DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Feb 27 2008

Shonen Manga: Not just Ninjas

by Heather O

Marketed for boys and young men; the less flowery looking shonen (shounen) manga has lots ofNaruto_2
action and sometimes humorous plots with the spotlight being on the boys. You can see similarities in many shonen: ninja/samurai, jokes, hot girls with tiny outfits, monsters/mecha/magic- but they really can be quite different and some tackle mature themes and have inner conflict. The girls in shonen are sometimes more than the typical exaggerated proportions damsel-in-distress, but the action and the plot is ulitmately
about guys and can also have lots of male camaraderie: teams, gangs, ninjas, samurai, etc. Goddess_3
The older the audience for the shonen- the more blood, nudity, or serious themes the manga can have. Seinen manga, written for older guys, is often just grouped in with shonen especially outside of Japan. Shonen runs the gamut from the toilet humor of Naruto to the no action or humor suspense thriller Death Note.

The magazine where most shonen makes a debut is Shonen Jump: DCPL has it at the Brookhaven, Chamblee,
Clarkston, Covington, Decatur, Dunwoody, Flat Shoals, Northlake, Salem-Panola,
Stone Mountain, and Tucker branches.

What DCPL has:

Death Note: A god of death drops a notebook into the human world giving a human the power to kill just by writing in a name. The series then follows the very detailed cat and mouse game between the owner of the death note and the people who are trying to figure it all out, and stop it. A rare manga that has almost no action, romance, or humor; it is driven by an eerie psychological and well-paced plot.

Dragon Eye: Only one volume in DCPL so far, but this futuristic vampires-viruses-action tale looks pretty cool so far.

Full Metal Alchemist:
A very cool manga (and anime of course) set in an alternate world full of alchemy, magic, early 20th century era technology and fashion with a bit of a Japanese flavor to it all. This manga has humor, very cool magical fights, and a good deal of horror- both monsters and the monstrous things within humanity.

Modern day girl falls into a feudal Japan complete with demons and
other cool or scary creatures. A lot of action, a little romance and angst, and
a good deal of humor make this a very popular manga and long-running

Naruto: Teen ninjas! Humorous (younger kids will find this really funny), and for boys who want to see fighting and camaraderie.

Samurai Deeper Kyo: A fairly bloody manga about a legendary samurai who must fight demons, gods, and lots of other fighters to get his real body back- which he happens to be sharing with the powerful character who can beat him. With plenty of blood and some nudity, this manga does have a 16+ notice on it.

Ranma 1/2: Cute manga that will appeal to girls too with its romantic aspects. Ranma is cursed to become Ranma
a girl when hit with cold water, but luckily he/she can still fight in any form. Plenty of humor also in this cute series- Ranma’s father is cursed to turn into a panda and for some reason the scenes with him really make me giggle.

——I know less about these shonen below, but we do have them in our libraries.

Set in a magic medieval world, demons who feed on humans are fought and hunted by supernatural female warriors known as Claymores- but for a price. But in this dark fantasy, who and what are the Claymores? I’ve heard good things about this one.

Oh my Goddess!: Seriously, it *is* shonen! An average-Joe college guy accidentally gets his very own goddess- hijinks ensue.

One Piece: This manga is the 3rd highest selling in the history of Shonen Jump, humorous plot about aOnepiece
group of pirates always searching and fighting for the world’s ultimate treasure that will make the captain the pirate king. How can a manga about pirates NOT do well?

Yu-Gi-oh!: Anime, card game, video game; the manga that started it all is about a boy and his friends fighting monsters.

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