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2nd English edition of InuYasha Vol. 1 manga comic book.

Manga (漫画?) is the Japanese word for comics and print cartoons. Outside of Japan, it usually refers specifically to Japanese comics. As of 2006, manga represents a $5 billion global market.<ref name="Time">Masters, "America Is Drawn To Manga"</ref> Manga developed from a mixture of ukiyo-e and foreign styles of drawing, and took its current form shortly after World War II. It comes mainly in black and white, except for the covers and sometimes the first few pages, and in some Animanga all the pages are colored. Popular manga are often adapted into anime (Japanese for animation) once a market interest has been established. (Manga is sometimes mistakenly called "anime" by those not familiar with the term.) Adapted stories are often modified to appeal to a more mainstream market. Although not as common, original anime is sometimes adapted into manga (such as the Gundam franchise, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop and Tenchi Muyo).


[edit] Origins

Main article: History of manga

Literally translated, manga means "random (or whimsical) pictures". The word first came into common usage in the late 18th century—with the publication of such works as Suzuki Kankei's "Mankaku zuihitsu" (1771) and Santo Kyoden's picturebook "Shiji no yukikai" (1798)—and in the early 19th century with such works as Aikawa Minwa's "Manga hyakujo" (1814) and the celebrated Hokusai manga containing assorted drawings from the sketchbook of the famous ukiyo-e artist Hokusai. However, giga (literally "funny pictures"), especially chōjū jinbutsu giga (鳥獣人物戯画,? literally "funny pictures of animals and humans"),<ref name="tyo"></ref> 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 foreign art movements. When the United States began trading with Japan, Japan entered a period of rapid modernization and globalization. Thus, they imported foreign artists to teach their students things such as line, form and color, which were never concentrated on in ukiyo-e as the idea behind the picture was normally considered more important[citation needed]. Manga in this period was known as Ponchi-e (Punch-picture) and, like its British counterpart Punch magazine, mainly depicted humor and political satire in a short, 1- or 4-picture format.

Between the late the Meiji period to before WW II, notable mangaka include Rakuten Kitazawa and Ippei Okamoto. Rakuten Kitazawa trained under Frank A. Nankivell, an Australian artist, and collaborated with Jiji Shimpo after being introduced to him by Yukichi Fukuzawa. After that, Rakuten published such famous comic strips as Tagosaku to Mokubē no Tōkyō-Kenbutsu (田吾作と杢兵衛の東京見物,? "Tagosaku and Mokube's Sightseeing in Tokyo") (1902) and Haikara Kidorō no Sippai (灰殻木戸郎の失敗,? "The Failures of Kidoro Haikara") (1902). Ippei Okamoto is the founder of Nippon Mangakai, the first cartoonist's association in Japan. His manga manbun works, such as Hito no Isshō (人の一生,? "A life of a man") (1921), were a major influence on contemporary mangaka and became prototypes of later fiction-based manga.<ref name="Manga no Rekishi">Isao Shimizu "Zusetsu Manga no Rekishi" ISBN 4-309-72611-9</ref>

[edit] Osamu Tezuka

Manga as people know it in the 20th and 21st centuries only really came into being after Dr. Osamu Tezuka, widely acknowledged to be the father of story-based manga[citation needed], became popular. In 1945, Tezuka who was studying medicine, saw a war propaganda animation film called Momotarou Uminokaihei whose style was largely influenced by Disney's Fantasia. As a children's film, the main theme of Fantasia was peace and hope in a time of darkness. Tezuka was greatly inspired by the film and later decided to become a comic artist, which at the time (and even now) was an unthinkable choice for a qualified medical doctor. He later commented that a part of reason he went to medical school was to avoid conscription and that he actually did not like seeing blood.[citation needed]

Tezuka introduced film-like storytelling and character in comic format in which each short film-like episode is part of larger story arc. The only text in Tezuka's comics was the characters' dialogue and this lent the comics a cinematic quality. Tezuka also adopted Disney-like facial features where a character's eyes, mouth, eyebrows and nose are drawn in a very exaggerated manner to add more distinct characterization with fewer lines, which made his work popular. This somewhat revived the old ukiyo-e like tradition where the picture is a projection of an idea rather than actual physical reality.[citation needed]

