Manga Madness: It's Everywhere

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Article in the Category:Young Adult Fiction and Graphic Novel categories.


"Twelve-year-old Son Goku is being trained in the martial arts with Turtle Hermit Kamesen'nin. Together, Son Goku and his gal pal Bulma set out to find the seven dragon balls. Once they find and reunite them, they will be granted one wish. Along the way the duo runs into some problems, including a shape-shifting pig, a great ox, and some battling martial artists." (Gorman, p. 54).
"After years of training, Son Goku has grown into one of the strongest martial artists around. Together with his friends he must fight the evil warrior Raditz and his followrs from the Planet Vegeta in order to protect his wife, his son Gohan, and his people from the wrath of the Saiyans, whose greatest desire is to conquer Earth. A continuation of the Dragon Ball story, this series picks up where the first one left off" (Gorman, p. 55).
"This is a fantasy adenture which unfolds in worlds beyond human imagination. A city where the world's robbers meet; a casino devoured by evil; a haunted ship with a living anchor; a speeding train run by a Dodo bird; a floating island ruled by a mask; a large sculpture in the sky which waits for a sacrifice; a girl with a tattoo of a famous picture all over her body... These are just some of the sights encountered by Jing, a thief so accomplished he can steal the stars from the sky." (Tokyopop 2005).
"This hilarious action series focuses on Monkey D. Luffy, and his pirate crew on their search for the treasure One Piece. Since Luffy ate the cursed Gum-Gum Fruit, he has special robbery powers, but now he can't swim! And how can you be a pirate without swimming! The crew and their belief in Luffy keep this ship of a graphic novel series floating along." (YALSA, p. 34)
"Usagi Tsukino's happy life is changed forever when she saves a black cat with a crescent moon insignia on its forehead. The cat reveals itself to be Luna, and Usagi has to become the pretty suited soldier Sailor Moon and not only defeat the dark forces of the Negaverse, but also has to find the mysterious Moon Princess before all is lost and the darkness wins!" (Anime Broadcasting Network).


"The story of a group of high school girls and their hilarious day-to-day school life are told through a series of four panel comic strips. While thoroughly entertaining and humorous, the story also is heartwarming in showing the friendshiips one makes during the school years." (YALSA, p. 34).
"After Tohru Honda is discovered living in a tent on their property, the Sahma family invites her to live with them. She's happy to cook and clean for them, but things get hilariously sticky when she accidentally discovers their family Secret -- when hugged by members of the opposite sex, they transform into their Chinese zodiac animal." (YALSA, p. 34)
"Imadoki! (Nowadays) follows the trials and tribulations of a budding horticulturist as she makes her way down the winding road to friendship. From Yuu Watase, one of Japan's most beloved shojo artists, Imadoki! packs comedic charm and heartfelt antics into an adorable bouquet of whimsical fantasy." (VIZ Media).


"Ichigo 'Strawberry" Kurosaki never asked for the ability to see ghosts -- he was born with the gift. When his family is attacked by a Hollow --a malevolent lost soul -- Ichigo becomes a Soul Reaper, dedicating his life to protecting the innocent and helping the tortured spirits themselves find peace." (VIZ Media)
"Sakura is a fairly average 4th grade girl until the day she finds an enchanted book called The Claw in her father's library. This tome once contained the magical Claw Cards, but now the cards have turned up missing and it is up to Sakura to hunt them down before they have the chance to come to life and do evil." (Gorman, p. 47)
"This continuation of the original Cardcaptor Sakura series follows Sakura as she faces a new set of challenges, using the cards she captured to face a new foe: the reincarnation of the Claw Reed." (BWI, p. 34)
"Land of the Blindfolded is a story of high school student Outsuka Kanade who can sometimes see a person's future with a touch, and transfer student Naitou Arou, whose ESP is limited to past events. When Kanade glimpses an unfortunate incident coming, can she change it? She soon befriends Arou, who's no novice -- he can turn his ability on or off at will, even using it to see an object's "memories." Are these teenaged seers of the past and future made for each other? And who's right: Arou with his "hands off" policy about meddling in people's lives, or Kanade whose more proactive stance has already had unhappy consequences?" (DC Comics)
"Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu are Tokyo schoolgirls with nothing else in common until one fateful day changes everything: the three are summoned to the magical realm of Cephiro and find that their lives are inexorably intertwined. Princess Emeraude, whose willpower keeps Cephiro safe, has been kidnapped by the sinister Zagato, and the three girls must become the legendary Magic Knights in order to save her. It's not going to be easy, as Zagato has sent his most powerful minions to stop the girls before they can fulfill their destinies. Protected by an ancient wizard's blessing and determined to find their way home, Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu begin the adventure of a lifetime." (Tokyopop 2005)
"One year ago the Magic Kngihts came to Cephiro to free its leader, the Pillar, from a life of solitude. In doing so they left the kingdom without a leader or a source of power and now the realm is about to fall. Hikaru, Umi and Fuu never expected to return to the magical kingdom, but after a reunion at Tokyo Tower, that's just what they do. Now they find their knightly abilities restored and their old friends waiting for them. Can the invaders be stopped before Cephiro is torn apart? If anyone can do it, it's the Magic Knights!" (Tokyopop 2005)

