Manga Guide : What is Manga and Variants ?
Manga (漫画) are original japanese comics that have a strong community around the world. With a long history deeply rooted in rich japanese art, manga is one of the most fascinating phenomena in japanese culture. As part of the "otaku" ("nerd") culture, these japanese comics have played a major role in the country's publishing industry, creating a strong market, reaching millions of readers of all ages, and influencing a number of comic book creations in various other countries.
From history and teenage romance to futuristic science fiction and deep life themes, manga has become an important, almost unavoidable aspect of japan's identity and has helped to spread awareness and understanding of Japanese culture across the globe. Manga in France and the manga culture is constantly growing.
Striving to create unique aesthetics and appealing stories, they often evolve into anime and even cosplay, remaining constantly popular within their community and their ever-growing merchandise collectors.
What is manga?
Manga is a general term for a wide variety of comics and graphic novels originally produced and published in Japan. Manga are written by artists called mangaka. Unlike conventional comics, which are usually printed in color, Japanese manga are almost always in black and white. Color prints are often used only for special releases.
Japanese manga has a very particular reading direction, it is read from right to left rather than from left to right, which is the norm for French language publications. The manga series are often adapted into japanese anime or cartoon.
What are the different genres or types of manga?
When we normally think of manga styles, we think of categories that have common themes, storytelling modes and goals. The horror genre tries to scare you. The fantasy genre will probably include some sort of magic. A romance novel should tell the story of two people who fall in love (and find their happiness).
These kinds of manga are also found in Japan. There are horror manga, fantasy manga and romantic manga. But, and this is a key point, the manga industry does not talk about genres in this sense. Rather, they are sub-genres. Instead, the types of manga genres are generally determined by the main target demographic.
So, let's start. Here are the different types of manga that we are going to make you discover:
- Shonen Manga
- Shojo Manga
- Seinen Manga
- Josei Manga
- Yaoi Manga
- Yuri Manga
1. SHONEN MANGA
A guide to manga must start with this genre. Many series fall into this category. Shonen manga are aimed at teenagers. Although there are exceptions, shonen manga usually feature a lot of action and male characters who want to become stronger in one way or another. This is also the category where you will find a lot of families and groups of close friends. For example, shonen manga likes to focus on the bonds formed by a group of people who go on a quest together or the camaraderie that is formed between teammates of a struggling sports team who want to win the tournament.
Some examples of shonen manga:
DRAGON BALL BY AKIRA TORIYAMA
Launched in the early 1980s, Dragon Ball is often cited as the best manga that shaped the shonen category as we know it today. The goal is to gather seven Dragon Balls to summon a dragon capable of granting any wish. A group of people come together on this quest. The fighters must grow stronger along the way to defeat enemies who also want to summon this dragon, and so on.
MY HERO ACADEMY BY KOHEI HORIKOSHI
Probably the most popular shonen manga today, the main character of My Hero Academia is a young boy born without superpowers in a world where most people have a superpower. But that won't stop him from realizing his dream. My Hero Academia even immerses us in a high school setting where the characters literally learn to use their magical powers, hone their skills and become stronger.
A SILENT VOICE BY YOSHITOKI OIMA
Remember when we said that there are exceptions to the perceived common conventions of the shonen manga genre? A Silent Voice is one of them. There are no long battle scenes. There are no power-ups or acquisition of new powers. Instead, it focuses on a boy who has been both the stalker and the stalked, and how he moves on.
2. SHOJO MANGA
If the Shonen manga targets teenagers, the Shojo manga targets teenagers. There is a misconception that shojo manga is the equivalent of romance, and this is absolutely wrong. Shonen manga has remarkable love stories. Remember: manga genres usually have a relationship with the target population, and this target population has varied tastes because there are many readers. No more, no less. When considering shojo manga as a whole, I would say that a common trait is the exploration of relationships, which are sometimes romantic but not always, and the emotions associated with those relationships.
