What is Fantasy Manga?

Fantasy Manga

The enormous popularity of fantasy manga in Japan and its spread around the world has proven its vitality and relevance. Manga in the broadest sense, the Japanese comic book, the story in pictures.

Until now there is an opinion that manga is mostly reading for children. There’s a stereotype that a picture book is a children’s book or something frivolous. But that’s what people who aren’t familiar with the world of manga say.

In Japan, there are simple manga for babies, through which the child gets acquainted with the world around him. The older guys read manga for their age, where they learn the world, for them there are informative and educational manga, entertaining and humorous, manga for girls and for boys. Reading manga is different from reading a book.

From a picture with a small amount of text, the reader has to turn on his attention and imagination. And connect his feelings in order to understand what happens to the characters, what their emotions and moods are, what is the motivation for their actions.

In books it is all described in words, but when you read a manga you have to work to put together the plot, its development and its ideological component. A good mangaka is not only an artist, he is also a producer and a psychologist. He use his imagination and skills to correctly portray his idea and plot in his drawings.

Japanese Manga.

What is Fantasy Manga

Experts explain the success of Japanese schoolchildren and students in international competitions in computer science and programming by the peculiarities of the brain, used to the holistic perception of an action or phenomenon. They believe that this was due to learning from drawn pictures – manga.

And of course there are a huge number of fantasy manga on various topics for adults. It is believed that there are already more than 30 genres of manga. The large variety of genres explains the demand for manga. Everyone can find a fantasy manga to their liking from housewife to scholar. This type of reading can speak to any subject. Most importantly, it is able to touch the heart of the reader at absolutely any age. The world presented to the reader in the narrative, contains all the palette of sensual colors.

The system of symbols and aesthetics developed in the 50s is used by the modern mangaka.  It is the basis for depicting the emotions of the characters, their character and physiological features and types of characters.  All this brings the reader into a new world of fantasy, into an unusual visual and creative process.

Deeply rooted in the history of Japanese art and influenced by American and Western comics, modern manga has dozens of genres and types. The most popular genres are fantasy, isekai, martial arts, children’s, detective, among them fantasy is the most popular genre. It includes a number of sub-genres that differ both in plot lines and ideological content. In this article, we’ll try to figure out what a fantasy manga is.

Fantasy Genres.

There are many classifications, but it is better to focus on the plot component. The most significant based on the plot are epic fantasy (which usually depicts a long struggle with a strong enemy) and “dark”. There are 3 large groups: heroic, epic, and gaming fantasy. In this article, we will look at these trends and a number of others in more detail.

Epic fantasy is one of the most popular fantasy sub genres. Its essence is to find a solution to a problem that threatens the whole world. It could be a dark lord, an evil wizard, a magical device of universal destruction, the end of the world – in general, something, after which the world will radically change not for the better.

Fantasy Genres

The protagonist long and persistently fights the enemy with supernatural powers, protecting the evil forces. On the background of large-scale wars, in a fantasy world, the hero saves the world or a significant part of it.

Epic fantasy focuses on the scale of conflict, usually involving many complex characters who are morally ambiguous. And also situations that cannot be completely black and white. The characters have important magical powers that allow them to challenge the villain, who also has at his disposal a vast magical arsenal that threatens the entire world. Life on a nonexistent planet, in an alternate reality or parallel world runs according to completely different laws and rules, known exclusively to the authors of the creation.

Epic Fantasy.

Classic epic fantasy tends to focus on conflict, with less attention paid to the characters. Epic fantasy is characterized by the presence of fictional nations, different types of magic, detailed descriptions of locations, spells and prophecies. Places of action are strange continents, other planets, or our Earth. Heroes travel to different places, dangerous and fabulous, participate in battles, solve complex riddles, unravel intrigue. Their adventures, events, experiences flash like a kaleidoscope.

