It’s said that sometimes we just need to consume sad and tragic media to deal with our own emotional world as well. It’s cathartic to cry for the characters who you slowly start to care for throughout their journey and also reflect on your own life afterward.
Whether you’ve been reading this type of manga for a long time or you’re just dipping your toes in for the first time, you’ve come to the right place. Below is a list of the best sad romance manga that will make you cry and think about the meaning of life.
The manga on this list are very deep, thought provoking and will continue to live in you even after you move on from it. They are just that good. Take our word for it and head down to see for yourself.
Table of Contents
Nana by Ai Yazawa
This is a story of two girls who share a name and become best friends after they meet on a train heading to Tokyo. Nana Komatsu heads for Tokyo to finally reunite with her long distance boyfriend and Nana Osaki, to fulfill her dream of becoming huge in the Tokyo pop punk music scene.
Their personalities are vastly different but as though fate has intertwined their lives together, they quickly hit it off from the very first meeting. They must now navigate the complicated world of being in your early 20s and trying to find themselves in a big, new city through love, work, friends and heartbreak.
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Enjoying immense popularity with an insane rise of new fans starting from 2020, this series is intense, emotional and heart wrenching. Nana is probably one of the most well known manga in this genre. The series will make you feel the whole spectrum of emotions, taking you from adoration for the characters, to comedy and happiness, and sorrow for their pain.
There is just something very special about this manga and you’ll find yourself coming back to this over and over again because the characters are fleshed out so well and realistically you’ll feel they’re actual people. Truly beautiful and in an entire league of its own, Nana is a must read that you should definitely check out.
Orange by Ichigo Takano
If we’re talking about the best sad romance manga, then this series definitely needs to be mentioned. This is the story of Naho Takamiya who receives a letter one morning from her future self mentioning several regrets and urging her to make the right decisions.captivat Somehow all the regrets seem to be connected to her friend, Kakeru Naruse who seems to not be with Naho and her friends in the future.
In fact, he’s not alive in the future anymore. What seems on the surface as just another melodramatic high school shoujo romance, Orange’s intricate storytelling will prove you wrong and captivate you with this simple yet powerful tale of changing fate and portraying nuanced characters who have to deal with the complicated task of saving Kakeru’s life.
With masterful characterization and beautifully delicate art style, give this manga a try and let it take you on a bittersweet journey.
Your Lie in April by Naoshi Arakawa
Another heartbreaking manga in this list, this series centers around a pianist Kosei Arima, a piano child prodigy whose life drastically changes after the death of his rigorously strict mother. The subsequent trauma makes him decide to quit playing piano as he becomes unable to hear the sound of piano.
He lives a watered down version of his previous life as he continues to still cling to music to cope with his mother’s death. His life changes again, but this time for the better, as he meets the eccentric violinist Kaori Miyazono who motivates Arima to play music again as her accompanist. Soon, a beautiful romance blooms between them as Kaori slowly heals the wound that has been sitting heavy in Arima’s heart.
This is not only a story about tragedy. Although it starts off that way, it’s about passion, inspiration, friendship, moving forward in life and overcoming your pain. Musically beautiful and inspirational, this is a must read staple among fans who love this genre.
A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima
Short in length maybe but with a beautifully written storyline, this series really deserves to be in this list for best sad romance manga. This is the story of Shouya Ishida who thoughtlessly bully the deaf Shouko Nishimiya along with other classmates when she transfers to his class in elementary school.
Shouko decides to transfer to a different school and after her mother notifies the school of what happened, Shouya is singled out and solely blamed for the bullying. He becomes the scapegoat and his life in school turns miserable as he’s ostracized by everyone all throughout elementary and middle school. In his third year of highschool, he’s still plagued with guilt for his wrongdoings as a young boy, and decides to seek out Shouko and make amends.
A heartwarming tale of regret, forgiveness and redemption, this might not be everyone’s cup of tea as it deals with a complex issue and overall complicated human emotions but if you’re looking for a thought provoking series and to be challenged, then this is the perfect pick for you.
Deep Love: Ayu no Monogatari by Yoshi
Having given up on life and happiness, 17 years old high school student Ayu perceives her future as pointless and bleak. Ayu turns to selling her own body in a desperate search for a validation to her existence. After she hears an old lady’s touching story recounting her own first love, Aya becomes determined to change her life for the better.
But the catch is it might be too late for her. This series hits hard. The story is brutally realistic and we as readers can’t help but engage wholeheartedly. Despite her situation, Ayu wants to seek love.
Though life beats her down over and over again, she still strives to push forward. A very painful but rewarding read, we recommend that you definitely check it out.