“Stop! You’re reading the wrong way!” - Every issue of Shonen Jump
Japanese culture has a tremendous influence in the entertainment industry in terms of their artistic style and way of storytelling. If you were to ask anyone who watches animation, many of them will mostly likely be familiar with anime-style “cartoons” with popular titles being Naruto, Dragon Ball Z, and Pokémon.
Disney Star Wars is starting to dip their toes into the Japanese-made phenomenon by releasing books called “manga” which feature the signature art style.
These manga titles serve as a wonderful outlet for Star Wars fans who love anime, even those who are mainly familiar with American-made shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender. Although we have yet to see a Star Wars program fully dedicated to the anime style (at least at the time of writing this) we can still indulge in these beautiful manga adaptations of our favorite stories whether you’re in the mood for stunning action sequences or saucy romance.
Even if you are unfamiliar with anime and manga, the Star Wars titles featured below are excellent introductions to the medium. Some of these volumes are even printed as they are out in Japan to really give you the complete experience.
If you purchase one of these titles you may notice that the cover is featured on the side of the book that you wouldn’t normally consider the “front.” That’s because traditional manga is read from back to front, right to left. Now don’t feel overwhelmed! Reading the panels backward is not as hard as it sounds. It’s actually kind of fun!
The Star Wars franchise is better known for their films, novels, games, and various shows and less so for their ability to produce manga. Even so, the few titles that they have released are made with such exceptional quality that they could even stand up to popular names in the manga realm. The artists do not hold back on the impeccable drawing techniques and soulful character expressions when crafting each panel.
The fact that these books exist show that the Star Wars franchise is not one to avoid taking risks. Those involved in the publishing side of content creation had decided to step out of their comfort zone to formulate something that more niche fans can enjoy and the result of their efforts is absolutely spectacular. Now enthusiasts of both Star Wars and anime can indulge in an even greater out-of-this-world experience.
When it comes to animation, one of the closest examples of Star Wars material to date that closely resembles the anime art style is the Galaxy of Adventures miniseries featured on YouTube. Although it is a fantastic and beautiful project, we have yet to achieve the full experience set in the Star Wars universe. With the success of these manga adaptations, we will hopefully see a full anime series complete with a flashy opening sequence paired with a catchy musical number sometime in the near future. Until then, lose yourself in the manga volumes featured in the collection below.
The first volume of the Lost Stars manga adaptation starts off halfway through the events of the original novel putting you straight in the action. Whether you’re new to the story or are already a fan of Claudia Gray’s praised novel, there is something new for all readers to enjoy with incredible imagery and an artfully-summarized retelling of one of the best romantic tales of all time.
This second installation of the Lost Stars manga series captures a handful of the most emotionally-compelling scenes from the original novel and expresses the weight of Ciena and Thane’s feelings in a way that’ll grip your heart right at its core. Every facial expression within these pages will test the strength and willpower of your tear ducts as this incredible artwork reaches out to your soul and rips you apart from the inside.
Not a single heartstring is spared in this epic finale to the Lost Stars manga series. Watch the exciting conclusion to the complicated but spicy relationship between Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell with your very own eyes in an art style that just works so well for this story. Really, whoever came up with this idea is a genius.
The universe never ceases to give us Star Wars Rebels in new and exciting ways. Just when you thought the fun was over, Yen Press gives us the story we know and love in the form of the unique Japanese art style. If you are a big fan of Rebels and anime, you’ll no doubt want to look into this manga series.
Just when you thought this Alderaanian princess couldn’t get any cuter, this manga adaptation of Claudia Gray’s Leia: Princess of Alderaan story shows the young prodigy looking her very best as she sets off on her most adventurous mission of her teen life. The art in this manga effortlessly grasps the compassion, sincerity, and fierceness in Leia’s eyes as she sets off to follow her heart.
Luke Skywalker is truly a legend, both in our own world and throughout the Star Wars galaxy. The Legends of Luke Skywalker is a collection of the young Jedi’s heroic and selfless acts to inspire greatness and hope in those who witness his deeds. Some of his feats sound so outlandish that you wouldn’t believe it until you see it, and now you can through amazingly beautiful artwork with each story drawn in a different and unique style.
Modern anime styles are gorgeous but sometimes we crave the nostalgia of that classic look. This manga adaptation of A New Hope will take you back to the 90s when Japanese animation was cheesy but lovable. No matter how many times you’ve rewatched the film that started it all, this comic series is a fun new way to revisit the story.