Initially, his comic was published in a children's magazine. Soon, it became a specialized weekly or monthly comic magazine of its own, which is now the foundation of the Japanese comic industry.[citation needed] Tezuka adapted his comic to almost all film genres of the time; his manga series range from action adventure (e.g. Kimba the White Lion, also known as Jungle Emperor Leo) to serious drama (e.g. Black Jack) to science fiction (e.g. Astro Boy), horror (e.g. Dororo, The Three-eyed One.) Though he is known in the West as a creator of the children's animation Astro Boy, many of his comics had some very mature and sometimes dark undertones. Most of his comics' central characters had a tragic background. For instance, Atom (Astro Boy) was created by a grieving scientist who wanted to create an imitation of his dead son and later abandoned the boy; Kimba's father was killed by human hunters and the conflict between man and nature was a recurring theme for the comic; Hyakkimaru in Dororo was born severely crippled because his father offered 48 parts of Dororo's infant body to 48 demons.

Some criticize Tezuka's extensive use of tragic dramatization in his stories.[citation needed] As the manga generation of children grew up, the market for comics expanded accordingly and manga soon become a major cultural force of Japan. Tezuka also contributed to the social acceptance of manga. His qualification as a medical doctor as well as the holder of Ph.D in medical science as well as his serious storylines were used to deflect criticism that manga was vulgar and undesirable for children. He also mentored a number of important comic artists, such as Fujiko Fujio (creator of Doraemon), Fujio Akatsuka and Shotaro Ishinomori.

[edit] Gekiga

Another important trend in manga was gekiga ("Dramatic Pictures"). Between the 1960s and the 1970s, there were two forms of comic serialization. One, the manga format, was based on the sales of anthology magazines which contained dozen of titles. The other, gekiga, was based on a rental format of an individual manga "book" of single title. Manga was based on weekly or biweekly magazine publications, so production was prompt, and the deadline was paramount. Consequently, most manga artists adopted Tezuka's style of drawing, where characters are drawn in a simpler but exaggerated manner, typified by the large round eyes regarded abroad as a defining feature of Japanese comics. In contrast, gekiga typically had more complex and mature story lines, with higher production value per page. For this reason, gekiga was considered to be artistically much superior. However, gekiga's rental business model eventually died out in the 1970s, while manga artists significantly improved their graphic quality. Eventually, gekiga was absorbed into manga and now is used to describe a manga style which does not use cartoon-like drawing. The gekiga-style manga most famous abroad is probably Akira.

However, gekiga did not only influence the art style of manga: after the 70s, more mature-themed pictures and plot lines were used in manga. Many had significant depictions of violence and sexual activity, and were marketed at teenagers: unlike in Tezuka's time, children in the 70s had more disposable income, so they could directly purchase manga without asking their parents to buy it for them. Thus, manga publishers did not need to justify their products to the parents. Moreover, the dominance of the serialized manga format on a weekly basis meant that manga was increasingly becoming "pulp fiction", with large amounts of violent content and some nudity (especially, although not exclusively, in manga aimed at boys). Representative titles of this genre were Harenchi Gakuen by Go Nagai and Makoto-chan by Kazuo Umezu, both of which had copious amounts of gore, nudity, and vulgar (often scatological) jokes. Much like in the United States during the Comic book scare in the 40's and 50's, teachers and parents had objections to the content of manga, but unlike the U.S. no attempt was made to create an oversight board like the Comics Code Authority. Interestingly, manga magazines "for children" in the 70s arguably had more vulgar themes (due to the fact that it was the only major publishing format available), but by the 80s and 90s, new magazines catering to teenagers and young adults had come into play.

[edit] Cultural importance

Though roughly equivalent to the American comic book, manga holds more importance in Japanese culture than comics do in American culture. In economic terms, weekly sales of comics in Japan exceed the entire annual output of the American comic industry.[citation needed] Several major manga magazines which contain about a dozen episodes from different authors sell several million copies each per week. Manga is well respected both as an art form and as a form of popular literature though it has not reached acceptance of historically higher art genres like film or music. However, approval of Hayao Miyazaki's Anime and some of other works of manga are gradually changing the perception of Anime and manga, placing them closer to the status of "higher" arts (Top of box office charts of all-time in Japan is Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki, 30.4 billion yen). Like its American counterpart, some manga has been criticized for being violent or sexual. For example, a number of film adaptation of manga such as Ichi the Killer or Old Boy were rated Restricted or Mature in the States. However, there have been no official inquiries or laws trying to limit what can be drawn in manga, except for vague decency laws applying 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 for about every topic.

