Manga Mondays

Manga Mondays is a weekly feature exploring the world of manga. It's all new to me, so I'm taking readers with me as I explore the world of manga. Some posts will give background of manga. I'll also give reviews of various manga series.

I mostly plan to stick to shojo manga, because those are the types of stories I love best. I may also try shonen manga.

Chibi Vampire vol. 1 - Yuna Kagesaki
Chibi Vampire vol. 2 - Yuna Kagesaki
Chibi Vampire vol. 3 - Yuna Kagesaki
Dengeki Daisy vol. 1 - Kyousuke Motomi
Dengeki Daisy vol. 2 - Kyousuke Motomi
Dengeki Daisy vol. 3 - Kyousuke Motomi
Dengeki Daisy vol. 4 - Kyousuke Motomi
Dengeki Daisy vol. 5 - Kyousuke Motomi
Dengeki Daisy vol. 7 - Kyousuke Motomi
Dengeki Daisy vol. 8 - Kyousuke Motomi
Dengeki Daisy vol. 9 - Kyousuke Motomi
Emma vol. 1 - Kaoru Mori
Emma vol. 2- Kaoru Mori
Emma vol. 3- Kaoru Mori
Emma vol. 4- Kaoru Mori
Emma vol. 5- Kaoru Mori
Emma vol. 6- Kaoru Mori
Emma vol. 7- Kaoru Mori
Emma vol. 8- Kaoru Mori
Emma vol. 9 -Kaoru Mori
Fruits Basket vol. 1-4- Natsuki Takaya
Fruits Basket vol. 5-6- Natsuki Takaya
Fruits Basket vol. 7- Natsuki Takaya
Fruits Basket vol. 8- Natsuki Takaya
Fruits Basket vol. 9- Natsuki Takaya
Fruits Basket vol. 10- Natsuki Takaya
Kekkaishi vol. 1 - Yellow Tanabe
Kekkaishi vol. 2 - Yellow Tanabe
Kekkaishi vol. 3 - Yellow Tanabe
Kekkaishi vol. 4 - Yellow Tanabe
Kekkaishi vol. 5 - Yellow Tanabe
Kekkaishi vol. 6 - Yellow Tanabe
Kekkaishi vol. 7 - Yellow Tanabe
Kekkaishi vol. 8 - Yellow Tanabe
Kekkaishi vol. 9 - Yellow Tanabe
Kekkaishi vol. 9 by Yellow Tanabe
Kimi ni Todoke vol. 1 by Karuho Shiina
Kimi ni Todoke vol. 2 by Karuho Shiina
Kitchen Princess vol. 1 and 2- Natsumi Ando and Miyuki Kobayashi
Kitchen Princess vol. 3 and 4- Natsumi Ando and Miyuki Kobayashi
Kitchen Princess vol. 5 and 6- Natsumi Ando and Miyuki Kobayashi
Love*Com vol. 1 - Aya Nakahara
MAR, Vol. 1 (Marchen Awakens Romance) by Nobuyuki Anzai
Oishinbo: Fish, Sushi, and Sashimi - Tetsu Kariya and Akira Hanasaki
Peach Girl - Miwa Ueda
Sanctuary (Wicked Lovely Desert Tales) - Melissa Marr
Sand Chronicles vol. 1 - Hinaki Asihara
Sand Chronicles vol. 2 - Hinaki Asihara
Sand Chronicles vol. 3 - Hinaki Asihara
Sand Chronicles vol. 4 - Hinaki Asihara
Sand Chronicles vol. 5 - Hinaki Asihara
Sand Chronicles vol. 6 - Hinaki Asihara
Sand Chronicles vol. 7 - Hinaki Asihara
Sand Chronicles vol. 8 - Hinaki Asihara
Sand Chronicles vol. 9 - Hinaki Asihara
Sand Chronicles vol. 10 - Hinaki Asihara
Skip Beat vol. 1 by Yoshiki Nakamura
Skip Beat vol. 2 by Yoshiki Nakamura
Sugar Princess vol. 1 by Hisaya Nakajo
Twilight: The Graphic Novel vol. 1- Stephenie Meyer and Young Kim
Twilight: The Graphic Novel vol. 2 - Stephenie Meyer and Young Kin
Vampire Knight vol. 1 - Matsuri Hino
Vampire Knight vol. 2 - Matsuri Hino
Vampire Knight vol. 3 - Matsuri Hino
Vampire Knight vol. 4 - Matsuri Hino
Vampire Knight vol. 5 - Matsuri Hino
Vampire Knight vol. 6 - Matsuri Hino
Vampire Knight vol. 7 - Matsuri Hino
Vampire Knight vol. 8 - Matsuri Hino
Vampire Knight vol. 9 - Matsuri Hino
Vampire Knight vol. 10 - Matsuri Hino
Vampire Knight vol. 11 - Matsuri Hino
Vampire Knight vol. 12 - Matsuri Hino
Vampire Knight vol. 13 - Matsuri Hino

Why I'm Reading Manga

I nearly made it 30 years (28 to be specific...very different than 30), without touching manga. That was before my husband and I went to Japan in April. It was a fabulous trip. My husband is fluent in Japanese and lived there for several years. We spent a week and a half traveling around the country visiting all his Japanese friends. We went to Nagoya, Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, Takasaki, Niigata, and Tokyo. I ended the trip with a vocabulary of about 50 or 60 words. I could basically communicate on the level of a 2 year old.

I've been interested in Asian culture and particularly Japanese culture for several years. Visiting Japan made me even more curious about all things Japanese. I decided to dip my hands into manga.

Me in full geisha regalia in Kyoto
Feeding the deer in Nara

What is Manga?

Manga is basically the Japanese word for comics or graphic novels. Manga can be traced back to traditional Japanese art and storytelling, particularly a style that began in the 1800s. It really got started in the form that we recognize today after World War II.

Manga is massively popular in Japan, as well as other parts of Asia. People of all ages read it. It is increasingly popular in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Books of manga are read right-to-left in the traditional Asian style. Most American/Western publishers honor this format. It took me about half a book to get used to it and then it seemed quite natural. Manga is also published in volumes. It is not uncommon for a manga serial to have 10-20 volumes, each comprising several chapters of the story. In Japan, manga is typically published in magazine format. It is republished in paperback after the series has established a following. I think most American manga is published in book form initially.

Types of Manga

Shojo Manga is written for girls. Manga of this style are typically romances and often feature a young girl/teenager coming of age. This is the type of manga I've read thus far.
Shonen Manga is geared toward boys. These are your typical action-hero and slapstick comedy stories.
Seinen Manga is aimed at young adult men, ages 18-30. It has more mature, sexual themes than shonen manga.
Seijin Manga is sexually explicit manga. It may also be known hentai. (Information courtesy of Wikipedia).

American Manga Publishers

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 TwilightGraphic 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 seinin and seijinmanga, two forms of adult-themed manga. 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:


All AgesAll ages
Appropriate for ages 6 and up.
May contain cartoon violence and potty humor.
Youth Youth Age 10+
Appropriate for ages 10 and up.
May contain mild language, fantasy violence and bullying.
Teen 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 TeenOlder 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.
MatureMature 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.
 
Template: Blog Designs by Sheila