"When Yusuke dies while performing a selfless act, the afterlife doesn't know what to do with him. So they offer him a chance to come back to life and become a spiritual detective investigating supernatural or spiritual issues on earth for the king of hell, which usually means Yusuke will end up fighting more than just humans." (YALSA, p. 34)

Historical Fiction

"Once known as Hitokiri Battosai, an assassin during the Bakumatsu period, Kenshin is a wandering swordsman who now protects others with his reverse blade sword and will not kill. Kenshin soon meets up with the other characters of this long-standing manga, Kaoru -- a swordswoman; yahiko -- a young boy filled with the Samurai Pride; and Sanosuke -- a rough and tough fighter. Together they have many adventures fighting those who want to bring back the samurai and feudal lord system." (YALSA, p. 36)


"Hajime Kindaichi is a cocky amateur sleuth with amazing detective skills. Each volume is a conclusive murder mystery and can be read in any order. The well-designed mysteries cause readers to use both visual clues in the black and white art and textual clues in the writing to solve the murder mystery. Readers who like traditional whodunits will fall hard for this mystery series." (YALSA, p. 37)


  • Kare Kano: His and Her Circumstances by Masami Tsuda
"Yukino lives for praise. Seriously. she works day and night to get it. She's not really this nice girl; she'd much rather be reading get-rich schemes than a classic, but she's great at putting on airs. Now in high school, she is all ready to be in the spotlight until Arima gets there first! She sees him as her archrival and when he finds out her real personality, she'd do anything to destroy him. That is, until he confesses his love to her" (YALSA, p. 37)
"All Miki wants is a normal family, but that's not going to happen with her parents divorcing, swapping partners with another couple, and all four living under the same roof! But then she meets Yuu, her new stepbrother, and maybe, just maybe, he can ease her pain." (YALSA, p. 37)
  • Mars by Fuyumi Soryo
"In this introductory volume of an ongoing saga of teen romance, a boy and a girl from different worlds battle the odds, each other, and their peers in the pursuit of love...This is a classic good girl/bad boy love story, and teens, especially young women, will enjoy this tale of restlessness, confusion, and falling in love with someone from the wrong side of the proverbial 'tracks.'" (Gorman, p. 63-64)
"Keiichi is a lonely college kid spending another Friday night alone, but when he attempts to order a pizza and accidentally ends up reaching the Goddess Technical Help Line instead, things will never be the same. When the beautiful Goddess genie Belldandy arrives on his doorstep to grant him one wish, Keiichi's life will change in ways he never imagined. This story is I Dream of Jeannie meets Dawson's Creek. It's fun, it's flirty, and teens love it for its portrayal of teen angst with regard to dating." (Gorman, p. 58)
"Momo (that's Japanese for Peach, hence the title) is the envy of her classmates for her beauty, and is spared no one's wrath, not even that of her best friend who is actually the one spreading the rumors. Thought to be a party girl, Momo is really a shy and lonely young woman seeking a loyal friend and perhaps a romantic liaison with classmate Toji. Peach Girl is coming-of-age manga at its best, and will resonate with teen readers, especially those who have ever been the unwanted recipient of negative attention." (Gorman, p. 65)
"Momo has experienced a change of heart: She's with Kiley now, not Toji, and the Peach Girl's love life seems to be just peachy for once. (Finally!) That is, until Momo's sworn enemy, Sae, plots with Kiley's admirers to break up the happy couple and make Momo's life miserablke" (Tokyopop 2005)

