Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Manga Reading Challenge 2010

Discover Another World... Manga

If you've ever ventured into the Manga section of your local bookstore, you may feel overwhelmed... I know I did. I was confronted with colorful covers, titles that gave me no clue as to what the book was about ("Fruit Basket"?), and books that had over 27 issues in a series! The artwork is highly stylized (big eyes, small mouths, wild colorful hair), but some of it is absolutely amazing. Between the covers there is love, sex, violence, and a whole range of emotional stories. I decided that I wanted to learn a little more about this wildly popular genre, and while I was at it, I searched for a Manga reading challenge, which I found... but more about the challenge later. Right now, let me share what I found out about Manga...

First, the definition of Manga:
Manga are Japanese comic books. Manga is often made into Japanese cartoons, or Anime. The art in Manga has a very definite look to it and is often referred to as “Manga Style.

Next, how do you Pronounce 'Manga':
(Maw – Nnnnn – Gah) In Japanese, it is actually three syllables, although the middle "N" is spoken very quick. Americans have a habit of pronouncing it "Man-Gah", but that is not actually correct.

How to Read Manga:
Traditional Manga is read from the back of the book to the front, right to left; text and images read right to left... see illustration at right... The bold numbers represent the boxes that contain the drawings, and the circled numbers represent the order of the dialogue.

Types of Manga: These are just some of the categories
Shônen – Boy’s Manga – (Pronounced Show-Nen) Usually involves action & adventure.
Shôjo – Girl’s Manga – (Pronounced Show-Joe) Usually has romance & is more lighthearted.
Seinen – Men’s Manga – (Pronounced Say-Nen) usually for a mature audience.
Josei (or redikomi) – Women’s Manga – (Pronounced Joe-Say) usually for a mature audience.
Kodomo – Children’s Manga – (Pronounced Kow-Dow-Mow)

The word Manga can be translated as, “humorous pictures.” Manga became very popular in the 20th century when laws prohibiting the publication of those kinds of items were lifted. It has since become a huge part of Japanese culture. Unlike in America, Manga is read by most people in the country. The artists and writer of Manga are well respected for their work, much like the writers of literature in America. The stories first usually appear in serial form in a Manga magazine. If they become popular, they are reprinted in book form, usually small digests.

So now that we know a little about Manga, how do you figure out what to read? Recommendations from people who read Manga are my first choice. Next I would look through the books at my local bookstore and see what artwork & story-lines capture your attention. On the website Manga Worth Reading there is a section called 'Manga starting points', which highlights some books. And of course the online bookstores all have a comic & graphic novel section, which would include Manga. Another way, is to join a challenge and find reviews and recommendations from other people who are part of the challenge! Not only does a challenge give you a goal, but it's fun to chat with other people you meet about what everyone is reading. So, I joined the Manga Challenge 2010, hosted by Rhinoa of Rhinoa's Ramblings.

Here's the Rules of the Challenge...

The Manga Challenge will be running from it's own dedicated blog, Manga Challenge Blog. You can join throughout the year at the Manga Challenge Blog (there is no cut off time to sign up) and it ends on 31st December 2010. The goal is to read a minimum of 6 mangas. There will be the odd prize throughout the year and bonus points if you manage to watch at least one anime film or 3 episodes of a series.

So, it's as easy as that! Sign up at the Manga Challenge Blog and read Manga and review what you've read. If you don't have a blog to link your review, you can email Rhiona directly about posting your reviews on the Manga blog. So, are you up for the challenge? Any of you Manga readers out there? - what are YOU reading!? I would love to hear suggestions here too!

*BTW, the beautiful Manga Challenge Button above was designed by Nymeth's boyfriend. Who's Nymeth? She has a blog called things mean a lot, and she's part of the Manga challenge too!

As I begin to read and review the Manga stories, I'll post review links here... Right now I'm reading my first one called solanin by Inio Asano. The artwork is pleasing and the story is really good! This is it's description,

"College graduates struggle to cope with the real world. Music offers refuge in this modern manga with an American attitude."

Manga is a bit of a reach for me, but it was interesting to learn more about what it is all about. Some of the suggestions I've gotten have been Emma: Volume 1 by Kaoru Mori which is a victorian story, Fruit Basket: Volume 1 by Natsuki Takaya which is a series with mysterious family curses, and Vagabond, Volume 1 by Takehiko Inoue, Nominated for an Eisner Award in the category for Best Writer/Artist, and is based on the life of a true samurai warrior. What do you think about Manga? Is it something you were ever curious about?

13 comments:

Rhinoa said...

Thanks for signing up and providing such a great introduction to manga. I hope you enjoy the challenge, I'm looking forward to reading your reviews.

Heidi V said...

Sweet challenge I'm glad this one includes movies and series. Thank you so much for sharing this with me.

Suzanne said...

Hi Rhiona!
Thanks for the warm welome! I can't wait to crack the spine on a few I've been eyeing! And I look forward to reading everyone elses reviews and recommendations!

Suzanne said...

Hi Heidi!
Oh I hope you're thinking of joining! Hey, does your son read Manga?!He could make some recommendations if he does!

Anna ♥ said...

Yay! Definitely signing up for this. My manga reading has pretty much died over the past couple of years, but this sounds like a great way to re-discover manga again. :D

Joana said...

Oh, I love manga! I even keep track of my read manga here :D

As for recs, I really like The One, a manhua -taiwanese manga- about a girl trying to break in the model industry, Ouran Host Club (which is a highschool comedy and it's hilarious), Lovely Complex is about a short boy and a tall girl and so far is really cute and funny, and my favorite shonen manga would be Fullmetal Alchemist, about two brothers trying to resurrect their mother via alchemy (the story is great) :D

Suzanne said...

Hi Anna!
Yeh! Another friendly face in the challenge! I'll be keeping my eye out for what you're reading and your reviews!

Suzanne said...

Wow Joana! That is an amazing list of what you've read so far! I wrote down all your suggestions too! Thank you! I guess it's back to the bookstore for me! :D

Muse in the Fog said...

Thanks for the explination! Good luck with this challenge. I have already signed up for way to many reading challenges this year lol. You can check them out on my blog
Confessions & Ramblings of a Muse in the Fog

Razlover's Book Blog said...

Hi Suzanne,

I'm going to sign up too since I love reading manga though I haven't read that many!

Thanks for explaining the different kind of genres!

Great suggestions Joana!

Helen said...

Hi, Suzanne! I love manga but I haven't read any in years. I still have my copies. It's so hard to give them away for some reason. I'm not sure if I will join this challenge, but I hope you will enjoy reading mangas.

Book pusher said...

Great introduction to manga, I have teenagers teaching me about manga at the moment. Death Note is huge with these kids and I know of a teacher who is using it to introduce discussions on ethics. I love the distinctive requirements of reading it, which you explained so well, I remember reading somewhere that initially western publishers wanted to change the books to a more traditional western format of front to back etc but I like the way that it requires you to appreciate the cultural differences. Great introduction to manga and good luck with the challenge!

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