manga bookshelf

Resources & Essays

This page contains links to selected features at Manga Bookshelf, providing easy access to our most popular or informative posts along with supporting resources, both on and offsite.

Manga Advocacy & Persuasion Posts | Regular (or semi-regular) Features | Gender in the Manga Blogosphere
Essays/Meta/Misc. | Recommendations & Buying Guides | Offsite Resources
Korean Manhwa | Yaoi/Boys’ Love | Read Manga Online

Manga Advocacy & Persuasion Posts

CLAMP Manga Moveable Feast – A week-long look at the work of the prolific, all-female creative team CLAMP

Complete Archive

Wild Adapter Manga Moveable Feast – A week-long look at Kazuya Minekura’s Wild Adapter

Complete archive

Yun Kouga Manga Moveable Feast – A week-long look at the emotionally complex work of mangaka Yun Kouga

Complete archive

Other Manga Moveable Feasts hosted at Manga Bookshelf blogs:

Yumi Tamura at Manga Bookshelf
We didn’t host the Yumi Tamura Manga Moveable Feast, but we sure had a lot to say!

A Celebration of Fumi Yoshinaga – a week-long look at Yoshinaga’s varied works

Making the Case for Banana Fish – an introduction to the series by Akimi Yashida

  • Breaking Down Banana Fish – an ongoing roundtable discussion including Michelle Smith, Khursten Santos, Connie C., Eva Volin, Robin Brenner, and Katherine Dacey.
  • Ash vs. Shahryar – comparing the primary relationships in Akimi Yashida’s Banana Fish (Viz Media) and Han SeungHee and Jeon JinSeok’s One Thousand and One Nights (Yen Press)
  • Banana Fish at Shaenon Garrity’s Overlooked Manga Festival
  • If you like this, you might like: Wild Adapter (Tokyopop), Let Dai (NETCOMICS), One Thousand and One Nights (Yen Press)

Why You Should Read NANA – an introduction to the series by Ai Yazawa

Why You Should Read xxxHolic – an introduction to the series by CLAMP

Girls Only Week – a week-long look at series from female mangaka

Fanservice Friday – Friday feature focusing on fanservice in manga, with a personal, female-centric focus

10 Great Global Manga (Katherine Dacey)

Good Manga For Kids (Katherine Dacey)

Tezuka: A Bibliography for English Speakers (Katherine Dacey)

Know Your Publishers: Japan and North America (Sean Gaffney)

The CMX Project (Michelle Smith & Karen Peck)

Chatting About Canon (Michelle Smith & Karen Peck)

Regular (or semi-regular) Features

Pick of the Week – the Manga Bookshelf Battle Robot’s must-buys each week
Bookshelf Briefs – weekly capsule reviews from the Manga Bookshelf Battle Robot
Off the Shelf – weekly discussion of recent releases with Melinda & Michelle
BL Bookrack – Melinda & Michelle’s monthly look at recent boys’ love titles
It Came from the Sinosphere – Weekly columnist Sara K. discusses Chinese-language novels, films, comics, and television dramas
Weekly Shonen Jump Recaps – Weekly columnist Derek Bown gives us the scoop on what’s happening in VIZ Media’s Weekly Shonen Jump online.
License This! – Columnist Travis Anderson makes monthly license requests.
Magazine no Mori – Okazu’s Erica Friedman guides us through the world of Japanese manga anthologies.
My Week in Manga – Melinda shares what she’s been reading (and what she plans to read) for the week.
Let’s Get Visual – periodic discussion of manga artwork with Melinda & Michelle, hosted at Michelle’s blog, Soliloquy in Blue
Bringing the Drama – Anna leads this discussion about Korean dramas along with Michelle, Nancy Thistlethwaite, Eva Volin, and Emily Snodgrass.
Manga Bestsellers – Matt Blind calculates weekly online bestsellers (currently on hiatus).
Adventures in the Key of Shoujo – Columnist Phillip Anthony throws aside lifelong social conditioning to embark on a journey through the world of shoujo manga.
3 Things Thursday – periodic list of 3 manga-centric things, just for fun!
Going Digital – the Battle Robot’s periodic look at what’s new in digital manga
Comic Conversion – Columnist Angela Eastman reviews graphic novel adaptations of prose novels.
A Kid’s View – Elementary school student Jia Li shares her take on manga.
Follow Friday – based on the Twitter meme of the same name, a periodic look at whose blogs you should be following
I Wish I Wrote That! – Friday feature focusing on comics criticism so awesome Melinda wishes she’d written it
Failure Friday – Failures in manga. Enough said.

