With hundreds of millions of copies sold each year in Japan, the manga phenomenon is widely spread internationally. Did you know that manga can be found in several genres in order to appeal to all readers?
The Manga is a Japanese comic book or illustrated novel that adopts specific graphic codes such as the use of black and white, a reading direction from right to left and a division into several volumes.
From the ancient sketches of the famous painter Hokusai to its worldwide influence in the 2000s, passing by the influence of the American comics, today' s manga refers to very successful works such as Dragon Ball, One Piece and Akira.
These books (or anime by extension) reach a large audience and deal with different topics such as love, adventure, science fiction... Shonen, Kodomo, Shôjo, Seinen, Josei... there is a comic book for everyone!
Now, it's time to discover the different Manga Genres... Enjoy reading!
📌 Manga classification
In Japan, manga are first proposed to readers in pre-publication magazines before becoming full-length albums. The latter target a well-defined audience. Thus, manga were tested for popularity before being published in paperback format.
👨👩👧👦 Classification by readership
In the Land of the Rising Sun, manga are traditionally classified by readership. The age of the consumers is taken into account. Some are meant for children, others for teenagers or adults. Also, the manga genres are divided by gender, as some are considered more likely to appeal to men or women.
Nowadays, with the evolution of mentalities, this classification doesn't really make sense anymore. Rest assured, it's not because you're a young woman that you can't enjoy manga intended for boys and vice versa!
🧝 Classification by genre
Another classification is made according to the genre. Thus, we find the dramatic register with the Gekiga style, the fantasy universe of magic with the Magical girl or the Mecha and its science-fiction robots. As for Suiri, this one represents the detective style. Lastly, the Super Sentai features superheroes.
🔲 Classification by format
Finally, there are different publication formats. The Yonkoma is based on the four-frame system of the Comic Strip, while the Webcomic is directly viewed on the web. The One shot, as its name suggests, corresponds to a manga in a single volume.
💥 The Shônen genre for teenagers looking for action
Initially intended for teenage boys (from 10 to 15 years old), the Shonen is a type of manga which puts in scene a male hero with extraordinary powers going to accomplish some great deeds.
This type of manga transmits values of courage, friendship, perseverance or even sacrifice. The story is punctuated by numerous action scenes and epic battles that enhance the exploits of the main character.
Among the most famous shonen, we can mention Dragon Ball, Naruto and One Piece...
💗 The Shôjo genre for young romantics
Are you a little bit of a romantic? Do rose water stories attract you? Equivalent to Shonen but in a more romantic version, this kind of manga is mainly aimed at teenagers who will identify themselves with the central character.
The Shojo genre recounts the daily life of high school girls in Japan through the eyes of a heroine. It is a romance that deals with love, relationships at school, the world of fashion, sports and other concerns of youth. This type of introspective manga delivers values of empathy, generosity and forgiveness.
The registers and graphic style are varied (more or less fantasy or realistic) however, the faces of the characters are particularly expressive. Naturally, it is not because you are a boy you cannot read a shojo.
In this style of manga we can mention Nana, Fruits Basket, Orange, Sailor Moon...
👦 The kodomo genre, for the little (and big) kids
Got a child's soul? This type of manga is made for you!
Kodomo manga targets a readership of about 6 to 11 years old (and adults who have kept their innocence). The stories are light and entertaining. No drama on the horizon or too complicated plots!
The synopsis? The fast-paced life of a young hero and his gang of sidekicks. There are also many cute stories like the manga Chi's Sweet Home that recounts the tenderizing adventures of a kitten taken in by a family.
In addition to amusing the youngest, the kodomo manga sometimes seduces teenagers and nostalgic adults, like in the case of Pokemon, Doraemon or Astro Boy.
🤓 The seinen genre for intellectuals
Are you sensitive to the drifts of society? Interested in philosophy, psychology or spirituality? The Seinen manga is reserved for a mature public with deep reflection topics.
If the themes resemble to those of the Shonen manga, the approach is much less sweetened, because this type of novel emphasizes the complexity of the characters and the sometimes violent reality. Seinen deals with serious subjects such as death, the end of the world, or malaise.
The categories are varied, ranging from adventure to sentimental stories, including detective stories, fantasy and even horror. The plot of the story, the psychology of the characters and the drawings are more realistic and worked than in the previous genres.
Among the most famous Seinen we can mention Akira, Monster, Death Note, or even Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind...
🙋♂️ Young Seinen for the discerning young adult
Somewhere between Shonen and Seinen, this type of manga is aimed at a young adult audience. The stories are quite complex, but less tortured than in a Seinen.
The themes of predilection: science fiction, sports or fights. Contrary to Shonen, this type of manga includes erotic allusions and sometimes dark stories with real subjects of reflection like the place of the human being in the universe. Enough to turn the brain of young students.
💔 The Josei genre for the sentimental
Just like the Seinen, the Josei genre deals with mature subjects that lead to reflection, but is particularly targeting young women. It features a female character in stories that deal with romantic, social or professional relationships as well as the issues of modern women. The physical relationships are more carnal while remaining soft.
Josei manga will please sensitive people who appreciate psychology and the art of introspection. Paradise Kiss, Tramps Like Us, Happy Mariage are examples of Josei.
This type of manga also includes Yuri and Yaoi manga that deal with homosexual relationships between women or men.
❌ Hentai and Ecchi reserved for + 18 years old
Hentai manga is a genre totally reserved for adults that explicitly shows pornographic scenes responding to the sex industry.
The Ecchi genre is an erotic or perverse style with female characters with exaggerated shapes (oversized breasts...). As you can imagine, this kind of manga is not to be placed in all hands!
The list is not exhaustive, because each genre has its own sub-genre. As you can see, there is a huge variety of manga! From adventure stories to romance, thrillers, fantasy or science fiction.... There is something for everyone! So, you are bound to find the manga style that suits you.
Tip ... don't stop at one type of manga and dare to go off the beaten track. You'll probably have nice surprises 😉
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