10 Cute Manga That Have The Best Friendships

We all enjoy a good love story, but sometimes it’s the friendships that steal the show. Read on for ten manga that prove our friends are our true loves.

Adaptations Comics & Graphic Novels Graphic Novels Pop Culture Recommendations
three moanga book covers on a pale blue background with animated best friends bead bracelets

“The power of friendship” isn’t an uncommon theme in manga. Whether in the form of childhood friends, schoolmates, or a pack of eclectic witch familiars, there’s an array of stories that feature some of the most lovable friend groups. Here are ten manga series that are, at their heart, an ode to friendship.

Skip & Loafer by Misaki Takamatsu

Skip & Loafer by Misaki Takamatsu, manga book cover depicting a young boy and girl in school uniforms skipping on a white background with cherry blossom flowers in the upper corners.
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

Skip & Loafer follows a country girl as she transfers to a school in Tokyo city. The ambitious Mitsumi, whose goals include becoming Prime Minister, is convinced high school will be a perfect experience. While her first day flops, Mitsumi’s fish-out-of-water story broadens with first love, hard lessons, and, of course, new friends. What makes this series special is how well-rounded its characters are: the country bumpkin who’s both smart and confident, the popular boy who’s friendly and complex, and the would-be mean girl who’s actually vulnerable and relatable. The series also does a great job in its depiction of LGBTQIA+ themes with some minor trans representation. All in all, Skip & Loafer is not only a delightful read but a great gateway manga — and anime!

Yona of The Dawn by Mizuho Kusanagi

Yona of the Dawn by Mizuho Kusanagi, manga book cover depicting a red-haired girl with a crown and formal dress sitting among swords and flowers in the lower corners.
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

Yona of the Dawn is a political fantasy with a very intense, plot-driven start to its story. However, the heart of this series is undoubtedly Princess Yona and her lovable group of allies. After being forced out of her kingdom, Yona and her bodyguard Hak find adventure with some misfit dragon warriors and a genius boy. Oh, and a pet squirrel! If you’ve read this manga, you know that the highlight of the series is the shenanigans of the Happy Hungry Bunch. They make you laugh, cry, cry of laughter, and simp, perhaps? This is a reverse harem, after all.

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End by Kanehito Yamada and Tsukasa Abe 

Frieren: Beyond Journey's End by Kanehito Yamada and Tsukasa Abe, manga book cover depicting four people sitting against a column in a background of ruins, with feathers falling from the upper center.
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

Written and illustrated by Kanehito Yamada and Tsukasa Abe, respectively, Frieren is a refreshing take on an adventure/fantasy series. You see, it actually takes place after the adventure. It follows Frieren, an elven mage who once traveled with a hero’s party to defeat the Demon King terrorizing the land. As an elf, Frieren far outlives her human peers — hence why she never found sense in truly connecting with them. Nearly 30 years after Himmel the Hero’s death, she’s changing that as she sets out with new friends to retrace her long-ago journey. Follow Frieren on her trip down memory lane, and don’t miss the series’ stunning new anime that’s airing right now!

WITCH WATCH by Kenta Shinohara

WITCH WATCH by Kenta Shinohara, manga book cover depicting the close-up of a young girl winking and forming a heart with her hands on a teal background with sparkles and characters surrounding her head.
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

WITCH WATCH sees teen witch Nico Wakatsuki moving in with her new familiar — childhood friend and crush, Morihito “Moi” Otogi — who must protect her from impending doom. At first glance, the series seems like a generic rom-com, where two teens are conveniently set up to live together without any adult supervision. However, that changes when Nico’s roster of familiars expands. From Moi, the type A ogre, and Kan, the lazy tengu, to a hipster werewolf and a tween vampire, this eclectic bunch is built for gags. The series is a perfect blend of slapstick comedy and action while also being rather wholesome.

Silver Spoon by Hiromu Arakawa

Silver Spoon by Hiromu Arakawa, manga book cover depicting a young boy laying against a cow with a calf beside him on a white background and a green frame all around.
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

In a reverse Skip & Loafer comes another fish-out-of-water story about a burned-out suburban boy who enrolls in an agricultural high school. Unfortunately for Yuugo Hachiken, getting up at the crack of dawn to milk cows before class is no less challenging than maintaining your studies. While his schoolmates guide him through the farm side of things, Hachiken helps bring up the class’ grade point average with his straight-A knowledge. Inspired by Hiromu Arakawa’s upbringing on a dairy farm, Silver Spoon is a wonderful coming-of-age you don’t wanna sleep on.

