To Manga, or Not to Manga

18 October, 2013 Musing Musers, Random 37 comments

Hana KimiThere comes a time in every person’s life where they need to make the highly personal decision of whether to read manga or not.  For me, due to my early introduction to anime, and the scarcity of manga, I ultimately only just finished my first manga series.

But I implore you, my innocent, sweet, darlings.  Before you venture into this pit of sweet, sweet iniquity to bathe in the waters of cartoon animated bishounen, let me try to prepare you as best I can.  Tread lightly, little sparrow.  It could be that there is no turning back!  Here is a quick list of things to concern yourself with when entering the world of manga or even, in many cases, anime.

1. You will probably feel like the biggest perv ever.

Whether you’re into guys or girls, the perv factor is something that everyone has to either embrace or shove down into the depths of their scarred psyche and ignore.

SousukeKeep shoving.  Shove a little more.  Not working?  Yeah, didn’t work for me either.  Poor Sousuke.

Both anime and manga can be pretty high on the smut scale in regards to their attempts to make you all hot and bothered.  So, you have to take a deep look in the mirror.  Pinch your cheeks, make some funny faces and then gaze searchingly into your own eyes.  Right down into your confused, sexually-frustrated soul (You know you probably are, right?) and decide.  Can you handle this?!  YOU ARE NOT PREPARED!

Fushigi Yuugi

2. Comfort Zones.  You probably won’t have them any more.

I just want to warn you now.  Things can get somewhat uncomfortable.  There are tropes, expectations.  Things that you won’t generally get in other media.  Things that are popular and likely to occur in some of the anime and manga you’ll find.

There’s a thing about twins…

Ouran twins kiss

And, frankly, siblings sometimes too.

Vampire Knight

And adults with very short people that look very, very young.  Who might actually be children…

Black Butler Manga

There are no explanations…

3. You will often find yourself rooting for the bad guy.

I am L

So many anti-heros. SO MANY.  And they will all break your heart.  Because they will do so many evil things and you’ll come to love them or be invested in their stories anyway.


Because anti-heroes have been a big thing for the last few years.  And, actually, they’re often done really well in ways that will tug at you and make you feel conflicted in all the best ways.

4. Story arcs.  They will consume it all

I think there was a time where Naruto spent three episodes walking up a flight of stairs.  One time in Dragon Ball Z, Goku spent multiple episodes powering up his spirit bomb.GokuSuperSpiritBomb

The story arcs will deviate from the normal plot in ways that are both engaging and extremely annoying.  In the middle of the main story, the characters will then take off and do something random, or focus on some random character, leaving you screaming, “OH GOD!  NO!  GO BACK!  WHAT HAP- wait, actually that’s kind of interesting.  Continue.  WHAT?! IT’S OVER?!”

5. Things often get random.  More likely they just get weird.

No judgement from me.  This isn’t some crack about how Japan is weird.  That’s stupid.  I just did a video about dinoporn for the spaghetti monster’s sake.  But mangas and anime, if you’re not used to them, have very daring and dramatic storylines that can be a little overwhelming to the novice.


Damn it, I love this anime but these car scenes made me distinctly uncomfortable.

Sometimes there’s complicated imagery or over the top scenes that symbolize some complicated concept.  It’s all very dramatic and intense. Which brings me to…

6. Everything is Dramatic and Intense

I will just leave this image.  Then I will burn with an intense fire that only those with true soul can feel!!!!!!!!!



 7. There is a manga/anime for everyone.

Do you like fighting and intense battles?  There’s one for that.  Like end of the world survival stories? Covered. Romance? Gotcha. Comedy? A bunch. Cyberpunk? Don’t even get me started. Steampunk? Done.  Thrillers, horror, psychological mind games? Puh-lease.  Historical, futuristic space, alternate universe? Yeah, we got you covered.  Hot Catholic priests who turn into half vampires to hunt his own kind?

Trinity BloodYeah… there’s that too.

Just about anything you could think of, manga and anime have it.  It’s like the rule 34 of the literary world.

So, my young grasshoppers.  If you feel ready to set out for this world, to run into it with open arms and way too much time on your hands, then please come to us.  Come so that we can lead you gently into the waving breeze of fanservice and affectionately animated bodies that are sometimes human but often not…Spice and WolfIt’s a big world.  So have fun out there!

