With so many long running manga out there that span hundreds of chapters, sometimes it’s just nice to sit down and read one with a simple, succinct storyline that can be finished in a single day.
If you’re looking for such a manga, then I would highly recommend Shiro Moriya’s Soloist in a Cage.
Spanning twenty chapters, the story follows Chloe, a young girl born and raised in Prison City, where all those convicted of crimes are sent, whether those crimes be simple theft or cold blooded murder.
As a result, the city is unbelievably dangerous, especially for Chloe, who has to stay indoors protecting her baby brother Locke, after their parents died.
The only reason they have survived so long is through the kindness of Ross Sandberg, a prisoner planning an escape, which Chloe crashes with Locke, planning to go with them.
Tragically, Locke is left behind in an accident during the escape.
The true story of Soloist in a Cage then begins many years later, as Chloe, now a deadly fighter thanks to Sandberg’s training, reenters the Prison City to rescue her little brother.
During her mission, Chloe encounters many different kinds of groups and characters, from the kind to the vile, all the while dealing with the overwhelming guilt she feels from the amount of blood she has to shed to achieve her goal.
All of this is executed fantastically with some excellent artwork by Moriya, with him transitioning from a comedic to gothic style flawlessly.
It is here that I really need to praise Moriya himself because he had to take a year off from writing the manga, due to poor health.
Yet, after going through that, he still returned to finish his story, which I was a little sad to see end because I felt like it had the potential for more.
I wanted to know more about the outside world, like how this dystopian world got so bad that it sends those guilty of relatively harmless crimes to be locked up in the same city as murderous cannibals, for example.
But Moriya chose to end it at Chapter 20 and it is still a good ending that concludes the story in a fittingly ambiguous way.
Overall, Soloist in a Cage is a great manga that can be read fairly quickly.
It has fantastic artwork, an interesting world, and a likeable main character with a gripping internal struggle.