How to Read Manga Panels


Whether you are an experienced reader or just beginning with Manga, understanding how to read their incredible tales is paramount to enjoying them thoroughly.

Manga should always be read from right to left, including panels and word bubbles stacked vertically. Readers should adhere to this reading pattern.


Manga has quickly become a worldwide cultural phenomenon and is beloved by audiences of all ages and interests. But for new readers, it may be challenging to navigate its complex panel layouts; this article will help demystify manga reading by breaking down how panels should be read.

Panels are individual frames in manga that feature artwork and text. They play an essential part in storytelling by leading readers’ eyes through events. Their size, shape, composition, and size/shape combination serve various functions that allow manga artists to control eye movement to craft an engaging tale for readers.

Reading manga requires following its intended sequence of events and avoiding reading panels out of order, which can be confusing and spoil the overall experience. Furthermore, attention to characters’ facial expressions and body language can reveal much information.

Direction is another factor that influences how to read manga. Manga should generally be read from right to left; therefore, when reading, start with the highest row or column and work your way down through them. Dialogue balloons should also be read right-left and up-and-down.

Another aspect to remember when reading manga is the gutters – those empty spaces between panels – as these reveal crucial information about when and where a scene occurs. For example, panels featuring black backgrounds often signal past stories, while panels, where the experience fades from black to white, may indicate flashback or backtracking sequences.

Finally, paying close attention to the backgrounds and colors used in manga panels is essential. A manga’s background color can help reflect an individual’s emotions or state of mind – a dark background might denote fear or sadness, while light hues could indicate happiness or excitement.

Word Bubbles

Reading manga can feel like learning an entirely different language; Western readers who are used to reading comics from left to right may find the experience intimidating. With some practice, you will soon learn to navigate this genre of Japanese comics and discover its endless stories!

Before diving into manga, you must understand its reading direction. Manga should always be read from right to left despite overlapping panels; this helps the dialogue flow smoothly and makes sense of the characters’ emotions.

Manga word bubbles differ significantly from Western comics in their shape and appearance; manga-style word balloons typically feature different geometrical forms with tails to signify who is speaking, sometimes featuring various fonts or styles for emphasis to add dramatic flair or distinguish character voices.

Traditional manga was lettered by hand or professionally. However, more recently, manga artists are turning to software programs for their lettering work, often mimicking hand-lettering styles – particularly useful when translating manga into English!

Manga comics differ from traditional American comics by having word bubbles drawn larger to symbolize that its contents are spoken more loudly and passionately than usual.

Manga writers frequently incorporate emoji into dialogue for an added layer of emotion or to lighten up an otherwise serious scene. For instance, when a character feels angry, mangakas might draw their nature, shaking their fist in an angry word bubble. In contrast, mangakas might draw a heart smiling in an optimistic word bubble when hopeful feelings arise.

When starting to read, start at the top right of the page and work your way down toward the bottom left. Also, remember that word bubbles should be read similarly to panels – right to left, top to bottom. If a forum contains multiple word bubbles, start from the top down by reading each bubble nearest the character who is speaking first.


Manga readers can initially be unfamiliar with its language, so the direction may feel reversed to Western readers, which may make reading manga difficult. With some simple tips and tricks, though, soon enough, you’ll be reading manga like an expert!

Newcomers to manga (and anime) should understand that reading from right to left is critical to enjoying both forms. When opening their manga book, make sure the spine faces what we in the West would consider to be its “back cover.” To start reading a story, start from one panel in the upper right-hand corner, moving left when reaching the end of that row of boards, and continuing this pattern throughout your reading of each book.

Manga uses its visual language to portray emotion and mood. Sweat drops and deformations on characters’ faces can convey stress or sadness, while lines across a character’s nose and cheeks could indicate blushing. Word bubbles in manga should also be observed closely: when characters speak aloud, their dialogue is displayed as words on top of each page in a bubble – an empty bubble indicates they may be sighing. At the same time, an open one could signal assistance or exasperation from characters speaking aloud.

Manga stories often include honorifics at the end of a character’s name to show respect, similar to our use of Mr. and Mrs. If you don’t understand their meaning, consult a Japanese-English dictionary or search online for them.

Manga has captured the hearts and imaginations of readers worldwide for many decades now, and it is easy to understand why! Packed full of stories featuring different cultures and perspectives, manga is an engaging form of media to learn from. Follow these simple steps and become an accomplished manga reader!


As you read manga, pay close attention to how characters behave. Their expressions and actions will hint at their emotions and don’t overlook background colors; these can also convey information about a character’s moods and emotions.

Manga can be the ideal way to learn Japanese rapidly. Not only will you study vocabulary words, but you will also be exposed to conversations and the ways people interact in Japan. But remember, reading manga alone won’t suffice – spend some time listening and speaking Japanese too!

Once you’re ready to begin reading, select a series and start at its first story. This way, you’ll be able to witness how characters develop as the plot progresses, familiarize yourself with its genre, and discover whether you enjoy it.

As part of your manga reading experience, keep this in mind when reading: the book spine rests on the right side, unlike English books; pages are also oriented differently from traditional Western comics – panels should be read right to left from top to bottom and word bubbles from right to left in each forum.

Apart from learning basic reading techniques, it’s also essential to recognize the diverse range of manga genres available to readers. Romance mangas tend to focus on two young characters falling in love; horror ones depict sick and terrifying monsters preying upon innocent civilians, while comedy mangas offer humorous jokes.

There are also manga readers available, which allow access to both raw and translated manga, giving you access to both versions simultaneously. These readers provide an ideal opportunity to hone reading skills and practice Japanese characters and can be found on numerous websites and mobile apps.