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Collage of Anime and Manga Covers with knockout text reading Anime and Manga

This article is a companion piece to HCPL's Using Our Library Voices podcast. You will find many of the books and videos we talked about in our May episode celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month below.

Like many millennials, I grew up on anime back in the 90s and early 2000s. Series like Pokémon, Sailor Moon, and Dragon Ball are some of the most universal cultural touchstones tying my generation together.

The Godfather of Modern Manga

They were certainly my introduction to the world of Japanese animation and comics, but they didn’t invent the medium. Osamu Tezuka, the author behind seminal works like Astro Boy, is often credited as being the “godfather” of manga, beginning his career in the 1940s and drawing inspiration from the early animated films of Walt Disney. However,

The Breakthrough

Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 anime film Akira is often seen as anime’s big break into the English-speaking market, particularly with its more mature storytelling and adult audience. Stateside, anime and manga remained fairly niche throughout the 1980s, but that would quickly change. Anime-themed programming blocks like Toonami on Cartoon Network brought anime into the 90s, and into the cultural conversation, with iconic series like Gundam Wing and Tenchi Muyo, and the market has only grown from there.

The Streaming Explosion

Anime streaming services Crunchyroll and Funimation, as well as robust anime selections on major streaming platforms like Netflix, have firmly brought anime into the twenty-first century. In 2021, anime has never been more popular or more mainstream, with the recent Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba anime film being the highest-grossing Japanese film of all time, animated or otherwise. Anime and manga are big business these days and are beloved by plenty of people who would not fit the old definition of “otaku,” or anime super-fan. But some things have definitely stayed the same: gorgeous art, innovative storytelling, and a healthy love of giant robots are still fixtures of the medium today and are just some of the reasons why people love it.

Manga on OverDrive: Click or tap on a cover to download

Astro Boy Volume 1 Cover


Attack on Titan Volume 1


Black Jack Vol 1 cover


Bleach Vol 1 cover


Cardcaptor Sakura Omnibus Vol 1 cover


Chainsaw Man Volume 1 cover


Crow Boy Cover


Demon Slayer Kimetsu no Yaiba Vol 1 Cover


Dr Stone Vol 1 cover


Dragon Ball Vol 1 Cover


Dragon Ball Super Vol 1 cover


Dragon Ball Z Vol 1 cover


JuJutsu Kaisen Vol 1 cover


Komi Can't Communicate Vol 1 cover


My Hero Academia cover


Nana Volume 1


Naruto Vol 1


One Piece Volume 1 cover


Ouran High School Host Club Vol 1 cover


Sailor Moon volume 1


Spy x Family Vol 1 cover


Ghost in the Shell Vol 1 cover


The Way of the Househusband Vol 1 Cover


Umbrella cover


Anime on DVD: Click or Tap on cover to place hold

akira cover


attack on titan cover


barefoot gen cover


boruto cover


cowboy bebop cover


demon slayer kimetsu cover




dragon ball cover


Dragon Ball Super Vol 1 cover


dragon ball z


fruits baskets


full metal alchemist season 1


ghost in the shell cover


My Hero Academia cover




sailor moon cover


speed racer complete cover


spirited away




your name



Manga in Print: Click or tap cover to place hold

akira cover


beastars cover




fruits baskets






is it wrong


mobile suit gundam wing


so i'm a spider


trigun maximum




your name




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