A Kid’s Guide to Anime & Manga: Exploring the History of Japanese Animation and Comics

Running Pr. Nov. 2023. 160p. pap. $17.99. ISBN 9780762483938.
Gr 4-6–From Japanese culture to the convention scene, and the history of manga to the genres of anime, this volume covers a fairly thorough list for children new to the fandom. Each section is split into short topic summaries with references that cover classics to modern works. While many are child-friendly, there are titles made for older audiences which may not appeal to all yet. Some come with parental permission advisories, but not consistently. Other candidates don’t have one; it’s odd that the whole relationship-based shoujo genre receives it, while the often war-themed mecha does not. No sexually explicit titles are listed. These guiding principles apply to the incorporated Japanese words and their translations, too. As a detail-lite introduction, the serviceable text opens up avenues of exploration and deeper immersion for young fans. These are accompanied by sweet looking illustrations that convey the otaku heart. However, for mediums with a high reliance on visual appeal, the lack of reference-specific photos may hinder this as a recommendation guide for those with little familiarity. Extras like interviews, convention tips, and a couple of activities encourage a sense of discovery and connection.
VERDICT For a primer that covers many core components of the manga and anime subculture, this is an accurate entrance work to recommend to curious minds and new otaku.

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