Many young adult fans have been pulled into the graphic novel genre recently with the release of Marissa Meyer’s Wires and Nerve. Graphic novels and manga have become more popular recently. I have been reading manga since middle school when a friend introduced me. I’ve enjoyed manga a lot, and find that so many people just have no idea where to begin. So, where to begin!
The Big Three!
Don’t let the words freak you out. It’s easy to figure out what genre you want to start in. There are lots of categories but I’m only going to talk about three, that I find are the easiest to jump into cold.
Shonen is arguably the most well known. It’s was originally marketed to teen boys so most of the hero’s are teen’s. Most stories involve action and adventure. Recently though, there are more female protagonists as well as some comedy. Popular Shonen manga includes Attack on Titan, One Piece, Dragon Ball, Bleach, and Naruto.
Shojo manga is aimed at teenage girls. Though there is still action and adventure, there is more emphasis on romance and personal relationships. It’s my personal favorite manga to read. Though it can be cheesy, it can be really cute. There’s lots of magic and fantasy as well. Popular Shojo includes Sailor Moon, Fruits Basket, Ouran High School Host Club, Skip Beat!, and Maid-sama!.
Oel stands for Original English Language. Basically manga isn’t written originally in english. It’s written in japanese, then translated into english so we can read it! OEL’s are written in, guess what? English! Yeah, shocking. It’s usually written left to right, so it makes it a bit easier for us to read. My two favorite OEL’s are Scott Pilgrim and Dramacon.
So what should you read?
My top three recommendations are…
Dramacon is a fun quick read. If you’ve ever been to a convention, Dramacon will resonate with you. It’s about a girl named Christie who wants to write manga. You get to go through her struggles with relationships and the manga she’s writing. It’s cute and has a fun art style. There are only three volumes and you can get them all here.
#2 Fruits Basket
Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya is my personal favorite manga of all time. Tohru (the main character) is kind of a ditz, but you quickly come to love her. The perpetual struggle between Kyo and Yuki will make you fangirl so hard. There are so many characters to ship and lots of cute couples. There’s some fun humor as well. Fruits Basket has 23 volumes. Currently, the publisher is releasing them in special editions. The first one can be found here.
#3 Fullmetal Alchemist
FMA is a popular manga that has even won awards. The two main characters are brothers who are on a quest to recover their bodies after an incident when they tried to bring their mother back to life. They travel the country researching alchemy, making friends, fighting enemies, etc. What starts as a personal journey becomes a national calamity that the Elric brothers help resolve. There are lots of diverse characters and powerful female characters, which I love. Grab the first volume here.
Have you read any of these? Have any questions for me? Comment! Let me know what you think!
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