January 19, 2018

Web Watch: Manga

By Vivienne Sales

Clicking on the Web:
Nearly one in every three books published in Japan is a manga. Manga, often translated as “comic books,” is really a form that can include a broad spectrum of writing, from serious literature to technical manuals. But the manga that most libraries will want to collect are those published as serialized stories and later gathered into book form. Until the past few years, you needed a decent reading knowledge of Japanese or another Asian language such as Korean or Chinese to read manga. Recently, more and more manga is being translated into English, and manga and anime – its animation counterpart – are becoming a part of mainstream North American culture. North American libraries, bookstores, and educational institutions have been led by manga fans to appreciate the cultural, educational, and most of all entertaining value of manga. Young adults especially love it, although it can appeal to readers of all ages.

Manga, while a print medium, has also served as the inspiration for much of the anime we watch on video, DVD, and television. If there is any doubt as to the pervasive interest in manga, consider that the manga/anime Dragon Ball – for the second year in a row – has topped Lycos’s list of most requested search terms. There are many sites on the Internet for manga and anime or anime only, but few online resources devoted solely to manga, and these are mostly fan sites on a particular manga. The focus here on on manga, whether on sites that cater to both anime or manga or on manga-only sites. [Library Journal
now has a Book Review column dedicated to Graphic Novels, which includes manga; the next one appears in the March 1 issue. – Ed.]

Date Visited: 12/14/02
Developer/Provider: Frank Sanchez, animeinfo.org
is a site that supports manga and anime fandom, information, and community, but it is in the area of education – Anime University – that it excels. A prominent link off of the main page, the university consists of research, educational “classes,” and academic papers about manga and anime. Classes are really lengthy essays that are classified under broad topics (e.g., core curriculum, history, psychology, sociology). Frank Sanchez, one of the developers of AnimeInfo.Org, has created most of the content,
including the courses solely on manga.

“Manga Fundamentals” has a short summary on its origins and goes into more detail on its defining characteristics as an art form, the current trends in manga, and where it can be purchased. “History of Manga” covers the evolution of this Japanese pictorial art. In particular, Sanchez places great emphasis on two artists who helped define the current styles: Hokuasai and Osamu Tezuka. Hokuasai was an 18th-century Japanese painter who emphasized free-flowing but detailed landscape paintings – a contrast to the more popular woodblock styles of the time. Tezuku, a factory worker during World War II, is considered to be “The Father of Manga” because he was the first manga-ka
(comic book author) to apply cinematic black-and-white techniques to a graphic novel. Each page has a link for a printable version and a link to a bibliography. Other courses at Anime University
that would interest new manga readers include the History of Mecha – the machines and robots popular in manga. The staff of AnimeInfo.Org
encourage researchers and students to send in questions.

Bottom Line:
This site presents detailed, clearly written essays on the history and the fundamentals of manga in language that is accessible to a wide audience.

Date Visited: 11/25/02
Developer/Provider: Gilles Poitras
With his site and two books (The Anime Companion
and Anime Essentials: Every Thing a Fan Needs To Know),
librarian Gilles Poitras is considered to be the most influential anime fan in
the United States. His site includes supplements to his books, as well as links
grouped under “Anime and Manga Product Release Information” and “Information
About Anime and Manga.” In the latter, look for Poitras’s often-cited essay,
“The Librarian’s Guide to Anime and Manga,” which discusses the challenges of
building a manga or anime collection in a North American library. It includes a
section on violence, nudity, and sexual content in manga and has a list of
recommended manga organized by author or title.

“The Teacher’s Companion to the Anime Companion” in the book supplement section provides suggestions on how to use anime and manga to teach the obvious and subtle cultural aspects of Japanese society. The release information section includes “USA Anime & Manga Report,” a monthly newsletter written by Poitras, with trade news and U.S. release information. A miscellaneous section includes a link to the “Official Anime Image Sources,” images you can use without violating copyright, and even a link showing how to view Japanese characters without having a Japanese operating system on your computer.

Bottom Line: The Gilles Service to Fans Page
is a good starting point for librarians, teachers, and parents who are new to anime and manga. It includes unique collection development information.


