Category Archives: Manga

Remembering the golden Age of Manga in Libraries (and a list of manga titles)

Remember when manga was on the cutting edge of library provision a few years ago? Heady times when it seemed like the easiest way to attract teens into libraries was to invest in a manga collection and run a manga art event*.

Oh sure there were the occasional blips, including parents discovering their children paging through shonen-ai** or even worse hentai, because library staff were not aware that not all manga is for young readers; and library borrowers having conniptions when encountering teens cosplaying a Death Note Shinigami*** but overall nothing too major.

In the drk ages of 2006 the September edition Teen Librarian Monthly was a Manga Special, designed to introduce librarians to manga. You can read a copy here: TLM: Manga

I also wrote an article for the Public Library journal, which is readable here: Turning Japanese. I will just say that I was not responsible for the article title.

It all seemed so easy with publishers like Tokyopop running regular ReCon events around the country and of course manga and cosplay still had an aura of underground cool. Then Tokyopop imploded, Tanoshimi disappeared and for a long while there seemed to be fewer titles available.

Even worse**** happened, manga went mainstream and nowadays everyone and their gran seems to know what cosplay is, and a lot of them attend conventions together, dressed up as their favourite characters.

Nowadays the largest providers of manga in the UK are Kodansha, Viz Media and Self Made Hero with their Manga Shakespeare line; then there are UK-based indie manga creators and collectives, the oldest and best-known being Sweatdrop Studios and Umisen-Yamasen.

Even though manga appears ubiquitous, sometimes guidance is required by those that feel that they do not know enough to make safe choices when it comes to stock; so I have decided to put together a list of recommendations suitable for teen readers (13+).

An important thing to remember is that popular manga series can extend to many volumes, Naruto, for example, ran to 72 volumes and One Piece is currently on 79.

Some of these titles are well-known, others less so

Assassination Classroom – Yusei Matsui
Attack on Titan – Hajime Isayama
Animal Land – Makoto Raiku
Black Butler – Yana Toboso
Bleach – Tite Kubo
Cirque du Freak – Darren Shan, Takahiro Arai
Death Note – Tsugumi Obha
Fairy Tale – Hiro Mashima
Fullmetal Alchemist – Hiromu Arakawa
Gon – Masashi Tanaka
I am Here – Ema Toyama
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure – Hirohiko Araki
Kitchen Princess – Miyuki Kobayashi
The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya – Puyo
Miles Edgeworth: Ace Attorney Investigations – Kenji Kuroda
Monster Hunter Orage – Hiro Mashima
Monster Soul – Hiro Mashima
Musishi – Hiro Mashima
My Hero Academia – Kouhei Horikoshi
My Little Monster – Robico
Naruto – Masashi Kishimoto
Nausicaa – Hayao Miyazaki
No.6 – Atsuko Asano
One Piece – Eiichiro Oda
One Punch Man – ONE
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Kenji Kuroda
Read Or Die – Hideyuki Kurata
Shaman King – Hiroyuki Takei
Shugo Chara – Peach Pit
Shugo Chara Chan – Peach Pit
A Silent Voice – Yoshitoki Oima
Tegami Bachi – Hiroyuki Asada
Tokyo Ghoul – Sui Ishida
Tokyo MewMew – Reiko Yoshida, Mia Ikumi
Tsubasa – CLAMP
World Trigger – Daisuke Asihara
Your Lie in April – Naoshi Arakawa
Yu-Gi-Oh! – Kazuki Takahashi

* this still works

** this happened to me

*** this also happened

**** worse… or better? I think better

Turning Japanese: an Introduction to Manga

Going back in time about six years, at the end of 2006 Liz Chapman, at the time the editor of the now sadly defunct Public Library Journal, approached me to write an article about Manga, Libraries and running youth library groups centred around Manga and anime.

I was recently able to find a .pdf copy of the article and present it here:

Introducing the manga phenomenon, offering suggestions for collection development and management, events and running manga groups.

Manga Jiman 2013

MJ2013_banner
The Embassy of Japan in the UK is once again launching their manga-writing competition, MANGA JIMAN 2013, with fantastic prizes up for grabs. Now in its 7th year, MANGA-JIMAN can be translated as ‘having pride in manga’ and the Embassy of Japan is proud to offer this opportunity to UK manga creators.

This competition is open to all UK residents aged fourteen (14)* years or over. All creations should be original and between six (6) to eight (8) A4-sized pages in length and drawn so that it reads from left to right. The manga should in some way make reference to ‘voyages of discovery’. We chose this theme because 2013 marks the 400th anniversary of the first British ship to arrive in Japan and 150 years since five samurai arrived in the UK, the first Japanese to study at university in Britain. NB Your manga does NOT specifically have to refer to these two events.

