Different genres of manga

Manga is a Japanese comic. It reads from right to left, which also means reading from the last page to the first. It wasn’t this feature that really ensured the worldwide success of Japanese comics. Otaku or fans of Japanese culture know that this is a great way to escape to a new universe. Collecting stories of love, adventure, sci-fi, children and more, the manga comes in multiple genres that suit boys, girls, young and old.

Shonen, an adventure-oriented genre

Shonen, which literally means “teenager”, is a manga genre that mainly attracts young and male audience aged 8 to 18 years. Undoubtedly, it was this genre that popularized Japanese comics in Europe and around the world.

Shounen manga usually tells about the adventures of a young hero accompanied by his faithful friends. The protagonist of this genre of manga is often written in a way that young readers can identify with. In this sense, he embodies courage, loyalty, friendship and respect for one’s values ​​and ideals. Among the best Shonen manga we find in particular:

  • One Piece by Eichiro Oda. This is the story of Luffy in the Straw Hat, a young man with the ability to make his body elastic but, unfortunately, prevent him from swimming. Despite this, he intends to become the Pirate King and travels the seas with his crew to find the famous treasure left behind by the former holder of this title.
  • Naruto written by Masashi Kishimoto. You will follow the story of Naruto, an orphan who is not appreciated by the villagers because of the fox demon that resides in him. Armed with courage and determination, he intends to prove himself as a ninja in order to one day become Hokage, the most respected person in the village.
  • Dragon Ball written by Akira Toriyama. This shonen manga follows the adventures of Son Goku, a survivor of a powerful warrior race. With the help of his friends and the seven crystal balls, he will do his best to protect the planet from villains who intend to destroy or conquer it.

In addition to these flagship titles, other shonen manga such as Demon Slayer, My Hero Academia, Fairy Tail, Tokyo Avengers, and Spy Family are also hits.

Shojo, traditionally for girls

Shojo (Japanese for Young Girl) is a genre of manga aimed at a young and female audience. Thus the plot storytelling and drawing styles are for girls aged 8 to 18 years. As a rule, the main character is a young girl who learns to communicate her feelings to friends and relatives. Shojo manga covers many topics, but still focuses on stories that teenage girls might be interested in: romance, friendship, drama, school life, etc. Among the most famous shoujo manga are:

  • Nana by Ai Yazawa. This is the story of two young girls of the same age and the same name, but with opposite personalities.
  • A fruit basket written by Natsuki Takaya. This Japanese comic follows the life of Tohru, a high school student who lived alone in the forest until she was taken away by a mysterious family.
  • Blue Spring Ride or Ao Haru Ride written by Io Sakisaka. This Shojo manga is centered on Futaba, a young girl who was once sweet and feminine but changed her personality to better fit high school.

The shojo also has a very popular sub-genre, maho shoujo or magical girl. The girls’ equivalent of shonen, this category brings together the adventures of magical young heroines such as Sailor Moon and the card-collecting Sakura.

Seinen, more for young people

Seinen is a genre of manga aimed primarily at young people between the ages of 18 and 30 and over. Topics covered more serious, more mature, even darker. Unlike Shonen, Seinen is a more realistic category, meaning it rarely talks about fantasy. The storytelling is also rougher and more violent, and the imagery can be very gory when it comes to a story that includes confrontation scenes such as wars, murders, etc. The most popular Seinen manga are:

  • Berserk written by Kentaro Miura. In a dark fantasy universe, you will follow the story of Guts, a lonely and hardened mercenary. In his quest for revenge, he leaves a trail of blood and corpses wherever he goes.
  • Attack on Titan or Shingeki-no-Kyojin by Hajime Isayama. The story plunges you into a desperate world ravaged by humanoid giants. Eren, Armin and Mikasa are among the last human survivors. They will try to reclaim the outside world by uncovering the dark secret of the titans’ existence.

The Seinen manga is still full of other popular titles such as Akira, Vagabond, Monster and Gunnm.

Kodomo, more for kids

Kodomo, which literally means “child”, is a manga genre aimed at an audience under the age of 8. The illustrations, scripts, and dialogue of these Japanese comics are specially designed to be easy for children to read. This type of manga usually deals with topics such as honesty, politeness, moral values, etc. Unlike other genres, which are always black and white, Kodomo manga with all pages in colorlike Chi, cat life. The most interesting manga in this category include:

  • Doraemon written by Fujiko Fujio. You will learn about the adventures of the robot cat Doraemon, who came from the future to prevent his human friend Nobita Nobi from getting into debt.
  • Chi, the life of a cat, written by Konami Kanata. This Kodomo manga is about the daily life of the lost kitten Chi and the boy Yohei who adopted him.
  • Hamtaro, written by Ritsuko Kawai. This comic follows the adventures of the curious and friendly hamster Hamtaro and his human friend Laura.

Popular titles such as Pokémon, Super Mario, Inazuma Eleven, Kirby and Beyblade are also part of the Kodomo manga.

In conclusion, manga genres are not limited to their target audience. This is simply a categorization according to the editorial line chosen by the mangaka (author of the manga). Anyone who enjoys reading shonen manga can read it, even if they are not a teenager or a man. The same goes for Shojo, Seinen, Kodomo manga, as well as Japanese comic subcategories (Nekketsu, Mecha, Slice of life, Isekai, Magical girl, etc.).

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