Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This article is about the Japanese medium. "Manga" can also refer to La Manga (a place in the Mar Menor , Murcia, Spain) and Manga Entertainment (an American and British distributor of anime, but not manga).
Manga (漫画) is the Japanese word for comics; outside of Japan, it usually refers specifically to Japanese comics. Because the Japanese language doesn´t attach a -s for plural form manga is the form for plural and singular.
Manga should not be confused with manhua or manhwa, Chinese and Korean comic books, respectively. The similarity in pronunciation of the three terms is due to the fact that all three languages use the same Chinese characters to write the word, but pronounce them differently.
A small amount of the total manga output of Japan is adapted into anime, which is usually created afterwards after a market interest has been established. Often times the stories are modified to appeal to a more mainstream market or to fit broadcast neccesities.
Literally translated, manga means "random (or whimsical) pictures". The word first came into common usage after the publication of the 19th century Hokusai Manga , containing assorted drawings from the sketchbook of the famous ukiyo-e artist Hokusai. However, gi-ga (lit. "funny pictures") drawn in the 12th century by various artists contain many manga-like qualities such as emphasis on story and simple, artistic lines.
Manga developed from a mixture of ukiyo-e and Western art movements. When the United States began trading with Japan, Japan tried to modernise itself and catch up with the rest of the world. Thus, they imported Western artists to teach their students things such as line, form and colour (things which were never concentrated on in ukiyo-e as the idea behind the picture was normally considered more important). Manga as people know it in the 21st century only really came into being after World War II when the government bans on any non-propaganda were lifted and many publishers sprang up.
In the 20th century, manga came to refer to comics. Though roughly equivalent to the American comic book, manga holds more importance in Japanese culture than comics do in American culture. Manga is well respected both as an art form and as a form of popular literature. Like its American counterpart, manga has been criticized for being violent and sexual; however, there have been no official inquiries or laws that have tried to limit what can be drawn in manga, except for fuzzy decency laws that apply to all published materials, stating that "overly indecent materials should not be sold". This freedom has allowed artists to draw manga for every age group and about every topic.
Manga magazines usually have many series running concurrently with approximately 30–40 pages allocated to each series per issue. These manga magazines, or "anthology magazines", as they are also known, are usually printed on low-quality newsprint and can be anywhere from 200 to more than 850 pages long. Manga magazines also contain one-shot comics and various four-panel yonkoma (equivalent to comic strips). Manga series can run for many years if they are successful.
When a series has been running for a while, the stories are usually collected together and printed in dedicated book-sized volumes, called tankōbon. These volumes use higher-quality paper, and are useful to those who want to "catch up" with a series so they can follow it in the magazines or if they find the cost of the weeklies or monthlies to be prohibitive. Recently, "deluxe" versions have also been printed as readers have gotten older and the need for something special grew. Old manga have also been reprinted using somewhat lesser quality paper and sold for 100 yen each to compete with the used book market.
Manga are primarily classified by the age and gender of the target audience. In particular, books and magazines sold to boys (shōnen) and girls (shōjo) have distinctive cover art and are placed on different shelves in most bookstores.
Japan also has manga cafés, or manga kissaten. At a manga kissaten, people drink coffee and read manga.
Many things appear in manga format, including wanted posters for criminals (see ).
Manga outside Japan
Manga has been translated into many different languages in different countries including China, France, Germany, Italy, and many more. In the USA, manga is still a rather small industry, especially when compared to the inroads that Japanese animation has made in the USA. The UK doesn´t have many manga pubishers as the US. An example of a manga publisher in the United States is Viz, the American affiliate of publishers Shogakukan (小学館 Shōgakukan) and Shueisha (集英社 Shūeisha). They have many popular titles such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Dragon Ball Z, Tenchi Muyō!, Rurouni Kenshin, YuYu Hakusho, (Yūyū Hakusho), Yu-Gi-Oh! (Yūgiō) and the various works of Rumiko Takahashi.
Since Japanese is usually written right-to-left in works of fiction, manga is drawn and published this way in Japan. When various titles were first translated to other languages, the artwork and layouts were flipped and reversed in a process known as "flopping", so that the book may be read from left-to-right. However, various creators (such as Akira Toriyama) did not approve of their work being modified this way, and requested that foreign versions retain the right-to-left format of the originals. Soon, due to both fan demand and the requests of creators, more publishers began offering the option of right-to-left formatting, which has now become commonplace in North America. Left-to-right formatting has gone from the rule to the exception.
Another company, TOKYOPOP, is producing manga widely in the United States, with the right-to-left format as a highly publicized point. They are widely credited with starting the current boom in manga sales, particularly amongst teenage girls. Some critics have complained that their aggressive publishing schedule emphasizes quantity over quality, and might be responsible for translations which many feel to be of sub-optimal quality. However, even their critics tend to admit that their contributions to the success of manga in America have been considerable.