1st Prize: Two (2) return air tickets to Japan, courtesy of All Nippon Airways!**

2nd Prize: A fabulous laptop computer from Toshiba of Europe Ltd.

3rd Prize: A superb digital camera from RICOH UK Ltd

Runners-up will receive and a selection of manga publications, available in the UK from various UK manga publishers amongst others prizes.

The winners’ works will also be displayed in a special MANGA JIMAN EXHIBITION at the Embassy of Japan.

For full details follow this link: Manga Jiman 2013

Scott Westerfeld's Uglies has been given the Graphic Novel treatment

Hey wow!

I just found out the Dystopian novel Uglies by the always awesome Scott Westerfeld has been turned into a graphic novel!

Del Rey will be publishing four manga-inspired Uglies graphic novels, outlined by Westerfeld and adapted by artist Steven Cumming.

This story will be told from Shay’s perspective.

Dragon Heir by Emma Vieceli

Emma Vieceli is a member of independent manga studio Sweatdrop Studio and one of the top manga artists in the UK, she has illustrated books for Self Made Hero Press, a story in the Eisner Award Winning collection Comic Book Tattoo and had work published in many other books and magazines.

Dragon Heir is the work she started when she first joined Sweatdrop and is important on a number of levels, and, as Emma herself says:

Sweatdrop members are of course independent creators. What that means is that it’s just little old me and my book. Being picked up by Diamond as an independent creator is a huge honour, but getting stock to retailers is the harder step. Spreading the word and ordering copies is something that everyone can help with. Help out an indie creator and demand that your local bookshops order in copies of Dragon Heir, because reading epic stories filled with pretty people, swords and angst is everyone’s right! ^_^

If your library hosts a Manga Club then Dragon Heir will be an essential part of your collection, it will be proof for your young manga artists that it is possible that they can have their works published. Even if your library does not have a manga club this book is necessary, it is beautifully illustrated, cracking story that has been created, written and illustrated by a UK artist , so in purchasing it you will be supporting local industry and adding a brilliant book to your collections.

Even if your library does not have a manga collection, Dragon Heir will be a good book to start your collection!

Go on order it! You know you want to!

Toshokan Senso (Library Wars)

In a slightly different timeline than ours, the explosion of information and misinformation came to be considered a direct threat to society. In a daring decision, it was decided to create a new government agency dedicated solely to information management. Some thirty years later, in 2019, the government still monitors and controls information, suppressing anything they find undesirable, but standing against their abuses of power are the libraries, with their special agents called ‘the book soldiers.’

This all sounds really familiar! Suppressing information, cutting access to books and people think it only happens in fiction! Guess not – who knew that manga could foretell the future?

I like the idea of being a Book Soldier, the first shots in defending Libraries and access to books are being fired as we speak. Do we as librarians that work with young people have a duty to educate our Teens on how to protest the cutting of the EMA, provision of addresses of MPs, during the reading groups and activity sessions should we be able to run letter writing workshops to Parliament to protest the cuts. I am working on a how-to create a ‘zine programme that I will post up here soon, maybe even a workshop on protest sign making.

The youth are already rising up, I think we have a responsibility to guide them on how to do it safely (and legally)!

You can grab Library Wars from Amazon here or ask at you rlocal comic or speciality bookshop.

So you have had a complaint about a Graphic Novel or Manga title?

The first thing to do is don’t panic, the second thing is DO NOT WITHDRAW THE TITLE! Seriously do not withdraw it – this is important.

If you are the person that selects the Graphic Novel and Manga titles for your branch this is a run-down of how to cover yourself and your library service from complaints by parents, teachers and anyone who may have reason to complain about what their children have been reading.

1. Know your stock – you should personally have held and looked at every Graphic Novel and Manga item in your library. This will only take a few minutes, unless you have a large collection and need to go through everything, but once that is done all you have to do is grab every new title as it comes in. You do not have to read everything (but you can if you want to) leaf through the pages and look for any nudity, extreme violence or swearing. If you cannot find any then your collection is not doing its job.

2. When you find books that have swearing, violence or nudity make sure that is has a guidance label (Teen/YA, Adult Stock, or GN) on the spine. Most manga titles have age banding on the back cover, these vary from publisher to publisher but they are prominent.

