Seeing as this is the first manga post on Gamenomics&Comicology, I thought it would be best to give some background on manga with a few staples of greatness in the genre for those looking to take the first step into the world Japanese Comics.

Shonen Jump Cover Jan 2008 copyright Shonen Jump

Shonen Jump Cover Jan 2008 copyright Shonen Jump

Manga is the term used for Japanese comics often using a distinct Japanese art style. They are read from right to left (don’t worry you get used to it quickly) and are almost exclusively printed in black and white, unlike western comics. Manga reaches to nearly every genre imaginable, including shōnen manga geared towards young men (think Naruto), to shōjo romances (think Sailor Moon). and everywhere else in between.

For those looking to jump in, here is a short list of what I consider to be some of the staples of modern manga.

Akira

Akira vol. 1 Cover copyright Darkhorse

In a dystopian cyberpunk future, Kaneda is the leader of a motorcycle gang amidst World War III in Tokyo. Futuristic technologies and telekinetic powers create one of the most thrilling and enveloping manga storylines of all time.

Akira put manga on the map internationally, and was one of the first manga to be translated to English in its entirety. A must read for any action/ sci-fi comic fan.

Dragon Ball

Dragon Ball vol. 1 Cover copyright Shonen Jump

Arguably the most successful manga/anime crossover of all time, Dragon Ball follows Goku and his pal, Krillin, on his path to maturity through the martial arts stylings of master Roshi.  Dragon Ball is action packed and tells its story through epic battles of superhuman strength and energy powers, while still giving characters a great feel and connection to one another.  Dragon Ball is a great place to start to get the feel for action manga as a whole and see what the genre is all about.

Fullmetal Alchemist

Fullmetal Alchemist vol.1 Cover copyright Viz media

Considerably newer and a bit more polished is Fullmetal Alchemist.  The story is a bit darker than dragon ball, and Arakawa manages to give the characters a tremendous amount of depth and richness to them.  The Elric brothers are the main protagonists in a world where alchemy is a very real and very dangerous practice.  After a terrible accident while trying to resurrect their mother using forbidden taboos of alchemy, the Elric brothers must travel far and face many challenges to get back what they have lost.

I view this as one of the best told human stories in manga, and also one of the most exciting action wise as well.

Rurouni Kenshin

Rurouni Kenshin vol.1 Cover copyright Viz media

Set in the Meji era of Japan, the former Battōsai (read: ultimate cold hearted man slayer) Kenshin tries to start a new life as a wandering protector of the Japanese people. He faces enemies new and old, in exciting action scenes of the traditional samurai style common in manga. While very action packed, Rurouni Kenshin takes a dark turn as it goes on, and becomes quite the emotional tale, thick with interesting plot and complex character interactions. Overall a great read on many levels.

Enjoy your venture into the world of manga, and look here for more manga news in the future!

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Comments
  1. Weegun says:

    where’s the shojo? you can’t introduce manga without a little shojo! its one of Japan’s most profitable domestic products!

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