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

37 Responses to “To Manga, or Not to Manga”

  1. Gillian

    I’m so excited I’ve just started dipping my toes into the big wide world of manga. Clearly, this way lies insanity! Also, because of Steph, Debby, and Christina, Hana Kimi has taken of my life a little bit. A lot of bit. I’m okay with this.

    • Kat Kennedy

      I’m glad you’re enjoying it, Gillian! I was surprised by how addicted I got to Hana Kimi. Though the first 40% wasn’t great for me.

    • Janis Kay

      Just this past summer, I delved into the world of live-action drama and I’m HOOKED!!! Hana Kimi is one of those lucky ones so you should definitely check it out:)

    • Kat Kennedy

      I don’t believe so since it’s publisher is a Square Enix. But I could be wrong. Yeah, tbh, I am pretty picky about my anime and I almost didn’t finish Hana Kimi – luckily it picked up eventually.

  2. Alex / AnimeGirl

    I admit I screamed HANAKIMI!! When I saw the first image you posted because I loved that manga and I’m currently watching the K-Drma based on it (to the beautiful you) and it was a little spooky!!

    Anyway, manga is awesome I so love it way more than comics -the aesthetics and the way stories are told – I LOVE IT! and yeah, you find some crazy, random manga stuff out there but that’s half the fun!
    Alex / AnimeGirl recently posted…Book Review: Montana Bride by Joan JohnstonMy Profile

  3. Eustacia

    I’m definitely in the ‘To Manga’ camp! (Then again, I’m also living in Japan, so I’m clearly a Japanophile).

    Ok, I’m definitely doing my hyper-fan-recommendation thing here, but have you read Magi? Or Conan? Or Kuroko no Basuke? *Squeals* These are like, some of the manga that I’m currently in love with.

  4. Krutula

    I am a big manga fan and read many titles. I do agree that there is a manga for everyone out there – even without the smut-based content and pointless arcs. Have you read xxxHOLiC? It’s dark and supernatural and you might enjoy it. Actually, many of CLAMP’s works are great to read.
    Krutula recently posted…Truth or Dare #3My Profile

  5. Lesley Marie

    Haha, this is hilarious! I do admit to feeling like a major pervert sometimes when I read manga. And yeah, I remember the twincest moments between the Hitachiin twins. Don’t know about the Kuroshitsuji image… That never happened in the manga, lol 😛 It might have just been something made for fans of the manga, though…

    Yes! The anti-heroes in anime and manga are the best! Lots of them are just so heartbreaking >_< And sometimes, their evilness just makes them loveable 😛

    You're right, there are SO many different types of manga out there. You are bound to find one that appeals to you. Great post, Kat! Just found your blog and I am loving it already 🙂
    Lesley Marie recently posted…Project NaNoWriMo: Beginning Before The BeginningMy Profile

  6. Chelle Eastman

    It all began so innocently… I started playing Final Fantasy XI. It was the gateway. Soon my “hume” character was set aside for a mithra. The next thing I knew I was watching Naruto–first in English, then in the subtitled Japanese (which is far better). So many followed. The woman in my cried out at the blatant sexism so rampant in Japanese culture, yet I continued. I was hooked, addicted. Me, an adult, a professional woman, slinking into Barnes and Noble finding a hidden corner to read long books backward with cheeks aflame. Robot boys, star crossed demon lovers–the list is endless, and timeless. No matter your age I highly suggest Manga to anyone with any spark of idealism, darkness, romance, unrequited love or just plain passion in your heart.

    A final note. Just as reading a novel always helps in understanding a film, reading a manga helps to understand the associated anime. Now you’ll have to excuse me, Naruto has grown up and is about to do something truly amazing and I must watch it (for the third time). Who would think some kid with yellow hair and a truly ugly jump suit could repeatedly move a grown woman to tears… (And I’ll definitely have to find out more about that hot priest!) Thanks Paul!

    • Chelle Eastman

      Forgive me. Thanks Kat. I was just at another blog. Ooopsie! Might as well correct line 4 “my” to “me” while I’m at it. Ugh.. MS sucks. but manga doesn’t!

