There is plenty of manga out there covering various genres catering to all of our tastes. Some of the most dominant genres are romance, comedy, action, historical, etc. Focusing on the historical genre, we present you with a list of the top 15 best historical manga with a strong female lead. We will also be considering MAL ratings and the popularity of the manga. Let’s get right to it.
15) Umi no Cradle (The Cradle of The Sea)-
MAL Rating- 7.38 Genre- Adventure, historical, seinen Number of Chapters- 23
“The Cradle of The Sea” is one of the best Historical manga with strong female lead to read in 2022. Set in England during Industrial Revolution, Umi no Cradle features Monica, a nursemaid serving her master.
Her life takes a devastating turn when her master is nowhere to be found, and she must survive as a crew member on steamships alone, looking for her master.
What adds more to the twist is that when she runs into her master’s son, Evan, she kidnaps him and begins her journey filled with struggle and twists.
The manga features a beautiful art style and plot and offers a good insight into the life of steamships during the British Empire era. Monica’s character is well written and showcases her humorous yet determined mind.
14) The White Cat’s Revenge as Plotted from Dragon King’s Lap-
MAL Rating- 7.47 Genre- Fantasy, isekai, historical Number of Volumes- 6 (ongoing)
If you are looking for a perfect blend of comedy and gravitas, this manga is for you. The plot features a rivalry between two best friends, Ruri Morikawa and Asahi Shinomiya, who have suddenly been whisked away into a fantasy Empire. Neither of them is ready to back down.
Ruri being the main protagonist obtains a magical bracelet that helps her transform into a white cat. Using that as an advantage, she begins plotting her revenge against Asahi with the help of the Dragon King Jade, who thinks Ruri is just a cat.
The manga has a soft and pretty art style filled with hilarious and heart-touching moments.
MAL Rating- 7.51 Genre- Historical, adventure Number of Chapters- 35
If you love Japanese history, Reiri is a must-read. The plot is set in the harsh Sengoku Period, where a young girl, Reiri’s family, is sacrificed in a battle, leaving her alone. Reiri is saved by the Samurai Lord residing in the village. In turn, she dedicates her life to becoming a fighter and chasing strength and her life goals.
The plot is action-packed with well-written characters you will easily get attached to. There is plenty of character growth in the main protagonist and other main characters. We highly recommend this historical manga.
12) Oiran Girl-
MAL Rating- 7.56 Genre- Supernatural, historical, crossdressing, drama Number of Chapters- 27
The manga is set in the historical period in the famous Red Light District, Yoshiwara, Japan. The main protagonist, Tsubaki, is a riches to rags daughter of a wealthy businessman who lost his wealth in a fire.
Having lost her status and wealth, she is even rejected by her childhood friend, Shin. Tsubaki is then given to the Yoshiwara district. Filled with heartbreak and bad luck, Tsubaki swears to become the best Oiran and one day reject Shin as revenge.
Oiran Girl features a hard-working and strong-headed female lead and a beautiful art style. It explores the beauty of the Yoshiwara district and Oiran culture during the historical period of Japan, making it one of the best historical manga.
11) Isabella Bird in Wonderland: Unbeaten Tracks in Japan-
MAL Rating- 7.62 Genre- Slice of life, seinen, historical Number of Volumes- 8 (ongoing)
This manga is based on a true story narrating the adventures of a Scottish traveler, Isabella Bird, in the early Meiji Period (1878). Her love for knowledge and travel brings her to the rural areas of Japan.
The plot is written from Isabella’s perspective and how she struggles with adjusting to a new country, people, culture, food, and climatic conditions. Despite the mental and physical hardships, Isabella’s love for travel and exploration never dies.
The manga is full of beautiful incidents that will warm your heart as we see the character development of the main protagonist.
10) Shounen Oujo (Mimic Royal Princess)-
MAL Rating- 7.63 Genre- Fantasy, crossdressing, historical Number of Chapters- 34
Shounen Oujo will be a roller-coaster ride if you are looking for a short yet jaw-dropping read. The plot is set in the fictional Kingdom of Morrigan, where women hold all the positions of power, unlike in our real world. Albert and Theodore, two orphans and mischievous boys sneak into the Kingdom to witness the Queen’s birthday festival.
