Non-Fiction Review: A Brief History of Manga by Helen McCarthy

A Brief History of MangaA Brief History of Manga

by Helen McCarthy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just picked up a copy of Helen McCarthy’s “A Brief History of Manga” from the library. My impression is that it is 1. totally adorable, 2. visually engaging, and 3. fun fact filled. I also let my sister paruse through it, and she agrees with me. We’re both excited about this mini history.

Because like it’s title, it is exactly what it delivers:

1. It’s Brief. Very Brief!

Each page contains several colour images, an interesting fact, a couple paragraphs on historical trends, and a timeline — and all in less than 100 pages, in a book about the size of an actual manga. Really, you couldn’t have printed a history any smaller.

Actually I love the small package and think it would look adorable on my shelves next to my manga. [now, if only I could find some room…]

2. It’s about manga history.

It is concise, pointed, interesting. The history provides breadth, spanning from the 700s to present day (and the future). And, she really focuses her discussion to manga. Not anime. Which I of course, appreciate.

Did she leave stuff out? Umm… That’s kind of an understatement! But, I learned a few things about manga that I’d never known before (namely some of the early Western influences) and am now very interested in exploring further.

My only problem is that the only action I can take is heading off into “lala land” (aka the library stacks) when I should be studying for exams.

I will be adding a copy to my personal collection. You’d be quite remiss if you didn’t do the same!

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