We all want happy endings in our stories. A romance reaching either marriage or coming to fruition, or a story coming to a satisfying conclusion, these are manhwa stories we love dearly. However, the reality is that not every manhwa can come to these happy terms. Honestly some stories need to end in horrible ways to be in their own odd but satisfying way. Here at Honey’s Anime, though, we only want manhwa that gives readers a tragic tale that all the while feels worthwhile and brings tears to our eyes. Today we have crafted the Top 10 Tragic Manhwa list.
Love stories that end in horrible ways or lives on borrowed time. Sure these stories may make seem bittersweet but they do provide entertainment for those who want a tear jerker to read. Our tragic manhwa list made us cry—a little more than we’re willing to admit—but we enjoyed shedding those tears thanks to incredible art and detailed narrative that only this list shows at its finest. If you’re ready to find a great list of manhwa to read then you’ll enjoy this tragic manhwa list that your friends at Honey’s Anime have crafted for you guys and girls. Though we do say seriously get some tissues ready.
10. Reading Club
- Manhwaga: CHO Ju-Hee- SEO Yoon Young
- Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery, Psychological, Shoujo, Tragedy
- Volumes: 3
- Published Date: 2006
A young boy inherits something very peculiar from his father. He gains an odd book that seems cursed. Those who come in contact with this odd book find themselves committing suicide and it seems as if a few knew of this book’s power. Now several souls will cross paths with one another to somehow fight against this book which hails from an ancient library. Can they survive or will they also fall victim to the curse of the book?
Horror and tragedy are like peanut butter and jelly in the manhwa world. They work well together. Reading Club is filled with those horror themes we all love, but thanks to manhwaga CHO Ju-Hee and illustrator SEO Yoon Young, there’s more here than just another cliché horror tale. We really loved the characters and what they dealt with as we learn how they connect to the evil cursed book and it really compelled us to continue reading this 3 volume manhwa. With amazing art—that truly scared us at times—and tragic filled narrative, Reading Club was the perfect way to start our Top 10 Tragic Manhwa recommendation list. Seriously, hopefully this becomes a movie or an anime eventually. We could see a lot of potential in those venues.
9. The Cliff
- Manhwaga: Oh Seongdae
- Genre: Drama, Horror, Psychological
- Volumes: 9 Chapters
- Published Date: 2012
Two friends are together on a hiking retreat. What should have been a fun and exciting adventure turns tragic when a slew of events befall our main character Dong-uk. As Dong-uk asks his friend to take a picture near a cliff. The landing the two friends are on collapses leaving them trapped. Then Dong-uk’s friend makes a simple mistake of letting a candy bar fall. As he retrieves it, Dong-uk does something horrific. He lets his friend fall to his death. Why did this have to happen and what fate will befall Dong-uk?
In literature, there is something called survivors guilt. It’s the concept of someone surviving after a horrible and tragic event than wondering should they still be alive. It’s very rare for a manhwa to look at these concepts and manhwaga Oh Seongdae did a splendid job doing so. The Cliff is a story that truly captures horror and drama in a very unique manner and while it may only be 9 chapters long, this tragic manhwa will be a story you’ll probably not forget about for a long time coming. We definitely recommend checking out The Cliff if you want a unique taste of tragedy at its finest.
8. Run, Bong-Gu, Run!
- Manhwaga: Byung- Jun Byun
- Genre: Drama, Seinen, Slice of Life
- Volumes: 1
- Published Date: 2003
Seeking work in the city of Seoul, Bong-Gu’s father seemingly disappeared leaving Bong-Gu and his mother left alone. In search of him, the two travel to Seoul themselves hoping to find some clues to what happened. Along the way Bong-Gu and his mother meet two strangers in the form of an old beggar and his daughter. Now these four souls will find their lives connected in more than one way. What awaits in Seoul for these four can only be discovered by reading Run, Bong-Gu, Run!
Run, Bong-Gu, Run really impressed us here at Honey’s Anime. Despite being a 1 volume piece, manhwaga Byung-Jun Byun really did an impressive job crafting a tale of realities that people sometimes forget. Our characters aren’t rich or even middle class people but are instead fighting to live and barely getting by. With an impressive heart filled narrative and amazing life like art Run, Bong-Gu, Run was a necessary choice for our Top 10 Tragic Manhwa list. Tragic manhwa like Run, Bong-Gu, Run not only entertain the reader but teach them a life lesson that truly is powerful be grateful for what you have.
