Introduction: Readers may expect a gripping and thought-provoking reading experience from 10 psychological thriller manga with mind-bending twists. With themes of identity, morality, and the hazy boundaries between truth and illusion, these manga tales delve deeply into the human psyche. They keep readers on the edge of their seats with tension, engaging stories, and unexpected plot twists while testing their assumptions and revealing mind-bending insights. These manga stretch the limits of storytelling and provide an exciting voyage into the most insidious parts of the human psyche. They feature everything from high-stakes games and supernatural encounters to solving puzzles and psychological manipulations.
Here are 10 Psychological thriller manga with mind-bending twists
Manga creator Hideo Yamamoto is the author and illustrator of the “Homunculus” series. It was published in 15 volumes after running as a serial in Big Comic Spirits magazine from 2003 to 2011. The dark, psychological themes of the manga, which examine the idea of identity and the human psyche, helped it become famous.
Susumu Nakoshi, a homeless man in the novel, consents to take part in a doctor’s unidentified medical experiment. To conduct the experiment, a hole must be made in Nakoshi’s skull, and a small device known as the “homunculus” must be inserted into his brain. As a result of this device’s stimulation of his visual cortex, Nakoshi experiences warped reality. As a result, he starts to understand the hidden wounds and deep needs of those he encounters.
2) Elfen Lied:
Lynn Okamoto is the creator of the manga series “Elfen Lied”. From 2002 to 2005, it was serialized in the Japanese magazine Weekly Young Jump. Later, it was turned into an anime series. The plot blends elements of psychological drama, science fiction, and horror.
The main characters of “Elfen Lied” are a species known as Diclonius, who are born with telekinetic powers and wield invisible arms known as vectors. Diclonius Lucy, the main character, escapes from a research institution where she had been imprisoned and subjected to cruel tests. She sustains a brain injury while trying to flee, which results in the development of a split personality and an innocent alter ego called Nyu.
Yoshiki Tonogai is the author and illustrator of the manga series “Judge”. It has a total of six volumes and was serialized in Japan from 2010 to 2013. The psychological thriller and mystery subgenres apply to the series.
The characters in “Judge” are a group of nine people who wind up imprisoned in an odd underground courthouse called “The Court of the Dead.” To survive and flee, they must each face a secret from their past that they each harbor. The participants are compelled to judge one another under the direction of a mysterious figure known only as the “Judge.”
The manga series “Gantz” was developed by Hiroya Oku. It has 37 volumes and was serialized in Weekly Young Jump magazine from 2000 to 2013. Later, an anime series, many live-action movies, and video games were made from the manga.
The plot of “Gantz” centers on Kei Kurono, a young man who passes away in a train crash alongside his childhood buddy Masaru Kato. They awaken in an apartment instead of the afterlife and run into a weird black sphere they call “Gantz.” They are given the responsibility of taking part in dangerous operations to find and destroy aliens who pose a threat to humanity.
Recently deceased people like Kei, Masaru, and others join the “Gantz Team.” They are compelled to fight vicious battles against numerous aliens while wearing cutting-edge armor and gear. They gain points for completing the assignments, which they can then spend to upgrade their tools or revive fallen allies. However, there are severe consequences for failing to fulfill tasks or defying Gantz’s directives.
5) Liar Game:
Japanese manga artist Shinobu Kaitani is the author of the “Liar Game” manga series. From 2005 through 2015, the series was first published serially in the Japanese manga magazine Weekly Young Jump. It became well-known for its challenging psychological conflicts and intricate storylines.
The protagonist of “Liar Game” is a young woman named Nao Kanzaki, who receives a mysterious invitation to take part in the “Liar Game.” Participants in this game are given a significant sum of money and are urged to outsmart and deceive one another in order to win. However, contestants are compelled to remain in debt for the rest of their lives if their debt exceeds a specific limit or if they decline to compete.
6) Magical Girl Apocalypse:
Kentaro Sato is the author and illustrator of the Japanese manga series “Magical Girl Apocalypse” (, Mahou Shoujo of the End). The manga was published in 22 tankobon volumes after running as a serial in the Weekly Shonen Champion magazine from 2012 to 2021.
The protagonist of “Magical Girl Apocalypse” is a high school student named Kii Kogami who is stuck in a dangerous and cruel magical female universe. These seemingly helpless girls have amazing abilities and are tasked with removing dangers to humanity. However, the magical females in this series are portrayed as bloodthirsty and aggressive beings rather than noble people.
