Monday, November 14, 2011

Book Review : The Manga Guide To The Universe

Title : The Manga Guide To The Universe

Author : Kenji Ishikawa

Publisher : Ohmsha and No Starch Press

ISBN : 978-1-59327-267-8

Manga is the Japanese word for 'comics' and this format has been used for imparting information about various science concepts to the students. Ohmsha Press is instrumental in coming up with some really fascinating books under this series. The same task has been taken over by No Starch Press in USA to create similar kind of impact in English too. 'The Manga Guide to The Universe' is an entertaining and an informative guide on how far we have come in deciphering the mysteries of our universe. It provides an easily readable and understandable introduction to astronomy.

The five chapters take the readers through the step-by-step unraveling of the enigmatic mysteries of the universe. It begins with 'Is Earth The Center of The Universe?' where different earlier beliefs are discussed and how eventually it was established that Earth is one of the planets rotating around the Sun in our Solar System. The subsequent chapters are - 'From the Solar System to The Milky Way', 'The Universe Was Born With A Big Bang', 'What Is It Like At The Edge Of The Universe' and 'Our Expanding Universe'. Interesting and intriguing topics are dealt with in these chapters ranging from - the origin of the universe, its shape and size, extent of the universe to possibility of life in outer space. The information is packed in tandem with an interesting Manga which children will enjoy reading. So there is a perfect balance of fun part and the interesting knowledge enhancing part in this book.

The manga part brings to life the scenes from Kouki High School whose Drama Club is working towards putting up a show for the school's art festival. If they are not able to accomplish this task, the only option left with the school would be do close down the Drama Club so the senior Yamane, junior Kanna and new American exchange student Gloria take upon themselves to enact the adaptation of an ancient Japanese tale - 'The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter'. Through this story they try to present an outer space romance of a princess from the moon. To starighten out the sci-fi elements of their play they take the help of Kanna's older brother Kente and his professors. This leads them to understanding many interesting concepts of Universe and space. The professors lessons are presented in the form of comic which are followed by sections of scientific facts with relevant diagrams and pictures to elaborate upon the understanding of the characters of the comic part.

There are Manga Guides on many other topics like electricity, physics, calculus and statistics.


  1. Wow! This one sounds good. I'm not very taken with comics as a rule, and normally find the Japanese ones way too spaced out, but this one sounds like I'd like to try it.

    Your review is quite compelling, Vibha. Is this available in stores like Landmark/ Crossword? I'd like to check it out properly before picking it up.:)

  2. Sandhya ~ Even I had similar feelings for the Japanese comics as you have mentioned. But I guess it is a matter of getting used to that kind of graphics and actually I found the information part very nicely laid out.

    I have not seen this book in any of the stores here, it is available on flipkart though. But you can always take my copy and then decide later whether you want to own it or not.


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