[edit] The manga style

[edit] Characteristics

There are several expressive techniques staple (and some of them unique) to the manga art form:

Expressive dialogue bubbles: The borders of the speech/thought bubbles changes in pattern/style to reflect the tone and mood of the dialogue. For example, an explosion-shaped bubble for an angry exclamation. Also, manga does not usually follow the normal Western comic conventions for speech (solid arc extending from the character's head) and thought bubble (several small circles used in place of the arc). The latter bubble style is often used for whispered dialogue in manga, which can confuse Western readers.

Speed lines: Often in action sequences, the background will possess an overlay of neatly ruled lines to portray direction of movements. Speed lines can also be applied to characters as a way to emphasise the motion of their bodies (limbs in particular). This style, especially background blurs, extends into most action based anime as well.

Mini flashbacks: Many artists employ copies of segments from earlier chapters (sometimes only a single panel) and edit them into the story panels to act as a flashback (also applying an overlay of darker tone to differentiate it from current events). This can be considered a convenient method to evoke prior event(s) along with visual imagery. In situations where a character's life events flash across his/her mind, a splash page maybe used with the entire background consisting of segments from earlier chapters.

Abstract background effects: These involve elaborate hatching patterns in the background and serve to indicate or strengthen the mood of the plot. It can also illustrate a character's state of mind.

Symbols: Certain visual symbols have been developed over the years to become common methods of denoting emotions, physical conditions and mood. The following is a brief list of representative manga symbols and usage:

  • Sweat drops, usually drawn largely on the head region, commonly indicates bewilderment, nervousness and mental weariness. On a sidenote, actual physical perspiration in manga is signified by even distribution of sweat drops over the body.
  • A round swelling, sometimes drawn to the size of baseballs, is a visual exaggeration of swelling from injury.
  • A character suffering from a profuse nosebleed indicates sexual excitation when it follows exposure to stimulating imageries or seduction. It is based on a Japanese old wive's tale[1]
  • Throbbing veins, usually depicted as a cruciform in the upper head region, indicates anger or irritation.
  • Hatchings on the cheek represents blushing, while oval "blush dots" on the cheeks represents rosy cheeks.
Image:Manga Example.png
A page from the Marmalade Boy manga, volume 1 (Japanese version)

The popular and recognizable style of manga is very distinctive. Emphasis is often placed on line over form, and the storytelling and panel placement differs from those in American comics. Impressionistic backgrounds are very common, as are sequences in which the panel shows details of the setting rather than the characters. Panels and pages are typically read from right to left, consistent with traditional Japanese writing.

Moé face picture.

While the art can be incredibly realistic or cartoonish, it is often noted that the characters have large eyes (female characters usually have larger eyes than male characters), small noses, tiny mouths, and flat faces. Large eyes have become a permanent fixture in manga and anime since the 1960s when Osamu Tezuka (see above) started drawing them in this way, mimicking the style of Disney cartoons from the United States.

Moé eyes picture.

Furthermore, inside the big eyes, the transparent feeling of pupils and the glares, or small reflections in the corners of the eyes are often exaggerated, regardless of surrounding lighting, although they are only present in living characters: the eyes of characters who have died are the colour of the iris, but darker. (See also: Bishoujo)

Because manga is a diverse art form, however, not all manga artists adhere to the conventions most popularized in the States through anime such as Akira, Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, and Ranma ½.

A fair number of manga artists do not 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 unrelated story arcs based around Tenchi and his friends. There is also the case of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure where the protagonist changes depending on the story arc following new generation of characters.

[edit] Manga symbols

The following is a non-exhaustive and incomplete list of artistic conventions used in mainstream manga and their place of origin.

