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Otaku who love mystery and who are somewhere between anime and books, this post is for you! If you are curious when crime arises, if you wonder how things happen in retrospection, you are one of us. Let’s see if we can remember some of the best detective manga from the latest years. Grab your Sherlock petticoat or your Miss Marple hat and let’s go!
10. Shitauke Tantei Nokori Kasuhiro
- Mangaka: Kouji Kumeta
- Genres: Comedy, Mystery, Shounen
- Volumes: 1
- Published: Dec 26, 2012
Kasuhiro Nokori claims to be even better than a detective, as he solves cases that the best minds have left unsolved. This one shot manga follows his adventures alongside his helper Shiyori Jigo, an intrepid girl who dresses up as a boy. They will solve the case of a murder in a locked room together.
Shitauke Tantei Nokori Kasuhiro combines the most known detective story cues with a marked Japanese humor. The manga does recurrent cameos and references to other famous fictional detectives from Japan. The locked room mystery is a nice reference to french detective stories that preceded and inspired the famous Agatha Christie. Shitauke Tantei Nokori Kasuhiro has a simple drawing style with an interesting management (or should I better say destruction?) of the layout, contributing with the dynamics of a plot that would feel slower otherwise. All in all, a little treasure worth trying if you like both humour and mystery stories.
9. Sakura no Ichiban!
- Mangaka: Yuna Kagesaki
- Genres: Action, Mystery, Martial Arts, Romance, School, Slice of Life
- Volumes: 5
- Published: 2001 to 2003
It is the Taisho era of Japan. Asami Hinomori is the daughter of an ancestral Dojo, but her dream is to attend Sakura Hill School for Girls in Tokyo. However, this is a dangerous era and the capital is full of mystery. Asami will meet a handsome cop with whom she will have lots of exciting adventures.
So, are you into romance but are not sure that can stomach a detective story? Asami can help you cope with it. Sakura no ichiban! has everything that the shoujo fluff lover likes plus nice historical settings and crime. The reading is pleasant and there is cuteness overload, while the mystery side is kept at a good pace. Just give it a try!
8. Paradox Blue
- Mangaka: Tatsurou Nakanishi and nini
- Genres: Mystery, School, Sci-Fi, Shounen, Supernatural
- Volumes: 5
- Published: Oct 30, 2008 to Nov 30, 2010
This manga is an original twist to the detective story. Juggernauts called “Angels” appear in the planet giving riddles to random people. These riddles are called “Angel paradox”. If they are solved correctly, the land receives God’s blessing, but if not, the divine punishment will befall.
Although visually speaking Paradox blue doesn’t have much in originality to offer, the story is what takes center stage. We have some room for familiarity with the school and the protagonist, Christia Himekawa Blue, the president of the student council. Yet, at the same time, you can see that the logic of the world falls apart since the first chapters. If you are fan of the unconventional detective story, Paradox Blue might be just what you are looking for.
- Mangaka: Shin Kibayashi and Tetsuya Koshiba
- Genres: Action, Mystery, Ecchi, Psychological, Seinen
- Volumes: 10
- Published: 2002 to 2004
What happens when you have a career with the police but you need extra money with urgency? Well, that isn’t too far from becoming a detective, right? Thus Remote’s protagonist, Kurumi Ayaki, became part of the Special Unit A of the Unsolved Crimes Division. The manga was such a success that there is a live version of it.
Having a protagonist lady detective, especially a talented one, is a bit rare in the world of manga. The only problem with Kurumi might be the contrast we have between the ecchi style of the manga and the story. Kurumi actually became a detective in order to save money up for her wedding. So, a combination between the girl object and the abnegate future wife? If that is not an issue for you, you will enjoy the action and mystery Remote has to offer.
6. Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro (Neuro: Supernatural detective)
- Mangaka: Yuusei Matsui
- Genres: Mystery, Shounen, Supernatural
- Volumes: 23
- Published: Feb 21, 2005 to Apr 20, 2009
If you like demon themed manga, Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro might be for you. This rather inoffensive demon only feeds on mysteries. When the demon world runs out of them, Neuro travels to the human world and recruits the mortal girl Yako Katsuragi to create a Detective Agency. But the best part is… maybe there is a romance between these two!
Although the original creator of Neuro considered to have problems with drawing the human figure while working on this manga, we have to concede his characters are expressive. His style also evolved, becoming more detail and action focused. What started as a slightly comedic and romantic mystery story evolved to become a well balanced work. Let’s not shy away from dangerous and dark crimes, as Neuro can solve them and eat them all.
