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A Beginner's Guide to Manga

Posted on 26th May 2021 by Mark Skinner

From its roots in the 12th century, manga has grown to become one of Japan's most popular artistic forms - not to mention one of its most lucrative exports. Yet the sheer magnitude of series available can mean that embarking on a manga adventure can feel somewhat overwhelming. Never fear; we have assembled a list of the biggest, best and most accesible entry points into this unique medium. From My Hero Academia to Haikyu!! and Fullmetal Alchemist to Attack on Titan, here are the essential manga series that you need to know.    

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One hundred years after a race of giants destroyed most of humanity, these terrifying Titans return to wreak slaughter on a barricaded city in the first instalment of Isayama’s exhilarating and wildly popular series.
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The opening chapter of a thrilling coming-of-age epic, Naruto tells the story of the eponymous child - headstrong and desperate to become a ninja leader – as he begins to navigate his complex and intriguing destiny.

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Follow the riotous adventures of a boy pirate with a rubberised body in Oda’s effervescent comic epic packed with unforgettable characters and spectacular set-pieces.

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Join the likeable Izuku, a boy born without superpowers in a world where such abilities are commonplace, on his quest to become an all-powerful hero in Horikoshi’s highly addictive manga.
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One of the most influential manga series of them all – and progenitor of Dragonball Z and Dragonball Super - Toriyama’s masterpiece is packed with both winning comedy and high adventure as it follows Son Goku’s enthralling quest to collect a series of balls capable of summoning a powerful dragon.

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Brutal, unflinching and stylistically stunning, Miura's ground-breaking manga is an action-packed story of free will, retribution and bloody violence in a dark medieval fantasy world.
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Set in a richly imagined apocalyptic world, Sadamoto’s pivotal manga blends all-action set pieces with the complex character development of Shinji, a young pilot facing his own battles as he attempts to fight a sinister race of invading beings.

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Deftly blending horror, action and mystery, the first volume of this all-conquering manga series finds a young student with noble intentions use a lethal notebook dropped by a rogue death god to try and rid the world of evil.

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The opening chapter of a thrilling coming-of-age epic, Naruto tells the story of the eponymous child - headstrong and desperate to become a ninja leader – as he begins to navigate his complex and intriguing destiny.

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Pushing the inter-relationship between manga and gaming to a frenetic maximum, the pioneering Sword Art Online traps terrified players in a sprawling video game from which there is only one way out.

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In a world ravaged by the misuse of alchemy two brothers undergo life-changing transformations at the hands of a ruthless government in Arakawa’s compelling dystopian thriller.

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Like a supernatural Jeeves, Sebastian is the most accomplished butler Earl Phantomhive could wish for and their delightfully witty and exciting exploits in Victorian London set Toboso’s series apart from more generic manga adventures.
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A multi-generational epic of vampires, stone masks, wild battles and family dysfunction, the aptly named bizarre adventures of the Joestar family deliver full-colour action and layers of plot twists.

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Proving that you don’t have to be a giant to succeed in volleyball as long as you can jump, Furudate’s heartwarming story of high school sporting competition has swiftly become a modern classic.
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Vibrant, quirky and super-cute, this 90s manga classic makes for one of the best introductions to the Japanese graphic form, as schoolgirl Usagi becomes Sailor Moon and leads her band of girlfriends on a high-energy mission to defeat evil.
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Boasting spectacular fight scenes and breathtakingly imaginative set-pieces, Kubo’s Bleach series of evil spirits, psychic energy and soul reapers delivers excitement and suspense in spades.

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Acclaimed as some of the most rounded, beloved characters in all manga, teenage Tohru Honda and the Sohma clan she finds herself living with light up this complex, life-affirming story of a family who turn into the animals of the Chinese zodiac whenever a member of the opposite sex hugs them.
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Vibrant, quirky and super-cute, this 90s manga classic makes for one of the best introductions to the Japanese graphic form, as schoolgirl Usagi becomes Sailor Moon and leads her band of girlfriends on a high-energy mission to defeat evil.
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One of the greatest horror series in manga history, the visceral Tokyo Ghoul introduces the shy Ken Kaneki, unwittingly transformed into a half-human, half-ghoul hybrid after a first date goes seriously wrong.

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An evil tentacled being destroys most of the moon then takes a job in a high school in this deliriously bizarre sci-fi comedy where a motley crew of young misfits are charged with the seemingly impossible task of assassinating the best teacher they’ve ever had.

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Comments

Willow Philpott

Hi this is a great article, but i think Attack on Titan is a bit heavy for a beginner reader. This is because it has a large plot, can be graphic at times, covers serious topics and is a life changing story. To truly respect the series I would get deeper into the Anime and Manga world, then come back to it when you have a new found respect for: story writing and character development/ writing. You will have a much better experience reading or watching this if you appreciate all the things I just listed. For beginners, I would recommend reading or watching something lighter like, One Punch Man (an action comedy Manga and Anime), Horimiya (a romance Manga and Anime) and Haikyuu (a sports Manga and Anime). For me Attack on Titan is a 10/10 Anime and Manga, I would definitely recommend reading and watching this. View more

Willow Philpott
17th September 2021
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Kyle Cheveau

Hi there great article, just one small error though, the sport being played in Haikyuu!! is not basketball but in fact volleyball. View more

Kyle Cheveau
6th June 2021
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