7. Forest of Gray City
- Manhwaga: UHM Jung Hyun
- Genre: Drama, Romance, Shoujo, Slice of Life
- Volumes: 2
- Published Date: 2005
With a mountain of debt, 24 year old Yun-Ook Jang is facing an impasse. Being a young freelance illustrator, Yun-Ook Jang is forced to rent out a room in her place to help pay the bills. Yun-Ook Jang’s room is quickly taken by 17 year old Bum-Moo Lee who has just dropped out of school and is only working part time to pay his way in life. The two souls find themselves far from friends thanks to constant arguments and bickering making Yun-Ook Jang’s life a bit more troublesome. However, Yun-Ook Jan gets a big surprise when Bum-Moo Lee asks her if she wouldn’t mind him liking her…
Forest of Gray City is a manhwa that feels like a movie script in the making. This dramatic love story is filled with beautiful moments of love and plenty of tragic moments to make a truly memorable piece. Manhwaga UHM Jung Hyun really did a terrific job with not only the narrative but also the art itself. We loved looking at the characters with their bold designs which made scenes feel vibrant and emotional. Forest of Gray City is a tragic manhwa we know you’ll love as much as we did here at Honey’s Anime so we fully recommend checking it out as soon as possible.
6. Sad Love Song
- Manhwaga: Geo- SHIN Ji-Sang
- Genre: Drama, Romance, Shoujo, Tragedy
- Volumes: 5
- Published Date: 2005
Joon-young has always lived a bullied life thanks to his mother’s bar serving Americans. Then one day Joon-young meets a bling young girl named Hae-in and two fall in love despite their young age. Vowing to protect Hae-in, Joon-young has found purpose in his life now. However, just as quickly as the happiness came in Hae-in and her mother leave quickly and silently, leaving Joon-young lost. As time goes by Hae-in has grown up and meets a new man named Gun-woo who has money and power.When Hae-in’s first love reappears a love triangle begin to form and it’s all centered around Hae-in.
Sad Love Song made us weep at times and at other times smile strongly, a perfect concept of a tragic work. Geo-Shin and Ji-Sang—manhwaga and illustrator respectively—really crafted a story that never feels melodramatic or unreal. Love triangles are a very hard theme to pull off in any work—manhwa or not—and yet Geo seems to have been able to do so with relative ease. We know for those who read this you’ll be rooting for one of these two men to get this girl but we won’t spoil what happens or she ends up with. If you’re itching to find out what happens to the blind Hae-in then you’ll have to dive into Sad Love Song.
- Manhwaga: HWANG Youngchan
- Genre: Horror, Mystery, Psychological, Romance, School Life
- Volumes: 93 Chapters
- Published Date: 2014
Jin seems like your typical introverted young student. His classmates always talk about Jin’s odd nature and his lack of presence. However, no one understands that Jin’s world is a dark place filled with sorrow and pain. In Jin’s neighboring area people are going missing and this may be caused by a resident of Jin’s home. The reason being is in Jin’s home lies a terrible secret…there’s a serial killer running loose.
Bastard is one of those tragic tales that grabs you from page one and holds tightly. Manhwaga HWANG Youngchan creates a story that takes a young man’s world and warps it into something straight of nightmares. Bastard’s story is amazing but the illustrations—which are also handled by HWANG—are equally impressive making this manhwa hit even harder as the story unfolds. Some stories lead towards tragedy. Bastard however starts and ends with tragedy only giving readers a bit of anything else.
4. 100% Perfect Girl
- Manhwaga: Wann
- Genre: Drama, Romance, Shoujo, Psychological
- Volumes: 11
- Published Date: Aug, 2006- Nov, 2009
Love can sometimes blossom from the oddest events. Jay Jin a young artist wants to show that she can make it big in the world and get recognized for her work. Meanwhile, J. Max has just arrived in Korea for business. One is a native of Korea and the other hails from America and both are about to have a chance encounter. Love at first site might sound pleasant but for these two, their love will be challenged by not just the usual ordeals but by distance and racial differences.
