Perfect Length for Manga = “30 Volumes”

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With so much recent controversy over manga endings (Bleach is in its “final chapter,” Negima ends in 3 chapters, and generic Jump love comedy Kagami no Kuni no Harisugawa just received one of “those” endings), manga fans have been debating the perfect length for a manga – with many coming to the conclusion that “about 30” volumes is about right.

endless-bleach

The various forms of protracted torture offered by such long-running titles as Bleach, Naruto and Berserk seem to have persuaded many that even the most epic of manga need to have properly paced endings:

“Anyone would lose interest with some of these longer titles…”

“25 volumes is a bit much.”

“12 volumes is good.”

“The beautiful ideal is 28-32 volumes!”

“If you’re unlucky and start reading one of those shonen titles midway you’ll be an adult by the time it finishes.”

“16 is a good time to leave off.”

“Slam Dunk is a good example of a 30 volume series.”

“Slam Dunk could have gone on a bit more.”

“If you start in your first year of elementary school you really want it to end about the time of your final exams in high school.”

“Where was One Piece even at when it hit 30…”

“Like anyone can be bothered to collect them all when they have 50+ volumes.”

“Recent manga tend to have huge panels, I really think that makes a difference.”

“Certainly, North Star and Seiya were better off not going over 30.”

“Any boy who started reading KochiKame is middle-aged now…”

“The biggest issue probably is readers of 30+ manga ending up as adults during its run.”

“20 or perhaps 10 is about right!”

“It was amazing how Full Metal Alchemist had the perfect length with no superfluous parts.”

“I read it all in 5 hours straight at a friend’s place.”

“Monthly series really get tedious at about volume 15. If you can save them up and read them all in one sitting, 30 volumes is great though.”

“Gash in 33, that was good.”

“Completion in 4 volumes is the best.”

“If it ends in the early twenties, you can at least hope to finish it in one sitting. I want to see an elegant ending but it does feel sad when they are over.”

“The college volumes of K-ON! and Lucky Star are just totally superfluous.”

“If only he could have finished Berserk at 28…”

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146 Comments

    • Depending on the series, I’d edge more toward 25. There are rare occasions when I aprove of going past that (because I think that’s when you start to think it’s rehashing plot devices or just becoming flat out shitty writing)

    • My favorite range is 10 to 15 volumes. Black Cat was 20 but did a good job of not making it feel streched out. Zombie Loan ended perfectly with 13.

      Even though I’d say it was definitely too long, I’m such a fan of Negima that I would never stop reading. I’m very glad that it does have an end though.

      • Black Cat and FMA were at the PERFECT length ๐Ÿ˜›

        But One Piece… even right now at 650-ish chapters OP still doesn’t feel finished and we are still wanting more and more adventure XD

      • i think as long as the mangaka fucking feels, so long as they aren’t dragging the corpse of the story along, like bleach did after the SS arc, naruto after… i forget where it was exaclty where i gave up on that one on a weekly basis… probably a bit after the time skip.

        one piece i try to read in arc amounts, because its painful to read it by chapter, than want more but there is no more.

        • @12:10

          That’s true for many titles that I dropped because they just keep on doing the same things, the same jokes, and never going anywhere (ex: Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge). It’s a shame because they could be very solid titles if they didn’t stretch like that.

          If you think about it, it’s the same reason many drop American comics, they just keep rehashing the same thing over and over.

        • 21:40
          haven’t read naruto anywhere near recently

          saske wanted his brother dead
          brother turned out to be a good guy
          save his little brother
          died
          than the cloud guy took him in told him the truth now he wants hidden leaf dead??? what the fuck is that about?

          naruto on the other hand, wants his friend back and is trying, funny enough, naruto, at least as far as i read is the more like able of the characters (at least till saske turned into a “hes stronger than me” whiny cunt)

          13:14

          some manga are for story, like full metal alchamest, some manga are for the journey, and not the end (most manga and anime fall here) and some are just because they can (4koma and plotless ones here) i rather like perfect girl evolution, yea it goes nowhere and nowhere fast, but its a fun ride, at least for me it is.

