A great manga has the ability to drag the readers into the story and make them experience what the characters are going through. Intense battle sequences will make you hold your breath in excitement while heartbreaking scenes will make you bawl your eyes out.
But there are times when you don't want to feel such deep emotions from manga. Sometimes you just want to sit back, relax, and enjoy the story. In that case, a wholesome manga that can make you smile throughout the story is the one you should read, and these are some fine selections of manga that can do just that.
5. Otoyomegatari (A Bride's Story)
- Authors: Mori, Kaoru
- Genres: Romance, Slice of Life, Historical, Seinen
- Volumes: 12+
- Published: May 2011 - Present
A Bride's Story begins by following a newlywed couple in 19th Century Central Asia. But the drama and the romance of an arranged marriage between Karluk Eihon and his much older bride, Amir Halgal, is not the only focus of the story. Through their interactions with their surroundings, we also explore the rich culture of the Turkic people.
How they sew their clothes, how they decorate their walls, how they carve a piece of wood and turn it into a masterpiece… everything is depicted in such high fidelity by Mori-sensei's delicate illustrations. Not only that, but we also delve into the everyday life of the Turkic people, their beliefs, their worries, and their life philosophy. It is truly a feast for the eyes and the soul. And you will find yourself smiling at every turn of the page.
4. Gokushufudou (The Way Of The Househusband)
- Authors: Oono, Kousuke
- Genres: Comedy, Slice of life, Romance, Seinen
- Volumes: 6+
- Published: Sep 2019 - Present
There was a time when the "Immortal Tatsu" reigned over the Yakuza underworld with a bloody fist. The mere mention of his name would bring fear to the atmosphere. But that is not the case anymore. Ever since he got married to Miku, he turned over a new leaf and became a full time househusband.
So now, rather than crushing people's heads, he does household chores and cooks food for his busy wife instead. But as they say, old habits die hard. That's why Tatsu still approaches his everyday life with the intensity of a deranged Yakuza.
He slices onions the way he would slice a person’s guy, picks groceries like a killer choosing his instruments of torture, and gives laundry tips to the neighboring moms like a senior discussing his killing techniques to his juniors. And, to top it off, he dresses in a full black suit wherever he goes, even while he's cooking in the kitchen. Forget smiling - you will be laughing out of control with this manga.
3. Kuutei Dragons (Drifting Dragons)
- Authors: Kuwabara, Taku
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Seinen
- Volumes: 10+
- Published: Dec 2019 - Present
In the olden days, ships full of skilled crew members would venture into the ocean and hunt whales with their harpoons. And that is sort of what happens in this manga, but instead of the sea, the ships soar through the skies. And rather than giant whales, they hunt colossal dragons instead.
Drifting Dragons follows the daily life of the draking crew of a ship called Quin Zaza. They hunt dragons for a living. They sell the skins, the bones, the meat… there's really nothing to waste when it comes to dragons. But the most important thing that they always do is cook and eat some of those delicious dragon’s meat.
Dragon cutlets, dragon steak sandwiches, smoked dragon jerky… there are tons of mouth-watering recipes in this manga that will make you crave food. If that's not enough to make you smile, then the sight of mesmerizing dragons and the unique culture and customs of the people in this world will surely captivate you.
2. Tomo-chan wa Onnanoko! (Tomo-chan is a Girl!)
- Authors: Yanagida, Fumita
- Genres: Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life, Seinen
- Volumes: 8
- Published: Sep 2018 - Sep 2020
Tomo Aizawa is a boyish girl who falls in love with her long-time best friend Junichirou Kubota. Unfortunately, not only is Jun oblivious to her feelings, but he even treats Tomo just like his other male friends.
Well, the fact that Tomo is a hot head who can easily beat Jun to a pulp does not help her case at all. So before they graduate from high school, Tomo intends to confess her feelings to Jun. And that is when hilarity ensues.
Tomo-chan is a Girl is a 4-koma manga, which means there are only four vertical panels on a page. That leads to super short and sharp jokes that are guaranteed to make you giggle. And since the story is super condensed as well, you can breeze through the whole volume in no time at all.
1. Hakumei to Mikochi (Hakumei & Mikochi: Tiny Little Life in The Woods)
- Authors: Kashiki, Takuto
- Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Slice of Life, Seinen
- Volumes: 8+
- Published: Jul 2018 - Present
Do you ever wonder if there are any advanced life forms living on the forest floor? Well, that is pretty much the premise of Hakumei & Mikochi. Standing just a few inches above the ground, Hakumei and Mikochi are roommates who live at the base of a tree.
Hakumei is a repairman who can do all sorts of woodworking and metalwork, while Mikochi is a great cook who is also good at picking up herbs and ingredients from the forest. And when not chatting and eating in their house, they go to the thriving city and meet all kinds of creatures and go to all sorts of unique places.
There is always something new to find in every chapter of Hakumei & Mikochi: meeting a tiny scientist who lives in a small underground hole, traveling across cities with a small bird, visiting a confusing multi story market complex to enjoy the local sake, and much more. You can't help but enjoy every single minute you spend reading this wholesome manga.
When you get home after a hard day at work, with your tired brain and weary bones, the last thing you need is to exercise your head with a complex story. For that occasion, the best thing to do is grab a lighthearted and wholesome manga, and just enjoy something that will bring a smile to your face and give you that much needed hit of dopamine. And these are the manga that are perfect for the job.
Have you read any of these manga? If so, what do you think about them? Or perhaps you have other wholesome manga to recommend? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section below.