Unexpected plot twists, mysterious incidents, a fantasy world full of unusual creatures and beasts, acting in a fairy-tale and magical world. There is no old world, and in the new world live various creatures, such as dwarves, trolls, fairies, demons. For these inhabitants, it is not new, but their ordinary world with its own laws.

Epic Fantasy Manga

Fantasy plots necessarily include the travel of heroes to other countries, parallel worlds, continents, where he meets many different characters that create new storylines. Often, new characters in new locations and the fight against evil in new environments give the conflict a different scale, thus achieving the epicness of the narrative. The journeys and adventures of the characters move from volume to volume. The author gives a detailed description of the deeds and actions of positive and negative characters, describes the exploits of the heroes. So, the manga of this genre are characterized by a large volume.

The Heroic Legend of Arslan Manga.

The Heroic Legend of Arslan is a Japanese manga series by Hiromu Arakawa, based on the novel series of the same name written by Yoshiki Tanaka. It is an epic fantasy with many historical details and battle scenes and global questions of human existence. Such as the history of wars, problems of religion and slavery, and absolute monarchy.

The protagonist, Arslan, crown prince of the kingdom of Pars, invaded by neighboring Lusitania, along with his servant Dariun are forced to flee from the pursuit of his enemies. His father, was killed in a conspiracy led by his former supporters. But Arslan manages to survive and organizes a group of associates, with whose help he fights his enemies. Then he creates an army and begins the struggle to free Pars from Lusitania.

The Lusitanian army is led by another pretender to the throne of Pars. But Arslan wins the war and becomes king of Pars. In the second part of the manga, Arslan, now king of Pars, is busy defending his country from -outside threats and satisfying the needs and hopes of his subjects.

Heroic Fantasy Manga.

 Heroic fantasy is one subgroup of fantasy, the so-called “sword and magic” style . The “sword and magic” style is the main and one of the oldest characteristics of this type of fantasy.

It differs from epic in its smaller scale, fewer characters, and a different scope of problems. Here the hero fights all kinds of evil with a sword or magic. Evil is not of world scale, but nevertheless his opponents are trolls, monsters, dragons, orcs and other evil spirits. He occasionally prevents the summoning of a demon from the Underworld or pacifies a frenzied god.

Heroic Fantasy Manga

Here absolute evil is represented in the form of ancient evil gods, vile and despicable mages and tyrants who seek to enslave the world. The world looks like the Middle Ages or something similar.

 Thus, physically and magically strong heroes, wander the world, fighting evil, saving princesses, defending lofty ideals, slaying any undead and achieving their goals…

Mujung Manga.

The manga Mujung is about one such hero.  The period of the Middle Ages, Goryeo country (Korea) is torn between the struggle against invaders, slave rebellion and internal contradictions. The main character is a simple guy, the son of a slave, nothing special. But this is only at first sight. He possesses enormous power, which he inherited from his father.

His father, Machoga, leader of the last slave rebellion, was one of the greatest martial artists, for which he was betrayed and killed by his comrades-in-arms. His son inherited his abilities and is waiting to avenge his father. He will go from slave to general, overcoming hardships and privations, experiencing humility and humiliation, training until bloody sweat, engaging in fierce battles, defeating enemies and ill-wishers. 

One Punch Man Manga.

Another example of Manga of this genre is One Punch Man, with a humorous note about a humble bald superhero who wins with one punch.

Saitama was the boy to beat at school.  He was beaten by hooligans and bullied by his classmates. He was robbed by some obscure mystical creature. So he decided to become strong. He trained so hard, thought so much about becoming a superhero, that he lost all his hair.  But it helped him become so strong that he could destroy an opponent with one punch.

One Punch Man Manga

But for some reason it did not bring him joy and satisfaction. Despite the fact that he single-handedly defeated all the monsters, all the giants ready to destroy the world and people. While a quick response squad was being created… Saitana dealt with a mystical creature that the police and government could not handle. In 3 years he freed the city from all kinds of villains, all kinds of monsters, demons and other such creatures. But no one knew that he did it all. Nobody knew he was a superhero.

