What does “one-shot” (読み切り) mean?

The phrase one-shot (読み切り) is probably not foreign to you if you have read a lot of manga and novels. One-shot, or 読み切り(yomikiri) in Japanese, is a term generally used to refer to a manga or short story which ends in one single published chapter.



“One-shot” in Japanese is Yomikiri (written as 読み切り). It is a phrase comprised of two words: 読み (“yomi,” which simply means “read”) and 切り (“kiri,” literally means “end” or “finish”). It refers to the fact that a one-shot is something you can read and reach its end within a single chapter.


Brief History

Differentiating one-shot manga from serialized manga began during the 20th century with the popularity of magazines such as Weekly Shonen Jump. Most manga in manga magazines are serialized, meaning readers will get to read the story’s continuation in the next chapter released by the manga magazine. Marking the serialized manga in the publication as a work that is “to be continued” is a way to tell readers that the story has not ended yet, and also sets it apart from the one-shot manga that begins and ends entirely within that magazine issue.

One-shots appear in serialized magazines for many reasons. It’s commonly accepted that a one-shot manga is a good, simple way of seeing a manga artist’s abilities and what they can do within a fewer number of pages compared to serialized manga, which would have multiple issues to finish. This is why manga-related contests or awards by publishers often require their entries to be one-shot manga. Many magazines also publish one-shots by new manga artists joining their lines. It not only makes for a good challenge for a new manga artist, but it is also an excellent way to show readers their promising abilities.

It is quite common to see new manga artists do multiple one-shot manga before they finally get a chance for a serialized publication with their affiliated publisher. On the other hand, for veteran manga artists, one-shot manga can also be a way to show their growth and skills they have honed.


One-shot: Modern Usage

As a common general term in manga publishing and community, the usage of the term one-shot has not changed. If anything, the way one-shot manga is used within the manga industry has broadened. As a way to promote a series, for example, a one-shot spin-off of a serialized manga are often published in the magazine or even given out as a bonus for ticket or goods purchases. If a manga artist has done many one-shots, most likely there is a tankobon volume containing the works they have written. Nowadays, anthologies containing one-shot manga of similar themes by multiple manga artists have paved the birth of new subgenres. Concerning Boys Love, both the subgenre of omegaverse and gachimuchi had taken off from such anthologies’ success.

Ultimately, its short and simple nature makes one-shot manga a terrific way for readers to discover manga artists they might be interested in to follow their works without investing so heavily in the serialized manga. You can easily find many promising manga artists’ one-shot works available on futekiya, such as Ayu Yamane’s Ryu’s Fool and Kurachi Mikoto’s I Like You Even If You Tease Me. For commercial BL titles, you can also read one-shots published by EIWA Publishing on futekiya.


About futekiya: BL manga subscription

Boys' Love Manga Subscription Service futekiya promotional image

In 2018, futekiya began as a Boys’ Love manga news and culture website operated by FANTASISTA, INC., a CG/VR production studio based in Tokyo, Japan. futekiya transformed into a budding global distributor of officially licensed BL manga in 2019.

futekiya launched as an online subscription service for officially licensed BL manga on July 8, 2019. Determined to connect fans around the world with English-translated BL legally and conveniently, futekiya empowers readers to support creators and the manga industry.

Readers who subscribe to futekiya and pay a flat monthly fee of $6.99 will have access to our expanding library of English-language manga. To subscribe, please go to read.futekiya.com and create an account. More information is in our Guide.

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