Manga manga manga!

April 16, 2008 at 6:25 pm (Manga)

This series of posts is mainly to help me gather my own thoughts together on the subject, because i have to do a presentation on manga readers advisory in a few weeks.  Any input would be appreciated!

Some other notes –

“Cinemanga” is what happens when an anime movie is made directly into a manga by taking cells from the film and adding text bubbles to them.  The images in a cinemanga are usually in color, and are exactly the same as in the movie.  In some cases, this is the only way to get the movie in book form – like there’s no original manga series to draw on.  This is the case with many Miyazaki films, like “Spirited Away,” and “Castle In the Sky.”  It’s not my favorite kind of manga, but some people might find them enjoyable.  As far as Miyazaki films go, the only original manga series that i know of that’s available here in the states is “Nausicca,” in seven volumes.  It’s a beautiful series, telling a much vaster and more intricate story than the film.  The film really only tells the story from the first two volumes of the manga, with lots of cutting, pasting and rearranging.  Nausicca makes for an excellent book discussion, because it has a lot of themes to explore, like environmentalism, politics, war, nature, etc.  Of course, it would be ideal if everyone could read the whole series, but there you have a pretty sizable expense – about $70 retail for the whole series.  I think it would be great if we could read one series over the course of a year, while also reading single volumes of other manga, and just have people take turns with reading each volume in the sequence, so we would only have to buy one or two sets of the series.  I haven’t managed to get the logistics figured out yet, but when I do you’ll be the first to know.

As far as R/A goes with manga:

Similar methods apply with manga as with other forms of R/A, and some differences.

What have you read before?

What did you like about it?

Getting answers to these two questions from a teen can be like pulling teeth, but it’s a place to start, and I can’t help you much with methods for getting a teen to open up a little bit.

If you can get a sense of what they’ve read before, you can go a long way towards recommending something new.  So far in my experience, most people aren’t so set in their ways that they’ll only read giant robot manga, but it’s possible.  Mostly boys are going to be interested in Shonen, particularly action shonen, and girls are interested in both shonen and shojo, and are much more forgiving of the romantic elements of shojo.

Some manga publishers are nice enough to put genres on the covers of their books, as well as the word shonen or shojo.  That’s awfully nice, but you can pretty much tell the difference between the two types by looking at the covers:

Now, you tell me who the target audience for these two manga is.

Another way to help people find more manga that they like is to find out how they found the titles they already read – are they manga versions of anime they’ve seen?  Manga versions of video games they’ve played?  Something they’ve been reading in a manga magazine like Shonen Jump?

Cartoon Network shows a variety of anime series, some in their evening Toonami section, and others in their Adult Swim section.  If they liked something from one of these sections, they might like other things.  At their website, Cartoon Network has a list of the different series they’ve shown, both current and in the past.  That can help you track down titles that aren’t necessarily on tv right now.  SciFi channel has “Animondays” where they show a couple of different anime series, and this can be a way to look for more titles too.

Also, there are several manga and anime sites that rate titles and have their readers compare manga and anime to each other, building a kind of “if you like this, then you might like that” sort of thing.  The ones I’ve used aren’t super in-depth yet, but it’s still an option.

The thing I recommend most is to read some manga.  Try out a variety of titles, and really give yourself over to being open and interested in what’s going on.  There’s a lot of junk and filler in the manga world, just like in every other fiction genre, but there’s also gems out there, and niches that you might find yourself more forgiving of than others.


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