5. Lady Detective
- Mangaka: GiHa Lee and HyeJin Jeon
- Genres: Mystery, Historical, Romance, Shoujo
- Volumes: 6
- Published: Apr 26, 2011 to Feb 19, 2013
The title of Lady Detective encompasses the topic well for this manga. We have Lizzy, a very ladylike young woman with a talent for writing in the Industrial Revolution era. She even has a fiance who doesn’t pay much attention to her. But this is fortunate, as Lizzy encounters a murder case and starts a career as a detective.
So maybe Sakura no Ichiban! is too sweet and innocent for you. Well, in that case, let’s strip down the romance and center in the mystery side accompanied by a lady. Lady Detective is superb if you are a lover of all things historical, especially in England. Our protagonist Lizzy is an expressive, defiant and clever girl who plays well the act of lady, so watch out for her!
4. Karakuri Zoushi Ayatsuri Sakon
- Mangaka: Takeshi Obata and Masaru Miyazaki
- Genres: Mystery, Shounen
- Volumes: 4
- Published: May 9 to Dec 5, 1995
Puppets and traveling entertainers have always been associated with mystery. So… why not combining both? Karakuri Zoushi Ayatsuri Sakon follows the adventures of two peculiar friends: the bunraku puppeteer Sakon Tachibana and his puppet made on the Meiji era, Ukon. The shy Sakon and the energetic Ukon will solve mysteries wherever they go!
If you enjoy manga like Pet shop of horrors but find it too gorey, you can give a try to Karakuri Zoushi Ayatsuri Kon. The style is very similar and will transport you to the good old Japan without so much, well… horror. The emotion and adventure will be intact. Plus, the interactions between the two protagonists will make you laugh and smile.
3. Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo: 20th Shuunen Kinen Series
- Mangaka: Shin Kibayashi and Fumiya Satou
- Genres: Comedy, Mystery, Drama, Shounen, Police
- Volumes: 5
- Published: Mar 7, 2012 to Apr 17, 2013
This manga has a long history, as you can infer with the title. Also known as The Kindaichi Case Files, the series has been in continuous running since 1992. It was one of the first ones in the mystery gender in Japan, actually. Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo follows the adventures of a highschool student called Hajime Kindaichi, son of the super famous (and fictitious) detective Kosuke Kindaichi.
Of course that you can find anime versions of several of the series, but this one is a manga special. The five volumes include three stories: Cannibal Laboratory Murder Case, Kowloon Hong Kong Treasure Murder and Rosicrucian Mansion Murder. The stories might sound gruesome and dark, but there is enough action and humor to balance the plot. Kindaichi is a guy that appears carefree and irresponsible, but watch out when he is up for a case!
2. Sherlock Holmes no Chousen
- Mangaka: Haruka Komusubi
- Genres: Mystery, Historical
- Volumes: 1
- Published: Dec 20, 2011
Great classics never die. One of the best fictional detectives of the world was depicted on this interpretation by mangaka Haruka Komusubi. Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson are solving several cases which happen to be similar. This points to a main master mind they will have to confront.
The advantage of Sherlock Holmes no Chousen is that you can enjoy it in one single volume. Komusubi opted for a more modern style when depicting the detective. Thus, this is a more action oriented and strong willed Holmes than what you can encounter in a classic novel. Sherlock Holmes no Chousen might also be a good introduction to this famous detective if you haven’t read or seen anything else of him.
1. Meitantei Conan (Detective Conan)
- Mangaka: Gosho Aoyama
- Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Mystery, Shounen, Police
- Volumes: Unknown
- Published: Feb 2, 1994 to present
Finally, our last recommendation is the most legendary and long lasting fictional detective of Japan. Who has not heard about Conan? But just in case you haven’t, let us summarize his story for you. Shinichi Kudou is a seventeen year old detective who is so brilliant that is nicknamed the “Modern Sherlock Holmes”. One day, he witness an illegal trade and is caught off ward. Shinichi is fed a drug that is supposed to kill him, but ends up shrinking him to a seven year old. In order to find who did this to him, Shinichi hides his identity and moves in with his girl friend Ran and her hopeless detective father.
And that, my dear otakus, is just the beginning of the story. Conan (Shinichi) has been solving cases for over a decade, giving us hundreds of hours of entertainment. The evolution in the style of Aoyama is noted, as he used to be more cartoonish and plain on the first chapters of Conan. What has always been there and has been key to the success, is the bubbly personality of Shinichi, who despite his problems, keeps being the awesome detective he is. Long live Conan!
Mysteries well told will always be attractive for human beings. We tried to find the best of the manga on this department, hoping to awaken your curiosity for the gender. So do tell us, what works for you in a manga mystery? Which other detective manga would you recommend? Don’t forget that we are open to all your comments. See you soon!