Turns out the point is that he’s not registered as a superhero, hasn’t passed special tests for super heroism, and he’s not on the superhero registry.  And without registration, he’ll be considered a crazy person and not be seen as a hero. No matter how many times he’s saved the world. So he decided to register. I advise you to read this interesting and entertaining One Punch Man manga. And find out what will happen to him next.

Gaming Fantasy Manga.

The development of technology, computerization, the appearance of video games inevitably affected the themes of fantasy manga. Manga have emerged in which the actions of the heroes take place within the framework of a video game. The heroes pass different levels and reach the top, improving their abilities and acquiring various skills. In the manga, the hero can act alone or with a team. where working together come to an understanding and cooperation.

But the plot develops according to the same laws of fantasy. Unreal worlds with many secrets and mysteries, danger and adventure, demons and monsters of different ranks, local battles and struggles. The game can send the hero to an unknown planet and parallel, where its own laws and rules work, obeying only the author of the creation. But the systematization and game rules run through the plot of the manga.

Leveling Up With Likes Manga.

An example of such a manga would be Leveling Up With Likes.  The protagonist lives in an unusual world that was formed after monsters attacked. At first, people didn’t know how to deal with them and defend themselves against them. But then appeared people with tremendous physical strength and they became hunters, whose task was to destroy the monsters.

It was a very dangerous profession, where the price for a mistake was life. But it was a well-paid job, with great privileges and many people wanted to become hunters. JiHeng was an assistant to the hunters, he cleaned up the remains of the monsters after the hunters had killed them. It was a dirty job, but he tried hard because he wanted to become a hunter.

And one day after a hard job, the team members complimented him and suddenly a scoreboard appeared in front of him congratulating him on becoming a hunter. Now this element of the computer game will always accompany him. And inform him about all the changes in his status and recommend how to improve it. He is advised to increase the stastistics of the likes and points, which he will use to acquire skills and abilities.

That’s how the author introduced modern attributes into the fantasy world.

Dark Fantasy Manga.

Dark Fantasy – a subgenre of fantasy, where elements of mysticism, gothic and horror take place in a fantasy world. And the fantastic base is the main background against which all events occur. The main difference between dark fantasy. The term borrowed from literature and organically applied to the manga, is the image of worlds where universal evil rules, causing a sense of fear and horror. The origins of the genre lie in gothic novels and dark fairy tales. Reading these manga, the reader can be glad that he does not live in such a world and does not want to be in the place of the hero. 

Dark Fantasy Manga

But the hero has to exist in these dark, sinister places, where all kinds of horrible undead and creatures are in charge. The hero knows for sure that Evil rules this world. And he has to fight not only for his life, but also to save and preserve the remnants of the old world. The authors create plots that pile up the gloomy, dark atmosphere in which the heroes have to act. Often, authors of dark fantasy inhabit their manga typical mystical, fairy-tale and supernatural creatures.

Undead, necromancers, monsters, demons, sorcerers and witches operate with their magic, which is mostly “dark” in nature. Heroes also have mystical powers, which sometimes appear unexpectedly to the hero and are able to resist evil forces.

Often the authors of dark fantasy use standard mystical, mythical and supernatural creatures and heroes. Undead led by a necromancer, vampires, demons, sorcerers and witches are depicted with their black magic. The magic here is predominantly “dark” in nature. With some exceptions – one or two main characters fighting for justice usually have mystical powers (often without knowing about them. And discovering their own abilities along the way) and are able to resist evil.

Berserk Manga.