Due to its dark and adult approach to the magical girl genre, “Magical Girl Apocalypse” attracted a following. It combines horror, action, and psychological thriller components to provide a compelling and terrifying story. It’s important to note that the series involves graphic violence, gore, and mature themes, so not all readers may be able to enjoy it.
7) Lament of the Lamb:
Kei Toume is the author and illustrator of the manga series “Lament of the Lamb” (Hitsuji no Uta). From 1997 through 2002, it was first published in serial form in the manga magazine Monthly Afternoon. Later, the series was collected into a total of seven volumes.
Kazuna Takashiro is a high school student who has a mystery, fatal illness that causes his skin to deteriorate quickly. “Lament of the Lamb” depicts his tragic and psychological story. Because of his illness, Kazuna is cut off from society and leads a lonely, hopeless life.
Chizuna, Kazuna’s long-lost sister, reappears in his life one day after a long absence. The only person who can relate to Kazuna’s suffering is Chizuna because they both have the same illness. The siblings become quite close and take comfort in one another’s companionship.
A Japanese book under the name of “Goth” was written by Otsuichi and drawn by Kendi Oiwa. It was first released in 2002 as a light novel before being converted into a manga series. The plot centers on Morino and Kamiyama, two high school classmates who share a curiosity with mortality and the uglier sides of human nature.
Morino is a young girl who appears in the movie “Goth,” and she is drawn to crime scenes and has a keen interest in the minds of killers. She meets Kamiyama, a young man who has a deep understanding of criminal cases and shares her morbid curiosity. They set off on a mission to discover and look into numerous horrific incidents together.
The two run across unstable people and explore the deepest recesses of the human psyche as they investigate various murder cases. The story is a psychological thriller that looks at issues of violence, obsession, and the complexity of the human mind.
9) MPD Psycho:
The psychological suspense manga series “MPD Psycho” was created by Eiji Otsuka and Shou Tajima. From 1997 to 2006, it was first serialized in Shogakukan’s Young Sunday magazine, then from 2006 to 2016, it was published in Shueisha’s Weekly Young Jump magazine. 24 volumes of the series have been compiled.
Yousuke Kobayashi, a detective with multiple personality disorder (MPD), is the main character of the novel; thus, the title “MPD Psycho.” Yousuke Kobayashi, a former serial killer who had memory loss as a result of a terrible experience, is also known as Kazuhiko Amamiya. Throughout the course of the series, he learns that he is but one personality inside a bigger framework known as “Amamiya Kazuhiko’s ID.” Each personality in this system has unique abilities and traits that make them effective for various situations.
Naoki Urasawa’s “Monster” is a gripping psychological thriller manga. The manga, which is set in Europe, takes readers on a dark and complicated journey into the depths of human nature, morality, and the narrow line between good and evil.
The story revolves around Dr. Kenzo Tenma, a highly skilled neurosurgeon working in Düsseldorf, Germany. Dr. Tenma’s life is turned upside down when he chooses to save the life of a little child called Johan Liebert, a decision that sets off a chain of terrifying events. Dr. Tenma begins to suspect that the youngster he saved has developed into a deadly and enigmatic serial killer as time passes. Dr. Tenma’s pursuit of Johan is explored in the plot, as is the vast web of relationships and riddles that surround the mysterious figure.
“Monster” goes on a number of deep issues, such as the nature of evil, the consequences of one’s choices, the psychological impact of trauma, and the blurring of the line between hero and villain. The manga goes deep into the brains of its protagonists, exploring their motivations and ethical issues.
Mind-bending turns in psychological thriller manga keep readers engaged and immersed in the story. They dive into sophisticated plots, complicated characters, and the depths of the human psyche. These manga put us in doubt about our own views on the plot by testing our perceptions, blending the lines between truth and illusion, and presenting unbelievable unexpected events. These manga stretch the limits of storytelling, grabbing readers and leaving them feeling amazed and intrigued, whether they’re solving puzzles, engaging in psychological tricks, or exploring the darker sides of life. These psychological thriller manga will keep you fascinated until the very last page if you enjoy gripping and thought-provoking stories.
These manga explore characters’ fears, insecurities, and motivations by delving deep into their psyches. The twists are frequently more complex and mind-bending, leaving readers wondering the story’s accuracy.
No, due to their deep themes, brutality, and psychological substance, these manga are normally intended for mature audiences.
If you enjoy these manga’s, you might also like “The Promised Neverland,” “Steins;Gate,” “Promised Blood,” “Deadman Wonderland,” “When They Cry” (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni), and “Uzumaki.”