In “Kat Reads Manga” , a new feature on Books and Sensibility a total manga novice attempts to review manga.
Kat’s Super Basic Guide To Reading Manga
Before I do my first review I wanted to make a super basic guide for people who don’t know anything about manga. There is so much more to talk about and I’m no expert, but these are the basics.
Manga is simply the Japanese word for comics. In America, it typically refers to any comic/graphic novel originating from Japan.
In America, mangas are published in monthly anthologies like Shojo Beat or Shonen Jump. The manga volumes you see in the bookstores are the strips from the anthology put together into a volume. Often the volumes have extra images and notes from the artist.
This is the Japanese word for a Manga artist–the person who draws the characters and may write the stories.
Some artist are represented as avatars. Hiromu Arakawa, managaka of Fullmetal Alchemist usually appears as a cow with glasses.
Manga volumes are about 180-200 pages long and can be read in one sitting. Most of them cost around $9.00 in stores. A series will have many volumes so, I suggest going to the library or used bookstores where volumes can be $3.00 or $4.00
Because they are translated from Japanese to English, manga reads right to left. Most manga have a page that explains how to read it. Use this as a guide when you start.
Mangas exist in specific genres based on gender and age. They can be a helpful guide to what you want to read.
Shonen – Manga aimed at boys and is about young boys like Naruto
Shojo – Manga aimed at girls and often about love/high school life like Sailor Moon
Seinen– Manga for older males. May includes lots of violence or gratious fanservice. A well-known example is Akira.
Josei – Manga for older females. Many of these aren’t popular.
I find these categories are getting more blurred and even the biggest fans can’t differentiate them anymore.
Ready to get started ?
Reading manga is weird at first. I think once you get into it you start to like it. To find what you want to read :
Check out theNew York Times Best Sellers’ List for Manga
Visit Anime News Network
Visit Heart of Manga’s Review Archive
For More Detailed Guide Check out :
The Librarians Guide to Anime and Manga
For Common Tropes and Conventions
Look out for my review of Vampire Knight !
I’m a lifelong reader who started blogging about YA books in 2011 but now I read in just about every genre! I love YA coming of age stories, compelling memoirs and genre bending SFF. You can find me talking all things romance at Romance and Sensibility.