Manga Ratings — What Content is in Each Rating?

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Welcome to my post on manga ratings.

As many want me to make more posts about manga for children or age-appropriate manga, I’ve decided to delve deeper into manga ratings — specifically what manga content is under each rating.

Related post: Age-Appropriate Manga

We know that movie ratings are not representative of every single movie as content can be let’s say, slightly sexual or slightly violent. That’s why the PG rating is on most movies because it’s not violent or sexual enough to be categorised as NC16 or R21, giving parents a chance to decide for themselves whether their children are mature enough to watch such movies.

This concept is the same with manga, the ratings are just a guide and are not meant to be followed strictly. However, like most movies, the rating is not representative of manga content as slight sexual or violent scenes are not enough to influence children (my opinion, you can disagree).

If that’s the case, then what manga content does each rating actually have? Does Youth-categorised manga show fanservice or bloodshed? Does Teens-categorised manga show dismemberment or full-on intercourse?

Well, I can’t answer for all the manga in each category but I can give a general overview of what kind of content is present in each rating. Hopefully, that gives enough context for parents when deciding what kind of manga they want to purchase for their child.

How I will do this post is that first, I’ll be listing all the manga ratings then explaining the kind of things you are expected to see when reading manga from this specific rating. This post is basically an organised list for mainly parents to follow.

The rating system I will use is the US publishers’ content which is also used in English-language novels. Most international distributors of manga are US companies so it’s obvious they’ll use the US ratings.

Disclaimer: This list of mine is a guide, it is not representative for every single manga listed in said rating. Please don’t hold me responsible your child isn’t fond of the content.

E – Everyone/A – All Ages

This rating is clear cut — no sexual scenes or violence. The manga is meant to be read by everyone, including young children and toddlers.

Most manga in this category are children’s manga which is manga actually aimed at children. The only children’s manga I know that has had huge international acclaim are Doraemon, Pokemon, and Hello Kitty but there are many more, just that they aren’t primed for release to international audiences or aren’t that popular.

We all know how cartoons and books aimed at children are like — very cute and optimistic with an underlying positive message. So this is a good place to look if you want to introduce manga to your child early. You may need to do more research on other kinds of children’s manga because the genre isn’t very hyped due to cultural barriers.

Note: In my Recommendations post, I didn’t include Pokemon and Hello Kitty because they are better as a game and a toy franchise respectively

Related post: Manga for Kids

Y-Youth

Ok, I did a lot more digging for this post and I realised that only one company uses this rating. That company is Tokyopop so if you wanna look for manga with this particular rating, look for manga published by Tokyopop.

However, I decided to put it here because I wanna be inclusive and reveal as much as I can. So Youth manga is manga that can be read by children ages 10 and up. This rating specifically is highly dependent on parental guidance because, at this stage in a child’s life, they can either hit puberty early and mature faster or remain a kid for a while.

Stuff that can be seen in Youth rated manga include — bullying, mild swearing, and fantasy violence (character doesn’t bleed when hit or cut by a blade).

T-Teens

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Note where the rating is on the back of the manga. Source: amazon.com

So Teens manga has the most number of manga as most manga these days tends to hover between slightly explicit sexual and violent scenes to almost explicit.

How much sexual content? Well, partial nudity mostly because it’s fanservice. If you have no clue what fanservice is, please head over to my What is Ecchi Manga post, I’ll tell you all about it there ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

Related post: What is Ecchi Manga?

How much violence? Characters bleed but nothing like dismemberment or extreme blood loss is actually shown. Sometimes, fantasy violence still exists in a series.

Regardless of my explanation, I would still recommend parental guidance with this rating because there is a broad spectrum and I would like it if parents did their research before buying. “How to research manga?”, you ask? Well, that’s a post for another day ( ◞・౪・)

Notable manga in this category includes Naruto and Fairy Tail.

OT- Older Teens

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Note where the rating is at the back of the manga Source: amazon.com

You know those movies where there is a swear word every few sentences? You know those movies where there is sex but not explicitly? That’s basically what comprises a manga in the Older Teens rating.

At this point in time, your teenaged children are on the cusp of adulthood and would be a little desensitised to violence and sexual scenes in media. Of course, there are some who are a little slow on the uptake so parental guidance is still a requirement but not so much since your children should be more or less ready to make their own choices.

Manga in the Older Teens rating has obviously more explicit violence — dismemberment and extreme blood loss may become more common but not in every single chapter.

Manga in this rating has more sexual scenes — intercourse can be implied but not shown in full.

Notable manga is this rating include Death Note and Durarara!

M-Mature

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Note where the rating is on the back of the manga. Source: amazon.com

No surprise here, manga is this rating is for adults only.

Lots of violence — unspeakable stuff for which I myself can’t handle, mostly found in horror or seinen manga.

Explicit sex — shown in full but sexual organs are not shown because this isn’t pr0n, mostly found in some josei and seinen manga.

Don’t show this stuff to your children unless you are completely sure they’re fine after seeing it. I won’t say don’t ever let them know because c’mon, they will find out eventually so be prepared for the day when they ask about it. Who knows? Maybe ‘the talk’ will be easier if you use manga as a reference idk lol.

Some notable manga include Berserk and Black Lagoon

Final Thoughts

I don’t really have much opinion on ratings because I myself don’t follow them so I apologise in advance if my post sounded a little drab and not as exciting as my previous ones. I tried really hard to insert what I believe was the general content in each rating in order to make it easier for parents to contextualise.

Hopefully, I’ve covered almost everything that manga in a certain rating would portray. There are exceptions to the norm because, of course, they are:

Sometimes, a manga might change ratings due to the content that follows so keeping an eye on the content actually key to ensuring a manga is appropriate for your children. A notable example is Claymore which changed from Teens to Older Teens due to the content in later volumes.

Regardless of the exceptions, I really hope I have helped in your manga deciding process and even though I don’t follow ratings, I hope my post has given you an idea on what manga to get for your children.

As always, if you have anything to ask regarding my post, feel free to comment down below, I’d love to hear it 🙂

2 Comments

  1. Hi! I love manga and i’m so glade I got the opportunity to read this post!

    I appreciate that you didn’t leave out any age restrictions which of course, if you read manga you read a lot more. This is a great post that I’ll be sharing. It will help out a lot of parents who aren’t into the anime scene.

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