3. Do not keep your Manga and GN collection in the Children’s Library, Have it between the Adult & Teen collections (if you do not have a Teen Collection you should start thinking about one). There are exceptions – a number of libraries keep The Simpsons, Tokyopop’s Cine-Manga and the Alex Rider GN’s in their Picture Books for older Readers collections.

4. Double-check the labels of the books, it is possible for some to creep through.

5. Start reading manga – this will help with stock development knowledge, suggesting titles to readers etc

6. Get to know the readers themselves – they know more than you do and are usually more than happy to suggest titles or discuss genres and series.

7. Get to know your local comic shop as above they should know what they are selling, be able to suggest stock and also (importantly) give a discount

If anyone has advice on preempting complaints or has dealt with a sticky situation and would like to share it please leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

MANGA JIMAN COMPETITION 2010


The Embassy of Japan is once again launching the major manga-writing competition, MANGA JIMAN 2010, with fantastic prizes and open to anyone fourteen (14)* years of age or over.

The amazing First Prize is two (2) return air tickets to Japan, courtesy of All Nippon Airways!**
The Second Prize is a fabulous TOSHIBA laptop computer.
Third Prize is a superb digital camera from RICOH UK Ltd
Runners-up will receive and a selection of manga publications, available in the UK from various UK manga publishers amongst others prizes.
The winners’ works will also be displayed in a special MANGA JIMAN EXHIBITION at the Embassy of Japan.

This competition is open to all UK residents. All creations should be original and between six (6) to eight (8) A4-sized pages in length and although entrants are free to choose their own theme, restrictions do apply, and importantly the manga should in some way make reference to nami or ‘wave’. The closing date for the submission of entries is Monday, 1 November 2010.

Manga by Ollydead

Should you wish to enter, please read the full MANGA JIMAN COMPETITION 2010 RULES & REGULATIONS and then carefully fill out and submit the official entry form along with your entry by post or in person to Manga Jiman 2010 Competition, JICC, Embassy of Japan, 101-104 Piccadilly, London W1J 7JT.

* The competition is open to all legal residents of the United Kingdom who are, or will be, over the age of fourteen (14) by 1 January 2011.

**Terms and conditions apply.

HeadSpace Efford

Create a Comic project
HeadSpace Efford took part in this online Manga storyboard activity in preparation for their first ever Manga RE-con at Waterstone’s in Plymouth. The theory behind the activity is that young people who are interested in Manga but unable to draw to a high standard can take part in constructing their own Manga storyboard. The site also provides similar pre-designed graphic novel templates and blank comic strips for young people who are talented artists. All this can be found on the Create a Comic Project website.

“The Create a Comic Project (CCP) is a youth literacy activity that uses comics to promote creative writing. The CCP uses two kinds of templates for instruction: blank panels, allowing kids to draw their own, and pre-drawn comics with the original dialogue bubbles blanked out. Pre-drawn templates use art from comics all across the web, representing a broad swath of the online cartooning community. The CCP is arguably the single largest multi-comic educational collaboration of its kind.

This website is dedicated to hosting the creations of the students who participated in the CCP. Both original and “remixed” comics are posted here for all to see. Every comic here is the work of one or more children. While I provided guidance and technical knowledge (what a dialogue bubble is, how to read expressions, etc.), I was always careful not to tell the kids what to write. So each comic posted here is the free and open creation of a young mind.”

The group really enjoyed coming up with their own stories and reading them aloud to each other. As with most projects that involve young people they are keen to come up with something with a professional finish. We were able to print their designs in colour for them to take home.

Meet Mangako!
DSCF3875
HeadSpace Efford launched their very own Manga group, hosted by Abi our resident Manga enthusiast. Abi came up with the plan for launch party, prepared the activities, made cakes, designed posters and promoted the group at the Manga RE-con event. The group is made up of four new HeadSpace members and three existing members who love all things Manga.
HeadSpace 034
It was a great to meet new members at the launch and everyone enjoyed learning to speak some Japanese, trying Japanese food and even listening to Disney songs in Japanese.
HeadSpace 035
Mangako meet on a fortnightly basis during HeadSpace time and in the next few weeks will be coming up with their own design for a Manga library card, performing a Manga sketch and sharing their favourite Anime.

To keep up with all our activities follow us on Twitter and check out the HeadSpace blog, written by young people for young people.


Article & photos provided by Superlibrarian Emma Sherriff of Plymouth Library Service

Manga in Libraries

Blatant self-promotion time now, earlier this year an article I wrote on Manga was published in the Public Library Journal, the article is now available to view online here

Any and all feedback will be appreciated.