What is a 4-Koma Manga? [Definition, Meaning]

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In the world of manga, there are a slew of different genres and types of manga to read. Though many are pretty self-explanatory, there are a few genre or manga types that newcomers scratch their heads at in utter confusion. One of those confusing types are 4-koma manga and we here at Honey’s Anime have found ourselves explaining the terminology many times to people. That’s why we decided to take up our teaching attire and create this handy article for you newer manga readers out there that maybe have no idea what a 4-koma manga is. Welcome to out What is a 4-Koma Manga article.

Now some of you might be scared out there and worried you might not be able to learn what a 4-koma manga is in such a short time. However, here at Honey’s Anime HQ we tend to think our teaching methods are pretty simple. Below you will see several examples in the form of different manga that are within the 4-koma category as well as means of explaining how the 4-koma theme works in manga. By the end of out What is a 4-Koma Manga you will be not only fully aware now of what 4-koma manga is and what it looks like but also maybe find some new manga to read and enjoy at your leisure. Now then, while we don’t have a school bell to signify the start of the class we hope you can imagine one and get ready to get some manga education inserted into your craniums.

Short 4 Panel Stories

There’s a simple reason why the number 4 is inserted into 4-koma, because there are 4 panels in the manga. Typically, most manga have 1-5 sometimes more or less images on a single page and they follow a plot without pause. However, 4-koma instead usually has 4 panels per page—or two 4 panel works on a page—that just tells a story or an event with only 4 panels. It might sound confusing but trust us, it really isn’t, folks. Let us talk about one of the most famous 4-koma manga out there in the form of Azumanga Daioh and we’re sure you’ll understand what we mean after it is talked about.

1. Azumanga Daioh

  • Mangaka: Azuma, Kiyohiko
  • Genre: Comedy, School, Slice of Life
  • Volumes: 4
  • Published Date: Jan, 1999- Mar, 2002

The world of high school girls can be a crazy one but for students like Sakaki, Kagura, Tomo, Yomi and Osaka school is ten times more insane. Azumanga Daioh follows these girls—along with some of their other friends—as they deal with tough teachers, strange conspiracy plots and parents who may or may not be animal based? The world of Azumanga Daioh is sometimes bizarre but for these girls this is a world of normality. Watch as these six young women mature—or at least try to—as they go through school life and have tons of fun while doing so. Well as much fun as you can have without including tests…

As a 4-koma manga, Azumanga Daioh tells the story of six young and incredibly silly girls as they handle odd situations and everyday school life. Rather than being one giant story, Azumanga Daioh has readers enjoying bite sized tales of random events within the confines of 4 panel stories. An example of this comes in the form of one of the girls talking about her accent and thus why she is dubbed Osaka. It’s a simple story that literally is explained in 4 images worth of content. That’s the beauty of 4-koma works like Azumanga Daioh. Readers can enjoy short tales at their own pace and not have to worry about too much information being unleashed upon them. Think of it akin to classic slapstick humor which usually is a few seconds of a joke and then the punchline, that’s Azumanga Daioh in a nutshell.

Comedy and Romance in bite sized panels

4-koma manga tend to rarely ever be about serious stories with tons of violence or seinen-like themes. Typically, most 4-koma manga are comedy filled and/or romance orientated. This is partially due to the fact that these two genres tend to be the easiest to format into the 4-koma set up. So we here at Honey’s Anime can better illustrate what we mean we have decided to use 2 manga that fit this molding perfectly. The manga we’re about to discuss are

Yandere Kanojo and Acchi Kocchi, two excellent examples of comedy and romance done in tandem with one another.

2. Yandere Kanojo

  • Mangaka: Shinobi
  • Genre: Comedy, Romance, School, Shounen
  • Volumes: 17
  • Published Date: Jun, 2008- Apr, 2015

Tanaka Manabu is a nerdy student, who happens to be great at school and socially awkward with a very odd air surrounding him. Meanwhile, Ryuuzaki Reina is a young delinquent girl who just so happens to be a leader of a delinquent girl squad and loves to cause mischief and mayhem at school as well as around her town. However, would you believe that secretly these two are actually in a relationship with each other!? Bumping into each other one day at school, both Tanaka and Reina fell for each other without a second thought. Though, a question pops up in their minds. Can a delinquent girl and an all too smart boy somehow make their love work or will they fall apart? Find out in this crazy rom com known as Yandere Kanojo!

Our first example of a truly fun, goofy and lovey-dovey 4-koma manga comes in the form of Yandere Kanojo. At 17 volumes long, Yandere Kanojo aims to make the reader laugh at the romantic struggles that Reina and Tanaka deal with on a daily basis thanks to their friends and own odd personalities, as well as make readers go aww when they see the two somehow show love to each other with sometimes hilarious and awkward results. Each volume has tons of short 4 panel stories that explore Tanaka and Reina’s everyday lives trying to get along and how a romance story works between a delinquent girl and nerdy guy. If you want one of the best examples of a truly great 4-koma manga then you absolutely need to read Yandere Kanojo. It’s also a great place to get acquainted with the odd nature of the 4-koma manga theme as well.

3. Acchi Kocchi

  • Mangaka: Ishiki
  • Genre: Comedy, Romance, School, Slice of Life
  • Volumes: 7
  • Published Date: Sept, 2006- Present

For cat-like Miniwa Tsumiki—who by the way, isn’t an actual cat—her love story is a complex one. Miniwa clearly loves her friend Otonashi Io but thanks to Io’s very stoic personality, she can’t feel if he likes her back or if he just sees her as another friend. Their friends in the form of Mayoi, Hime and Sakaki wish their friends would just admit their feelings for one another but also love to tease them for their lack of advancing on one another. Acchi Kocchi tells the tale of two lovebirds trying to find love and all the while living in a world of pulling pranks on one another and having odd situations occur every day. Will Tsumiki and Io finally just admit their love? Find out in Acchi Kocchi!

Another great example of a 4-koma manga is Acchi Kocchi. This silly and sometimes extremely ridiculous 4-koma manga infuses comedy and romance in perfectly bite sized portions. We especially love that each short panel feels different thanks to just some of the over the top moments that shoot at readers nonstop in Acchi Kocchi. If you want a sillier comedy and romance story—even more sillier than Yandere Kanojo mentioned above—then we wholeheartedly recommend Acchi Kocchi. Then you can join us here at Honey’s Anime as we pray the next volume finally has Io and Tsumiki solidify their relationship once and for all. We know it will happen eventually!

Final Thoughts

If we learned anything today, we now know 100% that 4-koma manga is a perfect medium for silly stories that are one part cute and another part romance driven. Though if you worry you might not like the manga we mentioned above—though we’re pretty confident all of you will like the manga we discussed above—fret not reader as there are loads of 4-koma manga out there in the world of manga, some even are based on extremely popular franchises and or act as spin offs to some of the more popular manga series created. If you know of any 4-koma manga that we didn’t mention on this What is a 4-Koma Manga article feel free to comment down below to help your fellow manga enthusiast find some more reading material. As always folks we here at Honey’s Anime have tons of articles like this one here on our website so if you did love it we’re sure you can find even more manga related articles to enjoy.

Azumanga-Daioh-manga-300x428 What is a 4-Koma Manga? [Definition, Meaning]


Author: Aaron

Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!

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Azumanga-Daioh-manga-300x428 What is a 4-Koma Manga? [Definition, Meaning]

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