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by Anders Aasheim on March 14, 2018
Tags: teens (18), manga (6)

While manga has become a mainstay of popular culture, many have yet to explore this exciting art form. Read on for a brief overview of manga and some suggested titles.

What is manga?
Simply put, manga is comics and graphic novels from Japan. One of the first things you’ll notice when you pick up a manga title is that it reads in the “opposite” direction. This is because Japanese is written right to left, and most publishers tend to stick to this format in order to preserve the original work. It’s a little confusing at first, but it’s surprisingly easy to get the hang of it.

Manga is commonly known for cute characters with large eyes and exaggerated facial expressions. These are common stylistic elements but there is also lots of variety. Some have what you might call a “typical” manga style (e.g. Sailor Moon) while other artists opt for a more realistic style (e.g. Akira). The art in manga is often intense and dynamic with an almost cinematic feel.

 Here is a list of manga that is sure to entertain newcomers and veteran fans alike:

Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa

Join brothers Edward and Alphonse in their search for the Philosopher’s Stone.This series is set in an alternate world reminiscent of 19th century Europe where alchemy is a prevalent and powerful technology. Due to a botched alchemical experiment, Alphonse’s physical body is destroyed and his spirit is encased in a suit of armor, and the brothers seek the Philosopher’s Stone to return him to his body. Despite this grim premise, the series is surprisingly funny and packs an action packed punch.

A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Ooima
In this thoughtful story about friendship and bullying, Shoya Ishida is trying to make amends with the girl he bullied in middle school. Shoko Nishimiya, a transfer student to Shoya’s school, was relentlessly bullied because of being deaf. The series follows Shoya six years later as he tracks down Nishimiya to make up for his past actions while also coming to terms with being bullied himself.

My Hero Academia by Kohei Horikoshi
Superheroes get the manga treatment in this high octane action series. In a world where the majority of people have superpowers (called quirks), Midoriya is determined to be accepted into the superhero high school U.A. High, and he won’t let his lack of superpowers stop him. When the world’s greatest superhero, All Might, bestows his powers upon Midoriya, he must learn to control his new power before the U.A. High entrance exams.

My Love Story!! by Kazune Kawahara
Quiet and stoic Takeo has always been outshined by his cool best friend Makoto, especially in the romance department. It is no surprise, then, that he is clueless of what to do when Rinko, a girl he saves on the train, falls helplessly in love with him. This is a series that plays with the readers’ expectations, and it has lots of heart, great humor, and likeable characters.

Your Lie in April by Naoshi Arakawa
An action series about playing music? It may sound impossible, but let me present Your Lie In April, a music manga whose illustrations are as action packed as any action title out there. Kōsei gave up playing the piano when his strict mother, who relentlessly pushed his piano playing, passed away.  When Kōsei meets Kaori, a skilled violinist with an electrifying personality, he rediscovers his love for music.