        • Satonaka, Chen-04, you guys are idiots. The story became crap when Shippuuden started? Sasuke is the only character that makes sense? Jesus, those are some of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. And Chen, if you dropped it that early, you shouldn’t even comment on the characters or story of the show in the first place. I too wish that Sasuke will be killed though, but I really don’t think that’s going to happen…unfortunately…

        • The problem is, that many mangas seem to go on and on and on and on without actually going anywhere. And many of them could’ve had a good ending a long time ago.
          It starts to especially feel rather bad when the mangaka kind of turns the goal into an mechanical rabbit that keeps running away from the story faster then it can catch up to it.

        • “If it doesn’t end with Sasuke’s death then the story sucks.”

          If it doesn’t end with Narutos death then the story sucks. Oh well~
          Seriously, though. Sasuke was the only character that made remotely sense. But then I dropped it after, like, I dunno… probably long before the time skip.

        • Naruto began failing during SHipuuden’s early arcs. really the direction could’ve gone much better than the shit fest it’s turned into now. But alas, we’re forced to deal with what’s out now. I dropped it after Pain invades Konoha because it just seems like the mangaka is dragging ass with the story. I’ll go back to it when it hits the very final chapter, and pick up the last 5 books to kinda make sense of the ending.

          If it doesn’t end with Sasuke’s death then the story sucks.

  • GOOD RIDDANCE to Bleach and Negima!!!

    They stopped being good LONG time ago,and they both should’ve ended by now.

    Now if we could get rid of Naruto and OP and let other GOOD manga flourish things could get better.

  • I think it depends on the type of the story. It should end when it needs to end. Some are more suitable as a short story (less than 5 volume, or even a single one shot). Others need more time and space to fully develop and explore the world and characters, and so should be longer. For example, personally I don’t feel Ippo is too long or dragging it at close to 1000 chapters (except for the main character’s romantic relationship)

    • Well, this includes Detective Conan… Since when will be a time when Gosho Aoyama would tie up loose ends and conclude his series? I mean, Conan is stuck being a kid and solves murder cases instead of finding the cure and stop an evil organization.

    • The primary indicator of too many volumes is problem-of-the-day like chapters. You often see this starting early on in a series, and it indicates that the author thought up a nice setting with a small story, and then it became a big hit with obvious demand for more volumes. It’s happened to the best, even to Rumiko Takahashi (repeatedly).
      The primary indicators of too little volumes are a) a lack of closure at the end and b) rushed story. The latter I’ve seen mostly in manga by inexperienced authors. There’s this awesome plot and they seem eager to show the ending, or maybe they fear they won’t get syndication for another volume, and they e.g. skip panels and scenes which may not have been necessary to them (since they know how everything will turn out) but the omission of which leaves the reader seriously confused.
      I’ve read good single-volume manga; I’ve read good shelf fillers too. The thing that matters is telling your story at the right pace.

  • I find this sort of debate to be a bit ridiculous. There is no single ideal length for storytelling and there never will be.

    Now if this is all about how much a creator should pointlessly milk their series before calling it quits, then that’s another matter…

  • Looking at how often mangakas take breaks nowadays, I think it’s more a time problem than a volumes problem. Fairy Tail has never gone on hiatus and it’s almost at 30 tomes in less than 5 years…
    I think probably the readers maximum attention span/patience for the story to progress is about ten years. Berserk isn’t even in vol 40 over twice the time.
    It’s simply that, if you can’t get new ideas for your current manga to progress just end it and start with a new idea.
    Altough, as Bakuman taught us, wether a series will end in 1 volume or end 50 years later is just up to the rankings in the magazines they are published, it does not have to do with the author wishes or ability anymore, just with the popularity built over years.

  • I do think any manga if its awesome wont be lame , like if you dont feel it being dragged on then I think its ok how long. But it would be nice when things finish, but I can see one piece going on for another 300 chapters and I dont mind that at least because its so awesome at the moment.

    Berserk is truly awesome but man I do wish that the guy would be better at releasing the chapters its been ages since the last one, I WANT TO SEE IF GUTS KILLS A FREAKING SEA GOD DAMNIT

  • 30-35 good end. But damn Berserk man its taking like 20 years ahaha I wish he get a more valid creating of time, like its been like a year since the last mermaid chapter. However I do think that you wont mind how long something takes if its awesome, I mean one piece is awesome unless it starts getting crap I can see it going on for another 300 chapters. I will probably be 40 when it finishes.

