Today I heard the news over at AnimeFansOnline.com that Newtype USA will end publication of it’s magazine. It’s replacing it with a magazine called PiQ. This new magazine will “cover anime, manga, video games and other aspects of pop culture of keen interests to you.” according to an email being sent to current Newtype USA subscribers. This started me thinking about the steadily shrinking number of manga magazines available to us readers in the US. I personally love Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat. You can’t beat either of them for the amount of quality manga you get for the price. But they can be hard to find if you don’t live near a larger city. There’s also Otaku USA, which includes monthly reviews of new releases as well an in issue manga. But other than that, there really isn’t much anymore. Luckily, the availablity of English manga books has dramatically increased in the last few years.
Captain Kenpachi Zaraki of Bleach Rocks!
I’ve become a big fan of manga in past couple of years. Anime is great but there is something appealing about the medium of manga. Although most popular anime either started as a manga or has been translated to a manga, there are usually subtle differences. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. It’s a very objective thing. The differences in art and storyline generally work for me. But it depends on the manga. Some of my personal favorites are Fruits Basket, Genshiken, Ultra Maniac and Bleach.
A lot of people in this country dismiss manga as comic books. Those are fighting words to me for two reasons. The first is that I love comics. I grew up with comic books. The combination of visuals and the written word holds a special place in my heart. The second reason is that manga may look like a comic, they are usually very different. Most read more like lite novels. Some are direct translations of their anime counterparts. The genres are as varied as animes. While they may look similar, most are unique and deserve a look.
To the newcomer, how to read a manga can be intimidating. They don’t read like western books, from left to right. But rather from right to left. They also usually read from back to front. Once you get the hang of it, it flows pretty well. Here’s a little guide to help you figure out how to read your first one…
I strongly recommend manga to all anime fans. They’re portable, convenient and just as fun as your favorite anime. Often times, the stories will be extended beyond the limits of the anime or provide a more in-depth storyline. So check it out. And support your favorite manga! Otherwise, I fear that it will go the way of the dinosaur in this country.