Best Bite-Sized Manga of All Time
Although many people cherish watching anime, they often forget that most anime serve as adaptations of the original source material. While there are some instances where the anime is better than the manga, those instances are few and far between. With the amount of manga released on a daily basis, it could be hard to cut through all those books to find the “Best of” for any chosen topic.
Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest, and unforgettable manga through the years. For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best manga, our attention this time turns to those you can finish swiftly. From nightmarish circumstances to heartbreaking storylines, there’s a good choice to whet your appetite.
Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below and we’ll get them added on!
Garden of Words — Makoto Shinkai
Garden of Words received an incredible anime film adaptation that holds up well. It blew people away with how detailed everything appeared from its luscious environments to its neat weather effects. While the manga’s art isn’t as engaging as the anime, the story is just as compelling in the manga. It centers around the relationship between two people named Takao and Yukino.
The story unfolds over the course of a single rainy season, as the two characters bond over their shared love of gardens and pursue their individual passions. The manga is notable for its stunning artwork, which captures the mood and atmosphere of rainy Tokyo authentically. Makoto Shinkai’s ability to create intimacy and emotion in a short period is insane.
The biggest takeaway from this manga is its themes. It’ll enlighten folks on why it’s important to find meaning in the small moments in life by examining the connection that develops between Takao and Yukino as they meet on a daily basis. Despite being 7 chapters long, Garden of Words is an excellent example of how a bite-sized manga can pack a powerful punch.
Another — Yukito Ayatsuji
While Another’s anime has fantastic kills, it doesn’t spend as much time fleshing out the cast as it should. Fortunately, Yukito Ayatsuji’s manga goes a bit more in-depth with the cast. For those curious, our story takes place in a town surrounded by mystery. It follows Kouchi, a boy who befriends a quiet girl named Mei. Although many tell him not to, Kouchi finds himself enamored by Mei’s presence.
As his bond with Mei grows throughout the tale, weird developments start happening around them. This leads to multiple deaths and an endearing mystery that will leave readers at the edge of their seats. The manga offers a similar story structure as the anime. Characters perish one by one in distinct and brutal ways. This stirs up panic within the town as many argue Mei’s worth blaming.
The artwork is stylish and fits with the story’s horrific tone well. If you’re looking for a terrifying thriller to read that’ll give you similar vibes to the Final Destination film franchise, give this a read.
Our Happy Time — Sumomo Yumeka
Our Happy Time is a short and sweet manga with a touching message. It revolves around a girl named Juri. She attempts to end her life multiple times and has developed harsh feelings for her mother. Her aunt Monica invites her to visit a death row convict named Yuu who had received numerous letters from Monica and has a similar life-ending mindset as Juri.
Eventually, Yuu meets Juri and the two develop something that will change their lives forever. Sumomo Yumeka does an excellent job of establishing Juri and Yuu’s characters and peering into their darkened backgrounds. Their journey is one of healing, self-discovery, and love and it will move anyone. The artwork is beautiful and captures the story’s tone wonderfully.
The characters are well-developed and believable. The characters may not harbor a ton of likable traits, but many will understand where they’re coming from as the series continues. If you’re looking for a manga with stunning illustrations, a captivating premise, and intriguing pair, give this a read.
Solanin — Inio Asano
Solanin is a great bite-sized manga for several reasons. It’s a standalone tale that can be read in one sitting, making it a great pick for those who don’t want to commit to a lengthy series. The manga’s packed with great character development and emotional depth, two aspects Inio Asano’s known for being proficient at with his other stories.
Solanin explores themes like love, self-discovery, and the fear of failure, which many people can relate to. Asano’s illustrations are simple and expressive, and they effectively convey the characters’ emotions and personality traits. The combination of the art style and the emotional storytelling creates an immersive reading experience many people can resonate with.
Our story follows 23-year-old Meiko and her boyfriend Taneda. They leave their old lives behind to revive Taneda’s old rock band. However, life throws a curve ball their way, resulting in Meiko, Taneda, and their friends developing a new view of life. This is a personal tale that examines the lives of our cast who’ll experience love, loss, and grief.
Uzumaki — Junji Ito
Uzumaki is a short and terrifying horror story that’ll send chills down readers’ spines. The story takes place in a cursed town where a mysterious spiral phenomenon occurs. As the town’s inhabitants become obsessed with spirals, they begin to manifest strange and grotesque forms that propel the tale forward toward a mind-numbing end.
Its signature style of horror draws heavily from body horror and cosmic terror. This creates an eerie atmosphere full of dread that permeates throughout the manga. Despite being a short story, Ito manages to create a fully realized and immersive world that feels familiar and alien at the same time. The characters are well-drawn and their descent into madness feels believable.