  • A white cross-shaped bandage symbol denotes pain.
  • A large sweat drop on the side of the face denotes a broad spectrum of emotions, usually embarrassment or exasperation.
  • A scribble on the cheek can show injury; it is also used in black-and-white media to denote red cheeks, i.e. blushing.
  • A red cheek denotes embarrassment or blushing.
  • A throbbing vein, sometimes comically simplified to a "+" shaped outline on the head (or occasionally other body parts, especially fists), represents anger or irritation.
  • A balloon dangling from one nostril indicates sleep.
  • Electricity shoots out on the eyes of two characters when they are fighting.
  • A common artistic pun are nosebleeds, usually caused by shocking sights - especially those with a sexual undertone.
  • There are many eye symbols such as love-hearts, crosses, flames, and spirals.
  • A character suddenly falling onto the floor, usually with one or more extremities twisted above him or herself, is a typically humorous reaction to something ironic happening.
  • The pupils disappearing from the eyes, and the iris gaining a glass-like glare smoothness denotes loss of conscious control because of possession (ghost, demon, zombie, magic, etc).
  • The eyes becoming huge and perfectly round with tiny pupils and no iris and going beyond the reach of the face, plus the mouth becoming like a stretched semicircle, the point of which extends past the chin, symbolises extreme excitement.
  • All facial features shrinking, the nose disappearing, the character lifting off the floor and the limbs being multiplied as if moving very fast symbolizes panic; if the same but with larger facial features it symbolises comic rage.
  • Tear drops everywhere indicate intense joy or sadness.
  • An ellipsis appearing over ones head indicates an awkward and speechless moment.
  • Eye shapes and sizes are often symbolically used to represent the character. For instance, bigger eyes will usually symbolize beauty, innocence, or purity, while smaller, more narrow eyes typically represent coldness and/or evil.
  • Character colorizations tend to, more often than not, represent the character in some way. A more subdued character will be colored with lighter tones, while a flamboyant character will be done in bright tones. Similarly, villains are often colored in darker tones, while colder character will be given neutral tones (black, white, grey, etc.).
  • An odd white shape (more often than not, something close to a mushroom) that appears during an exhale represents a sigh of awkward relief or depression.
  • Completely blackened eyes (shadowed) indicates a vengeful or deep anger. It could also indicate that someone's being sort of a wise-guy, grinning.
  • Characters push their index fingers together when admitting a secret or telling the truth to another.
  • A character's eyes are shadowed regardless of the lighting in the room when they become angry, upset, something is wrong with them, or they are emotionally hurt.
  • The anime character's eyes turn into two thick half-circles, conveying a cute, delighted look.
  • Face expressions change depending on their mood, and can look from apple shaped to a more subtle carrot shape
  • Parallel vertical lines with dark shading over the head or under the eye may represent mortification or horror. If the lines are wavy, it may represent disgust.
  • A wavy ghost coming out of the mouth is often a comical representation of depression or mortification.
  • Sakura(Cherry) blossoms indicate a sweet or beautiful moment. This is a reference to Mono no Aware.
  • A flower blossom falling off its stem may indicate death or, more commonly, sex.
  • A fang peeking from the corner of the mouth indicates mischief or feistiness. (Unless, of course, the character has fangs normally).
  • A cat mouth (like a number '3' on its back) replacing the character's normal mouth, and usually accompanied by larger eyes may also represent mischief or feistiness.
  • Unbound hair may represent freedom, while hair that is tied back may represent some form of either literal, figurative or emotional enslavement of some kind.

See also: Face fault

[edit] Manga format

Manga magazines usually have many series running concurrently with approximately 20–40 pages allocated to each series per issue. These manga magazines, or "anthology magazines", as they are also known (colloquially "phone books"), 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. Manga artists sometimes start out with a few "one-shot" manga projects just to try to get their name out. If these are successful and receive good reviews, they are continued.

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 are the equivalent of American comic's trade paperbacks. 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 (approximately one US Dollar) 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.

Traditionally, manga are written from right to left. Some publishers of translated manga keep that format, but some switch the direction to left to right, so as not to confuse foreign readers. This practice is known as "flipping" and is often criticized by the readers and even the artists themselves, citing that it goes against their original intentions (for example, if a person wears a shirt that reads "MAY" on it, and gets flipped, then the word is altered to "YAM".

[edit] Dōjinshi

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").

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.

Unofficial fan-made comics are also called dōjinshi. Some dōjinshi continue with a series' story or write an entirely new one using its characters, much like fan fiction.

[edit] Types of manga

With an immense market in Japan, manga encompasses a very diverse range of subjects and themes, satisfying many readers of different interests. Popular manga aimed at mainstream readers frequently involves sci-fi, action, fantasy and comedy. Notable manga series are based on corporate businessman (the Shima Kousaku series), Chinese cuisine (Iron Wok Jan), criminal thriller (Monster) and military politics (The Silent Service). As a result, many genres apply equally well to anime (which very often includes adaptations of manga) and Japanese computer games (some of which are also adaptations of manga).

[edit] By target audience

[edit] Genres

[edit] International influence

Main article: Manga outside Japan
Image:Cover demo2.jpg
Demo by Brian Wood (story) and Becky Cloonan (art) is an example of an American comic that is influenced by manga

Manga has long had an influence on international comics and animation the world over.

