REVIEW:  Manga: The Complete Guide

REVIEW: Manga: The Complete Guide

manga_guideManga: The Complete Guide, by Jason Thompson. Del Rey. $19.95. 592 pages. A-.


Dear Mr. Thompson,

I can’t even imagine the effort it took to put this book together. I heard that you read one to two manga series a day, and upwards of 900 of them total to write the reviews within. The result is frankly an indispensable book for anyone interested in Japanese manga that has been published in English, not only for manga fans, but also for parents wanting to know what their little manga fans are reading. Every bookseller and library should keep one of these at their information desks. It’s just that useful.

I love the header information you give for each series: the mangaka, the original publisher and year, the English publisher and year, the age rating, and the length. It’s what I typically want to know at a glance. The reviews I scanned through in the main section were to the point, even if I didn’t always agree with the number of stars the series were granted. The insert sections on things like yakuza or sports manga were also quite informative, and I love that it gave a summary of series at the end to look up.

My only quibble, and you know there had to be one, was in having you do half the reviews for the yaoi series. Frankly, your focus here seems to be on the technical and the clinical. There just doesn’t seem to be any notice of the emotional in the reviews, and in yaoi as in romance novels, emotions are what it’s all about. This is probably why there was a kind of disconnect for me with most of your yaoi reviews and ratings, and so that portion of the book will not as useful to me as it could have been.

But really, everything else about the book is just top notch, and I can tell I’ll be using this frequently to get quick overviews of series, and for hints when I’m looking for something new to read. It is a reference everyone interested in manga should have.