The Different Types of Manga

The types of manga are: Shonen, Seinen Shojo, Josei, Yuri, Yaoi

Like a work of fantasy, you will sometimes find magic, or a fantasy world. Manga are also inspired by real characters or refer to events or deities. The different types or genres of manga are defined according to the target that the mangaka wants to reach with his work.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of the different types of manga we will see in this article:

  • Manga Shonen
  • Manga Seinen
  • Manga Shojo
  • Manga Josei
  • Manga Yuri
  • Manga Yaoi

But first let's have a look to manga meaning...

What is a Japanese manga?


A manga is a Japanese comic book. Manga drawings are inspired by the Japanese society of today but also by Shinto myths and legends or Japanese folklore. Among the different styles: the most popular are shonen and sheinen manga.

This Japanese art form has been developing since the Second World War the manga industry has not stopped growing. The most famous manga are followed by millions of fans around the globe. From life lessons to scientific-futuristic fictions to teenage heart stories... How has the art of manga integrated the different strata of Japanese society? 

Anime, Kawaii cosplay, conventions or even derivative products related to the art of Japanese manga is democratizing in the US and is very popular among the US otaku or within the "gaming" communities.

Japanese manga meaning

What kind of manga do you like

The term manga translates to sketch in French or unfinished drawing. It is a word that defines all works (comics or graphic novels) published in Japan. These paper works give rise to the creation of an anime. It is- an adaptation of the work in cartoon version.

To learn more, feel free to read our article on the history of Japanese manga. Manga are written by so-called mangaka, the most famous of whom are true stars in Japan.

The mangaka publish pieces of their stories on a weekly basis in specialized magazines. The bound volumes come out once the plot of the moment has passed. Generally only the first few plates (one or two pages) are published in color. Unlike the Western reading direction, manga is read from right to left, and follows very specific narrative codes.

Now, have a look to the TOP 6 Types of Manga you need to know

    1. Shonen: teenage manga


    This type of manga features a central character who evolves over the course of the story as he or she tries to become stronger in order to achieve the goal he or she has set. The characters in this type of manga are often male. Friendship, camaraderie and family are at the heart of the story. In these works there is often a lot of action. The readers are for the vast majority teenage boys between 12 and 25 years old. 

    Dragon Ball: it is one of the works that popularized this genre all over the world with more than 300 million manga sold

    Written by Akira Toriyama and launched in 1980, the story follows a little boy as he tries to collect the seven crystal balls called Dragon Ball that once gathered can grant any wish. 

    Naruto: The story takes place in a world that is half modern and half feudal or ninjas are at the heart of the narrative. Naruto is an orphan rejected by all the inhabitants of his village because of the demon he has in him. In this manga Naruto tries to become Hokage, the best ninja of the whole village so that its inhabitants are forced to recognize his value.

    Between secret techniques, perilous missions, and fierce battles, this story follows the evolution of this young ninja until his dream is realized.

    Hunter x Hunter: Gon is twelve years old, and is trying to become a Hunter. Hunters are people who are allowed to do anything they want by presenting their "hunter" card. Gon's father, named Ging, whom he does not know directly, is considered by his peers to be one of the best hunters of all time. Gon tries to approach the hunter world to try to find his father, and also reach his dream...

    Bleach: Ichigo is a 15-year-old high school student unlike any other. Indeed, since he was very small, the latter is able to touch and see the souls of people he meets or he is next to. One day, something will upset his routine. A hollow (an evil creature) came to take the souls of his family. He is saved by a shinigami (Japanese god of death) who tries to save him and his family.

    During the confrontation the shinigami will be injured and ichigo will be forced to take his powers and become a shinigami himself to protect his family from the hollow. 

    2. Seinen: young adult manga


    Seinen are manga for young adult boys. The age range of the audience is 20 to 35 years old. The fiction of seinen manga is more adult, pragmatic and serious compared to shonen. Themes generally echo the history of the Japanese archipelago or the real world (wars, conflicts, geopolitical issues).

    Btooom: Ryota Sakamoto is a young video game enthusiast and more specifically a game called Btooom. He is one of the top ten players in the world. He gets kidnapped and his kidnappers drop him on a deserted island. Lost in the middle of nowhere, Ryota tries to survive, when he realizes that to get out of trouble he must follow the same rules as his favorite game. Kill or be killed, the young man is in the midst of a battle royale that carries a tremendous amount of risk. 

    Berserk: Berserk is a particularly raw manga that deals with very dark themes that are present in our societies today. Violence is an integral part of the work. We follow the dark adventures of the warrior Guts who battles monsters and apostles throughout the story... Berserk is judged by observers or many experts in manga and Japanese literature, as a masterpiece that every manga fan must read or watch. The manga and the series are set in a medieval universe with a touch of fantasy all the same.

    Shingeki no kyojin or Attack of the Titans: Like Berserk this work makes the connection with many evils present in our modern societies. Hajime Isayama, speaks of the scourge of various armed conflicts. Japan is a warlike people who have done a lot of evil (Ex: invasion of China) and suffered a lot of misfortune in the past (Ex: nuclear bomb).

    At the beginning of the work, the audience places and supports the very controversial character Eren Yäger. However, the more the narrative progresses, the more the audience has trouble knowing who is the villain of the story. Who started it? Who is responsible for the conflict? Should we forget the past or honor the memory of the deceased? 

    Lone wolf and cub: This manga deals with violence in the samurai world. The story is about a father-son duo who seek revenge for the father of an unfounded disgrace. Relatively violent and faithful to the reality of the time, this manga is known and recognized for its violence. Fighting, assassination and murder under the guise of a sense of honor this work is a true reference of the seinen type. 

