Top 10 Best Short Manga Series (5 Volumes or Less)

When it comes to manga, the long running ones are surefire good series. That, however, does not indicate the shorter ones are trash or subpar. It’s just that some circumstances may have happened that’s why they got cut short. Heck, some don't really even need more than five volumes to tell a complete story, and those stories are in no way subpar or mediocre.

Here’re examples to prove our point.

10. Ashita Dorobou

  • Authors: Masaya Hokazono and Court Batten
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi, Supernatural, Seinen
  • Publisher: Young Jump
  • Published: November 2007 - May 2009

Kyouichi Miyasako never seemed to have moved on from her college girlfriend, Ashita Tendou. She has always been in his heart and in his conversations. One day, however, a giant spherical UFO appeared in the sky. It released a beam of light, which turned out to be Ashita. Well, at least what looked like Ashita. She has supreme life skills and superpowers and is head over heels to Miyasako.

This series is a sweet romantic comedy manga with a sci-fi twist. The art is pretty amazing, though the writing falls in some places. That said, it’s an interesting and funny read.

9. Aozora Kirai no Usotsuki Semiko ( The Lying Cicada who Hated the Blue Sky)

  • Authors: Wannyanpu (Art), Karate (Story)
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance
  • Publisher: pixiv Comic
  • Published: January - August 2014

Once upon a time, there was a glasses-wearing boy studying to retake his college entrance exams. One opportune night, a girl suddenly barged into his room and life. She claims to be a girl from the Cicada Kingdom aiming to repay her debt to the boy. According to her, she’s cursed. If she doesn’t repay her debt, then bad things will happen. They spent a week enjoying each other’s company every night. On the seventh day, however, the girl bid her goodbye and returned to the Cicada Kingdom. It turns out that she was indeed a Cicada girl and was truly cursed. After assuming a human form, she dies after seven days.

8. Azumanga Daioh

  • Authors: Kiyohiko Azuma
  • Genres: Comedy, School Life, Slice of Life
  • Publisher: Dengeki Daioh
  • Published: January 1999 - March 2002

Being a child genius has its quirks and perks. Chiyo Mihama got accelerated to high school. However, this series is not about acing academics or some genius plotting. She finds herself with a group of eccentrics. That basically means that her high school life will be filled with crazy antics, weirdness, and straight up WTF-ness.

Azumanga Daioh is one of the classic yonkomas that brings back memories. Plotwise, there’s nothing much to say about this series. However, the quirky skits that sometimes even don't make sense makes a good partner for morning coffee.

7. Mujirushi

  • Authors: Naoki Urusawa
  • Genres: Mystery, Drama, Seinen
  • Publisher: Viz Media
  • Published: July 2020

Caught in the hardships of life, Kamoda becomes desperate to earn money for a dream cruise for his family. That forced him to evade his taxes. After all, everybody’s been doing it, so why can’t he? He, however, has the worst luck. He got caught and became bankrupt. It then snowballed to his wife going to the cruise with another man, and he was forced to take on sketchy job requests such as making masks.

Mujirushi plays with little stupid ideas and turn them into a masterpiece of a mosaic. Combining mystery and humor, this series will tickle your mind in a soothing and funny way.

6. Mermaid's Saga Collector's Edition

  • Authors: Rumiko Takahashi
  • Genres: Horror, Thriller, Fantasy
  • Publisher: Viz Media
  • Published: November 2020

According to legends, consuming mermaid flesh will turn a mortal to an immortal. That turns out to be true. Yuta happened to consume the flesh of a mermaid and obtained everlasting youth. This, however, turned out to be more of a curse than a blessing. In order to break it, he must find another mermaid to help him meet his peaceful end.

Rumiko Takahashi brings out the true horror behind mermaids. Originally, these creatures aren't really the protagonists of cheesy love stories. They were man-eating monsters. According to sailors, at least. This series revolves around that idea and brings us a connected collection of interesting short stories.

5. All You Need is Kill

  • Authors: Takeshi Obata, Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Ryousuke Takeuchi
  • Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Military, Seinen
  • Publisher: Young Jump
  • Published: January 2014 - May 2014

Keiji Kiriya was a new recruit in the United Defense Task Force. However, he was killed in action on his first try. Well, that was what he initially thought. When he woke up, he found himself repeating the day before his deployment. Every time he died, he just got sent back in time. No matter what he did, he couldn’t break from the loop. Determined to escape the hell that was today, he trained himself to finally see a tomorrow.