His artwork is a key factor, with intricate linework and deeply unsettling imagery that will stay with readers for a lifetime. Uzumaki is a wonderful example of how to deliver a memorable reading experience, packed with terror, suspense, and mind-bending horror. Be prepared to question your own perception of reality when you read this tale.
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day — Mitsu Izumi
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day is a gut-wrenching manga that will make many cry. It’s an adaptation of the anime of the same name and follows a group of childhood friends as they reunite and confronts their past trauma following the death of a close friend. The story is a poignant exploration of grief, loss, and the power of friendship.
This manga offers exceptional storytelling. Despite its short length, the manga packs a powerful punch, with each chapter building on the previous one to create a rich and satisfying narrative. The characters are well-developed, with each of their struggles and insecurities explored in a sensitive and empathetic way.
This manga offers beautiful artwork. The art is detailed and expressive, capturing the emotions of the characters and the story’s atmosphere in a distinctive and evocative way. The manga’s delicate visual style complements the story wonderfully, making it a visually stunning and emotional experience for many to adore.
Onani Master Kurosawa — Katsura Ise
Onani Master Kurosawa is about an antisocial 14-year-old male named Kakeru. He’s a hopeless romantic who adores getting involved in erotic situations. One day, he performs a sensual act on a female bully’s clothes to protect a girl named Kitahara. Kitahara blackmails Kakeru for his actions and wants him to perform similar acts on other students in class.
Despite its controversial premise, Onani Master Kurosawa is a thought-provoking and compelling tale. Katsura Ise does an excellent job of exploring our characters’ psyche and readers will enjoy seeing Kakeru transform into a likable protagonist. The manga explores themes like self-discovery, loneliness, and the significance of establishing a human connection.
Takuma Yokota’s illustrations for this tale are incredibly detailed. The manga’s use of visual metaphors and symbolism further enhances its storytelling, making it a visually engaging experience for new readers. Overall, this is a bite-sized manga worth checking out despite having an uncomfortable premise.
All You Need Is Kill — Hiroshi Sakurazaka & Ryousuke Takeuchi
All You Need Is Kill examines the life of Keiji Kiriya, a new recruit in the United Defense Force tasked with fighting an alien race called Mimics. However, Keiji finds himself in a time loop, reliving the day of his death countless times. This is a superb bite-sized manga due to its thrilling story, dynamic illustrations, and philosophical exploration of the cycle of life and death.
This manga is a gripping and fast-paced manga that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. The manga’s story is full of action and adventure, with Keiji’s looping fate providing a unique narrative structure that keeps the plot refreshing. The threat of the Mimics and the high stakes of the ongoing war makes for an exhilarating reading experience.
Takeshi Obata’s illustrations are detailed and expressive, capturing the energy and emotion of the characters and their surroundings. The use of vibrant hues and dynamic panel layouts further enhance the manga’s visual appeal, making it a true feast for the eyes. With its thought-provoking concepts and incredible action, you’re in for a great time with this one.
I Want To Eat Your Pancreas — Yoru Sumino
I Want To Eat Your Pancreas is a drama manga that’ll tug at your heartstrings. It follows a male protagonist who finds someone’s diary in a hospital. The diary belongs to his classmate Sakura. In it, he learns Sakura only has a few months to live due to her terminal illness. Sakura explains the person reading this is the only one who knows of her condition apart from her family.
Despite the protagonist’s different personality, he decides to be together with Sakura during her final months. This manga explores themes of loss, love, and living life to the fullest. Through Sakura and the protagonist’s unconventional friendship, the manga encourages readers to cherish every moment and make the most of their time.
The manga’s exploration of mortality and the fragility of life makes it a poignant and deeply moving read. The manga’s artwork is beautiful and expressive, capturing the story’s emotional depth with grace. The characters are relatable, likable, and complex. For those who want a tale that’ll have them bawling their eyes out, check out I Want To Eat Your Pancreas.
Astra Lost in Space — Kenta Shinohara
Astra Lost in Space is an award-winning sci-fi action series following characters who have very limited knowledge regarding the truth about their world. If you’ve enjoyed works like The Promised Neverland or Attack On Titan, you’re in for a similar vibe with Astra Lost in Space on that front. It follows several high school students who become stranded in space after their planet-hopping trip goes awry.
It has a captivating plot, which is full of surprises and revelations that keep the readers hooked. These twists and turns propel the story forward and add depth to the characters. It also poses mind-numbing questions about trust, betrayal, and survival. Some twists get a bit convoluted toward the end, but most of them are well-thought-out. The characters are interesting and receive splendid development.
The interaction between characters is fun, but they can get a bit annoying at the start. However, if you’re willing to sit through their conversations and attitudes in the beginning, you’ll walk away from this one feeling satisfied.
So, there we have it, our picks for the best bite-sized manga through the years!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!