Pronounced as ‘maw-nnnn-gah Manga is the Japanese word, comprising of just three syllables, with the middle ‘n’ spoken very quickly.
With a huge following and as an integral component of the Japanese ancient culture, Manga refers to Japanese comic books published as a series. The origins of Manga, a phenomenal culture can be traced as early as 12th century, produced by several artists.
On numerous occasions, Manga series is published into Japanese cartoons or anime and can also be loosely translated as ‘humorous pictures’. This style of publication really took off in the 20th century when various laws forbidding its publication were lifted. Since then, it has contributed and become a massive part of the Japanese culture, emerging as one of the most read comics, not only in Japan but globally.
In reference to several, if not all kinds of Japanese cartoons, comics and anime ‘Manga’ is comprised of two entities;
“Man” means a playful, fanciful and spontaneous
“ga” meaning drawing, sketch, artwork or an artist’s impression.
Using historical references, there could be numerous examples illustrating a unique style used in the publication of Japanese Manga, since its inception. However, outside Japan, Manga can refer to comics only, while ‘anime’ refers and covers several kinds of cartoons and animated comics. Therefore, and not always anime is the animated version of Manga.
During the Second World War, The United states invaded and occupied Japan, bringing with them a couple of foreign ideas and culture. However, this did not sit well with the Japanese way of life and culture and marked an important milestone in the development of Manga.
Americans brought their own comics and cartoons like the Mickey Mouse to the country, but the Japanese artists strictly followed their own deep rooted Manga culture. In an effort to dominate and seek an audience for their artwork, the Japanese actually evolved and morphed into publicizing their content in magazines or newspapers carrying a collection of several series which would be available weekly or monthly.
Among the most successful artists who kept the Manga phenomenon alive were Osamo Tezuka, who created the famous ‘Astro Boy’ and Machiko Hagesawa, also known as the ‘god’ of Manga and a godfather of anime.
As one discovers this outstanding deep Japanese culture, there are many features that make Manga clear-cut. Noticeably, Manga characters have large eyes, relatively small mouths, abnormal or a freakish hair style. The characters also exhibit weird and over emphasize their emotions. For example, a Manga character may cry while pouring huge abnormal tears or when a character laughs, the expression conveyed is as if the face is covered by the size of the mouth.
Manga vs. Anime and the Format
Strictly following the Japanese tradition, Manga is read from the right side to the left. Texts and descriptions are also set to be read in the same way. This is quite opposite from the format one would find in the Native American comic books.
During publication, Manga is normally assembled in small Manga volumes or a larger volume if popular that boasts of rich diversity in the various genre. For example;
- Action Adventure
- Mystery and suspense among others.
As opposed to American comics which target a young audience, Manga is a comic for everyone regardless of the age bracket, gender and preference.
It is worth noting that there have been many efforts to have Manga have an American look and ‘feel’ just like the American Comic books but this is something that Manga artists have opposed, as they seek to preserve their rich, unique culture both at home and abroad.
In this regard, the Manga audience and the fans have been to ensure that Manga produced elsewhere, like in the United States is in the traditional Japanese style.
Categories and Types of Manga
Due to the large audience and a huge readers’ base, Manga has an established a marketing strategy, to cater for everyone, whether as the ardent fan or whether you are ‘new’ to the world of Manga. The brief classification below could help you choose exactly what you need.
1. Shonen (Pronounced show-nen)
This is Manga aimed for the boys. In this classification the comics are packed with action, adventure fights, sports, technology, romance and at times sexuality.
2. Shojo (Pronounced as show-joe)
This is Manga aimed for the girls. Topics covered in these comics include some content from shonen but with a different taste like romance, super heroines and relationships. Further classification include Josei(pronounced joe-say) a Manga for Women
1. Yoji, For children aged 1-4 years,
2. Kodomo, for kids learning to how to read.
A list of 25 Working Manga Websites – Free Of Charge
|1. BookWalker||Probably the best site for your Manga needs. Also available on IOS and Android.|
|2. Honto||Published in native Japanese language, this site also has an online store for both e-books and paper books.|
|3. Comico||A very popular online comic site, but based purely in the Japanese language which may prove difficult to read their Mangas if you are not proficient in the language.|
|4. Mangakakalot||Quite a well-organized Manga website with thousands of comics. It is also free.|
|5. Mangago||Offers free Yaoi Manga Online|
|6. AnimeNova||This site has a provision for both Manga and Anime and is also available on Android.|
|7. Viz||This is another popular site that offers Manga and Anime.|
|8. Mangainn||A well-organized online comic store, with regular updates.|
|9. Comic-Walker||This is probably one of the largest Manga publishers in Japan. In this site, Manga enthusiasts will have popular titles listed here for free access.|
|10. Crunchyroll||This is a subscription service for your online popular Manga comics, with an option of 15 days trial.|
|11. Otaku Smash||Another popular Manga online service with services such as various Manga on demand. However, the site needs to improve on connection security.|
|12. Renta||An online platform for selling Manga content and comics but also provides free chapters for its users.|
|13. Comixology||Probably one of the largest digital comics platform. Being an Amazon subsidiary, it offers a 30 day trial period and an opportunity to purchase Manga books thereafter or utilize their subscription service.|
|14. Manga Panda||A superb online store for the earliest Manga to present but may not be safe for minors.|
|15. Weekly Shonen Jump||If you want to quickly find new titles and what is really new in Manga, then you probably need to check out this online site. It’s the oldest source of Manga but not exactly free.|
|16. Manga Club||Operated by Torico, this is a site for English speaking users offering your favourite Manga absolutely free|
|17. Manga-Anime Here||Easily get some of your favourite, must-read Manga series here|
|18. Mangareader.net||It’s a free online site that provides Manga readers with content ranging from action, adventure, fantasy among other things without registration.|
|19. Mangastream||Popular online website Manga readers. It offers many genres, regular updates and a huge collection of series.|
|20. Manga Here||A great online website for Manga with a wide variety of genre for free|
|21. ZingBox||One of the best online sites for Manga lovers. It offers a way to share and interact with fellow manga readers, by enabling users to post their Mangas and comics via Android or IOS apps, in addition to the native Pc.|
|22. MyreadingManga||This is an adult only Manga site that was launched in December 2012. Users cannot download content from the site but can buy physical or digital content from other sites such as Comiket, Renta, and DLsite.|
|23. Manga Fox||The site which was launched in 2010 hosts over 8000 manga scans and scanlations. The site also provides its users with the most read manga every week.|
|24. Manga Freak||The site includes popular manga including Bleach, One Piece, Naruto, and Boruto among others. You can access any manga without any payment or registration.|
|25. BATO.TO||The website which has quite a clean interface and easy navigability has all the latest manga comics along with new releases.|
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We’ve tested out each of the above sites to check on their workability. Feel free to visit any other them.