Unlike western comic books, Japanese manga can target a really specific part of the population according to its genre. In fact, the audience may vary from elementary school kids, teenage girls, teenage boys, young adults to much older and so on. This is one of the great things about manga: anyone can find what they are looking for. Here are 5 major manga genres.
Slice of Life is basically your everyday experiences being told through a story, and all the drama that could come with it. Generally, the stories range from high school experiences, family relationships, friendships and romance. Foreign fans of manga can learn a lot about daily life in Japan through the ‘slice of life genre’.
Here are some examples:
- Love So Life by Kaede Koichi
- Taiyou no Ie by Ta’amo
- Re:LIFE by Sou Yayoi
- Nijiiro Days by Minami Mizuno
- Barakamon by Satsuki Yoshino
“Shoujo” can literally be translated as “young woman” and targets teenage girls. Indeed, you may notice in terms of story that most leading female characters are high school girls and it depicts their life experiences (usually their first love).
- Kimi Ni Todoke by Karuho Shiina
- Namaikizakari by Mitsubachi Miyuki
- Say I Love You by Kanae Hazuki
- Kamisama Kiss by Julietta Suzuki
- Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun by Robico
- Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet by Mika Yamamori
A step up from shoujo manga is josei manga which is aimed at girls in their late teens all through to adulthood. The stories told are more mature and especially realistic; romance is more focused on the ups and downs as opposed to a shoujo manga where love blossoms and where nothing wrong can happen, and there are generally more adult themes and darker sides included, like infidelity.
- From five to nine by Miki Aihara
- Dame na Watashi ni Koishite Kudasai by Aya Nakahara
- Renai Metro by Nene Yamaguchi
- Paradise Kiss and Nana by Ai Yazawa
- Nodame Cantabile by Tomoko Ninomiya
Probably the most famous one, “Shounen” literally means “boy” and is the counterpart to shoujo manga, as it targets young male readers. You’ll find that a popular theme in this genre is action and comedy, with minimal romance. You will of course follow the adventures of a young male protagonist in his life, with his interactions with others and how he overcomes the obstacles step by step to reach a better self, aiming for a certain goal.
- Fairy Tail by Hiro Mashima
- One Piece by Eiichiro Oda
- Bleach by Tite Kubo
- Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto
- Hunter x Hunter by Yoshihiro Togashi
More considered as a format that a genre itself, 4-Koma is a 4 cell comic. While only using 4 panels, the mangaka expertly executes their story in short clips: 1. Intro to the story 2. Story development 3. Climax 4. Conclusion. So basically, what you would get in one chapter of a manga is done in one page. Then it can go on from there to develop the overall story without losing any meaning or development.
Here are some examples:
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目と目で通じ合う♪ #お通じだけに #黙れ #2歳 #息子 #育児漫画 #育児日記 #イラスト #4コマ漫画 #親バカ部 ・ いつもコメントありがとうございます！ イチコは公園ではっちゃけ、私はタグではっちゃけました🤗元号ネタ乗っかりたくなるよねー！そんで数日に何回かテンションブチ上がるイチコ…ちなみに今も、自作のマイクがいい感じにできたようで、ブチ上げで変顔で歌って踊ってます。楽しそうでええわ #ええわ #れいわ #令和 #もうええわ #もう令和 #まだ平成 連載も見ていただきありがとうございます！連載公開後、今年分のチマチマ作業を終えました…いやほんと来年が怖いー！
Another great thing about manga, is that different genres overlap to give you a more whole experience that really captures your attention and makes it that little bit more relatable and enjoyable.
Being popular genres, you may have already read some (if not all) of the examples I’ve given. Are there any others that you’d recommend? Or perhaps there are some I’ve mentioned that you haven’t had a chance to read yet. If not, I hope that you’ll give some of these a try!