Gender in the Manga Blogosphere

Personalizing Feminism in Basara – Melinda’s personal take on feminism in Yumi Tamura’s Basara
Soapbox: Women’s Manga – The state of women’s manga in the US
New TCJ: Where are the women? – Questions on the relaunch of The Comics Journal online
Twilight & the Plight of the Female Fan – Melinda’s guest post at The Hooded Utilitarian
5 Female Voices in Manga Criticism – Melinda discusses a few of the many unique female voices in the manga blogosphere
Female Manga Bloggers from A-Z – alphabetical listing of women in the manga blogosphere, including links to blogs and Twitter accounts – ongoing
Dear Fandom: Please Grow Up. – Melinda makes a plea for tolerance of an unlikely group: Twilight fans.
Keeping Up Appearances as a Female Fan – discussion of the problematic nature of maintaining credibility as a female comics fan
Gender Roles in Fruits Basket – discussion of three characters from Fruits Basket


Confessions of a Former Scan Junkie – Melinda talks about her past with scanlations and how getting closer to the North American manga industry convinced her to think more deeply about them.
Getting Our Geek On: What Our Symbols Mean to Us – discussion of the value and meaning behind our favorite geekish collectables
Tears and Manga – what kind of stories can bring us to tears?
Why Manga? – why we read fiction, specifically manga
Why Twitter? – a manga blogger’s view of Twitter
Musings on Online Identity – discussion of pseudonyms, accountability, and personal identity online
How Melinda read Dororo, volume one. Finally – Intimidated by Tezuka? Don’t be!
How I Got Into Comics, or Why There is Hope for Bob Thompson – the story of Melinda’s journey from prose to comics.

Recommendations & Buying Guides

Melinda’s Best of 2012, Part 2 – Includes “Top Five Continuing Series” and “Top Five Concluding Series.”
Melinda’s Best of 2012, Part 1 – Includes “Top Five New Print Manga” and “Top Five New Digital-Only Manga.”
Comics Poll. List. Thing. – Melinda discusses The Hooded Utilitarian’s Best Comics poll and shares her personal picks.
Melinda’s Best of 2010 – Melinda shares her “best of” list for 2010.
Favorite Manhwa of 2009 – Michelle, Danielle Leigh, Connie C., and Melinda list their favorite manhwa titles in 2009.
Favorite Manga of 2009 (Manga Recon) – Melinda joins the crew at Manga Recon as they list their favorite manga of 2009.
Manga Bookshelf’s Manga/Manhwa Holiday Gift Guide – detailed gift guide including both manga and manhwa titles, divided into a number of gift-friendly categories.
Holiday Special Round-Up – list of holiday manga sales across the web, with an emphasis on recommendations.
Picks for Right Stuf’s DMP Sale – recommendations of series from Digital Manga Publishing
Let’s Talk about Manhwa: Yen Press Edition – recommendations focusing on Yen Press’ manhwa line
Recommendations for NETCOMICS Sale – recommendations of series from NETCOMICS
Recommendations for Yen Press Sale recommendations of series from Yen Press
Let’s Talk About Manhwa – request for manhwa recommendations, yielding much fruit in comments
Best of 2008! In a way – Melinda’s favorite series read (not necessarily published) in 2008

Articles on Manga (offsite)

1000 Years of Pretty Boys: J.R. Brown offers a comprehensive history of the bishonen in Japanese art and literature, from the feudal era to the present day.