All You Need is Kill managed to cram action, character development, and emotional roller coaster in 17 chapters. What’s more is that no chapter is wasted, and the plot even contained cool twists.

4. Umibe no Onnanoko

  • Authors: Inio Asano
  • Genres: Drama, Romance, School, Slice of Life, Psychological
  • Publisher: Manga Erotics F
  • Published: July 2009 - January 2013

Keisuke Isobe and Koume Satou live on a small island where everyday life is pretty much uneventful. When Koume gets rejected by her crush after giving him a blowjob, she decides, a bit recklessly, to start a no-string-attached relationship with Isobe. Since they are just middle school students, they did a lot of raunchy stuff together.

First of all, this is a legitimate mature manga that showcases explicit sexual scenes. Unlike hentai, however, this series uses the sex to advance the plot and mess with our minds. There are no perfect characters, but there is a great story being told.

3. Haruka na Machi e (A Distant Neighborhood)

  • Authors: Jiro Taniguchi
  • Genres: Drama, Slice of Life, Seinen
  • Publisher: Big Comic
  • Published: April 1998 - November 1998

Hiroshi Nakahara is now a tired 48-year-old salaryman. He drank a bit too much and thought he boarded the wrong train. It turns out, however, that time just changed his hometown so much that he had difficulty recognizing it. He visited his mother’s grave for a long while, and before he knew it, he returned to his 14-year-old body. He doesn’t know how to regain his age, so he just relives his life as a 14-year-old with the mind of a 48-year-old and traced his father, trying to figure out why he left them.

Reading Haruka na Machi e makes us reminisce about the past. Hiroshi travels through time, reliving the moments he should have cherished. Jiro Taniguchi does a great job showing and telling the story in a way that hooks the readers into wanting more. Better yet, the series only has 16 chapters to binge.

2. Gekiga Hyouryuu (A Drifting Life)

  • Authors: Yoshihino Tatsumi
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Historical, Romance, School, Slice of Life, Psychological, Seinen
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly
  • Published: November 2008 - December 2008

Telling the story of Yoshihino Tatsumi in manga form, Gekika Hyouryuu (A Drifting Life) tells how he first met, fell in love, and persevered to being a mangaka. This series intricately tells the art of making manga, as well as the ideals and meaning of being an artist. Since it's an autobiographical manga, Gekika Hyouryuu (A Drifting Life) took him ten years to make, but it’s all worth it in the end.

1. I Had That Same Dream Again

  • Authors: Yoru Sumino, Idumi Kirihara
  • Genres: Drama, Slice of Life
  • Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
  • Published: July 2020

Nanoka is considered a weirdo by her class. Even though she means well, she doesn’t know how to relay her feelings well, making her seem weird and mean. Because of that, she’s been often isolated by her class. Still, Nanoka managed to find herself a bunch of unusual friends: a self-injurious girl, somebody she calls skank, and an old lady. With their companionship, Nanoka learns a few things in life.

Yoru Sumino, the writer of I Want to Eat Your Pancreas and At Night, I Become a Monster, brings yet another captivating story. This supposedly heart warming story brings out an expected twist, giving it an interesting ending.

Final Thoughts

A manga’s quality does not depend on its length. Contrary to that, it’s length can be its make or break. For some manga like One Piece, five volumes probably won’t even be enough for a single arc. Heck, it’s almost a thousand chapters in and it still doesn’t fail to surprise us. Still, that doesn’t mean a manga with less than five volumes means its trash, and we hope this list more than proves that!

Azumanga-Daioh-wallpaper-561x500 Top 10 Best Short Manga Series (5 Volumes or Less)


Author: Christian Markle

I am a copywriter, proofreader, and editor. I love watching anime, reading manga, and writing my own stories. Watch out in the future as you may see one of my works one day. Manga and anime were big parts of my childhood. I grew up watching Yu Yu Hakusho, Slam Dunk, One Piece, and Dragon Ball Z. Those were probably one of the happiest and most carefree days of my life. In fact, most of my values are probably molded by manga. No, that's not an exaggeration.

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