I just picked up a manga today and was pleased that in the first chapter I could read maybe 80% of the kanji, and maybe 60% of the vocal and grammar and it was starting to become comprehensible.
Manga is 札幌こ女ごはん。An impulse buy in Kinokuniya whilst I was buying JLPT study books. It’s about three girls who go out to eat together in Sapporo, complete with handy maps to the places they go.
But how do I read it? OK I get you start in the top left and work to the bottom right and know where to look up the stuff I don’t know, make SRS cards etc. But there is a lot in there the isn’t text. I never really read comics in English (beyond Wizzer and chips and the odd copy of Viz) and I’ve not really read manga in translation.
There’s a whole visual language I don’t know. What does it mean when the typeface changes? There’s a whole bunch of cues to represent emotion that I kind of get; but what does this teardrop shape coming out of one of the main character’s face mean? There’s also some interesting onomatopoeia.
Can anyone recommend a resource to help learn the visual language of Manga?
Other than that, usually visual cues on characters are like on emojis.
usually means that a character did something they’re embarrassed by, like an “oops”.
Unless it’s I don’t really know how to explain that, but you sort of get it by feel.
Embarrassed, but not in a funny way.
There are onomatopoeia dictionaries, or lists like this one, but you also usually just figure them out by context.
the classic image, usually added to at least manga translated to English, haven’t checked on the JP ones
The easy answer that comes to mind is reading some manga in English so it’s easy to tell what things are.
There’s also always some lingo that gets repeated a lot in manga, so you also get used to it or look it up when it comes up.
Size usually indicates volume or ‘importance’, depending on if it’s speech or thought and what the character’s face looks like.
Mainly, for tone, you want to look at the ‘speech bubble’ that surrounds the text. If it’s ‘floofy’ or bubbly edged, it’s probably a happy, ‘airy’ or feminine tone to the text. An angular, boxy text is more commanding or masculine tone. Sharp bubbles are usually exclamations or full of strong emotion, which usually indicates loud or sharp voices without the large text font.
Most of those above translate over to thought bubbles pretty well, too.
Notice how everyone has ‘boring’ normal boxes during the briefing until it gets to Captain Mizuki and her ‘voice’ is different by having a ‘floofy’ border to her speech bubble.
Here, King is nervous about something story related, hence the irregular border around his speech bubbles but goes spiky when he’s scared shitless by Bang. Bang, who’s pretty unflappable, keeps to his normal speech bubble and font pretty much constantly. The last bubble by King, shows him shouting out a shocked question to Bang and the old man’s calm counter-question.