Half of the world is currently in the cold season of the year. As we play in the snow and bundle up by the fire, we are reminded of some of the joys of this time of the year. And in some places of the world, winter never ends!
This winter atmosphere extends to some of our favorite manga as well, as characters survive in their dramatically cold worlds. We decided to take a quick look at a few of the best manga with wintery settings, spanning a range of different genres and styles of art.
3. Koisuru Shirokuma (A Polar Bear in Love)
- Authors: Koromo
- Genres: Comedy, Shounen Ai, Josei
- Volumes: 4+
- Published: June 2015 – ongoing
Koisuru Shirokuma is the heartwarming and rather silly story of a polar bear that falls in love with a tiny seal. Despite their certain differences and the fear the young seal has at the idea that he might be eaten, the two manage to find a way to get along. This is a story of love and friendship in spite of being two creatures that seem quite different.
While this manga might not be the most realistic in many senses, it still remains true to the setting. Polar bears and seals are native to a cold, wintery environment, and Koisuru Shirokuma sets up their world accurately in this aspect. Even though it is a harsh environment, we are able to feel warmth and happiness in this cold landscape, thanks to the relationship between the characters. It may not be the most beautifully-drawn manga ever, but it is definitely one of the cutest we’ve read!
2. Itou Junji Kyoufu Manga Collection 16: Frankenstein
- Authors: Junji Itou
- Genres: Drama, Horror, Supernatural, Psychological
- Volumes: 1
- Published: January 1999
The tale of Frankenstein is one of the most iconic tales around the world, and Itou Junji’s take is just as classic a horror story! In this reiteration of the story, the creator retells his story as he travels to desolate cold wastelands, remembering the monster that he is running from on the way. As he fears his creation, we see how grotesque and sinister this kind of creature has become in the way that Itou Junji portrays the monster.
This short manga tale is a unique take on the well-known story. The creator and his deadly creation traverse cold, isolated landscapes as tension builds and the story becomes more unnerving. It may not be horror in the purest sense, but the wintery setting definitely helps in how Itou Junji’s tale messes with your mind!
1. Kokou no Hito (The Climber)
- Authors: Shinichi Sakamoto
- Genres: Drama, Sports, Psychological, Seinen
- Volumes: 17
- Published: 2007 - 2012
This is the story of Mori Buntarou as he chases his dreams to climb to the top of everything, beginning back in high school when he climbs to the top of the school building. Mori’s first climb awakens something in him, pushing him to pursue the sport of rock climbing.
Kokou no Hito tells an autobiographical tale of Mori, exploring his life’s journey and the literal and figural mountains he faces along the way. While it is a manga that delves into achieving dreams, for many of the characters Mori meets along the way those dreams will cost them everything, giving the story a more realistic approach. Though the world skips around a lot, never remaining in the same place for too long, much of the setting relies on mountainous regions, gorgeously drawn and resolutely aloof in nature. Kokou no Hito starts out a rather typical sports manga, but it quickly develops into a deep and heavy tale of life—one that is certainly enhanced by the beautiful artwork!
We love this time of year, particularly when we get to enjoy the beauty of a cold wintery wonderland! These manga on our list are some of the best for getting a great sense of this type of setting, even if some of them may be heavier or feel more isolated than others. We still enjoy the manga for their different takes on a winter setting, and how the setting helps the story as a whole!
What did you think of the manga on our list? What is your favorite manga set in a winter world? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!