Hello everyone, I have a confession to make.
I am absolutely obsessed with manga magazines.
I don’t know when it started, perhaps when I first read Bakuman all those years ago, and got intrigued by the idea of a magazine where all the mangaka would put their all in every week to try to fight for their success. Maybe it is because we don’t have anything like that in America on a large scale. Maybe it is just that walking around Japan, you can’t escape their brightly colored covers, each with the promise of exciting new manga and stories. Since only a fraction of all manga gets officially translated, many of these excellent stories won’t be looked at by English readers at all, even if they are successful here in Japan.
For those who don’t know, manga magazines are periodical publications in Japan that feature a variety of manga in them. These magazines are an integral part of the manga industry and play a crucial role in the serialization and distribution of manga to a wide audience here. They typically contain a collection of different manga series, with each series releasing new chapters in each issue. If you have heard of any of them, you have probably heard of Shonen Jump, carrying manga like Naruto, One Piece, Kimetsu no Yaiba, My Hero Academia, and Jujutsu Kaisen. But there are easily over a hundred different manga magazines, and Shonen Jump is just a small (but very popular) example. Manga magazines are a primary source of manga content for readers in Japan and are often used as a platform for both established and up-and-coming manga artists to showcase their work. Despite the recent downturn in sales and circulation, manga magazines are still very much a reality here in Japan, and I think they really shape the ecosystem of manga and contain many hidden gems.
Most non-Japanese people don’t really think about manga magazines much, and I can’t really blame them. Most of us either got started with manga with tankobon (collected volumes) in our libraries, through anime, or through scanlations. Manga is not delivered in magazine form to us, so why should we care? That is a hard question to answer. For me, I think that it paints a fuller picture of the manga industry as a whole, and finding commonalities between manga in magazines between publishers and genres help give each magazine a unique character and audience that future manga in that magazine either try to appeal to or expand. I am a manga otaku through and through, so I constantly research about different magazines, what the famous manga in each magazine have been throughout history, target audiences and genres etc. I even sometimes pass time in boring meetings by trying to design my own magazines with certain targets or limitations. Suffice to say, manga magazines occupy a lot of my brain.
Unsurprisingly, one of my biggest goals about learning Japanese is to get into reading manga magazines. I recently achieved this on a small scale with an incredibly small manga magazine called Grand Jump Mucha, which only published once every two months. It was a trial run to see if I was ready, and I successfully caught up on half the manga in the magazine and read the newest publication the day it came out. It was a fantastic feeling, and I knew I had to expand to a bigger and better magazine. The next magazine I am going to master is going to be Grand Jump!
Current Project: Grand Jump!
Grand Jump is a bimonthly manga magazine that was published by Shueisha, one of the major manga publishing companies in Japan. It was known for featuring a wide range of seinen manga, which is manga intended for an older male-leaning audience, but is read by lots of women as well. It is published by Shueisha, the publishers of Shonen Jump.
I wrote about this a bit on my personal study log, but as I was writing, I realized I had so much more to share about the details of the manga in the magazine and my personal thoughts and experience trying to catch up and ‘get into’ reading a frequently published manga magazine, which I know is a pretty-unexplored topic and can seem so confusing!
In this thread I plan to:
- Give a detailed overview of all the manga currently being published in the magazine
- Detail my experience/difficulties as I catch up on each series and move into reading the magazine when it comes out
- Break down each manga as I read it, and give recommendations and explanations on content as well as how much you would need to read to catch up if you wanted to.
This will be a long project, one that hopefully people will be interested in reading. I am doing this mainly because I love manga magazines, and doing this will hold me accountable and motivate me to dive deeply into each series. It will also be great practice, and build a habit of reading magazines!
If you like manga, or are interested in this aspect of Japanese culture, or just want to see the mental deterioration of someone who is willing to grind through a lot of manga with no furigana, or just want to learn about a new way to get Japanese input, I would really appreciate it if you would follow/watch the thread. I love talking about manga with people and it’s a hobby I’ve mostly kept to myself, so I want to share it with people and hear your thoughts! So please comment, ask questions, give pointers, laugh at my struggle, etc!
The first several write ups/updates will be within the next 72 hours, so stay tuned!