They are caught and prepared to be sold as enslaved people to their worst nightmare. Just then, an elegant man “purchases” them and takes them to the palace to meet their new master.
The plot twist is that the two boys are now on the premises of Princess Alexia Lumiere, who is the spitting image of Albert and heir to the throne.
The plot starts with humor but is later filled with unpredictable and dark twists. It also shows us the nasty side of the monarchial system. If you’re looking for a good blend of reality and fiction with a historical touch, shounen Oujo is just the right manga.
9) Fushigi Yuugi (Mysterious Play)-
MAL Rating- 7.65 Genre- Historical, fantasy, isekai, reverse harem Number of Chapters- 106
Fushigi Yuugi features the competition and survival between two best friends. Miaka Yuuki and Yui Hongo get teleported into a mysterious book set in a fantasy kingdom of ancient China, “The Universe of The Four Gods.” Unfortunately, the two best friends find themselves in rival kingdoms and must survive their way back to the real world.
The manga explores a complex relationship between two best friends turned enemies due to unfortunate circumstances. The plot is filled with twists and action, conveyed through a classic art style.
MAL Rating- 7.67 Genre- Mystery-solving, historical, fantasy Number of Chapters- 29
Gosick is a manga set in a fictional European country, Sovuria, in the year 1924. The plot contains a little bit of thriller, darkness, and lots of mystery. The story starts from the male lead, Kujo Kazuya’s point of view when he visits Sovuria to pursue his studies.
Kazuya’s attention is immediately stolen by a mysterious and emotionless girl, Victorique, the female lead. Victorique possesses an extraordinarily sharp and brilliant mind, but she always remains in isolation and seldom speaks to anyone.
As the plot progresses, the two leads pair up to solve urban legends and gruesome crimes around them, leading them to dangerous situations.
If you’re looking for a dark, mysterious, and crime-solving manga with a touch of supernatural, Gosick is a must-read.
MAL Rating- 7.70 Genre- Historical, martial arts, action Number of Chapters- 350
If you love brutal samurai action and tales of shocking assassinations, Azumi is for you. This manga isn’t your average light-hearted shoujo manga.
The main lead, Azumi, is an exceptional female assassin whose life is filled with dangerous missions. The plot narrates to us the journey of Azumi and her growth as a person after having met and assassinated several people.
The manga will easily get you hooked if you aren’t looking for soft romance and fluffy mishaps. Azumi is filled with bloody battles, a mature plotline, and lots of emotional moments.
6) Shinobi Life-
MAL Rating- 7.79 Genre- Time travel, supernatural, martial arts Number of Chapters- 64
Shinobi life is one of the best Historical manga with strong female lead to read in 2022. It is a manga that showcases life in modern and ancient Japan, back and forth.
The story begins with a shocking scene where the female lead, Beni Fujiwara, is held at knifepoint on a skyscraper. To her surprise, a ninja appears out of thin air and saves her life.
Kagetora happens to be a dedicated ninja from ancient Japan serving Princess Beni, but he’s suddenly teleported to modern Japan amidst his fight. The plot twist is that Kagetora is convinced Beni Fujiwara is Princess Beni, and he must protect her at all costs.
The plot is engaging in a way that it will keep you anticipating the timelines and how Beni deals with everything that is thrown her way. If you are looking for a little bit of many genres, Shinobi life is a must.
5) My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!-
MAL Rating- 7.84 Genre- Comedy, fantasy, romance, reverse harem Number of Volumes- 7 (ongoing)
If you are looking for a manga with a different approach to the isekai concept, comedy, and sharp characters, then this manga is perfect for reading.
The manga features an easy-going and carefree daughter of a duke, Catarina Claes, who gets reincarnated again and again, just like otome game characters. The story starts when Catarina recovers her memories from her “past life” and comes to a shocking realization that she is in an otome game world. Even more surprising part is that she is the main villainess of the game.
