My Manga Blog

{July 20, 2010}   Tale of two Nana’s

Nana is one of those little comics that accidentally become insanely famous. Released in 2000, it is a shojo manga. Its story revolves around two girls, both named Nana. They come to Tokyo in search of Tokyo. They run into each other and end up sharing an apartment. The rest of the story focuses on their lives and the relationship between them.

On the one hand there is the Nana (Komatsu) who lacks any ambition in life and blames her back luck on a demon while on the other there is the other Nana (Osaki) who is a singer and punk rocker with a strong drive. We have the drive-less Nana talking about her deepest feelings to the new Nana.

As the story progresses, it managed to keep the reader curious and entertained. The story itself springs quite a few surprises. So popular has it been that there have been two films based on it already and countless songs inspired by it. Volume 19 of the series was the third highest selling manga book in 2008, which speaks volumes about its popularity. It already has 21 volumes and growing! It seems the fable of two Nana’s is going to continue for a while.


In this article, we focus once again on the huge difference between the American and Japanese cultures, and the trouble it results in for manga.

In Japan, manga creators enjoy plenty of freedom, especially when it comes to violent or sexual content. Americans are not so tolerant of such content. Anything that is even remotely adult in nature is frowned upon. So when manga comics make the shift from Japan to America, changes are inevitable.

One comic that had to be changed was Dragon Ball. Much of its popularity was attributed to humor due to sexual undertones. It wasn’t vulgar, by any means. But Americans still didn’t think much of it.

It wasn’t surprising, then, that strips like the one below:

Were changed to something like:

Sure, the change itself seems to be pretty minor. It doesn’t affect the story in any way. But it’s not just about the storyline. Manga relies a lot on subtle messages and humor. So ‘boobies’ and ‘peepies’ in the Dragon Ball comics were as much an integral part of the series as the story.

Hard-core manga fans revolted at the seemingly unnecessary censorship. Dragon Ball had changed forever.

For the owners of the comics, it was a tough decision. What makes manga so entertaining in the first place is that there are no restrictions on its content. When manga is made keeping a Japanese audience in mind, anything goes. American readers, unfortunately, are not so open-minded. They failed to see the importance of non-sexual nudity in manga comics. Yet, the decision had to be made keeping in mind the amount of money that was to be made off the American audience.

As they say – you win some, you lose some.

Battle Royale 1

Last week we wrote about manga controversies in print publications. But are controversies limited to print media? Definitely not! Controversies have also arisen in video games based on manga.

Consider, for example, the Battle Royale 1 video game based on manga. The premise is simple; there are a bunch of 9th grade students stuck on an island that need to survive. But then it gets really twisted. The only way to survive is to kill the other kids, or you will get killed by the explosive collar around your neck. Needless to say, parents weren’t exactly thrilled when this game hit the shelves.

Even way back in 1986, there was no dearth of controversial games. Takeshi no Chousen featured an office worker who sets out to find treasure. But first, he has to quit his office job and become a drunkard! Oh, and he has to get a divorce too, all as part of the storyline.

Japan is indeed no stranger to games that involve rewarding the player for rapes, thefts and other anti-social activities. Games like these are probably what prompted Japanese Software Group to ban its members from making games that contain a lot of sexually explicit material.

{June 24, 2010}   Manga Controversies

With the freely talked about sex and violence in manga comics, it comes as little surprise that these comic books have been involved in countless manga controversies.

One of the most popular is the Kodomo no Jikan, whose story revolves around a grade school teacher who has to handle a female student having a crush on him. The relationship between the two central characters in the manga book kept the comic from releasing in North America, where such content was controversial.

Kodomo no Jikan

Or consider the case of Angel, which depicted the central character in numerous sexual activities. In France, the manga was straightforward banned from exhibition is stores. In Japan, too, it was temporarily suspended.

The very question of whether reading manga is an unpatriotic act has been a matter of popular debate in China, adding to the manga controversies. Chinese teenagers are torn between love for their nation and the love for Japanese manga. China and Japan, as nations, do not always get along well.

Adding to all these manga controversies is Chip Kidd who, just a couple of years back, released a manga comic featuring a variation of Batman, and titled it Bat-Manga: The secret history of Batman in Japan. Needless to say, he was flamed on countless numerous boards for not giving credit to Jiro Kuwata, who originally created the comics that Chip Kidd had created.

It seems that manga controversies have emerged not just for their content, but also because of the way the content is presented. The last two examples prove that controversies can even emerge without having anything to do with the manga content itself.

{June 18, 2010}   Types of Manga

We would like the first article here to introduce the reader to the various styles of manga. There are mainly six different kinds of manga.


The first is Shoujo, which is meant for girls. It focuses on romantic stories, thought it can have other elements.


Josei manga can be described as the grown up version of Shoujo. While Shoujo is targeted at teenage girls, Josei’s target audience includes adult women. It’s stories, correspondingly, revolve around romances involving adults.


Shounen can be described as the boy-targeted equivalent of Shoujo, since it focuses more on fights. It, too, might have other elements.


Seinen is another form of Japanese cartoons that targets people interested in sports. They usually contain much less violence than Shounen manga.


Yaoi or Slash manga covers male relationships, sexual and otherwise. This category, too, is mainly targeted at female audiences, though it has significant male readership. It contains plenty of pornographic material, making the reader base mainly adults and teens.


Ecchi or Hentai manga is popularly known for pornographic elements. The reader base consists of adults or teens.

In general, manga contains plenty of material with violent and sexual undertones.

In future articles, we have a lot more manga to cover! We hope that by reading this blog, readers will have a more comprehensive idea of manga, and those who, till now, had very little exposure to it, will be converted to fans of this beautiful category of cartoons.

{January 28, 2010}   Lets get this blog on the road

How does this sound? yesterday my best friend bought me a cool new pad where you can draw with a pencil and get the picture on the PC… very very very cool.

So i’ve started learning how to draw on this pad, and it’s going rather well, I hope to get some new graphics done soon.

But till then, here are one of my favorites drawings… no colors, simple but i like it:

et cetera