English-language readers are more familiar with the pages of Young Gangan than they might expect, due to Yen Press’s relationship with Square Enix. Bamboo Blade, Sekirei, Working!! and Saki are other titles that have been brought over as manga or anime. Nonetheless, it’s hard to be an adult paging through this magazine without thinking one is missing something crucial to actually enjoying it.
On the other hand, Young Gangan is also home to award-winning, slightly wacky and unique Arakawa Under The Bridge, by Nakamura Hikaru. This is one of the most popular series in the magazine and the anime was licensed for North America by NIS, but the manga remains almost wholly unknown here.
The magazine website for Young Gangan, which is part of Square Enix’s family of magazines, has little original content. Ads for upcoming volumes, magazine specials, upcoming events and issue content fills the page.
Young Gangan runs just around 470 pages for 320 yen ($3.26 at time of writing), with twice monthly distribution. When you visit Japan, Young Gangan and magazines just like it fill convenience store racks, looking to hook young (nebbishy?) men with manga about other young (nebbishy) men and pictures of partially clothed girls. In fact, the above picture for the current volume at time of writing is not representative at all. The cover is far more likely to show a girl in a bikini, like this:
With not-quite softcore photos of “gravure” idols filling the pages and manga that is rarely standout good or bad, for better or for worse, I tend to categorize this as a magazine for the kind of guys who call girls “fake geeks.” The magazine is very boy’s club, but not very kind to its readers. Male leads in the manga in biweekly Young Gangan are often slight loser-y nebbishes, confused by their lives and the madness that surrounds them. I have long felt that if I were a nebbishy guy, I’d rather read a story in which the nebbish triumphs over whatever, gets the girl and lives happily ever after. But that never seems to occur to the creators of these manga.
Young Gangan from Square Enix: http://www.square-enix.co.jp/magazine/yg/
Manga Therapy saysAugust 28, 2013 at 11:23 am
Soul Eater is published in Monthly Shonen Gangan, not Young Gangan. There’s no way Soul Eater could have been popular if it was published in a magazine like this. :P
Erica Friedman saysAugust 28, 2013 at 12:15 pm
Thanks for the catch. It runs in “Monthly Shounen Gangan” which was I was confused. (Ugh, J-company naming.) Thanks, I’ll, fix that.
Aaron saysAugust 29, 2013 at 9:55 am
I think the reason their are so many “useless” protagonists in Manga run in these kind of magazines is it’s a kind of “at least I’m better than that loser” kind of mentality like no matter how much of a social waste case you are in real life your still marginally better than the protagonist. Or conversely it could all be some sort of masochistic impulse but perhaps I’m over thinking that *shock* a Manga fan over analyzing his intrest I know (LOL)