How to read manga?

How to read manga?

How to read a manga

What is manga?

  The question “How to read manga” has come inside almost every otaku’s brain but in order to answer that, he/she should also has to know “What is manga?” We all have heard about the term “manga” somewhere in our lives. As one defines it, it is basically a comic which is originated from Japan, in fact the word manga (which is basically a Japanese word) is used for cartooning or comics. Japan started making them from the early 19th century.

  The world of mangas has gained the attention of a lot of people, from teenagers, adults to even old people. The already wide variety of its stories is becoming wider and wider each and every single day. The genres that these mangas covering are: romance, action, mystery, thriller, comedy, drama, historical, horror, science fiction, fantasy sports and many more. In 1995, its market was valued 6 to 7 billion dollars with almost 2 billion mangas being sold every year. Now its worth has reached approximately 450 billion US$ and is still increasing with an ever increasing speed. With more and more people coming to this particular industry i.e. Manga, it has become very important for them to know “How to read manga” and this very article is all about telling them that how should they read manga or what are the necessary points that they should keep in mind while reading a manga.

How to read manga in English?

    Despite all this many people make mistakes by not realizing the actual difference between a comic and an actual manga, just like the ones who don’t actually realize the difference between an anime and a cartoon. These people see and read these manga as if they are reading a usual comic, they start reading them from the extreme left page thinking that it would be its page number one but then knowing that it is its last page thus getting spoiled, reading from left to right and not knowing which panel that they should read first and starting reading series from the middle and not knowing what happened in the story from the point they started reading. So in order to make you guys not do that I’ve come up with some manga reading tips that would make you read mangas the way they should be read:

how to read manga

1.       Start from the start:

   Most often mangas are based on long term novels thus giving them not just one or two chapters but a large number of volumes. Therefore, it is best for the reader to start reading it from the very beginning i.e. the chapter one of the volume one ,otherwise he’ll not understand the context of the story nor will he be able to know what had happened in the story from the point where he started reading.

 2.     Being backward as compared to English books:


     Put your manga book down on the table in a way that its spine comes at its right side and leaf ends on its left side. This side will usually contain the author’s name, title and the edition number. You need to read it starting from this side. If you start reading it from the other side there is a big chance that you’ll get spoiled but many manga publishing companies write “Stop, you’re reading the wrong way” on that end, telling us that we should flip the book and start reading it from the other side.

3.      Which panel and in what sequence?:


     Manga panel should be read from right to left and if there is no right panel to the first one then read the panel that is exact below that panel. The sequence must be from right to left and from top to bottom.

4.      How to read manga speech bubbles?


    Like manga panels, the manga dialog bubbles or balloons (balloons that contain conversational text of different characters of the manga) should also be read from right to left and from top to bottom. These bubbles or balloons are also called Fukidashi, spelled ふきだし . The right to left concept is mainly because of the Japanese writing style which is completely opposite to the English writing style. 

5.       Backgrounds:

     Many of the mangas use the technique of background fading, from black, to grey and then finally to white colour indicating the transition of time from the past (black colour) to the present (white colour). They also write phrases like “xxx years/months/weeks ago” to tell you that in which time does that panel actually happen. 

6.      Different character emotions:

      I.     Sigh bubble:

    Sigh bubble shows that the character has come to a state of relief and calmness. This sigh bubble is basically empty unlike the dialog bubble and has a shape of a cloud. Another difference between it and the dialog bubble is that it comes below the character’s mouth, unlike the dialog bubble which actually comes above it. 

     II.        Blushing face:

    When the character is blushing, we see that there are several sketched lines that goes though his/her one cheek to the other (sometimes excluding the character’s nose). This blushing of his/her indicates that that person is overjoyed, embarrassed or is having a romantic feelings towards the other character. 

    III.        Nose bleed:

    You may think that nose bleed is a sign of injury but matter of fact is that it’s not; it’s the sign of character having a lustful thought or a gaze mostly on beautiful women. For one this really doesn’t make any sense. There is no scientific reason behind it, but still it does happen, both in the manga world as well as in the anime world. 

    IV.        Dark facial shadows:

    The dark facial shadows, dark floating background and three opening nerve (mostly on foreheads) shows that the character is in a state of aggression, depression or is irritated by something or someone. The floating background is mostly grey but the manga makers also use dark purple shadows too in order to show his aggressiveness and the negative vibe that he or she is emitting.

    V.         Sweat drop near head:

  Sweat drop near a character’s head shows that the character is in a state of embarrassment. However, the intensity of embarrassment when it comes to sweat drop is way less than the amount of embarrassment a character feels when blushing. The character here is in an uncomfortable zone and tries to come out of it. Again, this way of indication has nothing to do with neither science nor its facts.

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