Some examples of shojo manga:
FRUITS BASKET BY NATSUKI TAKAYA
If Fruits Basket is a classic, we include it here for its importance in the manga industry. When it was originally published by TOKYOPOP, it became a bestseller and swept away all preconceived notions that girls don't read comics. The manga follows a young orphan girl who moves into a family that lives under a curse.
A DEVIL AND HER LOVE SONG BY MIYOSHI TOMORI
After being expelled from an all-girls Catholic school, Maria transfers to a new high school where she hopes to find a fresh start. However, the contrast between her beautiful face and her outspoken nature discourages her classmates. But in addition to her pretty face and sharp tongue, Maria also has an angelic voice that helps her quickly make new connections.
REVOLUTIONARY GIRL UTENA BY CHIHO SAITO
Fans of anime will recognize this title, but as the anime and the manga were developed simultaneously, they go in different directions. However, the basic principle is the same. After admiring a prince when she was a little girl, Utena Tenjou aspires to become a prince herself. When she attends an academy where duels take place and another girl needs to be rescued, she will soon have the chance to become one.
3. SEINEN MANGA
The seinen manga are intended for men over 20 years old. It is the equivalent of adult fiction. The plots and thematic treatment tend to be more mature than what is found in shonen manga. While hope and the promise of the future permeate the shonen genre, a bit more cynicism and pragmatism permeate the seinen.
Some examples of seinen manga :
LONE WOLF AND CUB BY KAZUO KOIKE AND GOSEKI KOJIMA
Lone Wolf and Cub, one of the most famous samurai classics, features a father-son duo seeking revenge on the clan that managed to disgrace the father and make him look like a traitor. This manga is known for its brutal representation of violence, which you will see more often in seinen manga. It's not that shonen manga doesn't have its share of violence, but the depictions in seinen tend to be more gruesome and explicit.
SPACE BROTHERS BY CHUYA KOYAMA
Space Brothers revolves around two siblings who dream of becoming astronauts. But while one makes his dream come true, the other doesn't quite make it. That all changes when he receives a letter of acceptance into a new astronaut training program.
4. JOSEI MANGA
Josei manga is the equivalent of seinen but for a female audience. Unlike the previous three genres of manga, there is a wide variety of topics and themes, so it is a bit more difficult to identify common traits beyond the target audience. Like seinen, josei has a more mature narrative and a more frank depiction of relationships and situations.
Some examples of josei manga:
KARNEVAL BY TOYA MIKANAGI
Because of the action-oriented plot and the male protagonists, people wrongly label Karneval as a shonen manga. This is not the case. The story revolves around two strangers who meet in a strange mansion and are quickly labeled as wanted criminals by the natural security services.
PRINCESS JELLYFISH BY AKIKO HIGASHIMURA
Princess Jellyfish follows Tsukimi, a resident of an all-female apartment building that has become a haven for girls with geeky interests. Socially awkward and afraid of hip people, Tsukimi's life changes when her path crosses with a handsome young man in drag who is also the illegitimate son of a politician.
5. YURI MANGA
As you can probably deduce, yuri refers to a manga featuring homoerotic and homoromantic relationships between female characters. Unlike boys who like manga, its target audience is made up of women and men.
Some examples of Yuri manga :
CITRUS OF SABUROUTA
A lot of yuri manga takes place in high school, and Citrus embodies this. After her mother remarries, fun-loving Yuzu is transferred to an all-girls high school where she struggles to fit in with the traditional student body. She argues the most with the student council president, who is her new half-sister. So imagine her confusion when she begins to develop romantic feelings for her sister-in-law.
SWEEAT BLUE FLOWERS BY TAKAKO SHIMURA
On the first day of high school, Akira meets up with her childhood best friend, Fumi. Fumi is happy to renew their friendship, but she is also heartbroken because her first love recently got married. It's hard enough as it is, but she also struggles with the fact that her first love was a woman. As the title suggests, this is a very sweet and poignant manga.
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