Komi Can’t Communicate by Tomohito Oda

Komi Can't Communicate by Tomohito Oda, manga book cover depicting a schoolgirl writing on a chalkboard in a classroom, with a schoolboy standing by.
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

Now, here’s a manga that’s literally about making friends — 100 friends, to be exact. Komi Can’t Communicate is about a socially anxious girl who’s revered for her beauty, but peers mistake her anxiety for stoic, goddess-like behavior. This makes Komi’s dream of making 100 friends a tall order until perceptive boy Tadano realizes her dilemma and decides to help. Komi and Tadano’s friends-to-lovers story is by far the best part of this series. Tied to that is Komi’s character arc, as she slowly breaks out of her shell, inching closer to her goal. As far as the ever-growing cast of characters goes, there are definitely hits and misses, but the journey to 100 friends is no less precious.

Chihayafuru by Yuki Suetsugu

Chihayafuru by Yuki Suetsugu, manga book cover depicting the close-up of a young girl with flowers framing her face.
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

Chihayafuru begins in middle school, where transfer student Arata introduces classmates Chihaya and Taichi to the Japanese competitive card game of karuta. Years later, Chihaya enlists Taichi’s help to form a karuta club at their high school in the hopes of reconnecting with Arata, who’s since given up the game. What’s set up as a contentious love triangle leads to a much deeper story about teamwork and pursuing your passion. Whether you’re Team Taichi or Team Arata, who you’ll really be rooting for is Mizusawa Karuta Club as they reach new heights together in this powerful series.

WOTAKOI: Love is Hard for Otaku by Fujita

WOTAKOI: Love is Hard for Otaku by Fujita, manga book cover depicting a young man and young woman in office uniforms pointing at each other on a white background with a pink heart in the center, and text all over.
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

After being ostracized at her last job for her otaku interests — by her ex, no less — Narumi resolves to conceal that side of her at her new workplace. That is until she runs into the childhood friend who introduced her to those interests to begin with. As Narumi reconnects with Hirotaka, she also finds common ground with her fellow weeb superiors, Koyanagi and Kabakura. After work, drinks suddenly turn into gaming nights and manga shopping. WOTAKOI is an episodic rom-com that celebrates not only being with a partner who shares and supports your hobbies but also having friends who do the same.

Kimi ni Todoke by Karuho Shiina

Kimi ni Todoke by Karuho Shiina, manga book cover depicting a young boy and girl gazing at each other romantically against a teal background.
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

Sawako is a sweet girl who’s misunderstood by her classmates due to her resemblance to a character from a horror movie. As she struggles to make friends, popular boy Kazehaya takes a genuine interest in her, and Sawako’s world begins to expand. This manga is another classic, packed with layered characters that you come to love through every peak and valley. While the series is shoujo romance excellence, the friendships are just as heartwarming. So much so that you’ll wish to be a part of Sawako’s newfound circle, too. Now is a great time to get into Kimi ni Todoke — or, From Me to You — as a spin-off sequel and a third season of the anime are set to release this year!

The Fragrant Flower Blooms with Dignity by Saka Mikami

The Fragrant Flower Blooms with Dignity by Saka Mikami, manga book cover depicting a young boy and girl in school uniforms on a solid white background.
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

The Fragrant Flower is yet another series that puts as much heart into the theme of friendship as it does into its love story. It starts when a girl named Kaoruko takes an interest in Rintaro, the kind boy who works at the patisserie she frequents. In Romeo and Juliet fashion, Rintaro, a Chidori High alum, learns that Kaoruko goes to the prestigious Kikyo Girls’ High, the rival school across the street. Needless to say, their friends are initially put off by their budding romance. But as the story progresses, both camps realize they’ve misjudged each other. The best part about this manga is the characters’ remarkable ability to communicate with one another. The story doesn’t shy away from fleshing everyone out and allowing them to be vulnerable, making for a refreshing coming-of-age series.

These manga will give you all the friendship goals you could possibly aspire to. So, if you haven’t, check them out, and afterward check in on your friends IRL.

For more articles like this, click here.

Check out our Manga bookshelf on Bookshop.org to pick up these or browse other titles.

FEATURED IMAGE VIA BOOKSTR / GABRIELA COLLAZO