France is noted for having a particularly strong and diverse manga market. Many works that are published in France fall into genres that aren't well represented outside of Japan, such as adult oriented drama, or experimental and avant garde works. Authors such as Jiro Taniguchi who are relatively unknown in other western countries have received much acclaim in France. Part of the reason for the sheer popularity and diversity of manga in this country is due to it having a well established and respected comics market of its own (see Franco-Belgian comics).
In Indonesia, manga has quickly become one of fastest growing consumer industries, and Indonesia has become one of the biggest manga markets outside of Japan. Manga in Indonesia is published by Elex Media Komputindo, Garuda publishing, Gramedia , and many other companies. Manga has greatly influenced Indonesia's original comic industry.
Another popular form of manga distribution outside of Japan is through the Internet as (mostly illegal) scanlations.
Manga has proved so popular that it has led to other companies such as Antarctic Press, Oni Press, Seven Seas Entertainment, TOKYOPOP and even Archie Comics to release their own manga-inspired works that apply the same artist stylings and story pacing seen in Manga. The first of these such works came in 1985 when Ben Dunn , founder of Antarctic Press, released Mangazine and Ninja High School .
While Antarctic Press actively refers to his works as 'American Manga,' not all of these manga-inspired works are made by Americans. Many of the artists working on Seven Seas Entertainment series such as Last Hope and Amazing Agent Luna are Filipino and TOKYOPOP has hired a variety of Asian artists to work on titles such as Warcraft and Princess Ai.
The manga style
The most popular and recognizable style of manga is very distinctive. Emphasis is often placed on line over form, and the storytelling and panel placement differ from those in Western comics. Panels and pages are typically read from right to left, consistent with traditional Japanese writing. While the art can be incredibly realistic or cartoonish, it is often noted that the characters look "Western", or have large eyes. Large eyes have become a permanent fixture in manga and anime since the 1960s when Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy and considered the father of modern manga, started drawing them that way, mimicking the style of Disney cartoons from the United States. Being a very diverse artform, however, not all manga artists adhere to the conventions most popularized in the west through anime such as Akira, Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z and Ranma 1/2.
A fair number of manga artists don't feel that their stories and characters are set in stone. So a set of characters may build relationships, jobs, etc. in one set of stories ("story arc") only to have another story arc run where the same characters do not know each other. The Tenchi series in particular is known for this; there are more than thirteen different pretty-much unrelated story arcs based around Tenchi and his friends.
Manga has long had an influence on international comics and animation the world over. American alternative comics artists such as Frank Miller and Scott McCloud were somewhat influenced by manga in a few of their works.
Other artists such an American artist Becky Cloonan (Demo) and Canadian artist Bryan Lee O'Malley (Lost At Sea) are heavily influenced by the mainstream manga style and have received acclaim for their work outside of anime/manga fan circles. These artists have many other influences that make their work more palatable to non-manga readers. These artists have their roots in the anime/manga subculture of their particular regions.
American artist Paul Pope worked in Japan for Kodansha on the manga anthology Afternoon. Before he was fired (due to an editorial change at Kodansha) he was developing many ideas for the anthology that he would later publish in the US as Heavy Liquid . As a result his work features a strong influence from manga without influences from international otaku culture.
In France there is a "nouvelle manga" movement started by Frédéric Boilet which seeks to combine mature sophisticated daily life manga with the artistic style of traditional Franco-Belgian comics. While the movement also involves Japanese artists, a handful of French cartoonists other than Boilet have decided to embrace its ideal.
In addition, there are thousands and thousands of amateur artists who are influenced exclusively by the manga style. Many of these have their own small publishing houses, and some webcomics and webmanga in this style have become very popular (see Megatokyo). For the most part, these artists are not yet recognized outside of the anime and manga fan community, however. Many people outside of those circles view those works as being too focused on the American anime subculture, and not focused enough on telling stories that resonate with a wider audience. As manga's popularity grows and the manga market continues to expand, it may still be difficult for these cartoonists to break out of fan circles, because of their lack of exposure to a broader view of comics beyond mainstream manga.
Off the main path
Some manga artists will produce extra, sometimes unrelated material, which are known as omake (lit. "bonus" or "extra"). They might also publish their unfinished drawings or sketches, known as oekaki (lit. "sketches").
Unofficial fan made comics are called dōjinshi. Some dōjinshi continue with a series' story or write an entirely new one using its characters, much like fan fiction. In addition other dōjinshi is produced by small amateur publishers outside of the mainstream commercial market in a similar fashion to small-press independently published comic books in the United States. Comiket, the largest comic book convention in the world with over 400,000 gathering in 3 days, is devoted to dōjinshi.
