5 Manga That Were Originally Self-Published

Every successful piece of fiction has its own unique path to stardom, and that’s as true for novels and films as it is for manga and light novels. Many mangaka got their start by self-publishing works on platforms like Twitter or Pixiv, and later found success with publishers.

From humble origins in the dusty corners of the internet to professionally-edited manga—and maybe even anime!—there’s no telling just how far self-published works can go with the right fandom and a healthy dose of luck.

Today on Honey’s Anime, we’re talking about 5 Manga That Were Originally Self-Published!

5. One-Punch Man

  • Authors: ONE (Story), Murata Yuusuke (Art)
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi, Seinen
  • Volumes: 23+
  • Published: September 2015—present

Probably the most well-known webcomic-to-manga adaptation is One-Punch Man, first drawn by the artist ONE and published online via Nitosha.net for free. The webcomic is still going to this day, and the official manga has mostly embellished the original story, while changing a few characters and plot points along the way. ONE’s trademark visuals (for better or worse) can be seen in his other series, Mobu Saiko Hyaku (Mob Psycho 100).

According to mangaka Murata Yuusuke, the manga remake of One-Punch Man began when Murata reached out to ONE on Twitter, wanting to redraw the webcomic. In an interview with Sugoi Japan, Murata recounted how he was gravely ill at the time and thought he might die in hospital. ONE was receptive to the collaboration, and Murata used his connections as a previously-published mangaka to land One-Punch Man a slot with Weekly Young Jump.

Murata is now healthy and well-regarded as one of the best mangaka currently published. That’s an origin story worthy of Saitama himself!

4. Horimiya

  • Authors: Hero (Story), Hagiwara Daisuke (Art)
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance, School Life, Shounen, Slice of Life
  • Volumes: 15+
  • Published: November 2015—present

Horimiya is an adorable high school romance about two characters with hidden sides to themselves. The quiet Miyamura is a rebellious punk with piercings, and the beautiful Hori is a down-to-earth girl taking care of her younger brother.

The series started out life in 2007 as a free webcomic named Hori-san to Miyamura-kun. Written and illustrated by HERO as a 4-panel webcomic, the series was eventually adapted to manga by Hagiwara Daisuke and retitled Horimiya.

The webcomic and manga mostly follow the same story, but certain elements are rearranged. In the original webcomic, Hori and Miyamura’s relationship occupies the majority of the plot, before spinning off into other characters’ lives. The manga shuffled this up, with some characters or chapters omitted or moved to realign the story with the other characters.

3. Kawaii dake ja nai Shikimori-san (Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie)

  • Authors: Maki Keigo
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance, School Life, Shounen
  • Volumes: 9+
  • Published: January 2021—present

A breakaway star in a sea of romantic comedies, Kawaii dake ja nai Shikimori-san (Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie) has charmed readers with a lovey-dovey relationship and inverted gender roles that see the titular Shikimori playing the “tough” character in a high school relationship.

Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie had humble beginnings, starting with some rough chapters posted to Twitter by the series’ creator, Maki Keigo. In the afterword for the second volume, Maki recounts that “every time I posted, people gushed about how adorable [Izumi] was, and that inspired me to do better every time I drew him.”

The original chapter designs in the image below show how well-formed Shikimori and Izumi’s characters were, even back in 2018. No wonder fans desperately wanted a full-length manga about this adorable couple!

2. Soredemo Ayumu wa Yosetekuru (When Will Ayumu Make His Move?)

  • Authors: Yamamoto Souichirou
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance, School Life, Shounen, Slice of Life
  • Volumes: 4+
  • Published: September 2021—present

Dense protagonists in a stalemate to admit their feelings—what a curiously specific, but wonderfully enjoyable genre! Tanaka Ayumu is the latest member of his school’s shogi club, and he’s got a crush on his senpai, the impassive and emotionless Yaotome Urushi. Ayumu vows to confess his feelings once he’s beaten Urushi in a game of shogi…but that’s harder than he thinks!

Soredemo Ayumu wa Yosetekuru (When Will Ayumu Make His Move?) began life as a prototype webcomic on Yamamoto’s Twitter account and was originally titled Shogi no Yatsu. Although the artwork is significantly improved in the manga version, Urushi has clearly always been an adorable little senpai!

1. Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san (Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro)

  • Authors: Nanashi
  • Genres: Comedy, Ecchi, Romance, Shounen, School Life, Slice of Life
  • Volumes: 11+
  • Published: November 2019—present

The cheeky kouhai with a huge crush on her senpai, Nagatoro, first started her teasing relationship in doujinshi format on Pixiv. Mangaka Nanashi is well-known in the doujinshi community for a variety of surprisingly violent doujins, not to mention a boatload of NSFW content! His fans jokingly say he “mellowed out” by the time he first published Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san (Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro).

“Mellowed out” is subjective, of course—there are huge differences between the doujinshi and manga. Nagatoro was initially far more sadistic in her bullying, while “Senpai” Hachiouji seems to take masochistic pleasure in her advances.

The manga version balanced everything out, creating an ecchi comedy for everyone to enjoy!

Final Thoughts

Those are five manga that were originally self-published! Some retained most of their story and imagery, while others were completely reinvented for the transition to manga format.

Did you find this article interesting? Let us know down in the comments below, and as always, thank you for reading!

One-Punch-Man-Wallpaper-700x368 5 Manga That Were Originally Self-Published


Author: Brett Michael Orr

I'm a writer, gamer, and reviewer of manga & light novels, from Melbourne, Australia. When I'm not creating a new world, I'll be absorbed in a good JRPG, watching some anime, or reading up a storm!

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