How to Get Into Manga
Translated comics are fun to read and is also an easy way to learn about popular Japanese culture.
- Shojo: Manga designed to target 12-18 year-old females through character-driven stories. Popular shojo themes include: magical girl (see below), school romance, historical romance, modern romance, science fiction, sports, Gothic horror/vampires, and boys love (yaoi) manga. Fruits Basket, Hot Gimmick, Fushigi Yugi, Peach Girl, Vampire Knight, Nothing But Loving You, Emma, Godchild, Ouran HighSchool Host Club and Kare Kano are examples of shoujo manga.
- Bishoujo titles involve extremely cute girls or animals. Think cuteness overload. Example titles include Hamtaro.
- Shonen: Action-themed stories written for boys. Shonen manga is usually involves humorous plots featuring male protagonists. Camaraderie between boys and men in sports team and fighting squads are often plot elements. Shonen titles often feature attractive female characters with exaggerated features. Example titles include: Naruto, One Piece, “D. Gray-Man”, Gon, Ranma 1/2, Slam Dunk, Lupin III, Bleach, Inuyasha, Prince of Tennis, the aforementioned Love Hina, Gun Blaze West, Rurouni Kenshin, HunterxHunter, Tenchi Muyo!, Initial D and Full Metal Panic!.
- Mecha is a common subgenre of shonen involving giant robots. Mecha titles include Gundam Wing, Voltron and Big O.
- Shonen-Ai: Stories involving affection between boy characters targeting a mainly female audience. Shonen-ai manga is aimed at teenage girls and usually involves feminine, effeminate characters resembling boy bands like NSYNC.
- Seinen manga targets college-aged men, although some titles are aimed at men well into their 40s. Unlike shounen manga, seinen manga features a wider variety of artistic styles and subject matter ranging from avant-garde to pornographic. While seinen manga contains many of the same themes as shounen manga, it is more rooted in reality with a stronger emphasis on plot. Works of manga that are the most acclaimed for their depth and maturity, such as Maison Ikoku and Ghost in the Shell, come from the Seinen genre. Other popular seinen titles include Lone Wolf & Cub, Golgo 13, Eagle, Death Note and Monster. Chobits is one more on the adult side.
- Josei is the female equivalent of seinen manga and considered the manga equivalent of a Harlequin novel. Most of the josei manga found in the United States, fits into the yaoi genre (see below). Storylines usually involve: office life, marriage, babies, infidelity, families, and romance. Non-yaoi titles include Paradise Kiss, Happy Mania, Tramps Like Us, Blue, Walking Butterfly, Midnight Secretary, and Honey and Clover.