Date Visited: 12/04/02
Developer/Provider: Network Museum & Magazine
Project/Dai Nippon Printing Corp.
This six-part Japanese web site is designed to educate foreigners about the Japanese manga industry and other related genres not usually available in the United States or Canada. Part 1 describes the Japanese manga industry, its audience, and the differences between manga published in Japan and in Western countries. Part 2 focuses on the English translation of Japan, Inc.
(also known as A Manga Introduction to the Japanese Economy) as an example of “instructional or educational manga for adults.” It is also a tribute to the author of Japan, Inc., Ishinomori Shotaro.
Part 3 is a detailed tribute to Osamu Tezuka.

The evolution of historical manga (mostly historically accurate or historical fictional about samurai from the late 16th century to the mid-19th century in Japan) is traced in Part 4. Parts 5 and 6 conclude the series with an overview of comedic and shoujo manga (romance or girl’s manga) and their various subgenres.

Bottom Line:
A comprehensive history and analysis of manga, with attention to historical works from the perspective of Japanese scholars.

Alternate Sites

The Pirate Anime FAQ

important article on the Anime Digital site is a guide to bootleg and unlicensed
goods written in an easy-to-read FAQ format. It explains both how to spot
pirated manga/anime goods and why they shouldn’t be purchased, with detailed
comparisons between licensed and forged products. Required reading for
collection development librarians and anime/manga fans alike.

Anime Genesis


Like literature, manga can fall under one or more categories. Anime Genesis is targeted mostly to anime fans and
web developers, but it does have a few links directly related to manga. Its
“Types of Anime and Manga” provides clear explanations about the different
genres of manga available in the United States and Canada, with the names,
illustrations, and representative titles of its five common genres: shoujo,
shouen, seinen, yaoi/slash, and hentai.

Black Moon Anime & Manga Glossary

The Usernet Manga Glossary

Every so often, readers may run across unfamiliar terms. Commercial anime/ manga vendors and fan sites have added glossary links to their web pages. Black Moon Anime & Manga Glossary
is an example of an extensive online dictionary of anime and manga terms. You can search alphabetically or enter a term. The Usernet Manga Glossary stands out from other online manga dictionaries because
each entry is presented in its original Japanese characters (provided you have a
Japanese-language operating system or special plug-ins to read Japanese
characters), its Romanized form, and its English translation. There are useful
“see also” links throughout.

Manga et Cetera

Rei’s Anime and Manga Page
Web sites by manga fans abound. Manga et Cetera‘s simple and clean design can give some commercial web sites a run for their money. Read about the challenges Western publishers face when flipping the traditional Japanese right-to-left reading format to a left-to-right reading format. Written by an MIT student, Rei’s Anime and Manga Page
is a portfolio of essays about manga and anime. Among the most thought-provoking are “Against Manga Stereotypes” and “The Romantic, Passionate Japanese in Anime: A Look at the Hiden Japanese Soul.” If your manga addiction is burning a hole in your wallet, MangaTranslation.com may be the answer. This is a
labor of love, where volunteers translate selected manga titles into English
until the official translation is available. When the commercial edition is
published, fan translations are removed. With a discussion board for

Anime and Manga School

KSU Story Manga

Until recently, aspiring manga-ka
learned their craft either by working with a well-established manga-ka
or by working in an art department of a manga publishing house; no academic training was available. Today, many aspiring manga-ka
go to private anime and manga schools to learn their craft. In Anime and Manga School, Ray Sato recounts his time in the two-year animation program at Yoyogi Animation Gaskin, one of the few reputable animation schools in Japan. In 1999, the Japanese Ministry of Education permitted Kyoto-Seika University (KSU) to establish a School of Cartoon and Comic Art. The KSU Story Manga is the School of Cartoon and Comic
Art’s English-language homepage.

Japanese Popular Culture in the Classroom

Both Japanese and Western teachers are using manga to supplement their classes. Japanese Popular Culture in the Classroom, from
Indiana University’s National Clearinghouse for U.S.-Japanese Studies, presents
broad suggestions on how to use manga and anime to teach Japanese language and
culture in North American classrooms.

Anime and Manga (Duke University)


CGA/EAS Manga Cataloging Project Manual


Thinking of cataloging a manga collection? Visit the CGA/EAS Manga Cataloging Project Manual, Ohio State’s guide to
cataloging manga. Anime and Manga lists serious scholarly articles and web sites about anime and
manga, maintained by the Perkins Library at Duke University.

Author Information
Vivienne Sales is a Reference Librarian, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, AZ