How Do I Start Reading Manga?

A quick crash course on how to cheaply figure out your tastes, reading methods, and some of the slang you might encounter while searching for more recs! 

Graphic Novels

We’re all bored in these pandemic times and are probably getting into new things right now. As such, you might be trying to poke your nose into this “anime and manga” thing that you’ve seen discussed both on our site and on social media. Well, you’re in luck, given how accessible both are nowadays! We’ll be doing a quick crash course on how to cheaply figure out your tastes, reading methods, and some of the slang you might encounter while searching for more recs! 


What services can I use for reading?

If you’re already a comic fan, you might be on Comixology Unlimited, which does have some manga. But let’s suppose you’d like to avoid Amazon products and are looking for another app. In this case, your best bet is the official Shonen Jump app, which also lets you do all-you-can-read (for $2 per month). They’re the magazine that published Hero Academia, Demon Slayer, Naruto, and Haikyuu, and the app provides back-chapters for these (and various other series).


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So, I keep hearing Shonen/Shojo/Josei/Seinen in social media recommendations. What does that mean? 

These are demographic labels in the manga section, although it should be noted that we’re seeing lots of series that are popular with all ages and gender identities. Shonen means you’re looking at manga aimed at teenage boys (although some successful series don’t necessarily feature them as leads, as seen in cases like Bakuman).

Shojo is the teen girl section, and can be everything from romance (Fruit Basket) to adventure (Yona of the Dawn). Josei is the adult women’s section, and is a great place to find #relatable comedy starring adults (Love is Hard for Otaku), among other things.

Seinen is the adult men’s section, although the heavy hitters like Tokyo Ghoul are popular with people outside the demographic. In short, it’s the Young Adult and Adult section distinction (and as seen in the sizable female readership that Shonen Jump has found, the gender labels really shouldn’t be stopping you from just reading what interests you).


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What large English publishers should I know about?

We already extensively discussed Viz Media, as they handle Shonen Jump translations (along with adult series, like Dorohedoro). Additionally, there is Yen Press, who cover similar demographics and would be who you go to for Fullmetal Alchemist and Bungo Stray Dogs. There is also Seven Seas Entertainment, who handled award-winners like Orange and Our Dreams at Dusk (among numerous other titles).



How would I look for recommendations? 

You most likely have a friend who’s into anime and manga, given the accessibility of them these days, so that would be no different from soliciting book recs. But on the off-chance that you don’t, consider which anime you have already seen and enjoyed. Would you like to read the manga some of them were based on? Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask around on your social media, as the community always wants newbies!

So, if I achieved what I set out to do, you now have a slightly better understanding of how to get started with manga. Hopefully, you have a great time and pick up some more great to-reads here!

Additionally, if you’re a seasoned reader who’s skimming this, feel free to leave some of your own recommendations for the newbies over on our socials!