  • If I’m going to read it online, I really don’t care how long it is as long as it’s enjoyable and not feel like the story is dragging itself, otherwise, if I’m going to buy it, I’d rather have it at 12 or 24 at most.

    On another note: It’s like mx0 all over again for Harisugawa. The author is really unlucky to get two of it’s series slashed like that. But then again, you could only extend about a boy in a girl’s mirror for so long and not feel draggy. I actually think it’s better that it ended at about 27-28 chapters? Too bad most of the characters except the main 3 was really under developed, but oh well.

  • The perfect length is the time it takes for the mangaka to tell a good and complete story.

    So, it varies depending on the manga. Like everything, there is no right answer. But people on the internet want to pretend there is so they’ll have something to bitch about.

  • I think it depends on the work…

    Berserk still manages to draw me in, even as Miura dithers and delays and takes time off.

    Bleach, on the other hand, lost me once they rescued Rukia.

    Sundome did have a great small run (though the art for the new girlfriend was too similar to our favorite Dom).

  • Sundome was pretty good for 8 volumes.
    CIGUATERA had 6 volumes, but a WTF/time-lapse/realistic twist ending.
    Air Gear was good for about 17 Vol., then they butchered the plot and killed the fun of it just to extend the storyline and make more money.

  • Flock of Angels: 3 volumes
    DearS: 8 volumes
    Paradise Kiss: 5 volumes
    The Drifting Classroom: 11 volumes
    Well those are some of the most recent manga I’ve read and finished that makes this post relevent.

  • Akamatsu ending negima in 3 chapters…I wonder if it really is a choice on the author. You never know. It could be that the editors of the magazine Akamatsu is publishing in decided to cancel it. I definitely think Negima got cancelled and not by Akamatsu’s choice. But yeah I’m not happy either of negima ending in 3 chapters. Not good enough for me.

  • wait, Negima is really ending in 3 chapters?! I thought there would at least be a future arc to neatly wrap up everything.

    Guess that sellout Akamatsu took the cowards way out again, by leaving the reader to pick who is Negi’s future wife. Last time he told readers that LH would not end with ‘the usual choice’, meaning it was meant to end with someone other than the first girl introduced. And now to avoid having to chose between 30 slits, he’s going to avoid the issue entirely?! What a shit writer. All he cares about is sales numbers.

  • I prefer as many as it takes to tell the story. .hack//Legend of the Twilight took 3 volumes and Chobits took 8. Can you imagine how much needless padding they would have to include if their editors said they had to be 14 volumes long. No one would want to read it because of all the crap that gets in the way of the actual story.

  • It depends on the kind of series, really. For some, 5-6 is enough, you can fit all that needs to be said within that length.

    For more involved series, or for those where content padding and fluff is a major part of its appeal, 10-12 is usually fine.

    Grand saga stories, which involve a long, fantastic journey (whether literally or metaphorically) that is really more the point than the actual goal, 15-25 is a good range.

    Sitcom-style (regardless of whether it’s actually comedy or not) series which have no real beginning or ending, and the characters don’t significantly age or otherwise change over time, can theoretically keep going as long as the author can keep it fresh despite the lack of character development. But sooner or later things will start to wear thin or the author will die, and it’s probably best to stop before it gets to either of those points.

    My opinion, anyhow.

  • I think it depends entirerly on how good the manga is. shit manga = 30 is too long. Great manga = 30 probably isn’t enough. For mediocre manga like bleach and other shit then yeah, 30 is fine.

  • Too long ones that were good are Hajime no Ippo, Detective Conan, Ironfist Chinmi (always new one pops up). Yakitate is about 25-30 volumes but last 10 vol. it felt like it just went way overboard and lost my interest. Same with GTO Early Years. Fullmetal Alchemist Fruits Basket and Maison Ikkoku are my two favourites that are just perfect lenght without any extra dragging. It really depends on genre really like Azumanga being 4 vol. long and some are simply awesomme with only one chapter or so like early works of Rumiko Takahashi e.g. Rumic World and Teather.

