It is a well-known fact that I am a super lazy being and don’t usually like committing to things that take a lot of time to finish. That being said, I am also pretty non-committal when it comes to reading manga that consists of volumes after volumes, long and takes almost a decade to finish reading. But the world of manga hasn’t discarded misfits like me over this, rather it has also made a place for those of us who would rather read small manga that has an intriguing plotline, few characters, and don’t take more than a few days to finish. So, I would like to thank all the mangakas who have given us one-volume manga (manga with only 1 volume) that are fast-paced, easy to finish, and are just as engrossing as long manga!
Now, short manga can consist of any number of volumes between 1 to 6. These quick-read manga come in diverse genres like action, adventure, fantasy, comedy, romance, sports, music, horror, thriller, sci-fi, etc. In this article, I will be talking exclusively about one-volume manga and giving you manga recommendations of the same. If you are a non-committal reader like me, I’m sure this will give you some insight on what to go for the next time you are surfing around manga reader apps and manga reading sites.
If you are someone who is just getting into manga, I’m sure this list will be useful for you too! After all, one-volume manga is a great gateway to the world of manga and I can root for that. So put on your seatbelts and get ready to know about some amazing short manga to read.
These One-Shot Manga Will Blow Your Mind
Sneeze by Naoki Urasawa
This one-volume manga by the man of mystery Naoki Urasawa is one of a kind. Sneeze is essentially a short story collection that consists of eight stories in total. And each of these stories is special and unique in its own way. From fantasy and mystery to music and slice of life, Sneeze is an eclectic short story collection that will surely succeed in securing your undivided attention.
The manga is available in English on any manga reading site or app. This short story collection is very personal to Urasawa as it derives ideas from the mangaka’s own experiences and anecdotes. It will touch your heart too.
Mujirushi by Naoki Urasawa
Another gem by Urasawa, Mujirushi is a one-volume manga that combines elements of mystery and humor to create a masterpiece that is celebrated by manga fanatics all over the world. The manga narrates the story of a young businessman named Kamoda who commits tax fraud to take his family on a dream cruise. However, as if bad luck was always on his side, he quickly goes bankrupt after a surprise audit where his fraudulent actions come to light. On top of that, he loses his wife who runs off with another man on the cruise, leaving Kamoda with his kid daughter and a lot of debts. Will he ever be able to recover from this dire situation? To find out, you need to check out Mujirushi today.
This one-volume manga is quite engrossing and in a series of twists and turns, it concludes with the perfect touch of absurdity that it has tried to maintain throughout its course. Any mystery lover will enjoy it. You can read it in English on any manga reading site or app.
The Gods Lie by Kaori Ozaki
This coming-of-age one-volume manga is a must-read for all manga fanatics. The story is narrated from the perspective of Natsuru Nanao, the protagonist, who recollects the summer from his childhood when he met Rio Suzumura, an introverted girl whom he befriended. He spent that summer with Rio at the cost of his soccer practice. What started as a seemingly innocent friendship soon sees a darker turn of events when tragedy strikes.
This is a manga is a roller-coaster of emotions so remember to keep your tissues ready. The art style is also quite mesmerizing and will captivate you. If you are looking to read something gut-wrenching yet, beautiful at the same time, The Gods Lie by Kaori Ozaki is the perfect small manga for you.
Ristorante Paradiso by Natsume Ono
Romance and slice-of-life fans rejoice because this one-volume manga is just for you! This manga chronicles the daily life of the staff of a restaurant in Rome. The story follows Nicoletta, the protagonist who has come to Rome from the countryside to look for her estranged mother. However, instead, she ends up training in Casetta dell’Orso, a restaurant owned by her step-father Lorenzo. She also quickly befriends the restaurant’s eccentric staff.
This colorful manga will give you a sneak peek into the fascinating lives of the people working in the restaurant as you hold Nicoletta’s hand to join her in her journey. I shall recommend this manga to anyone who is looking for something light-hearted to read. This manga is available in English on any manga reading site or app.
All My Darling Daughters by Fumi Yoshinaga
This one-volume manga narrates the story of Yukiko, a working woman in her thirties who moves out of her house where she lived with her mother Mari after the latter decides to get married to an ex-host and upcoming and aspiring actor who is younger than Yukiko. Yukiko, not being able to accept this relationship decides to move in with her boyfriend and finally separate from her mother.
Other than narrating the story of Yukiko, this manga also chronicles the stories of other women who are Yukiko’s peers. This collection of five short stories is sure to captivate you as it quite boldly presents the obstacles that women face in an oppressive patriarchal society while at the same time eloquently portraying the different kinds of mother-daughter relationships.
I will suggest this manga to all those who are looking to read something out of the box yet packed with emotions.
Helter Skelter by Kyoko Okazaki
This one-volume manga will be enjoyed by all thriller and horror enthusiasts. The manga narrates the story of Liliko, a supermodel who goes under the knife to attain the perfect body and appearance to remain at the top of the fashion world. However, all the plastic surgeries take a toll on her body and quickly it starts breaking down much to Liliko’s frustrations. The situation gets worse when she faces competition from Kozue, an upcoming model celebrated for her natural beauty and friendly demeanor.
This psychological thriller is one of the best manga of all time in this genre as it brings to light the fallacies of fame and appearance, as Liliko struggles psychologically to accept her own aging body which leads her to seek revenge on everyone whom she views as an obstacle on her path to stardom.
This manga is perfect for anyone wanting to read an engrossing suspense manga that will keep you hooked until the last page. And if you are interested further, you can also check out the live-action movie based on this manga, of the same name starring Erika Sawajiri in the role of Liliko. You can easily avail this manga in English on any manga reading site on the web.
Downfall by Inio Asano
Inio Asano is popular for his slice-of-life works although in this manga he has explored a darker theme. Downfall tells the story of a manga author whose only aim in life is to create a series that will sell better than his previous hit. In a quest to attain this, he ends up ignoring his already broken marriage and his degrading mental health.
Downfall by Inio Asano sheds light on the darker side of the manga industry and the terrible pressure that mangaka’s have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. A rise in sales means more fame and appreciation but that often comes at the cost of one’s mental and physical health, interpersonal relationship, and the love for manga that started as nothing but pure passion and genuine excitement.
If you want to get a glimpse of what life for a mangaka truly is like, I would suggest you read this brilliant piece by Asano sensei. The story is raw, real, and will hit you hard.
Finding a decent one-volume manga to read can be hard. Therefore, I hope this list will come of help in some way. The ones that I mentioned above are a few of my personal favorites and I am sure you can relate to my sentiments with some of them. And if you are just starting on this journey, you can check out our article on how to read manga panels to get a comprehensive tutorial on how to read manga. I’m sure these one volume manga will bring you as much joy as they brought to me and will pave the way for you to seek out more. Till then, have a great time reading these marvelous works!