Who doesn’t like to read comics, and especially, the Japanese equivalent that is manga? But with thousands of genres and titles, it is quite confusing to know what genres will appeal us, and what titles to start reading, especially if we are just beginning to discover this fascinating medium.
One thing you must know, manga is not “comic books for kids”, and there are genres that will cover every group age, gender and social group.
So, what manga should you read?
Well, lets start with the genres and a few suggestions of titles:
Redikomi or Josei, from the Japanese “Lady Comic”. Sometimes referred to as Josei (female).This genre is aimed from late teenage girls to adult, going beyond the idealized romance of Shojo, with a more realistic take on modern Japanese women’s relationships. I recommend: “Midnight Secretary”, “Gokusen” and “Honey and Clover”.
Seinen (young man) is the male counterpart of Redikomi/Josei. Genres are relatively the same as Shonen, except that they are darker and more somber. My recommendations: “Bastard!!”, “Berserk” ad “Basilisk”.
Shojo or Shoujo (literally “girl”) is a manga aimed at younger females up to the age 18. A focus on romance and relationships from a teenage girl point of view. Recommendations: “Ceres Celestial Legend”, “Fushigi Yuugi” and “Love Celeb”.
Shonen or Shounen (It translates literally as “boy”), the male counterpart of shojo, centering on adventure, action and Martial Arts genres. Manga recommendations: “Bleach”, “Naruto” and “Full Metal Alchemist”.
Yuri or Shojo-ai is based on female/female romantic relationships strong, graphically portrayed themes. Shojo-ai translates literally as “Girl-love”. Yuri translates literally as “Lily”. In Japan, the term GL (Girl Love) is also used. Recommended readings: “Strawberry Panic”, “Free Soul” and “Love My Life”.
Shonen-ai / Yaoi, the male equivalent of Shojo-ai/. Shonen-ai translates as “Boy-love” BL (Boy Love). Less graphic than Yuri. Recommended readings: “Count Cain – GodChild”, “Boys Next Door” and “Just Around the Corner”.
Hentai: this manga is sexually hardcore manga. Hentai is Japanese for “perverted” or “perversion” (adult content). Recommendations: “Step Up Love Story”, “Maid in Heaven” and “Sexy Magical Girl”.
The next step is to actually go find these titles. But with busy schedules and limited resources, especially when we just want to test the waters, going to the actual manga store can be challenging. That is why reading manga online can be a good alternative.