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Femininity and Empowerment Across Manga Demographics

Shounen manga and shoujo manga have both been perceived as opposite ends of the spectrum, with shounen being seen as ‘for boys’ and shoujo being seen as ‘for girls’. Analyse how both demographics explore femininity and female empowerment, and how the stereotypes of both demographics can affect the way women are written or interpreted by the audience.

How are women often portrayed in shounen manga? How does this compare with shoujo? Where are the similarities, and to what extent are these similarities cultural? Is it fair to expect a shounen manga to emphasize female characters when the target audience is supposedly largely male? And are our stereotyped perceptions on these demographics even true anymore? Manga like Naruto, FMA, Sailor Moon and Akatsuki no Yona touch on these questions and may be good considerations

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    Why do light novels have such long titles?

    Perhaps a less philosophical topic, but I’d love to see just a short article analysing various light novel titles. I’ve noticed a trend in which many of them have excessively long titles, some overly descriptive, but some not so much? I’d love to know why, or even just read about some common themes in them.
    A lot of them, as a result of their overly-wordiness, also tend to have nicknames, which could also be interesting to look at.

    There are plenty of examples to look at:
    Danjon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darō ka (DanMachi) (Is it Wrong to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon?)

    Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai Kara Kuru Sō Desu yo? (Mondaiji) (Problem Children are Coming from Another World, aren’t they?)

    Ore no Nōnai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Rabu Kome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru (Noucome) (My Mental Choices are Completely Interfering with my School Romantic Comedy)

    • This sounds like an interesting article for the light novel enthusiast. Perhaps research popular and cultural trends within the Japanese publishing industry. Titles with more than a few words (books, film, TV, music) are exceptions in the West rather than the norm so it’d be cool to get an understanding of why the Japanese like long titles so much. – Tanner Ollo 8 months ago
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    The appeal of death game manga

    A trope I’ve seen quite commonly in manga is that of the ‘death game’. Usually, a group of students wakes up in some closed-off area, with mysterious instructions to either kill each other, perform acts that might end in death, vote people to die, etc.

    I’d love to see an analysis of why this genre is so prolific. Perhaps a look at the themes it deals with, and how despite the large number of manga, there are still so many unique ideas.

    Possible example to look at could be: Ousama Game, Jinrou Game, Tomogui Kyoushitsu, Doubt, etc.

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      Representation of Transgender Youth in Hourou Musuko

      The manga Hourou Musuko (Wandering Son) is about two transgender youths, and their struggles with adolescence. I’d be interested to read an analysis of the manga and how it handles these themes. Perhaps commentary on the influence of Japanese culture on the way the representation is handled, and also how times have changed in that respect too (as the manga began in 2002).

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        How My Hero Academia treats it's villains

        My Hero Academia is one of the most popular anime and manga series today. While the primary characters are heroes, many important characters are villains. The series creator, Kohei Horikoshi is known to subvert common troupes in the shonen genre. However, it’s how he treats his villains that is most interesting. It has been noted that characters like Bakugo and Endeavor aren’t quite as heroic as expect. They can be considered to be anti-heroes. The true villains of the series have been given arcs of their own.

        Currently, the Meta Liberation Army arc is focusing on the development of the League of Villains as they come into conflict with the Liberation Army. The main antagonist, Tomura Shigaraki is given a backstory, as he and his comrades train to become stronger. Why does Horikoshi focus on villains at all? Shigaraki story mirrors Midoriya’s, how’s that different from typical shonen series? Will focusing on villains in this manner result in readers caring about them more?

        • I am literally *so* excited to read this. I really like how Horikoshi makes readers question how heroic the "heroes" really are, since they're doing it as a profession in a capitalist society (which therefore devalues people who have no quirk, like Deku, or "unheroic" quirks, like Shinsou). All Might explicitly tells Deku he can't be a hero if he doesn't have a quirk. I really hope you touch on this false dichotomy of heroic vs. villainous, good vs. bad, good quirk vs. bad quirk, etc. and how the League of Villains is essentially a band of misfits whose quirks or upbringing alienated them from a pro-hero society. A buddy of mine runs a villains-centric blog that might have some useful discussion for you: codenamesazanka on Tumblr :) – Eden 10 months ago
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        Creativity in Junji Ito's Manga

        The art and storytelling in Junji Ito’s manga are very original in a peculiar sense. As a researcher interested in the concept of creativity and a fan of Junji Ito, I would be delighted to read an article about what makes Ito’s works creative.

