Fandom Friday-Manga!

Hi guys! Welcome to the Fandom Friday! This is the weekly post where either myself, doctor or a guest blogger, talks about a new fandom. See, I’ve had the experience in my life where I’ve been made fun or put down about my particular fandoms. And that has made me feel pretty crappy. But I’ve also put down other fandoms as well.

So I’ve decided to change that. I’m opening my world up to new fandoms, and the best way to do that is to bring people in to write about various fandoms. We’ve had one about the Mortal Instruments/Infernal Devices written by me, and one on The Big Bang Theory as well, written by Jackie, the brains behind Seeking Bazinga. You can expect more from the Fandom Friday, like My Little Pony, Battlestar Galatica, Star Trek, Comic books, and so much more. I’m very excited about this segment.

This week’s Fandom Friday is ALL about manga. It is brought to you by one of my super awesome followers, Kathleen.

Kathleen is a HUGE fan of The Mortal Instruments, Harry Potter, Vampire Kisses and many, many other book series. She reads a lot, whether its novels, or manga, the topic of this conversation. She also would like to be a writer (wouldn’t we all?), so definitely check out her wattpad page, HERE, to read some of her work. In her own words, “I’m a bit of a nerd, but let’s face it, isn’t everyone (well, all the best people are!).” 

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Hello everyone :o

So, I volunteered to be a guest blogger for the ONLY blog I actually follow. I read every post on this blog, so it’s pretty exciting!

I am a member of so many fandoms, for this reason it was hard to pick one to write about. I thought about which fandoms are really underappreciated in the public eye, this brought me to the conclusion that manga is something which you either love or you hate. Is it a fandom? I mean I think it is, you could even say it’s a fandom which in itself contains fandoms.

For those of you who don’t know what in the world I’m on about I’ll explain it a little. Manga is a Japanese term meaning ‘whimsical sketches’, and wiki refers to it as comics or cartoons… It’s not comics or cartoons. It’s more like a graphic novel with different art styles. Think of it as a novel with pictures, which truly add to the story and its read from right to left. Crazy right? Not really, once you read one you’ll be hooked. You won’t even notice that you are reading something which appears to be backwards. Some manga publishing companies in America such as ‘Tokyopop’, publish some manga’s to be read left to right. This frustrates me to no end, but I’m sure we can talk about that later.

I’m not going to go into the history of manga hugely because multiple reasons are screaming don’t. One being most of it is disputable, for example there is debate whether scrolls from the 12th century are manga or whether the first manga was created in the 18th century. Secondly you do not need to know the complete history of something to enjoy it, at least not to begin with. You cannot tell me that before you try a fandom you research everything about it? One thing is for sure, since creation manga has continued to change and will continue to change.

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One important difference between manga and novels is that I think it’s important to judge a manga by its cover. If you don’t like the art style you will NOT enjoy the manga. No matter how great the plot is or how loveable the characters are, if you don’t like how the panels are drawn you will not enjoy it as much. In saying this, don’t just pick up a book completely based on the cover, they have blurbs for a reason. Read them! They are so cleverly written and they will hook you in. I have read many manga books based on the cover and blurb. Despite some of these being a genre I would not normally read, I have really enjoyed them.

There is a manga book for everyone, they cover every genre, every character type and every possible situation. There are two main genres which more genres branch off from. These are Sh?jo and Sh?nen. Just like any book these are only a base for the story, a manga will not just be Sh?jo or Sh?nen. Sh?jo manga is aimed at girls between 10 and 18, I guess it’s not specifically a genre it’s more of an indication as to what age group the manga is aimed at. Sh?jo manga usually have some sort of romance, drama and relationships in them. Some very famous manga which fall into this category are fruits basket, cardcaptor sakura, sailor moon, host club and vampire knight. These are great gateway manga if you want to try it out and think the sh?jo style is right for you. I’m not a huge fan of sh?jo manga even though I fall into their demographic. In saying this I have read a lot of sh?jo manga which have fantasy themes in them and have loved them! What I’m trying to say is don’t judge a manga by its genre, just like you wouldn’t judge a book based purely on its genre.

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Sh?nen manga are created mainly for males 10 and up, the translation means ‘boys comic’. This type of manga usually features male protagonists, a high action plotline and lots of humour. The strong bonds are often highlighted in these manga’s between friends, sport teams and ‘fighting squads’. A popular theme is challenges which test the protagonist’s abilities, skills, maturity and honour, often they have to sacrifice something in the call of duty. Some very famous gateway manga which fall into this category are one piece, fairy tail, dragon ball z, death note and kuroshitsuji. A lot of these manga’s also contain medium to high levels of fan service. Fan service you say? What is that? That is a good question, it is usually in sh?nen manga and not popular in sh?jo manga and that is because it is usually aimed at boys. It is really a service which is aimed at pleasing the fans… this pretty much means there is eye candy added for the male audience (usually). If there is fan service aimed at females it’s usually a yaoi manga.

Yaoi is a subgenre which is important to understand. Yaoi is also known as ‘boy love’ and well that term pretty much explains itself. These manga are usually created by women. I’m a huge fan of the genre! I read most yaoi manga I can get my hands on. It’s usually about a boy who falls inlove with another boy and their relationship. Under Yaoi there are again lots of subgenres which specify which type of ‘boy love’ it involves, but they are most likely referred to as Yaoi anyway. It is a very popular genre, I like it because the relationships are so cute and the main characters come together against all odds. There are lots of theories which try to explain why this genre is so popular, especially with the female audience, but for you to truly understand you would have to try reading one. Some really great yaoi gateway manga include loveless, boys love, sugar milk and bukiyou na silent.

Yuri is the opposite of yaoi, it means ‘girls love’. This genre is less popular and in all honesty I don’t know why. I personally don’t like reading a lot of this genre because it usually focuses on the sexual or emotional aspects of a relationship. This genre didn’t appear until 1970’s which is quite late considering how long manga has been published. If you think you are interested in reading yuri manga you can google the most popular titles, I have very limited knowledge with this genre as I do not read it often. However it is becoming increasingly popular when it comes to dojinshi. Dojinshi is basically fanfic in manga form.

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I really hope after all this you give reading manga a go, it’s truly amazing and addictive. Before you rush out and buy a manga, read it online. This means that you can try the series before you buy it. Manga books are quite expensive in my country and I’d assume in most countries. Most manga creators don’t mind if you read their work online as it means a larger audience for their work. A lot of the manga online are fan translated from Japanese into English, so it’s best to use common sites which have better quality translations. I personally use http://www.mangareader.net/ , http://www.mangahere.com/ and http://mangafox.me/directory/

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Throughout this blog I’ve mentioned gateway manga. It’s a term used by people who read manga and have moved away from the most popular manga. Gateway manga are manga which hook you in, they are common but they are so good and ‘acceptable’ to read in public that you’ll want more. I know that you read a blog for nerds ;) but if you’re still shy when it comes to showing your inner nerd you can read mainstream manga without too much attention. Common gateway manga include; death note, vampire knight, naruto, bleach, fairy tail, fruits basket and full metal alchemist. I fully recommend you try at least one of these, with the genre which most interests you, or you could use one of the recommended websites to search by genre.

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Thank you Kathleen for an amazing entry to this week’s Fandom Friday! You rock, girl :) Don’t forget to check out her Wattpad, to see her writing!

If you guys are interested in becoming a guest blogger for the Fandom Friday, feel free to email me at whatanerdgirlsays at gmail.com or hit the “contact” tab above :)

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