Science Fiction

"In the future, the most popular game in the world is Angelic Layer. Contestants must raise and train their own 'Angels' (or fighting dolls) to compete in tournaments. Enter Misaki Suzuhara, sixth grade Angelic Layer prodigy. With her speed-type angel, Hikaru, many people think Misaki stands a chance of winning the championship. She'll have a lot of help along the way, but the road to victory will not be an easy route, especially for someone as young as Misaki." (YTokyopop 2005)
"Cowboy Beboip, the television show, is one of the most popular anime series of all time. Similar in style and content, the manga series features all original stories with the same sci-fi action, humor, and hippishly cool characters. Fans of the show will most likely enjoy the book, and those readers who have never seen the show will quickly fall under the criminal-like spell of Spike, Jet, Faye, and Ed." (Gorman, p. 62)
"A war is under way between genetically enhanced Coordinators and unmodified Naturals. The Natural-dominated Earth Alliance, struggling to catch up with the Coordinators' superior technology, has secretly developed its own Gundam mobile suits at a neutral space colony. Through a twist of fate, a young Coordinator named Kira Yamato becomes the pilot of the Alliance's prototype Strike Gundam, and finds himself forced to fight his own people in order to protect his friends." (Bandai America)
"It is the year AC 195. After 2 decades of oppression, a network of space-based rebels strike back at their opposing force, OZ. Using super-strong armor called gundanium, scientists construct advance mobile suits called Gundams. Five highly trained combat pilots are dispatched to Earth to wage guerilla war against OZ and its Alliance. Filled with action-packed robotic battles and enough plot twists and turns to give you a G-Force whiplash." (Tokyopop 2005)
"The year is 200X and everyone is now connected to the Cyber Network. People carry their own PET (Personal Terminal) and are paired up with an artificial intelligence program called a NetNavi (or NetNavigator). While the invention of the PET and NetNavis has brought great benefits to the world, computer hacking, virus spreading and other high-tech crimes are becoming a major problem. A sinister organization by the name of World Three has appeared and they've vowed to destroy this technological wonderland. Enter our young hero, Lan Hikari, an intensely curious and cheerful fifth grader. Synchronized with his NetNavigator, MegaMan, he becomes a super-charged dynamo. In and out of the Net, Lan and MegaMan do their best to thwart World Three's never-ending quest to take over the world!" (YIZ Media)
"In the future a group of rogue space colonies Zeon declares independence from Earth. A devastating civil war breaks out, with Zeon's army of Zaku mobile suits as the deciding weapon... until Amuro Ray, a young electronics wizard, commandeers his father's top-secret invention, Mobile Suit Gundam!" (VIZ Media)
"10th grader Ygi spent most of his time alone playing games...until he solved the Millennium Puzzle, a mysterious Egyptian artifact! Possessed by the puzzle, Yugi becomes Yu-Gi-Oh, the King of Games, and challenges evildoers to the Shadow Games...weird games with high stakes and high risks!" (VIZ Media)


  • Swan by Kyoko Ariyoshi
"One of the most famous and lauded shojo manga ever published, Swan is Ariyoshi Kyoko's best-selling classic about a girl who strives to become a great ballerina."" (DC Comics)

A Few Definitions

  • Anime: The film equivalent to manga; animation that is created and produced in Japan.
  • Manga: Japanese comic books that are drawn on coarse paper in black and white and designed to be portable; they are sometimes read right-to-left (backwards).
  • Shojo: Manga with character-driven stories created primarily for young girls.
  • Shonen: Manga with strong action-themed stories primarily written for young guys (Tokyopop 2004).


ADV Films (2005). "ADV Manga"

Anime Broadcasting Network (2005). "Anime Web Turnpike"

Bandai America Inc. (2005). "Gundam Official"

BWI (2003). The Public Librarian's Guide to Graphic Novels]. DC Comics (2005). "CMX Manga"

Gorman, Michele (2003). Getting Graphic! Using Graphic Novels to Promote Literacy with Preteens and Teens

VIZ Media (2005). "Shonen Jump: The World's Most Popular Manga"

Tokyopop (2004). The Librarian's Guide to Manga

Tokyopop (2004). "Tokyopop Books"

VIZ Media (2005). "VIZ Manga"

YALSA (2005). "Get animated @ your library!" Young Adult Library Services 3(4): 32-38.

Manga Reviews on the Internet

Robin Brenner, "No Flying, No Tights: A Website Reviewing Graphic Novels for Teens"

Kat Kan, "Diamond Comics Bookshelf"

Gilles Poitras, "The Librarian's Guide to Anime and Manga"

D. Aviva Rothschild, "The Comics Get Serious: Graphic Novel Reviews"