Manga is an immensely popular style of cartoon comic that has enthralled fans of all ages. According to Wikipedia, the word Manga translates to “comic” or “cartoon” in Japanese. Manga encompasses many genres from detective mystery stories, to romance and horror. Some manga stories like Detective Conan employ a combination of themes such as mystery, drama, romance, horror and comedy all in one. There are also sub-genres particular to the manga style including:
Bara Manga: Manga stories that focus on male/male sexual relationships with grown men much like the “bears” of the contemporary gay community. Although it is said they are primarily written by gay men for gay men, these stories have gained popularity among male and female readers. According to Wikipedia, bara magna was first produced in 1950. Gay manga stories can also be classified as “Yaoi” or “BL” for “boys love”. The term “Yuri” is used when the story centers on a lesbian relationship.
Mecha: Comes from the Japanese word for “mechanical” and these manga stories feature robots and machines. The robots are built to either attack the world or to save the world from malevolent forces. Many of these stories are set in futuristic time settings and contain strong sci-fi elements.
Idol: Like American talent contents, these stories center around a rags to riches fame story and the culture of entertainment competitions. Whether on their way to fame in movies or music, Idol stories contain romance, drama, and even some mystery in some stories.
Harem: For a manga story to be considered “harem” there must be several women pursuing a male lead character. If the lead is a woman being pursued by a group of men, it is considered “reverse harem”.
Hentai and Ecchi: Hard core and soft core pornography content manga
Shōjo: Shōjo manga stories are stories with plots and characters that widely appeal to teenage girls. They can have dramatic, comedy or sci-fi elements but tend to pull at the heartstrings of the young and young at heart.
According to techaeris.com, traditional manga was written to be read from right to left however, in some cases, the artist will style the piece to be read from left to right. See the above article for more information about hot to read manga online for beginners.
What if I Want to Create My Own Manga?
There is now software available to help aspiring creative artists design their own manga stories. This software is called Manga Studio. With Manga Studio you can enhance your own artwork or create digital drawings. Either way, it’s a fun way to join in the creative process.
Where to Find the Best Manga Online?
As its popularity is only going to increase this upcoming year, with new releases produced every day, here are the top ten best online manga websites for 2016:
Manga Fox a site that includes the latest releases plus popular fan favorites no longer in production like Chrono Crusade. It includes a comprehensive directory complete with reviews and ratings. Manga Fox also has an active community forum where fans discuss their favorite works and creative ideas. They also have a colorful mobile site, so you can enjoy manga anywhere. Manga Fox gets top billing due to it’s frequency of updates and ease of navigation.
Manga Volume is also a comprehensive site where you can read free chapters from hundreds of series. Many of their fascinating stories are uploaded by users and include both popular and more obscure titles. You can search categories such as top rated, series or by genre. Manga Volume has a bright, colorful interface and is easy to navigate. Some of the manga features has sexual content, like the highly popular series Elfen Lied, so parents should be aware and supervise children browsing the site. This goes for all of the manga sites as there are subgenres as noted above that deal with adult themes.
Although, like many of the other sites, the advertisements on the page are distracting, Manga Reader’s interface is colorful and easy to navigate. They have their latest postings of new work on the front page and also an easy to navigate search box where you can find your favorite series. It is recommended to have the latest version of java installed to quickly download the stories.
Manga Here’s visual quality is not as sharp as those listed above; however, they do have a stunning array of genres and stories from which to choose. Another plus is that you can easily translate the website content to Spanish, which is handy for international readers. Magna Here also has a news and spoilers forum where you can get the latest on Naruto, Bleach and One Piece episodes. They also get bonus points for ease of navigation and overall friendly tone of the website and its community.
This free manga website stands out for its colorful, inviting, appearance and ease of navigation. Top Series titles are listed in box form where you can read a digest version of the story as well as click on the latest episode. This is great for new manga readers, as they can get the jist of the plotline before reading individual episodes. In the right corner of their main page they have links to download their app for android or IPhone.
For a no-frills site with plenty of fabulous black and white drawings and original story lines, Any Manga can’t be beat. You can use their online search box, or scan the list of works, pick one and start reading. There are instructions on how to navigate between pages of stories from the supernatural to romance and everything in between to please any avid manga reader.
Mangable is exactly what it advertises to be “A huge collection of free manga.” There website boast of having 4,859 popular scans. It has categories such as “last updated”, “most popular”, “top rated”, “completed” and “most chapters.” You can also do an alphabetical search that includes both old and new titles. Mangable also highlights a “Manga of the Week”, where you can see which story was nominated for the honor and read a synopsis.
Manga Panda is a fun and friendly site with their top selections right on the front page to view. From the Naruto to Bleach series there is something for everyone to enjoy among their 1000 plus English translated titles. Their interface is clean and uncluttered and searching for a desired title is a piece of cake.
This site makes the top ten for its dedication to bringing the best manga online for fans to enjoy. They even have a recruitment drive for enthusiasts to share their talents to edit, redraw, typeset and translate work from Japanese to English. They have a noteworthy collection of manga, mainly in traditional black and white and gorgeously drawn, such as The Seven Deadly Sins series. It is well worth a look and if you are a die hard manga lover, you may wish to lend your support to this creative project. They seem to be somewhat an underdog in the online manga arena, but due to the customer talent and creativity infused in this manga outlet.
is rated last not because it is not colorful and gorgeous, but because some but many of these comics require payment of $6.99 to read the stories. There are some free previews but those are few and far between. To its credit, it has new popular releases the same day as Japan, and the artwork and is comprised of glossy magazines, not fan uploaded pieces. If you are a fan of commercially produced manga and want to download the latest manga mags, this site is for you. They also have a community forum that lists contests and events as well as podcasts. The quality of this magazine site makes it worth the money to pay for these editions.
Many serious manga aficionados visit multiple sites so that they can keep up on the latest releases and enjoy the many amazing, captivating stories and graphics of these masterpieces, created by established artists as well as novices. Although most manga comes from Japan, many western artists are participating in creating fabulous works while adhering to the traditional style.
Those who are new to manga can’t believe how easy it is to get “hooked” on these fast and fun to read stories. There’s something for everyone when it comes to manga and because of the multi installments of many series, fans impatiently wait for the next thrilling installment. That is why most manga sites update as fast as possible to keep the readers coming back.
Be careful to only download manga or other material from safe and trusted sites and only when legally permitted to do so to avoid problems. Happy Reading!