What is manga?

Manga refers to a genre of graphic novels originally developed by Japanese artists and translated into English. This is why manga volumes are read from right to left, because it follows the direction of the Japanese language. While American graphic novels are often full-color books, manga pages are mostly black and white artwork with the exception of anniversary or special editions.

Individual chapters of manga are released serially online or in magazines, and if a series gains enough popularity, a collection of chapters are rereleased as books, called tankōbon in Japan. Manga can vary in length with some series running longer than 120 volumes. 

What is anime?

Anime refers to a Japanese animation style. Many anime series are based on manga series and retain the book’s art style in the animation. 

Who is manga written for?

There are manga series written for all ages! Here are some designations for different types of manga based on their target audience:

  • Kodomomuke – intended for younger children
  • Shonen – intended for teen and tween boys
  • Shojo – intended for teen and tween girls
  • Seinen – intended for men 18+
  • Josei – intended for women 18+

Of course, as with all books and stories, the target audience does not necessarily dictate who will enjoy a book. An adult may find a kodomomuke book enjoyable, and a teen girl might just as easily enjoy shonen as shojo manga, depending on her interests. 

Manga stories can be categorized in various genres, including action, comedy, fantasy, horror, science fiction, slice-of-life, historical, and romance manga, but they also have many subgenres, like gekigo (‘dramatic pictures’), isekai (main characters are transported to another world), harem or reverse harem, food and cooking, “boys’ love” or “girls’ love,” LGBTQ, and sports. 

Where should I start?

Here are few suggestions of series to try:

For Kids:

Cardcaptor Sakura

Pokemon Adventures

For Teens, series with fewer than 15 volumes:

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon
Kaiju No. 8

For Adults, series with fewer than 15 volumes:

My Happy Marriage

Choujin X

Search for “manga” in our online catalog or the Libby and Hoopla apps to see more manga titles available with your library card.