Manga is home to some great music series! Fans may be cautious about the genre since you can’t hear the music, but these manga make up for that flaw with an increased focus on character development and thoughtful lyrics.
Goo Ranking asked Japanese fans to rank the best music manga to read!
15. Mashiro no Oto
Mangaka: Marimo Ragawa
Quick Pitch: Sawamura Seto’s grandfather was a great Shamisen (traditional Japanese string instrument) player. After his death, Sawamura dropped out of high school and began drifting around Tokyo. When his successful mother re-enters his life, Sawamura finds himself re-enrolled in high school and rediscovering his passion for the Shamisen.
14. Anonymous Noise (Fukumenkei Noise)
Mangaka: Ryoko Fukuyama
Quick Pitch: Nino Arisugawa loves to sing, and made a promise to Momo Sakaki and Kanade Yuzuriha that she will find her voice. But, the three childhood friends went their separate ways, only to be re-united in high school. Nino still loves to sing, and is interesting in the world of band clubs.
13. Sensual Phrase (Kaikan Phrase)
Mangaka: Mayu Shinjo
Quick Pitch: Guitarist Yuki and drummer Santa leave their old band to form a new one named Lucifer. However, things aren’t going as planned as Lucifer struggles to find an audience while Yuki and Santa’s old band has success without them.
A little warning for prospective readers: there is a lot of sex and adult themes in this one.
Mangaka: Koji Seo
Quick Pitch: Yuu once made a promise with a childhood friend about starting a band, but the two never got the chance. After moving to a new town, Yuu pauses to upload a picture on Twitter. A girl named Fuuka thinks he is taking an upskirt photo of her and smashes his phone. This off-putting meeting kick-starts a chain of events that lead to Yuu finally starting a band.
11. Detroit Metal City
Mangaka: Kiminori Wakasugi
Quick Pitch: Soichi dreams of becoming a pop star, but his music is often ridiculed. Frustrated at his lack of success, he forms an alter-ego named Johannes Krauser II and becomes the frontman for the blackened death metal band Detroit Metal City. He hates how popular his Krauser II persona has become and struggles to keep his true identity a secret.
10. Kono Oto Tomare!
Mangaka: Amyuu Sakura
Quick pitch: Takezou is the sole member of the Koto (a traditional Japanese string instrument) club following the graduation of the senior members. At the start of a new school year, Takezou wants to recruit new members to prevent the Koto club’s termination, but he didn’t expect a student to barge into the club room and demand to become a member.
9. La Corda d’Oro
Mangaka: Yuki Kure
Quick Pitch: Kahoko is a General Education student at Seiso Academy, but after meeting the music fairy Lili, is granted a magical violin. Despite having no experience playing music, Kahoko finds herself thrust into the school’s annual musical competition.
8. Piano no Mori: The Perfect World of Kai
Mangaka: Makoto Isshiki
Quick Pitch: Amamiya is the son of a famous pianist, and he moves from Tokyo to the countryside due to his grandmother’s failing health. One day, Amamiya is coaxed into playing a cursed piano in the forest, which fails to produce sound. However, his classmate Kai is able to play a beautiful song on the cursed piano.
Mangaka: Ai Yazawa
Quick Pitch: Nana Komatsu is a hopeless romantic who clings to those around her. Though Komatsu has ambitious dreams, she boards a train to Tokyo so she can be close to her boyfriend.
Nana Osaki is enigmatic punk rock singer with dreams of becoming a star. Osaki puts her past behind her and boards a train to Tokyo with the goal of debuting with her band Black Stones.
Both Nana’s lives are about to become intertwined.
Mangaka: Harold Sakuishi
Quick Pitch: Yukio lives a boring life, but things start to change after he saves an odd-looking dog named Beck. Shortly after, he meets a guitarist named Ryuusuke, who introduces him to the world of Western-styled alternative rock.
5. Aozora Yell
Mangaka: Kazune Kawahara
Quick Pitch: As a child, Tsubasa fell in love with the trumpet after watching a performance during a baseball game. She enrolls at Shirato High School with hopes of becoming a great trumpet player. While there, she befriends a baseball catcher named Yamada, who hopes to make it big.
4. Kids on the Slope
Mangaka: Yuki Kodama
Quick Pitch: Kaoru Nishimi has arrived in Kyushu to attend high school, but his constant moving to new towns has killed his hopes of fitting in. Kaoru prepares for another lonely year, but things change after an encounter with Sentarou Kawabuchi and class president Ritsuko Mukae. The trio begins to bond over jazz music and they decide to form a band.
3. Your Lie in April
Mangaka: Naoshi Arakawa
Quick Pitch: Kousei Arima is a young musical prodigy. His mom meticulously taught him to play the piano, which allowed him to dominate music competitions. After her sudden death, Kousei loses the will to play music and disappeared from the stage. His monotonous life changes upon meeting Kaori Miyazono, a violinist known for her free-willed performances.
Quick Pitch: Yui is an imaginative, carefree girl entering high school and is instantly attracted to the Light Music Club. She signs up, assuming the club is about listening to music and eating snacks but is surprised to learn that the club members have their own band. The group needs Yui or they face disbandment, which leads to her learning to play the guitar.
1. Nodame Cantabile
Mangaka: Tomoko Ninomiya
Quick Pitch: Chiaki is a master pianist and violinist, and he wants nothing more than being able to pursue his musical career in Europe like his mentor did. There’s just one problem: he’s deathly afraid of flying. Megumi, another pianist with magical fingers, walks into the picture and starts a comedy nightmare as they both strive for their musical dreams.
What are your favorite music manga?