Akira Maruyama on Early Shojo Manga: Former Shojo Club editor Akira Maruyama discusses girls’ manga of the 1950s and 1960s, challenging popular perception of these works as sentimental and cliched.

Charting the Beginnings: Ryan Holmberg (The Comics Journal) explores the roots of alternative Japanese comics, from the 1950s through the 1970s. The first in an ongoing series at The Comics Journal, “What Was Alternative Manga?” Other articles from this series:

The Classics of Manga: Brent Newhall (Otaku, No Video) compiles a list of the most beloved and influential manga published in English. A great resource for readers who are new to manga.

Early Manga Days: A Chronology: A list of manga published in the US between 1977 and 1991, arranged chronologically. Ryan Sands (Same Hat!) compiled the initial list and has continued to update it since posting it in February 2010. Also in this series:

The Early Years of Garo: A history of Garo magazine by Ryan Holmberg, curator of the 2010 exhibit, “Garo Manga: The Early Years, 1964 – 1973” (Center for Book Arts). The essay provides historical and artistic context for the magazine, as well as a corrective to the notion that the term “garo” is synonymous with “heta-uma.”

The Face of the Other: An essay by cultural anthropologist Matt Thorn explaining artistic conventions in manga, and challenging the widely held belief that manga characters look more Caucasian than Asian.

Full Circle: The Unofficial History of MixxZine: Adam Arnold (Aoi House, Vampire Cheerleaders) explores the early history of Tokyopop, focusing primarily on Tokyopop’s short-lived MixxZine anthology, home to Ice Blade, Magic Knight Rayearth, Parasyte, and Sailor Moon.

I Want to Get Drunk and Tell You About My Eating Disorder: Shaenon Garrity (ComiXology, The Comics Journal, CLAMP in America) examines the history of confessional omake (author’s notes) in shojo manga. Also of interest:

Making a Living in Manga: Deb Aoki ( interviews Western artists who are working in the manga publisher field, both in the United States and abroad. Other essays in the series:

Manga in the USA: Anime expert Mike Toole (ANN) discusses the first manga to be translated and published in the United States.

Mangaka Profile: Hideko Mizuno: Marc Bernabe interviews pioneering shojo artist Hideko Mizuno, who made her professional debut in Shojo Club magazine in 1956 with Akkake Pony.

Mangaphobia: Don’t Make Those Eyes at Me!: Author Paul Gravett provides a simple, illustrated rebuttal to the common misperception that manga is a style, not a storytelling medium.

Moe: The Cult of the Child: Author and manga editor Jason Thompson examines the roots of the moe phenomenon, differentiating between “moe” in the general sense (e.g. having a special affection for trains, Peter O’Toole, German shepherd puppies) and “moe” as an underage character type found in manga such as Azumanga Daioh, Blood Alone, Kanna, and Yotsuba&! Also of interest:

Purity and Power in Magic Knight Rayearth: Scholar Kathryn Hemmann (Contemporary Japanese Literature) examines gender and sexuality in CLAMP’s shojo fantasy Magic Knight Rayearth. Also of interest:

Reading Manga: An overview of the manga publishing industry in the US, compiled by Deb Aoki ( Deb has drafted a variety of introductory articles designed to help new readers find titles that appeal to their sensibilities. Also of interest to new manga readers:

The Secret History of Manga: An audio recording of a talk given by author Jason Thompson (Manga: The Complete Guide) at SakuraCon 2010. Thompson’s presentation focuses on the history of manga translation in the US.

Ten Defining Manga: Shaenon Garrity (The Comics Journal, ComiXology, CLAMP in America) lists ten influential manga in a variety of genres and styles which, when taken as a whole, provide a good introduction to the medium.

