If you haven’t heard the term “meta-manga” before, it’s probably because I made it up. The modern use of the term/prefix “meta” generally refers to “x” about “x.” I am very familiar with this concept because I work closely with “meta-data” which is “data” about “data.” In the case of manga, a meta-manga would refer to “manga” about “manga.”
I LOVE meta-manga! There’s something so exciting about reading a manga that is completely self-aware. It’s a bit like watching a movie and waiting for that moment when someone actually speaks the line that is also the title of the movie. It’s a strange and fantastic moment.
There are SO MANY meta-manga to choose from. What manga-ka (manga author) wouldn’t want to write or illustrate something they know about as intimately as their own job? Here are some of my favourites:
ONE. Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun by Izumi Tsubaki.
This is a shoujo 4-koma manga (4-panel comedy manga originally marketed to girls) about a high school student named Nozaki who draws shoujo manga for Monthly Girls’ Magazine.
It begins with his cute classmate confessing her love to him and Nozaki, being so completely clueless and unable to focus on anything but writing manga, thinks she is asking for an autograph – and later convinces her to help him work on the actual manga itself.
Throughout the series you meet many other quirkly classmates each with distinct personalities and each with a hidden link to Nozaki’s manga.
The 4-koma format is a little jarring to get used to, as the story doesn’t flow like regular manga. It is really based on a “punch-line” format… similar to say…”Foxtrot.” But, over time as you get used to the format, the flow, the comedy, the characters, it becomes more-and-more enjoyable.
If you’re not sure you’ll like reading the 4-koma format I would highly recommend watching the short anime adaptation of this BEFORE getting into it. Continue reading