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          Why can't Oda, the master storyteller and plot artist of One Piece write good female characters?

          Why can’t Oda, the master storyteller and plot artist of One Piece write good female characters?
          Eiichiro Oda is one of my favorite mangaka of all time and the proclaimed writer of the epic over 900 chapter-long, continuing manga, One Piece, the current top-selling manga. He continually astounds readers with his beautifully interwoven story arcs, character development, and unique artistic style and yet one aspect of his work persistently falls short of the mark — his writing and designing of female characters.

          Oda has displayed an immense array of designing abilities, drawing influence from artistic and regional styles from all over the world and yet all of his female characters have the same face and body shape. Vivi, Nami, Robin, Rebecca, Shirahoshi, etc. All of these unique characters would look the same if you gave them the same hair and eyes, something that would not work for the male characters who display many different kinds of eye shapes, hair styles, body types, nose shapes, etc.

          In terms of writing as well, even characters who are supposedly "strong" like Rebecca (a freaking gladiator), are swept up and saved by male heroes. Oda doesn’t seem to like to give his female characters proper adversaries to fight, a necessary component to completing a character arc in the world of One Piece – all plots lead to a final showdown of some sort. And yet the female characters only face off against other villainous female characters of the same caliber (Nami vs Kalifa/Miss Doublefinger) whereas Luffy and Zoro are always given stronger and better challenges.

          Oda doesn’t seem to respect a woman’s ability to battle a man on equal footing; its a logic that doesn’t seem to exist in the narrative. Throughout the series Oda betrays a serious awareness of historical and political issues regarding human injustice, inequality, authoritarianism, colonialism, etc. And yet why is it that he utterly fails in turning this critical eye to gender?

          • "Oda doesn’t seem to respect a woman’s ability to battle a man on equal footing"Because it doesn't really exist. It can happen, given some circumstantial factors, but overall its a fallacy created by the more moden concept of equality. Of course the concept itself is righteous and necesary, as both men and women should be respected equally and given the same opportunities. But like with many other things, this causes a large part of the masses to confuse and misunderstand some aspects.And before this possibly devolves into me getting called sexist (because it tends to be the "easy rebuttal" button for some people), for pointing this out, lets clarify one thing: I AM a woman, but that doesn't make me blind to some very obvious facts that a lot of people seem to be intent on forcibly denying no matter how clear they are.Men and women are equals, but they're not "the same". We are fundamentally different in many aspects, which includes the physical one, and no amount of self-righteous denial will change this. It has been proved time and time again that in all disciplines involving physical strength and speed, even the top female athletes tend to fall far behind their male counterparts. The same can be said from women in military combat positions, who always get outperformed by men in similar circumstances (meaning, with similar amounts of experience and training). This is an undeniable fact.Oda doesn't often put female characters fighting on par with male characters, because in the real world that IS how it works 99% of the time. Of course a woman with extensive fitness and combat training can beat a man with much less of both, which gets represented in scenes like Kalifa steamrolling through countless strong male fighters from the Galley-La company, but the point is, when both men and women have a similar level of preparation, the intrinsic physical advantage men hold over women comes to play in full force, greatly tilting the balance in their favour.Again, it has nothing to do with sexism, but with being realistic. – CarmenDia 10 months ago
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          Would The Implementation of Gender Bender Manga in Education Solve Gender Issues?

          You would have probably noticed that the category "gender bender" is found in manga. They tend to feature characters as cross-dressers or transgenders, which has driven many readers of manga to be open to the idea of gender transformation. If such type of manga gets implemented in education, the coming generation would probably develop attitudes of acceptance and even appreciation toward individuals who identify with different sexual identities. What are your views concerning this matter that is drawing the attention of many nowadays? And how can gender bender manga be included in education?