Tones 101: A Primer for Readers and Reviewers: Artist Dee Dupuy, who’s worked with Svetlana Chmakova on Dramacon and Night School, explains the whys and hows of toning. Essential reading for reviewers.

Top Ten Scariest Manga You Haven’t Read: Reviewer Thomas Zoth ( examines ten of the most influential — and least read — horror manga released between 1990 and the present.

Visual Languages of Manga and Comics: Writer and comic artist Stephanie Folse compares the visual flow of shonen and shojo manga with American superhero comics.

What Shoujo Manga Are and Are Not: A brief introduction to shojo manga by cultural anthropologist Matt Thorn, with a representative list of shojo titles that have been published in English. Also of interest at Thorn’s site:

What’s the Big Deal About Sailor Moon?: ALC founder Erica Friedman discusses the Sailor Moon phenomenon, both in Japan and the United States.

Year 24 Group Wikipedia entry: An introduction to the work and careers of pioneering shojo artists Ryoko Ikeda, Moto Hagio, Keiko Takemiya, and Mineko Yamada. Also of interest:


The Alternative Manga Club – A fan community hosted by MyAnimeList. The group’s areas of interest include gekiga, underground manga, early (pre-Tezuka) manga, heta-uma, horror manga, and nouvelle manga.

Year 24 Group – A fan community hosted by MyAnimeList, dedicated to exploring the work of the Magnificent 49ers (e.g. Yasuko Aoike, Moto Hagio, Ryoko Ikeda, Keiko Takemiya).


Anime Research – A comprehensive guide to English-language scholarship on anime, manga, and Japanese popular culture. Includes several extensive bibliographies of articles, books, and dissertations about anime and manga.

BonnKansan’s Translation Blog – An unofficial list of editors, letterers, and translators for JManga. The list is organized alphabetically by series title, and is updated on an ongoing basis.

Contemporary Japanese Literature – A website exploring manga, fiction, and movies, as well as scholarship about Japanese culture.

Good Comics for Kids – A blog at the School Library Journal that focuses on comics, graphic novels, and manga for readers under the age of 18.

Masters of Manga -Translator, author, and manga authority Marc Bernabe (Japanese in MangaLand, Kanji in MangaLand) interviews prominent Japanese artists about their work. Recent interviews include Ken Akamatsu (Love Hina, Negima!) and Hiroshi Hirata (Satsuma Gishiden). Interviews are conducted in Japanese with English and Spanish subtitles.

No Flying, No Tights – A website devoted to manga and comics for younger readers, founded by librarian and former Eisner judge Robin Brenner. Each review includes age guidelines and information about potentially offensive/suggestive content.

The Rumic World – A comprehensive overview of Rumiko Takahashi’s work, from her first published work to her most recent series. The site is updated on a regular basis with chapter and episode summaries of Rin-ne and InuYasha: The Final Act, and features character profiles, publication histories, and other information of interest to Takahashi fans.

Tezuka in English – A comprehensive guide to Osamu Tezuka’s work, maintained by manga scholar Ada Palmer. The site includes extensive summaries of Tezuka’s major work, as well as information about untranslated material. N.B. At the moment, many of the links to the official Tezuka World Web Page are broken. – The official English-language website of Tezuka Productions. The site includes summaries of Tezuka’s best-known anime and manga, a biography of Tezuka, an encyclopedia of “representative” characters, and brief samples of manga such as I.L., Jungle Emperor Leo, Princess Knight, and The Three-Eyed One. N.B. Samples are in Japanese.

