. Trigun by Yasuhiro Nightow
Similarities: Wasteland, dystopia, cyberpunk, violence, gangs
The premise of Trigun may not be that enticing, I mean a carefree guy who becomes a wanted man because he secretly has the ability to blow up part of the moon is about as cliche as it can get.
But please give it a chance nonetheless. Because just like frozen food, Trigun needed to warm up a bit before it could unleash the full spectrum of its flavors. And soon enough, you will find yourself liking it’s quirky characters, the surprising plot progression, and most of all, its zany worldbuilding.
Taken place in a barren desert planet, Trigun has a world where advanced tech is mixed in with a western-like lifestyle. The result is a zany cyberpunk/western unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
6. Biomega by Tsutomu Nihei
Similarities: Cyberpunk, dystopia, violence, human mutation, biker
Biomega takes the concept of a cyberpunk and dystopian world way ahead into the future where there is barely any human being left. Most of them have been wiped out by, you guessed it, a deadly pandemic. Turned into a zombie-like creature that roamed inside what used to be a mega-city.
And as you might expect from a work by Tsutomu Nihei, there are a lot of highly-stylized buildings, over-powered guns, gothic costumes, and A.I.-powered bikes with lots of black tones filling up the pages. With an equal amount of fast-paced action sequence and slow-paced exploration driving the story forward.
7. Deadman wonderland by Jinsei Kataoka
Similarities: Close relationship between main protagonist and antagonist, child experimentation, violence, military
And now we started to move away from the Cyberpunk genre a little bit. But as you can see, both Akira and Deadman Wonderland still share lots of similarities with one another.
But unlike the epic Akira that touched on various subjects and covered a vast land, Deadman Wonderland is a condensed story about a game of death between people that could freely control their blood that mainly taken place in a prison.
It is a violent and bloody story with lots of charming and deeply flawed characters. And just like most shounen stories, this series moves at a blazing speed from beginning to the end.
8. Psyren by Toshiaki Iwashiro
Similarities: Supernatural powers, barren wasteland, strong female lead, military
We jump even deeper into the shounen world with Psyren. Just like Akira, the story of Psyren also centers around supernatural powers and a character who accidentally awakens his power. But it is also similar to Deadman Wonderland because Psyren also takes a different route than Akira when it comes to the settings.
If Deadman Wonderland takes a condensed approach by limiting the settings, Psyren chose to expand its tale into the future by incorporating a mind-boggling time travelling concept.
Another cool similarity with Akira is the background art, particularly the buildings. The way both artists drew the destruction of their skyscrapers evoke a similar sense of awe and horror. Great stuff!
9. Fire punch by Tatsuki Fujimoto
Similarities: Dystopia, great power forced on the main character, great character development, complex storytelling, military, violence
Fire Punch is the debut manga of Tatsuki Fujimoto, the man behind the Chainsaw Man. And just like its successor, it is a dizzying roller-coaster ride of madness as well. I mean, the premise alone is already insane.
The tale of a man with super-regenerative ability who’s body clad in eternal flame and walks through the blizzard looking for the man who massacred his cannibal family. Yeah, WTF right?
And while the mood is a bit more sombre than Akira, the overall feeling of helplessness of Fire Punch’s main character who is cursed with power beyond his control is a huge resemblance of Tetsuo from Akira.
10. Nausicaa of the valley of the wind by Hayao Miyazaki
Similarities: Dystopian wasteland, strong female lead, politics, military, monumental and influential work from the 80s, great worldbuilding, great character development
And now we finally come to another highly influential work from the 1980s, Nausicaa of The Valley of The Wind by Hayao Miyazaki. You might not immediately conjure one when we talk about the other. But both monumental titles have a lot more in common than you might think.
They both are an epic story filled with intricate political struggle, military power play, and intriguing characters that takes place in a barren wasteland where advanced civilization used to stand.
But if Akira centers around destructive supernatural powers, Nausicaa focuses more on the merciless ecological and environmental phenomenon.
And there you have it, ten manga that share some similar basic elements to Akira. So if Akira is Voldemort, these ten are its Horcrux. Granted, not all of them are created equal. The quality range from good to epic. But all of them are quite an enojyable read nonetheless.
So if you like Akira, you should give these manga a try.