  7. Sephora

    I can’t help but smile when I read (and re-read) this.. Why? Because your manga virginity has been finally been lost! Congrats on becoming a full Otaku.~ (:

    I remember the first manga I ever read, Love Hina, when I was in third or fourth grade? I never finished the series but I was hooked on everything Japanese since that fateful day. My most favorite ongoing manga series include Skip Beat (YOUHAVEOTHAVETOREADTHIS. ITGETSEXTREMELYMATURE!), Devil and Her Love Song, Kamisama Hajimemashite, and Black Bird (READINTHECONFINESOFYOURROOM).

    You’re right when you say that there’s a type of manga for everyone, but most people take one look and they think it’s “weird”. I find American graphic novels weird (cities always being destroyed, so many heroes…) but I’ll read one from time to time.
    Sephora recently posted…The Sharing Moon by Christy CampbellMy Profile

  8. Natalie

    Ugh, I’ve always wanted to dive into manga but I find the prospect so daunting. I love anime, though I haven’t watched much in a long while. Bleach was a big favorite of mine. I loved the drama and the family feels and the big fights and the whole gang. Would you be able to recommend a starting point for little old me? I guess the Bleach manga could be an idea…

    This is probably way too vague. Ah well, thanks to this post for feeding my curiosity!

  9. Holly Letson

    Thank you for this. It made me laugh….alot….which I had really been needing to do more of.

    So, out of pure curiosity…. which manga was it that you finally finished? I honestly cannot remember which manga was the first that I read, since I have been reading for so long. But, I highly recommend *Dramacon*, if you like OEL mangas, and *Sailor Moon* and *Marmalade Boy*, if you don’t.

    And, gosh, if you think the mangas in your article are high on the smut and *make-you-blush* scale, wait till you fall into the world of hentai manga……LOL!

    I used to be really into anime, too. But, these last few years, I’ve been more into manga instead. I find that it tells the story much better. Anime leaves things out. And, not having to endure 30+ episode fights is a major plus, too.

  10. Christina (A Reader of Fictions)


    1. Bahaha, it’s so true. They want you to ship it and wish for indecent things. YEAH THEY DO.

    2. Oh, twincest. And yeah. All sorts of things. I’ve read a bunch of yaoi, and what the fuck are boundaries again?

    3. Not my fault bad guys are so much more compelling.

    4. This is why I don’t read much shonen.

    5. “This isn’t some crack about how Japan is weird. That’s stupid. I just did a video about dinoporn for the spaghetti monster’s sake.” <- I love that this sentence is in the world.

    7. I like to recc the manga Emma to people who wouldn't usually read manga. I mean, hello, it's sort of Jane Austen-y. That's not what you expect. MANGA HAS EVERYTHING.

    Now, a toast. To MANGA!
    Christina (A Reader of Fictions) recently posted…Review: Suddenly RoyalMy Profile

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  12. Kittenxlush

    I have been ready manga for a few years now and I have to say this is an hilariously accurate review.

  13. Sandy

    It’s been a while since I’ve read any manga but that is something I definitely need to get back into. My first foray into it was back in high school, I was already a fan of anime but when a friend of a friend came back from a trip to the states with MANGA (something I had never heard of or seen before) I fell instantly in love. It was two volumes from the series Ayashi no Ceres by Yuu Watase. Romance, action, incest, ANGST and fantasy. I never got to finish the manga but I did get to watch the whole anime series years later and I still love Yuu Watase’s work.

  14. Natalie

    I’m a manga veteran, and I agree with everything up there. Manga is weird, hilarious and occasionally perverted. but it’s a separate literary genre in itself. Love the Naruto pics btw!

  15. Jasmine Baggenstos

    Haha. Yes, totally with the comfort zones. I’m pretty much used to anything these days. Though, I haven’t gotten that far with Black Butler yet (started with the anime) and am kind of disturbed after seeing that page…
    Also, sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who still didn’t like Light after finishing Death Note. And I’m still pissed about L’s ending.

  16. Dunk Johnson

    Kat you are really going good . Manga is so much popular in every stage of ages many people are attached with manga stories . Personally i was not interested in all this but time changed me now days i am also making manga character with my manga studio…

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