Types of manga
By target audience
- Alternative (See also: Garo)
- Battling companion (not an official name)
- Magical girl (mahō shōjo)
- Mecha (giant robots)
- Moé (also mahō kanojo or magical girlfriend)
- Shōjo-ai (lesbian romance)
- Shōnen-ai (gay romance)
Popular Shōnen Manga Series
- Dragon Ball (Fantasy/Action)
- Fullmetal Alchemist (Fantasy/Action)
- InuYasha (Action/Fantasy/Romance)
- Love Hina (Comedy/Romance)
- Naruto (Fantasy/Ninja)
- One Piece (Fantasy/Pirate)
- Rurouni Kenshin (Samurai Epic)
- Tenchi Muyo! (Sci-Fi/Comedy)
- Yu-Gi-Oh! (Paranormal/Gaming)
Popular Shōjo Manga Series
- Ceres, Celestial Legend (Ayashi no Ceres) (Paranormal/Romance)
- Fushigi Yūgi (Fantasy/Romance)
- Boys Over Flowers (Hana Yori Dango) (Drama/Romance)
- Kare Kano (His and Her Circumstances a.k.a. Kareshi Kanojo no Jijō) (Comedy/Romance/Drama)
- Marmalade Boy (Comedy/Romance/Drama)
- Please Save My Earth (Sci-fi/Drama)
- Revolutionary Girl Utena (Action/Drama)
- Fruits Basket (Comedy/Romance/Paranormal)
Popular Seinen Manga Series
- 20th Century Boys (Sci-Fi)
- Akira (Sci-Fi)
- Berserk (Medieval/Fantasy)
- Blade of the Immortal (Samurai Drama)
- Ghost in the Shell (Sci-Fi)
- Oh My Goddess! (Comedy/Romance)
Categories of pornographic manga
Commonly called "hentai" manga in English, in Japan they are more often referred to as seijin or ecchi manga. These categories are also used for anime, hentai games, and other Japanese-style erotic art.
- Futanari (hermaphrodites)
- Ero-guro (erotic-grotesque; also genera in other Japanese art mediums)
- Kemono (humanoid animal)
- Lolicon (young girls)
- Shota-con (young boys)
- Yaoi (gay)
- Yuri (lesbian)
Distributors of manga
Major Japanese distributors
- Akita Publishing Co., Ltd.
- Chuokoron Shinsha
- Kadokawa Shoten
- Hayakawa Publishing
- Shōnen Gahōsha
Major English language distributors
- ADV Manga
- CPM Manga
- Dark Horse Comics
- Del Rey Manga
- DrMaster (formerly ComicsOne)
- VIZ Media, LLC. (formerly Viz)
Other English-language distributors
- Blast Books
- Broccoli Books
- Chuang Yi
- Digital Manga Publishing
- Kodansha (Once published bilingual editions of manga)
- Ponent Mon/Fanfare
- Raijin Comics
- Seven Seas Entertainment
- Studio Ironcat
- Vertical Publishing
Major Chinese language distributors
- Daran Books (Taiwan)
- Tong Li (Taiwan)
Major French language distributors
- Génération comics
- J'ai lu
- Pika Édition
- Végétal Manga
Major German language distributors
- Egmont Manga & Anime (EMA)
- Planet Manga
- TOKYOPOP Germany
Major Indonesian language distributors
Major Spanish language distributors
- Planeta DeAgostini
Major Italian language distributors
- Star Comics
- Planet Manga (Pannini Comics )
Major Polish-language distributors
List of manga magazines
For an extensive list of Japanese manga and Webmanga, see List of manga, List of manga by Japanese title, and List of dōjinshi (manga). For a list of Manga artists (or Japanese Cartoonists), see Mangaka. For an international list of manga magazines see List of manga magazines. For a list of pornographic manga, see List of H manga, and List of H dōjinshi (manga). See also: List of anime games.
- Schodt, Frederik L. Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga. Berkeley, Calif.: Stone Bridge Press, 1996. ISBN 188065623X.
- Schodt, Frederik L. Manga! Manga!: The World of Japanese Comics. New York: Kodansha International, 1983. ISBN 870117521, ISBN 4770023057.
- PRISMS: The Ultimate Manga Guide - A site for the FAQs for the newsgroup rec.arts.manga
- Le Mélange manga - For background information
- How to draw manga - For the most mainstream style
- Manganews.net - Contains a large database of manga titles with useful descriptions, and also lists recently scanlated manga
- Manga Reviewer Manga reviews, previews, and manga-ka bios. Over 70 reviews and counting!
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