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What is Manga?

Manga - noun, the Japanese word for comic. Those who live outside of Japan refer Manga as comics specifically published in Japan. However, with the advent of mangaka (those who draw manga) outside of Japan (like Fred Gallagher's Megatokyo), it is usually referred to the "style" of comic, whereby characters feature large, expressive eyes and a small, simple nose and mouth.

Manga is actually a medium which can encompass different genres of stories, from action to romance, comedy to sci-fi, there is a little something for everyone. Manga is a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide and it is continually growing in western nations. Because manga is such a diverse medium, it also attracts a large readership which is not restricted to the youth and teenager demographic. In Japan, manga readership can be equated to that of the daily newspaper. The frequency of publication is typically on a weekly basis and volumes are usually bound together into paperback books so that people can read continuous stories.

Popular manga usually garner more attention, more fans and may also earn them their own anime (Japanese word for cartoon). Recently, public libraries have even carried manga on their shelves in order to encourage literacy since manga isn't too reading intensive.

Current Favourites

In this section, I will list some of my favourite manga that I am currently following (in no particular order):

1) Claymore: A manga written by Norihiro Yagi, which is set in a ficticious medieval world where mankind is plagued by monsters known as Yoma. The only ones who can stop the Yoma from feeding on humans are a group of half-human, half-Yoma hybrids known as Claymore. These blonde haired, silver-eyed hunters show no emotion and even strike fear in the people they are sworn to protect. We are introduced to a Claymore named Clare who's life is shrouded in mystery and has a greater purpose that she must avenge a loved one in her past.

Claymore is a violent and action packed series, the likes of which hasn't been seen since Beserk. The artwork is well done and it's popularity has grown to the point where there is currently an anime of Claymore in Japan. I definitely recommend Claymore to those who like the action, violence and gore, but definitely not for the faint of heart.

2) Bleach: The story centres around highschool teenager, Kurosaki Ichigo. He seems to be a normal highshool kid, but he is also a Shinigami (Death God). A Shinigami's role is to rid the world of evil spirits known as Hollows, while at the same time, rescue lost souls and guide them to Soul Society (spirit world). During the series, Ichigo meets new friends, battles new enemies and gains new abilities along the way. Ultimately, Ichigo wishes to gain enough strength to protect his loved ones.

Bleach is a typical shonen manga where there is a lot of action, huge battles and cool powers/abilities. Created by Japanese mangaka, Kubo Tite, the artwork is well done and it's evident that Kubo loves fashion. All this has made Bleach one of the most popular manga (and anime) out there and is still going strong today. Definitely a great series for not only guys, but girls as well. Highly recommended!


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