  • it all depends on if the plot of the manga is one that allows it to be long or not.

    One Piece and Gintama seem to be 2 of the ones that can stay for many many years more cause especially Gintama does not have some sort of expected conclusion to happen unlike stories with final enemies or goals etc

  • i cannot know for sure how many volumes would be perfect for a manga but one thing is sure:
    you could never sell in the Western 3rd World a series that is more than 10 volumes long. that simply won’t do with our pockets, no matter how otaku we try to be.
    and then they want to discourage piracy…

  • Where did this nice little tidbit of info come from, that Negima would end in 3 chapters?

    Granted, if one was following the current chapters you could see that Negima is clearly winding down to some form of closure, but I haven’t heard of any exact numbers.

    But damn, it feels so weird that Negima is ending. I’ve been following it for so long. It’s bar none my favorite Manga, and to see it end will be saddening. But, it really is for the best. I prefer it to end with dignity, and to die with grace. As opposed to Bleach which was once good, but proceeded to wither on the vine and rot like a Zombie who’s been left out in the sun for a little too long. So while I’m sad to see it go (and while I don’t know if it’s exactly 3 chapters, I know it’s sooner than later) it is for the best to end it intentionally, and to let it die with dignity.

    (I shall miss you Chisame Hasegawa,you will not be forgotten)

    • Plus have you seen the spoilers for the next chapter? The raws are already out.
      -100 year timeskip
      -everyone killed off, even Negi who was supposed to be immortal
      -fuck all the plot points that haven’t been resolved yet (also fuck Nagi)
      -this way it’s gonna be the perfect ending!

      Akamatsu’s the biggest troll ever, really. He’s shaping up to be almost Kubo-tier.

      • Okay, I saw the article on ANN concerning the fact that Negima will end within 3 chapters, so this is not just baseless guessing.

        http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2012-02-03/negima-magister-negi-magi-manga-to-end-in-3-more-chapters

        As for the fact that it’s only 3 chapters more in all likelyhood does not make me a happy camper. As for the many people asking how all the questions still present (especially ones concering Nagi and Arika)will be answered well in this short time, the short answer is: they won’t be. Either we will get a half-assed explanation or things will remain a mystery, to be answered only by the speculations of fanfic writers. While both options are not appealing, I’d prefer a permanent mystery to a half-assed answer. As the old saying goes, if you are going to do something poorly don’t even bother doing it at all. I’d prefer no answer and the endless speculation that comes with it as opposed to a poor answer that’s forced into Canon.

        As for the possible details of those chapters, I almost never view spoiler threads on forums. However, anon14:03 and my own curiosity spurred me to look at a spoiler thread for the Manga. Granted, we only have knowledge (and the barest of knowledge at that) on the 1st of the 3 ending chapters, but the little we know is not pleasing in the least. If the worst case senario is the truth than what a horrid end that would be, with near every single character out of the picture. As of now I am subscribing to the time travel theory (based on the idea that time travel has been used already in the story, and Negima’s tone in general is Optimistic and Idealistic, and the worst case senario ending clashes too much with Negima’s long established tone), although this could be some twisted form of Stockholm Syndrome in action as well…

        • This fuckin’ sucks! Why does Akamatsu end it so abruptly with such a shitty ending, and important questions and story potential being left out to rot!? Idiot! And to think I respected the man so much…Negima has been my second favourite manga so far after GTO…but if this happens that will change…

  • i remember when i first read Conan, i was still in junior… now look at me, married… next year will become a father, while conan is still a 17 years old boy that already passed over 10 christmas event and over 10 times valentine… Aoyama Gosho is a failure for a mangaka. he can’t resist the publisher request to prolong the manga since it sells good! publisher itself never really care about the reader opinion, as long as it sells. to me, Aoyama is just a Fujiko F. Fujio wannabe…

  • Eh, I recently bought volume 40 of Dark Horse’s translation of Kosuke Fujishima’s OH/AH! MY GODDESS! manga, so there are exceptions, but I generally don’t read manga that last beyond 18 volumes (i.e. SAILOR MOON & KIMAGURE ORANGE ROAD). I think RANMA ยฝ lasted more than 18 volumes, but I didn’t collect it past volume 15.