Dark fantasy is the dark side of magic. In dark fantasy, evil is already in power, and an example is Kentaro Miura’s manga Berserk, which tells the story of a world in which the fate of people is guided by the Idea of Evil. The manga is set in the kingdom of Midlant, where there are constant wars with a neighboring country. The protagonist Gats, known as the Black Swordsman, travels through the kingdom armed with a two-meter sword, the “Dragon Killer,” destroying all monsters encountered in his path. Gatz is missing his right eye and left forearm, which is replaced by an iron prosthetic with a small cannon.

The plot is based on the conflict between Gatz and Griffith, the leader of the warriors known as the Hawk Gang.  Gats battles the demons hunting him, destroying them in his path, driven by a thirst for revenge and vengeance. With his immense strength, his warrior skill and his sword, he destroys everything in his path. This is a sad tale of a man with no future, a tale of fierce battles and ruthless fate. The manga is replete with bloody battles, brutal scenes,.ruthless characters making it a classic example of dark fantasy.

Historical Fantasy.

This type is closely related to history.  Usually the manga tells about some historical events, taking place against the background of famous historical places, about the events of a certain era. 

Elements of fantasy, magic and mythological creatures are necessarily present in the plot. This genre is very much in demand, as the combination of a real historical event with the magical world is inevitably in popular demand among readers.

An example of a historical manga with a martial arts twist is Sidooh. The end of the 18th century, the Tokugawa era was shaken by people’ rebellions, struggles for power and local battles. Two twin brothers were left as orphans during this troubled time. All they were left with was their late father’s sword and their mother’s farewell words. The boys decide to become warriors and follow in their father’s footsteps. The description of the time and the environment in which it unfolds gives the reader an opportunity to learn about the harsh period of that era and the harsh conditions of training samurai warriors.

Vinland Saga Manga.

The Vinland saga takes us a few centuries back to another place, to the northern territories, to the Viking Age, where the laws of injustice, violence and cruelty flourish. The protagonist, Thorfinn, is one of the best warriors in the Asquellad’s war band. He diligently trains and improves his fighting skills, as he is determined to take on Askellad in a fair fight. He was involved in the death of his family, and Torfin vows to avenge the deaths of his relatives.

At the same time Asquellad is devising a cunning plan to change the royal authority, altering the order of succession so that he may eventually receive benefits and privileges. The protagonist will have to decide whose side to take in order to achieve his goal.

Romantic Fantasy Manga.

Here the fundamental concept is romance. The psychology of relationships, the love line and always the emotional component makes this genre especially popular, particularly among women. Some like the love story, some like the character development. And some like the adventure part, even if it is not the dominant line in the manga. In any case, you have a lot of sense of the relationships between the characters, and the background against which they develop is the least of your worries.

But in addition to romance, the genre must have intrigue, adventure, and even battles. Countries and kingdoms, different eras and times, magic and sorcery, charismatic heroes are used by authors to create manga of this genre. What is worth the most favorite theme of “Cinderella” in different interpretations .But the main idea is preserved everywhere. A young girl from the lower classes with the help of magical charms attracts the attention of the prince and becomes a queen.

This plot has so many different variations, but it is always interesting. The feelings, thoughts, actions of the heroines in the romantic manga are close and understandable to every reader. Sp, they entertain, sometimes distract from the gray reality, but always close and understandable.

False Confession Manga.

False Confession is a romantic comedy that you definitely won’t be able to hold back a laugh when you read it. Renesha is a priestess who is sent as a healer on a military expedition. During this trek, she falls in love with a paladin knight and decides to reveal her feelings to him. One night, after drinking some strong wine, Reneesha sets out in search of the paladin. In the darkness of the forest, she confesses her feelings to the man she considers her heart’s knight. Only it turns out that she swore eternal love to another – the Duke, who is known as the Grim Reaper.

We offer you to read the most successful manga of the fantasy genre. Interesting stories, charismatic characters, amazing events – this is just a small part of what awaits you! Explore fictional worlds with characters unraveling the mysteries of the universe and parallel realities, observe their confrontation with the most colorful opponents.

What do you think?

Written by TheLastOne

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