A lot of the most popular and best selling manga these days are extremely long. For instance, Hajime no Ippo has long passed the 1000 chapter mark and One Piece is quickly approaching it. However, reading such long series is a real commitment that takes dozens of hours. Not all of us have the time for that. Luckily, there are some incredibly good short manga that you can read in a few commutes to work/school.
Without further ado, here’s a list with 5 of the best short completed manga out there right now. I won’t be counting one shots, though, so all of these are at least 2 chapters long. If you know any more, feel free to leave a comment below.
5) Fujimi Lovers
By Takagi, Yuna
Length: 12 chapters
This title is an absolutely perfect one for people who like fast-paced, intense love stories. It’s a super cute rom-com that can be read very quickly and is sure to warm your heart. At least a little bit.
The main character of the story is a guy who is helplessly in love with a girl called Hasebe. When they were kids, he confessed his feelings to her, and as soon as she reciprocated, she instantly vanished right in front of his very eyes. When he asked around, everyone seemed to have forgotten who Hasebe was. Years pass, and eventually he runs into Hasebe again, but she has no recollection of him. He hasn’t given up on her, though.
While Fujimi Lovers might not be the best romance manga ever made, and the ending does leave you hanging a little bit and wanting more, it’s definitely worth a quick read. I know a bunch of people who actually have this as their favorite romance, so who knows. You might love it, and it’s not much of a risk to read such a short manga.
4) Life is Money
By Asaniji, Teru & Yaguraba, Tekka
Length: 15 chapters
Life is Money is a death game manga, in which a group of people are put in a situation in which they gamble their lives for the chance to win a hundred million yen. In this case, the game is a 10-day endurace test. The characters are locked inside a facility that provides food, recreation, private rooms, anything you can imagine. However, they are forced to wear a bracelet that kills them if their heart-rate exceeds a certain number, so the goal is to remain as calm as possible.
Thing is, once a day for the duration of the game each player has to roll a 6-sided die. Each number from 1 to 5 represents a sense, and whatever sense you roll is a sense that you get blocked off. For instance, if you roll a 1, you lose your sight. The 6 stands for “spirit”, and if you roll it, you recover the last sense you lost.
Overall, Life is Money is more than just a gambling title and explores some interesting topics of philosophy and morality. I recommend it, especially since it’s a super short manga and can easily be read in a couple of hours at most.
3) Marie no Kanaderu Ongaku
By Furuya, Usamaru
Length: 17 chapters
If you’re looking for a trippy, strange short manga, look no further. This is the manga you want to read. It’s one of the weirdest things I’ve ever read, but it pulls it off wonderfully, with extremely good art, interesting characters and very solid world building.
Marie no Kanaderu Ongaku is set in a utopian world, in which nobody seems to fight, everyone seems to get along, and the human population is way lower than it is in our world. Technology is also vastly different, and everything is made of gears and other types of old school machinery, 1800’s style. There’s also a huge mechanic woman floating in the sky looking over everyone, named Marie.
The main character is a guy who has a superhuman hearing ability, and is able to perceive the vibrations of the world perfectly, locating valuable minerals for his town. He also seems to be the only one able to hear Marie’s sounds.
I’d say this manga is definitely worth a read. You might find yourself wanting to read it again. It’s easy to miss a lot of things during the first read that you can pick up on a second or third one, once you know how it ends.
2) Sabishisugite Lesbian Fuuzoku ni Ikimashita Report
By Nagata, Kabi
Length: 6 chapters
“My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness” is one of the best manga released in 2016, no doubt. It’s also one of the best things I’ve read this year and I’d highly recommend it to anyone. It’s the autobiographical story of 28-year-old Nagata Kabi, who suffers from mental health issues and shares her story with us. Although gender identity is one of the themes explored, it isn’t really that important to the story, so it’s not like this is is a yuri manga or anything of the sorts, as the English translation seems to imply.
She basically tells the story on how she was losing control of her life, and one day she impulsively decided to book a session with a lesbian escort. She describes her life up to that point and how that event influenced her life from then on.
This manga, originally published for free on pixiv, is a raw and honest story, and while it might be the shortest on this list, it definitely deserves the most attention and careful reading. Nagata pours her heart out to the reader, with no self-importance or self-righteousness to be seen. Please read this manga.
1) Coffee Jikan
By Toyoda, Tetsuya
Length: 17 chapters
This is such an underrated manga. Almost nobody I know, other than people I’ve recommended it to, has read this gorgeous book, in spite of how short it is. This is why I decided to put it as number one on the list, to maybe bring some extra attention to it.
Coffee Jikan is episodic in nature. Each chapter is a story with entirely different characters, in an entirely different setting (with some exceptions, you’ll see!), but the stories always revolve around coffee in some way or another. One chapter will be about two people meeting in a coffee shop, another one about coffee grounding techniques.
In essence, it’s a very relaxed slice of life manga. It has no pretenses of being anything else. It’s nothing more than stories about the daily lives of normal human beings and their relationships with each other. There is no action, no huge drama, or anything of the sorts.
But that’s what makes this little jewel so charming, and why I can recommend it over almost anything to people looking for a short manga. Please read it and let me know what your thoughts are in the comments below!