  • around 15 is enough for me, but if they can still pull a good story then why not?

    Well it’s better to end a manga when the fans are still having a great time reading, rather than ending it because fans start to drop because it became tedious or whatever the reason. *cough*bleach*cough*

  • Those barbarians known as Americans don’t buy manga. They download and pirate them. Those filthy bastards will pirate everything and spend all of their money on hamburgers. They sure love their obesity.

  • I think it’s kind of stupid knowing the EXACT number of volumes/chapters a given piece of work has.
    It would take away so much… speculative imagination.
    You’d know where they’d be the climax and when is the resolution and all that kind of stuff.
    Having a good ending that makes sense is nice though, and not something that’s draw-on way past its “expiry date”.

  • i think this topic only concerns those who only read manga as a trend. when you like an author and his characters, you always want to see more. heck i waited 20 years to read some mangas, comics, to see some films. but i guess todays audience only likes fast things, pretty much the fast food generation.

  • I think manga can be any length as long as the story doesn’t do anything wrong or drag out something that would be better as a short manga then a long one. After all some manga like One Piece,Dragon Ball, and Bleach leave a wide area of things to do and keep itself going. They can go for so long because One Piece is story about a journey around the world and Dragon ball used the entire universe and other dimensions for setting and battles.

  • I think it depends on the story and genre… Love Comedy tend to be tediuos at more chapters vol. are… fantasy and action manga can run for a long based on how large is the universe where are based on…

    Mangas like Rurni Kenshin are perfect with 28 vol. long… But Slam Dunk with 31 vol. could have been running for more time until suddenly end…

    One piece will run a long more, but I hope the mangaka do not die before end it… ^^

  • I honestly dont know how many half of mine end at. With reading chapters online its so hard to keep track and the manga I do have are not full collections. Given how many chapters are in the average volume though, seems like 30 is pushing it a bit.

  • Personally I think that the ideal length is what the author decides and that’s that, there is no ‘ideal length’ at all. If the author isn’t fit to tell when he’s overstretching the story or when it doesn’t meet the demands. nobody is.

    In this, the manga publishing system is somewhat crippled, as it is based purely on how profitable the works will prove to be. Of course this isn’t the case in just manga publishing, but in all types of large company-based media production. However, at least the authors of novels can decide the length of their own stories; They don’t just go to the publisher with a rough idea and be told to write until it gets so boring or far-fetched that people stop buying them.

    The manga publishing system is somewhat demeaning to the actual works!

  • Ideal length depends on the genre really.

    Adventure/fighting types typically can last longer than most types because theres usually more variation along with more action.

    Romance types usually should be shorter due to the limited developmental possibilities of the plot.

  • I’ve been collecting “The Wallflower/Yamatonadeshiko Shichihenge” and so far there are 29 volumes of this series. 28 are availiable in the US by Del Rey. I own 20. In the US they compressed 3 volumes [22,23,24] together [I’m not happy about it]. 29 Volumes into iit and still the story has gotten nowhere…It’s not as funny as the earlier volumes either, and as much as I ABSOLUTELY HATE not completing series collections, I’m pretty much done with it now. No idea how long Hayakawa’s gonna drag the plot. I was 15 when I started reading it, I’m 20 now and these assholes in the story are STILL IN HIGHSCHOOL! LAMEEE!!!!

  • 30 volumes…

    For like an adaptation of the Rg Veda… The complete legends of King Arthur and his Knights of the Table Round….

    Problem with much of this is that they pull things on as long as possible. I mean like “Kurohime” which I think got cancelled or Testotharosa which I know did… The story drags on too long and becomes boring essentially.

  • Let’s see some GREAT manga and their lengths:

    FMA: 27 Volumes

    Death Note: 12 Volumes

    Hellsing: 10 Volumes

    Monster: 18 Volumes

    Love Hina: 14 Volumes

    TAKE NOTES PEOPLE!!!

    You can make a terrific manga without going into the 40s or 50s like all generic shounen!!!

    If Bleach had ended after the SS arc it would have been 20 or 21 volumes, and it would’ve been a GREAT manga…..instead we have a disaster.