Manga

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Topics: Manga
Comics didn't interest me much until a few years ago: long Indian summers spent reading Archie digests out of utter boredom had convinced me that there wasn't much to the form. It was only when a friend introduced me to Japanese comics (or manga) three years ago that I began to realize that the synthesis of image and text could produce complex layers of meaning, which shifted from reading to reading. In Japan, manga has "spread and diversified as a dominant (almost the dominant) medium in mass culture" The huge audience for manga in Japan has allowed artists to diversify into many different types, the two primary classifications being shonen - boys' manga - and shoujo - girls' manga. Shonen manga are usually heavy on action and light on character development and romance. Shoujo manga tend to focus on relationships and characters. They are also visually different: shonen manga is generally laid out clearly in rectangular panels, whereas shoujo artists take pains to present the story in creative ways, for example, by using unusual panel shapes or configurations, or by using symbolic images to represent emotions or events.

Frequently, the most interesting works are those that appropriate techniques from both types of manga to tell stories in novel ways. One example is Ranma ½, the first manga I ever read, in which the male protagonist turns into a girl whenever splashed with cold water. This premise is stretched to its limit in twenty-plus volumes of riotous fighting and skullduggery, with the fights interspersed with scenes developing the relationships between Ranma and his friends. I had never read anything like it before and was soon addicted. Once I had begun with Ranma ½, I continued to collect both shoujo and shonen manga, as well as multigenre titles like Wild Adapter.

Although I don't read Japanese, the vast number of translations, reviews and synopses online, not to mention the large number of titles published in French and English editions have allowed me



Bibliography: Ando, Yuma and Asaki, Masashi. Psychometrer Eiji (Volume One). French Trans: Thibaud Desbief. Dargaud Benelux: Brussels, Belgium, 2001. Minekura, Kazuya. Gensomaden Saiyuki (Volume One). Enix: Japan, 1997 · Paperback, excellent condition Miura, Kentaro. Berserk (Volume Six). Jets Comics: Japan, 1993. Miura, Kentaro. Berserk (Volume Seven). Jets Comics: Japan, 1994. Saito, Chiho. Shoujo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena) (Volume One). Flower Comics: Japan, 1996.

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