Manga is a word literally meaning “whimsical pictures.” The first mangas were drawn during the 12th century on scrolls, usually depicting humorous antics or ordinary every day life. However people today argue as to what was the first era of manga and debate between centuries. Manga became most prominent after World War II. Artists started to draw what was in their minds instead of following the traditional Japanese style. Male artists were typically dominant in the manga area until 1969. A group of female artists, known as the Magnificent 24’s, started to draw manga that appealed to women, usually featuring strong heroines and romance. From there, manga started to go into various groups such as shonen or shojo.
There are 5 main categories of manga (also keep in mind that this is just a generalization):
Kodomo- Aimed towards children, stories usually have a moral, style ranges but not too detailed, series are not too long- usually standalone chapters. Example: Pokemon, Doraemon.
Shonen- Usually made for boys, genres usually go from action to fantasy to harem, drawing characteristics include unique character designs and rough appearance. Examples: Naruto, Fullmetal Alchemist.
Seinen- For men, genres can be the same as shonen except more explicit (i.e. language, violence, and sexually content) and mature, drawing style is a bit more realistic than shonen but explicit scenes can be exaggerated. Examples: Tenjo Tenge, Monster.
Shojo: For girls, genres tend to gravitate around romance or fantasy, drawing stlye is a bit more smooth looking but can exaggerate on the eye size and the characters tend to look “pretty”. Examples: Nana, Vampire Knight.
Josei: Manga for women, stories tend to revolve around love and life and explicit scenes can be seen, drawing style can range from shojo style to realistic interpretation. Examples: Gokusen, Honey and Clover.
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