Numerous publishers in the U.S. produce English translations of Japanese manga and also American manga. Some of the more popular are:
TokyoPop - Originally founded as MixxMedia in 1997
Viz Media - Publishing manga in America since 1987
Del Rey - A division of Random House
Dark Horse Manga - A division of the popular Dark Horse Comics publisher
Yen Press - Published the Twilight Graphic Novel
One of the things that surprised me about manga was that there are many books aimed at the adult audience, with extreme violence and/or pornography. Clearly, I was very naive about the prevalence of manga. Then I learned about seinen and seijin manga, two forms of adult-themed manga. I mentioned them in last week's post. I was worried about picking out manga - how would I know which books contain pornography? I really have no desire to see comic book sex. Not to worry. American publishers commonly put age ratings on the manga.
Here, for example, is TokyoPop's rating system:
Appropriate for ages 6 and up.
May contain cartoon violence and potty humor.
| Youth Age 10+|
Appropriate for ages 10 and up.
May contain mild language, fantasy violence and bullying.
| Teen Age 13+|
Appropriate for ages 13 and up.
May contain infrequent and mild profanity, mild violence and gore, crude humor, mild sexual language and themes, nondescript nudity, and mild fanservice, as well as references to tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drug use.
|Older Teen Age 16+|
Appropriate for ages 16 and up.
May contain profanity and strong language, moderate violence and gore, moderate sexual themes and sexual violence, nudity, moderate fanservice, and alcohol and illegal drug use.
|Mature Ages 18+|
Appropriate for ages 18 and up.
May contain excessive profanity and language; intense violence; excessive gore; explicit sexual language, themes and violence; and explicit fanservice.
Other publishers use different symbols but basically stick to the same ratings. I'm sticking to Teen and under unless an Older Teen manga really looks interesting. The age ratings are very helpful for me and hopefully they will be for you too.
What's Coming Up?
Next week I'll start reviewing actual books. I'll probably review the first few volumes of Fruits Basket or Kitchen Princess. I'm currently reading both.