    3. Shojo: manga for girls


    A shojo manga is literally a manga for girls. This genre is therefore opposed to shonen and the target audience is mainly teenage girls. The shojo explores the complexity of social relationships as a whole. But to call these works a romantic manga is reductive. Shojo also deals with the different emotions one feels towards others. whether it be friendship, empathy or affection. It is important to remember that genres and types of manga are different things.

    You can find horror shojo works or crime shojo works. 

    Nana: Nana is the first name of the two main protagonists of the story: Nana Osaki and Nana Komatsu. They are two young women in their 20s, who meet on the train on their way to Tokyo. They are both looking for an apartment in the Japanese capital. So they are going to set up a roommate, forming a close friendship.

    Vampire knight: This is the story of Yuki, a young woman who is attacked by a vampire on a winter night. During her attack, she is rescued by another vampire named Kaname. 10 years later, Yuki, has grown up well and is a guard at Cross Academy, a vampire academy.

    She has been taken in by the principal of the academy and is in love with her savior, the handsome Kaname. However, men and vampires don't like each other and the hard-won peace of the academy's director is about to break.  

    Maid sama: The story takes place in a high school where the students are mostly male. Ayuzawa Misaki is the class representative and the main protagonist of the story. She makes reign a military discipline within the premises. Both feared by the boys and much loved by the girls, Ayuzawa has only one rival Usui Takumi: the perennial class leader.

    Despite her energy, beauty, and kindness, hides even a secret. She is poor and lives in a dilapidated house. To cope with this situation, she works in addition to classes at a cafe and tries so hard to hide her double life when Usui catches her at work! 

    4. Josei: manga for young women


    The josei manga is intended for an adult female audience. The themes covered are very varied, so it is difficult for this genre to properly define these boundaries. The narrative is more mature, the josei represents relationships that are more true to reality, in short less overdone.

    Free: Haruka Nanase is a young man with a passion for swimming. With his various friends he met in elementary school, he participates in a swimming tournament, which he easily wins. However, at the end of the year, the four friends split up. Years pass and Makoto, Nagisa and Haruka, find themselves in the same high school.

    But Rin the 4th buddy, who incidentally had gone to live on the other side of the planet, resurfaces and challenges Haruka to a swimming race. Afterwards, his two friends propose to the main protagonist to found the Iwatobi swimming club. The goal being to see Rin again, who has joined the rival swimming school.

    Paradise kiss: Yukari Hayasaka, is a high school student who is constantly studying for college entrance exams. She is not the type to take time to relax or have fun. After a meltdown, Yukari finds herself in a workshop where several Yaz'Art students are trying to create a clothing collection.

    To her surprise, the students ask her to represent their brand ParaKiss and be their model for a fashion show. At first reluctant, Yukari accepts. Her attraction for Georges, the stylist of the band, does not leave her indifferent. He will later make her discover what it is to live with passion.

    Kids on the slope: In the 1960s, because of his father's job, high school student Kaoru Nishimi moves to live with family on the island of Kyushu.

    Until now, Kaoru has been rather lonely, but upon arriving at his new high school, and after meeting his new classmate Sentarou Kawabuchi, a notorious thug, he is transformed. The story makes us discover that underneath his bully looks, Sentarou Kawabuchi is in fact a Jazz enthusiast and makes Kaoru discover the joys of this art! 

    5. Yuri: girl-on-girl love manga


    In Japan, the relationship to sexuality is not the same as in the West. In Japanese society it is easier to address these themes especially in the various literary genres of the archipelago. This is why the type of manga Yuri finds a wide audience in Japan.

    Yuri manga deals with homosexuality between women. We must not confuse yuri and yaoi with manga known as "hentai" which are works of charms see pornographic. The manga Yuri tells homoromantic stories.

    Citrus: Yuri's stories take place mainly in high school. This is also found in Citrus. The story begins after Yuzu's mother remarries.

    She likes to have fun and is sent to a mostly female high school. In this high school, Yuzu struggles to fit into a traditional student body. Arguments are frequent especially with her new half-sister who is none other than the student council president. But for whom she begins to have feelings.

    Sweet blue flowers: The story of sweet blue flowers takes place in a high school. On his first day in high school, Akira meets his childhood best friend Fumi. The latter is delighted and satisfied to renew a friendship with Akira.

    However, she is also very happy to see Akira and disappointed because her childhood love has just gotten married. This is a very sweet and poignant manga.

    6. Yaoi: boy love manga


    These works of fiction focus on sentimental see sexual relationships between men. This type of manga also finds its readership among young women. Learn more about the Fudanshi manga. It is a term used to refer to a man who likes to consume yaoi anime and media.

    10 count: The story begins with Shirotani, a young man suffering from mysophobia (fear of being contaminated whatever the microbes or disease). The head of the company he works for is the victim of an accident. Shocked Shirotani, then meets Kurose, a man who advises him to cure his syndrome. A few days later, Shirotani goes to the clinic and soon understands that Kurose is one of the psychiatrists working there.

    The two young men will from then on form a relationship that will surely go beyond the doctor-patient setting.

    Junjo Romantica: Misaki is desperately trying to get into a major university. He wishes to improve his grades. Misaki manages as best he can to convince an acquaintance of his older brother, the famous author Akihiko Usami, to tutor him.

    But this eccentric man, a true genius adored by his peers, lives alone in a gigantic apartment. Very quickly, he proves to be enterprising. Misaki discovers from then on the other side of her private teacher, that of a caring and romantic man. There are many manga that we did not mention in this article, feel free to tell us about your favorite manga to see if it can fit in our list...

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