Korean Manhwa

Manhwa Publishers in North America

Dark Horse Comics
Fanfare/Ponent Mon
First Second
NBM/Comics Lit
Udon Entertainment
Yen Press

Resources at Manga Bookshelf

Manhwa Monday – Manga Bookshelf’s (now defunct) weekly column featuring news, reviews, and discussion of manhwa from all over the web
Favorite Manhwa of 2009 – Michelle, Danielle Leigh, Connie C., and Melinda pick their favorite manhwa of the year
Manga Bookshelf’s Manga/Manhwa Holiday Gift Guide – detailed gift guide including both manga and manhwa titles, divided into a number of gift-friendly categories.
Manhwa 100: Centenary of Korean Comics – Press release detailing the 2009 exhibit created by the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) and Korean Cultural Centre (KCC) UK
Let’s Talk About Manhwa – request for manhwa recommendations, yielding much fruit in comments
Ten Must-Read Manhwa – Ten recommendations from Kate Dacey.
Korean Comics: A Society Through Small Frames – Kate Dacey’s report from the Korea Society’s recent exhibit at the San Francisco Public Library.

Offsite Resources

100 Years of Manhwa – An overview of the manhwa industry, beginning with the very first Korean comics (ca. 1909) and covering the major stages of the medium’s development. The article includes a helpful timeline correlating major events in twentieth-century Korean history with industry trends.
Great General Mighty Wing – Artist Cho Pyong Kwon’s introduction to the agit-prop comic from North Korea (c. 1994). The article provides an overview of the manhwa industry from the 1960s to the present, with special attention to the role of the manhwabang, or rental shop, in popularizing the medium.
Make Mine Manhwa: Exporting Korean Comics – Author Paul Gravett explores the challenges of marketing Korean comics in the United States and Europe. The essay includes a profile of San-Ho Kim, a manhwa artist who emigrated to the US in the 1960s; Kim wrote a number of series for the now-defunct American publisher Charlton Comics.
Manhwa – Wikipedia entry on manhwa
List of Manhwa – Wikipedia list of manhwa licensed for release in English
On Manhwa: Availability and Representation – Great post by troisroyaumes at Dreamwidth about the availability of manhwa in English
Manhwa – the Korean manga. A short look. Brief overview from Animerated
Manhwa Reviews from Manga Recon – Archive of reviews from Manga Recon
Manhwa Reviews from Soliloquy in Blue – Archive of reviews by Michelle Smith
Manhwa Reviews from Joy Kim – Archive of reviews & tagged posts by Joy Kim
Manhwa Reviews from i ♥ manga – Archive of reviews by Lorena Nava Ruggero
Manhwa Reviews from TangognaT – Archive of reviews by Anna
A Short History of Manhwa – Blogger Kim Nahko translates a series of brief essays on manhwa’s past and present; the essays originally appeared in La dynamique de la bande desinnee coreene, a catalog accompanying an exhibition at the 2003 Angouleme International Comics Festival. Other articles from this anthology include:

Yaoi/Boys’ Love

BL Bookrack – monthly BL review column co-written by Melinda & Michelle

Single Reviews (Melinda Beasi)

Roundtable: Gerard & Jacques – Melinda and Michelle are joined by guests David Welsh, Danielle Leigh, Eva Volin, and Robin Brenner for this discussion about Fumi Yoshinaga’s two-volume BL series.
Claiming our BL biases – How Melinda’s personal biases influence her tastes in BL
Failure Friday: BL Edition – What are Melinda’s BL dealbreakers?
Fanservice Friday: The Fujoshi Heart of CLAMP – BL influences in the works of CLAMP
My Thoughts on Yaoi (no, really) – what Melinda liked and disliked about the genre as a new reader
My Thoughts on Yaoi Manga, Part II – continuation of discussion of yaoi and how it relates to my tastes in manga overall
Let’s Talk About Manhwa – discussion on Korean manhwa begins with a look at Korean BL, specifically
Shopping eManga – an overview of DMP’s eManga website, including discussion of several titles
Age Called Blue & the Drabble – a discussion of the writing style of BL icon, est em

Read Manga Online

Viz Manga
GEN Manga
Yen Plus

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