MangaHow To Read Manga For The First Time? 5 Rules To Follow

How To Read Manga For The First Time? 5 Rules To Follow

Having a hard time reading your first manga?

If so, you are not alone in having a hard time with your first manga. Because, for new manga readers, the direction can feel “backward,” and it can be difficult to know where to turn next or which text bubble comes first.

This how to read manga guide is all you need. Read on!

5 Rules To Follow When Reading A Manga For The First Time!

1. Read The Manga Right To Left 

read manga right to left

Unlike the American left-to-right reading style, Japanese Manga is meant to be read from right to left! Each page has its own manga art and each of them should be read in the same right-to-left manner.

Although in the beginning, this sudden change of reading style may feel weird and slow down your reading speed. But after a few Manga reads, you will find it no different at all.

So when your eyes have reached the far left of the page, move them back to the far right to read the next row and keep following the same flow. 

Do Checkout: Most Popular Manga of All time

2. Start The Manga From Back Side 

start the manga from back side

Yes, it’s totally weird again but that’s how it works! Because the “back” of the manga is actually the front cover. 

Compared to traditional American style manga (where we start reading a book from the front of the book) Japanese manga follows the opposite pattern again. 

You need to start reading a manga from the back of the book and read the first page from the left side to the right side.

3. Read Every Page Vertically, From Top To Bottom

read every page vertically from top to bottom

As per usual, we read everything in a vertical manner; from top to bottom and that’s the same case when reading a manga. 

No matter whether it’s Japanese or English-translated manga, you need to move your eyes from the top of the page to the bottom of the page. 

4. Read Speech Bubbles In The Same Way

read speech bubbles in manga

As mentioned earlier, a manga is meant to be read from right to left and top to bottom. And the same rule applies to speech bubbles or word bubbles. 

So when reading a dialogue bubble, read it from the top side, with the right to left direction. Even if there are multiple dialogue bubbles, the same pattern needs to be followed. 

5. Read Panels In Right-To-Left Direction

read panels in right-to-left direction manga

As for the manga panels, the right-to-left direction rule is also followed here even if the panels are stacked vertically or designed side by side. 

Moreover, manga with inside and outside panels is designed in such a way that it does not break the reader’s flow and keeps him/her engaged in it.

Follow these 5 basic manga reading rules and master the art of how to read manga!

What Are Manga Panels and How to Read Them?

what are manga panels and how to read the manga

On a manga page, the frame that surrounds one particular event in time is referred to as a manga panel.

It frames a single drawing or illustration, sometimes with speech bubbles to give the artwork a narrative voice.

As there are many different kinds of manga panels, the mangaka chooses the one that best conveys the feelings and emotions of the moment.

To name a few, the following are the common types of manga panels that you will find in Japanese mangas and comics all around the world.

  • Classic Four-Panels
classic four-panels manga panel

By far the most popular sort of manga panel, the traditional four-panel is used when a mangaka wants to divide a full page into four equal halves. 

It could be either by stacking four identical panels on top of one another or by dividing the page into four equal quadrants.

  • Full Page Panels (Spreads) 
full page panel

Spreads are essentially full-page artworks that have far more information, more complex artwork, and a subtle message hidden within them. There are even spreads that span two pages!

  • Action Sequence Panels
action sequence panels

There is no predetermined format for action sequence panels, which typically consist of a mix of stacked and side-by-side panels.

  • Dialogue Panels
dialogue panels

In scenes when the focus is on the dialogue between characters, clean and uncluttered frames are ideal. To better highlight the text, these panels are square or rectangular in shape.

As in the manga, each panel is meant to be read vertically, from the right side to the left. When you start reading a manga page, start from the panel located in the upper right-hand corner. 

Why Does A Manga Have Different Colors In Panels?

why does a manga have different colors in panels

The term “Gutters” refers to the empty space that exists between the borders of the individual panels of a manga or comic book. When reading manga, the gutter can be used as a signboard that differentiates the time of an event.

For instance, if the gutters in the comic are colored black, this typically denotes that some of the events in the plot are taking place in the past.

And if the color of the gutters changes from black to white, it means that the story is transitioning out of a flashback scene.

The gutters in western comics, on the other hand, are frequently used to set a brisk pace. A black gutter in a comic book usually means the artist wants the reader to pause and think about what they’re reading.

How to Read Manga On Crunchyroll & Other Manga Platforms? 


Crunchyroll is among the top anime and manga platforms offering both free and premium access to their large manga libraries. At Crunchyroll, you can either subscribe to their monthly plan; to read a number of manga novels online or purchase a physical copy of your favorite manga.

Usually, the most recent or first chapter of a manga is available for free to users under the ad-supported model.

But to access the whole manga library, you need to subscribe to a monthly plan!

VIZ – Shonen Jump

When it comes to the pioneer of manga, Shonen Jump is where a lot of the big titles started.

The site offered artworks from a variety of popular manga series, including Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Black Clover, and even My Hero Academia novel series.

You can read the latest chapter of the featured manga every week and access the entire archive with a monthly membership.

You can also get a physical copy of your favorite manga if it’s available from the publisher.


ComiXology is a subsidiary of Amazon. You can either sign up for a monthly subscription service or make a one-time purchase of certain manga titles.

You can also read DC and Marvel comics as well as the ones included in your subscription.

Know more about where to buy manga here.

Why is Manga Read Right To Left? 

why is manga read right to left

Because the Japanese language is typically read and written from right to left and top to bottom, manga stories are read in the same direction.

In the past, Japanese texts were written in vertical columns and were read from right to left. This writing style was known as Tategaki, which translates to “vertical writing.

You should know how to read a manga by now. Check out our manga section for more!!

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