Catarina must use her knowledge of otome games and survive as a villain to finally put an end to this cycle. She must endure everything and everyone and make critical decisions to keep going forward despite encountering constant dead ends.
The plot is unique and interesting, filled with back-to-back moments of comedic relief amidst all the gravitas.
4) Seirei no Moribito-
MAL Rating: 8.15 Genre: fantasy, historical, seinen Number of Chapters: 16
Seirei no Moribito is one of the best historical manga featuring a badass and empowering female lead. The manga is set in an ancient fantasy world where fairies, demons, magic, and out worldly beings exist.
The female lead, Balsa, is a female spear-wielder and a warrior. She is hired to protect the Prince of New Yogo, Chagum, who is targeted by his own father, the king of the New Yogo Empire. Balsa must protect Prince Chagum at all costs while various truths and politics about the kingdom’s history unfold.
3) Kusuriya no Hitorigoto (The Apothecary Diaries)-
MAL Rating- 8.34 Genre- Historical, drama Number of Volumes- 12 (ongoing)
Kusuriya no Hitorigoto is set in ancient China. The manga features Maomao, a young girl who is enslaved to work at the emperor’s palace. Maomao is an excellent pharmacist who was raised in the red light district. She is an ambitious woman who aspires to make a life for herself despite having to start from scratch.
During her service at the palace, her talent and skills are recognized by an influential and beautiful young eunuch, Jinshi. Maomao’s career as a pharmacist then gets a nudge in the right direction. She is recognized by the inner court of the Imperial palace and begins solving various medical mysteries.
We highly recommend Kusuriya no Hitorigoto if you love Chinese culture and an intelligent and ambitious main lead.
2) Otoyomegatari (A Bride’s Story)-
MAL Rating- 8.56 Genre- Drama, historical, seinen Number of Volumes- 13 (ongoing)
Otoyomegatari is another one of our highly recommended best historical manga with strong female lead. Set in the 19th century in a tribal town near the Caspian Sea, Central Asia, the plot features Amir Halgal, a beautiful 20-year-old woman.
Amir is a strong and independent woman skilled in hunting, archery, horseback riding, and arts. Her marriage to a 12-year-old boy, Karluk Eihon, is arranged, which she is accepting of.
The plot narrates stories of different brides-to-be that are interlinked to each other. It shows us many beautiful aspects of different kinds of bonds between two human beings. Culturally dense with an intricate art style, Otoyomegatari is one of the best historical manga to read. You must absolutely give this manga a try.
1) Akatsuki no Yona (Yona of the Dawn)-
MAL Rating- 8.83 Genre- Action, comedy, fantasy Number of Volumes- 37 (ongoing)
Yona of the Dawn is the best Historical manga with strong female lead to read in 2022. Set in the fictional Kingdom of Kouka, where legends about dragon and dragon warriors exist, the manga features Yona, the sole princess of Kouka.
Yona’s life takes a devastating turn when a member of their own family assassinates her father. Yona must flee and survive with only her bodyguard, Son Hak.
Despite her world falling apart at her feet, Yona doesn’t lose hope. She is determined to summon the four legendary dragon warriors and claim her kingdom back. The plot narrates Yona’s hardships, strategies, and determination as the fate of the Kingdom of Kouka rests on her shoulders.
You cannot miss out on this beautiful manga filled with action, romance, and some hilarious moments.
Carrying on to that cheerful note, our list of top 15 best historical manga with a strong female lead comes to an end. We hope you enjoy the manga we have recommended. Stay tuned for more such lists of recommendations.
Do small things with great love.
Follow us on Twitter for more post updates.
Starting off with love for medicine and plans for pursuing it, I found myself drawn to a mismatched career in Hospitality & Tourism. Little did I know that my passion and love for literature had always been by my side. Therefore, here I am now, sharing my words on multiple amazing platforms, one of which is Otakus Notes. What better way to put my abundance of love and knowledge of anime, manga, k-drama and webtoons, to use!