The first thing to take into consideration when you’re reading manga is that it’s read from right to left. In order to start reading, you need to find the title of the manga and usually this will be in a panel at the top or bottom of the page.
There are a few types of manga though not all titles will have these types. This includes shonen which is targeted towards boys, shojo which is aimed at girls, seinen which is for a mature audience, and ai which is a genre with explicit sex scenes.
You’ll also see harem, yaoi, yuri, gender bender and many other genres that have to do with sexual themes. This guide will cover seinen manga which is for a mature audience only though the different types of titles should help you out.
Once you’ve found the title, look to the bottom right of the page where you’ll see a number. This is the volume number which represents how many volumes are in the series.
Next, look to the right of that and you’ll see a few numbers separated by dots or dashes. The first set of numbers is for chapters within each volume while the second set of numbers indicates how many complete volumes there are.
If you’re going to read manga, it’s best that you buy the volumes instead of just reading them online for free because doing so will support the mangaka. If you can’t afford a volume then find a friend who has a copy and ask to borrow it from them.
Now that we’ve covered how to find the volume number, it’s time to move onto things you’ll see in the panels. Japanese words are usually found on signs around cities or written on products like food items or electronics.
If you see kanji then that means it says something while hiragana indicates that it’s either a sound effect (furigana) or the reading of kanji.
You’ll also see English words in manga so if you come across these, try to find out what they mean by looking them up online. Something else you’ll need to pay attention to are sound effects that appear above or below people’s names.
These indicate that either someone is screaming or yelling at the top of their lungs or they’re speaking softly. If you want to figure out the tone then find a volume of the manga and see how it’s done there because not all sound effects will be written down.
Articles that involve food indicate who is eating what while articles about electronics denote what kind of device is being shown. Finally, articles and descriptive words around the character’s faces indicate their mood.
If you see a nosebleed it means that they’re feeling lust while sweat on their face indicates nervousness. If someone is smiling, they’re happy and if they look angry then their mad.
Now we can move onto some common manga terms such as honorifics and suffixes. Honorifics are used to show that you’re polite in Japanese and suffixes denote your relationship with others.
For example, -kun is for boys while -chan is reserved for girls who are close friends and family members. If you’re addressing a person without knowing their name then use -san which means “mister”, “miss”, or “lady”.
-Sensei is used for teachers while -Sama is reserved for someone you respect like an employer. Using the wrong suffix with the wrong person could come off as disrespectful but once you start reading manga then you’ll know what’s right or wrong in most cases.
Now that we know some of the basics, let’s move onto types of manga.
The first type is shoujo which has a female protagonist and tends to be something that girls would read. You’ll see a lot of romance or comedy in these titles but sometimes there will be both in one series.
The second type is shounen which has a male protagonist. These tend to have action in them but you’ll also find romance in some cases, especially if the manga is created by an author who also wrote one of the previous seinen titles mentioned.
Shounen can be for younger kids because there are no sexual themes or violence in them but some series do have it, especially if the one who wrote it is the same person who made seinen manga.
-seinen manga can be vulgar because they are about mature relationships so you’ll see a lot of sex or violence within them. This type is for young adults who are graduating high school or graduating college so they can relate to the themes.
You’ll also see a lot of pornographic elements in shounen and shoujo manga, even if you’re reading a title that’s targeted at younger audiences. The last type is -Josei which deals with adult women who work but still live with their parents or they have a boyfriend/girlfriend. They focus on romance and slice of life scenarios.
If you want to make sure that you purchase manga that’s appropriate for your age, then finding out who made it is a good way of doing so. It will say on the back cover or if you do an online search for the title.
Finally, we’d like to recommend some titles if you want to get started with reading manga. For shoujo there are Sailor Moon, Fruits Basket, and Full Moon o Sagashite.
For shounen try out One Piece, Naruto, Bleach, Death Note, Fairy Tail, Battle Royale or Berserk. To read seinen try El Cazador de la Bruja.
To read -seinen try Monster, Hellsing, Elfen Lied, Blade of the Immortal or Black Lagoon. For some titles that fall under shounen you’ll find yaoi within them but if you’re into that kind of stuff then go ahead and enjoy!
So this is how to read Manga.