What is Manga?
Manga are Japanese comics
Manhwa is the general Korean term for comics and print cartoons
Manhua are Chinese comics
Anime is the general term for Asian animated films and series
International manga is the term used by the Japanese Embassy
to describe manga created by non Japanese artists
The Hokusai Manga
A collection of sketches of various subjects by the Japanese artist Hokusai.
Subjects of the sketches include landscapes, flora and fauna, everyday life
and the supernatural.
Created by Osamu Tezuka
the ‘Godfather of Manga’.
Dr Tezuka is largely
responsible for the modern
artistic style of manga
typified in this image of
Types of Manga
Manga itself is not a genre; rather it is a type of graphic literature that contains many sub-sets,
some of which are mentioned below:
A Japanese word used in English to refer to anime and manga primarily intended for boys.
A term used in English to refer to manga and anime aimed at a young, female audience.
A Japanese word that means child. However, to many non-Japanese readers of manga and anime,
the word refers to a specific genre intended primarily for children.
Yaoi (also known as Shonen-ai)*
Manga or anime focusing on gay male relationships aimed at a (primarily) female audience.
*The terms ‘Yaoi’ and ‘Shonen-ai’ are sometimes used by western audiences to differentiate
between tales that contain (sometimes graphic) sex scenes (Yaoi) and stories that focus primarily on
Manga focusing on lesbian relationships. These are (unsurprisingly perhaps) usually aimed at an
adolescent male audience.
Usually action or adventure based
including martial arts, sports and technogadgets. They are based around heroes
& villains and include lots of fight scenes.
The main character often has spiky hair,
usually acts like an idiot and is immature
but can show signs of maturity as the
Naruto: is an ongoing Japanese manga
series written and illustrated by Masashi
Kishimoto. The plot tells the story of
Naruto Uzumaki, an adolescent ninja
who constantly searches for recognition
and aspires to become a Hokage, the
ninja in his village that is acknowledged
as the leader and the strongest of all.
The series is based on a one shot comic
Written for girls, has an emphasis on
emotions, feelings and human drama.
Often centring on romance, the main
character is usually sweet and innocent
and can possess a magical power. Often
includes stereotypes of women (the cute
one, the geeky one, the catty one etc). The
men are usually gorgeous and one or more
are the focus of the main characters
Fruits Basket tells the story of Tohru
Honda, an orphan girl who, after meeting
Yuki, Kyo, and Shigure Sohma, learns that
thirteen members of the Sohma family are
possessed by the animals of the Chinese
zodiac and are cursed to turn into their
animal forms if they are embraced by
anyone of the opposite sex.
Can be represented in both shojo and
shonen but also has cross-over appeal.
Japanese horror is sometimes more
explicit than the western genre – it can
include monsters, mystery and murder.
The horror can also be psychological.
This type of manga often has gothic
overtones with characters dressed in
gothic Victorian clothing.
Manga and anime that have robot or
cyborg characters. These characters are
usually massive and heavily armed in a
dystopian future, or a prototype model
that is hurried out to fight against a new
enemy that can only usually be defeated
by a teen mech pilot!
Art - contrary to what you may
have been told there is a growing
community of artists who make a
living through manga
Cosplay – a portmanteau of the
words ‘costume’ & ‘play’ used to
describe dressing up as your
favourite manga or anime
Culture – visit Japan, if you can’t
make it that far there are a
number of annual events that
celebrate manga culture