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Manga is a Japanese comic or graphic novel that has its roots in 19th Century art. Manga novels come in many genres, spanning from apparently mundane topics like business all the way through to horror and suspense.

One thing you shouldn’t kid yourself about before you start reading manga is that it is as profound and complex as any other Japanese cultural institution.

With this in mind it’s understandable that you might want a helping hand deciding on the best Japanese manga books Australia can get you started on.

Check out these classics and contemporary mangas to give you the ultimate intro to this deeply ingrained novel style.

  1. Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo

Akira is perhaps the quintessential manga novel: a cyberpunk masterpiece that not only covers a conflict between a host of rowdy characters but that also details themes of corruption, power and social isolation.

If you’re finding yourself wanting to get into manga then there is a good chance you have already seen the legendary film adaptation of the same name. However, this film is a highly condensed version of a very detailed manga, and whilst being an awesome watch, does not begin to dive into the subtleties of the post-apocalyptic wasteland that is manga Akira’s Tokyo.

Knowing that it runs so much deeper into a cataclysmic conflict makes it worth reading on its own.

  1. My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame

Manga newbies may not be aware of this, as most of the famous manga revolves around fighting or conflict of some kind, but manga novels can be about absolutely anything!

Yes, there are no boundaries on what a manga novel can detail, and My Brother’s Husband is the perfect example of that. My Brother’s Husband is about a single Japanese father who receives a visit from his deceased twin’s Canadian husband.

My Brother’s Husband is viewed as a highly significant work in the manga style as it covers issues of homophobia in modern Japan whilst providing an insight into cultural differences across national boundaries.

You may be thinking, what about the action? And, hey, there’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s important to note that manga is a wide and varied style that is worth looking beyond the classic action stories, although the following is pretty legendary…

  1. Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto

Naruto is almost a genre in itself; a giant masterpiece that put manga on the international map and brought the style to legions of fans across the world. An incredibly accessible series for anyone looking to get into the behemoth that is the manga novel canon, Naruto plays on many themes through its plot of Naruto seeking to become the best ninja in his village.

Naruto truly is the ultimate place to find your bearings in the growing manga universe - plus it’s the ultimate place to learn the ropes in discussing the craft itself.

  1. Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama

Well, any kid that grew up in Australia in the 90s and early-2000s knows about Dragon Ball, by way of its television adaptation Dragon Ball Z. And what we say here will only return the legendary series to the forefront of your imagination.

The Dragon Ball manga runs along similar plot lines as the television series, with alien-born, human-raised Son Goku, who seeks the dragon balls that can summon a dragon to grant him any wish.

That’s bringing back a few Cheez TV memories, isn’t it?


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