AQUILA’s May issue is all about Manga and frankly we are OBSESSED with discovering as much as we can about this much-loved art form. Come with us as we explore our Top Manga Facts for Kids!
Manga fact number one is all about money. As you discovered in our May issue, the manga industry is worth 10.9 billion dollars, estimated officially in 2021. Since then, it can only have gone up! But what is the most popular manga publication to date? None other than the One Piece series, created by Eiichiro Oda in 1997. It comprises a whopping 104 volumes and has sold over 516 million copies as of 2022. One Piece follows the adventures of Monkey D Luffy, a young pirate made of rubber, and his crew, the Straw Hat Pirates.
One of the coolest things about manga has to be how remarkable some of the themes and ideas can be. Take Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamoroll, for example, the five-volume story of a flying puppy with a tail shaped like a cinnamon roll. Created by Yumi Tsukirino, this sweet manga series is part of the Sanrio universe – you know, the home of Hello Kitty! This cute little confectionary-themed pup lives in a café with its friends Chiffon, Cappuccino, Milk and Espresso. Their nemesis? A dark cloud named Cavity.
Another example of classic manga is COWA! by master mangaka Akira Toriyama (creator of the wildly successful Dragon Ball series). These stories are all about a trio of monsters – but this is manga, so they’re not ‘traditional’ monsters. Jose, for example, may be a shape-shifting ghost – but he also farts when he’s nervous. Then there’s Paifu, who is half vampire, and, um, half koala. Arpon is a monster who goes around picking fights with everyone – but never wins! Toriyama uses his stories to communicate a powerful message, that solving problems with your brain, rather than with violence, is the way forward!
The manga industry was traditionally dominated by male artists, but at the very end of the 1960s everything changed, with the formation of the ‘Year 24 group’ aka ‘Magnificent 24’. A collection of female manga artists including Moto Hagio, Riyoko Ikeda, Yumiko Ōshima, Keiko Takemiya, and Ryoko Yamagishi came together to produce manga. The nicknames for this arty collective came later and were coined by critics and journalists; based on the Japanese name for the year 1949, when most of the artists were born. In manga there are series that are specifically aimed at young boys (known as shōnen), and those for young girls (shōjo). The Year 24 group blew the shōjo category wide open, expanding on themes and ultimately exploring more ‘grown up’ topics and exciting narratives, where schoolgirls become superheroes!
In Japan they have dedicated cafés for kicking back with a relaxing drink and a copy of your favourite manga! This has evolved from a Kissaten, kissa for short, which means ‘tea-drinking shop’ and is basically a tearoom, that also serves coffee. Mangakissa, however, is a next level kissa. These sell food, have an array of vending machines (obvs), serve hot drinks, provide internet access and of course, manga. People pay for the amount of time they stay at the café – and some offer overnight stays!
Here’s two final manga facts to finish things off – apparently more paper is used in the production of manga titles in Japan than in the manufacturing of toilet roll! And, when people are finished with a volume of manga, it is not uncommon for that person to leave a pile of comics in a public place like on a park bench, for someone else to collect and enjoy!
Did you enjoy learning some magnificent manga facts? Excellent! Head here to take out an AQUILA subscription, you won’t regret it!
Written by Jennifer Newton-Brown