100% Perfect Girl tragic story is something that surprises many. While we won’t spoil the ending—Honey’s Anime hates spoilers—we can say that this story crafted by manhwaga Wann has so many twists and turns you’ll be constantly in suspense. This is a love story that has moments of happiness and moments of sorrow leading to a manhwa that feels like an odd amalgam of tragic and happy. Trust us folks, here at Honey’s Anime we choose carefully what titles we put on our recommendation lists. That being said 100% Perfect Girl is a deceptive romance story that really has a home on our Top 10 Tragic Manhwa list for a reason.
- Manhwaga: Ahn Sung Ho
- Genre: Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi, Seinen, Slice of Life
- Volumes: 18 Chapters
- Published Date: 2012
Noru explores the world as it begins its final countdown till the end of humanity. Following our main character—who is named Noru after the title—we see his journey exploring the world and those who still are living. Noru helps these survivors by providing them with resources in exchange for them sharing their stories with the young traveler. You may ask what why is Noru doing this? Simply put, Noru wants to record the world and how it was before it’s too late to do so.
Manhwaga Ahn Sung Ho did an incredible job in this tragic manhwa. Usually most manhwa like Noru start near the end of the world. Noru, however, starts as the world has already undergone the end process. With incredible art and a very deep story, this 18 chapter manhwa will tug at your heartstrings and make you feel every tale as if it was being told by a real person. We loved Noru and while it may be a short experience, it’s an experience that we will remember for a long time coming.
2. About Death
- Manhwaga: Sini- Hyeono
- Genre: Slice of Life, Supernatural, Psychological
- Volumes: 2
- Published Date: Sep, 2012- Feb, 2013
Life doesn’t go as planned. At times despite what an individual may try to accomplish in their life, in the end something went astray. This is the story of several individuals who have experienced or are experiencing death. God himself wishes to talk to each of these individuals for one specific reason. God wishes to know and learn how their actions and choices in life led them to their end.
About Death is truly a tragic manhwa in every sense of the word. The main premise is to examine lives that have been either fuffling and or troublesome and see how the humans who lived these lives reacted. Not only did both Sini and Hyeono—the duo responsible for About Death—craft stories that were wonderful, they also made stories that felt real and powerful. Helping to create a deep immersion is the fact that each chapter has an attached musical piece tied to it that really sets the mood almost as if you were watching a story unfold than just reading one. About Death gets very real at times with some of the stories told and that’s why it takes second place on our Top 10 Tragic Manhwa list.
1. Hotel Since 2079
- Manhwaga: Boichi
- Genre: Drama, Ecchi, Mature, Mystery, Psychological, Sci-Fi, Seinen, Tragedy
- Volumes: 1
- Published Date: 2006
Life on Earth has come to a closure and this once beautiful world is a barren wasteland. However, there exists one place left that was made to keep the memories of the world alive. Before mankind fizzled out a computer was created. This machine isn’t meant for computing data or creating spreadsheets. This computer—dubbed Hotel—has records of 27 million years of humanity including the good and the bad.
Hotel Since 2079 crafted by manhwaga Boichi may be a singular volume but contained in this one volume is short stories that show a society that doesn’t exist anymore. Tales of people with incurable diseases as they face their last days or humanity struggling to keep hold of something they love, these are tales you’ll find in Hotel Since 2079 and we were genuinely surprised about how real they felt. Hotel Since 2079 truly is a tragic manhwa in every shape possible and yet it won’t make you feel devastated while reading it but be infused with entertaining stories that give readers a true sense of shock and awe. That’s why we knew after reading this collection of shorts that it needed to be in our top spot for our Top 10 Tragic Manhwa list.
Tragic manhwa might cause your tear ducts to unleash torrential waterfalls but we do have to admit, it’s nice to feel like that every so often. Stories can’t always rely on making everything in the end work out because real life doesn’t even work that way. Sometimes a story needs to have tragic events to immerse the readers even more and we know for a fact the manhwaga and illustrators have done that in the titles above. Here at Honey’s Anime we are proud of this top ten list but we aren’t perfect and we’re well aware of that. That’s why we need your help by telling us in the comments what you thought of our list as well as what titles intrigued you the most. As always keep coming around Honey’s Anime for more top ten lists waiting for your enjoyment.