NANA (C) 1999 by Yazawa Manga Seisakusho/SHUEISHA Inc.
BLEACH (C) 2001 by Tite Kubo/SHUEISHA Inc.
Introduction to manga
Many of you have probably already read, or at least seen, at least once, a comic, whether it was in a column in the newspaper or in a genuine comic book.
Manga is a style of comic books developed in Japan. Its main characteristic, which clearly differentiates them from western comics, is the fact that they are predominantly read from right to left (opposed to left to right), which is the typically Asian way of reading. They are also mostly drawn without colors and have a distinctive way of being drawn. Korean "manga" is called "manhwa", whilst Chinese "manga" is called "manhua", and although they are very popular with manga-readers, their style of drawing and storyline is very different.
In Japan, manga is usually classified in 4 main categories:
Shoujo manga is a girl-oriented manga, and almost always has themes related to love, mixed with school-themes and fantasy-themes. It also has a distinctive way of being drawn: men are usually drawn very girlish, muscles are mostly nonexistent, all characters being slender and tall, large sparky eyes being often seen. Some very popular (shoujo) manga magazines are "Ciao" and "Nakayoshi", reported circulations in 2007 being 982,834 copies for "Ciao" and 400,000 copies for "Nakayoshi" . Some shoujo series: Ayashi no Ceres, Mana, Bokura ga Ita.
Shounen manga is a boy-oriented manga, with lots of battles and magical creatures. Usually muscles are depicted very well and there is a clear difference between male and female characters. A very popular (shounen) manga magazine is "Weekly Shōnen Jump" with 2,778,750 copies being released for circulation in 2007 . Some shounen series: Bleach, Bakuman, Claymore.
The other two categories are oriented towards a more mature public:
Josei manga is a manga oriented towards older (that is more mature) female readers, with themes about the lives of women in general, and portrays a more realistic romance than shoujo manga, with a deeper experience. A popular josei magazine is "YOU" with 194,791 copies sold in 2007 . Popular series of this type include: Gokusen, Nodame Cantabile, Loveless.
Seinei manga is a manga oriented towards older male readers, with themes highly concentrated on the psychological aspects and with a more violent side. It has a wide variety of art styles. Popular magazines include "Young Magazine" with 981,229 copies being sold in 2007 , "Ultra Jump", "Afternoon". Series of this type include: 20th Century Boys, BLAME, Sidooh.
Not just Drawings...
I feel the need to stand up for the importance of manga. I always feel at least slightly annoyed if not just disappointed when people call manga stupid, immature or meaningless. Manga is not just a few pictures in a book, it's a whole story. While you can't really learn quantum physics from it, you can still not only enjoy a very good story, but learn from it. Because that's what all manga are: stories.
From this point of view, manga can portray the story much better, because they can show us the grandness of a scenery, the flooding emotions of the characters. At some pages, you simply feel the need to stop and look at them for a few moments. It's much more captivating than a book, and nowadays, when no one feels the need to read books, manga has become a very popular choice. And that is what is important, the ability to share a story to millions of people worldwide; with countless heroes that consider life much more important than death, with countless themes about pollution and ecology, manga are capable of doing what humankind has been failing in the last few centuries. It can raise a flag. It can shape the heart. It can make us want to get off the chair and rush to the nearest sport center and try our best at something (it happened to me, at the very least, many times).
Are they immature? Some are, but a wise person can tell that not all in life should be valued by its level of maturity. The only question that matters is if they are able to bring something good out in the world, and I solemnly conclude that the answer is yes. If you don't trust me, you can ask the million or billion of readers that enjoy them.
Our Top Manga
- 1.Liar Game
- 4.20th Century Boys
- 5.Change 123
- 9.Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
- 10.D. Gray-Man
What is your favorite manga? Tell us all about it.
I like shonen jump because I'm all for the action and all the cool graphics.
May. 01, 2009
I started readin Nana about 2 years ago...and it's been my favourite manga//anime since then ^^;;
Apr. 30, 2009
I like a lot of Shonen manga.
Basically action/gore/comedy/mystery stuff~
The only shoujo I'm really into are to works of Natsuki Takaya :D
FTW D GRAY MAN!
[I hate funimation dubs =__=;]
Apr. 29, 2009