[edit] North America

[edit] Popularity

Manga has proved to be a quickly growing industry in America, tripling three times in the past three years to be a $180 million market in 2005.<ref name="Time" /> Also as evidenced of their pervasiveness, at least 40 syndicated newspaper have added manga strips to their funny pages.<ref name="Time" /> Manga has also been noted for making female readers interested in comics. In a nation where the normal comic book readership is largely dominated by males, females make up an unheard of 60% of all manga readership.<ref name="Time" />

[edit] Influence

American artist and writer Frank Miller has been heavily influenced by manga and in particular by Kazuo Koike's 28 volume samurai epic Lone Wolf and Cub. Miller was one of the first American comic artists to make use of decompression, a style prevalent in manga.

Other American artists such as Becky Cloonan (Demo, East Coast Rising), Ben Dunn (Ninja High School), Corey Lewis (Sharknife, PENG), Joe Madureira (Battle Chasers) and Canadian Bryan Lee O'Malley (Lost At Sea, Scott Pilgrim) are heavily influenced by the mainstream manga style and have received acclaim for their work outside of anime/manga fan circles. These artists have their roots in the anime/manga subculture of their particular regions (as well as the Internet and webcomics), but incorporate many other influences that make their work more palatable to non-manga readers.

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 U.S. as Heavy Liquid (comic)|Heavy Liquid. As a result his work features a strong influence from manga without influences from international otaku culture.

In addition, there are many amateur artists who are influenced exclusively by the manga style.[citation needed] Many of these have their own small publishing houses, and some webcomics 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.

[edit] Europe

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. France is the biggest country after Japan where Manga are most sold, with 10 millions books in 2005.

The manga style has influenced not only writers and artists but musicians as well. Turkish rock band maNga [sic] has not only its name derived from the style; their videos and album cover feature manga-style animation and the members of the band have their own manga characters, drawn by award-winning artist Kaan Demirçelik.

[edit] Language notes

  • Because nouns in Japanese do not have a plural form, manga is the form for both plural and singular. It is also commonly called コミック(komikku, from comic) in Japanese.
  • Mangaka (漫画家) Literally "Manga professional" is a Japanese term for a manga author/artist.

[edit] See also

Comics by region
Comics in North America
Comics in Canada
Comics in Mexico
Comics in the United States
Comics in South America
Comics in Argentina
Comics in Brazil
Comics in Europe
Comics in Belgium
Comics in France
Comics in Germany
Comics in the Netherlands
Comics in Italy
Comics in Poland
Comics in the United Kingdom
Comics in Asia
Comics in China
Comics in India
Comics in Japan
Comics in Korea
Comics in the Philippines
Comics in Australia
Comics in Australia
List of comic creators

[edit] References

Please see WP:FOOT and give this article proper inline citations.


  • Gravett, Paul. Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics. New York: Collins Design, 2004. ISBN 1-85669-391-0.
  • Kern, Adam L. "Manga from the Floating World: Comicbook Culture and the Kibyôshi of Edo Japan. Cambridge, M.A.: Harvard University Asia Center, 2007. ISBN 0-674-02266-1.
  • Schodt, Frederik L. Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga. Berkeley, Calif.: Stone Bridge Press, 1996. ISBN 1-880656-23-X.
  • Schodt, Frederik L. Manga! Manga!: The World of Japanese Comics. New York: Kodansha International, 1983. ISBN 870117521, ISBN 4-7700-2305-7.


Footnotes <references />

[edit] External links

Websites with descriptions and information:

Websites of News and Reviews:

  • Manga Life - New reviews and commentary several times per week.
  • Manga.3Yen - Daily news and info on Manga from Japan.
  • Manga Reviewer - Reviews, previews and mangaka bios.

Websites with Tutorials:

  • A South African manga community site with artist profiles, video manga tutorials & forum discussions.
  • How to draw manga - A popular series of art instruction books. Here's the tutorial page.

Others websites:

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ar:مانغا (مجلة) br:Manga bg:Манга ca:Manga cs:Manga cy:Manga da:Manga de:Manga el:Manga es:Manga eo:Mangao fr:Manga gl:Manga ko:일본 만화 id:Manga is:Manga it:Manga he:מאנגה la:Manga lt:Manga lv:Manga hu:Manga ms:Manga nl:Manga (strip) ja:漫画 no:Manga pl:Manga pt:Mangá ro:Manga ru:Манга sq:Manga simple:Manga sk:Manga fi:Manga sv:Manga ta:மங்கா th:มังงะ tr:Manga (çizgiroman) uk:Манга zh:日式漫画


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