VIII.7 Manga Universe

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Lev Manovich

Jay Chow

Manga is one of the most popular cultural forms today, enjoyed by children and adults around the world. Created by Lev Manovich and Jay Chow of the Software Studies Initiative, Manga Universe shows 1,074,790 unique pages from 883 distinct manga series from Japan, Korea, and China. The series include both very popular long-running titles such as “Naruto” and “One Piece” and also many short-lived titles. The pages are organized according to contrast (horizontal axis) and by the amount of detail and texture (vertical axis). The pages in the bottom part have the least amount of detail, while pages in the top part have the most. The pages with the least contrast are on the left, while pages with the highest contrast are on the right. In between these four extremes, we find every possible stylistic variation. At the same time, we can see which graphical choices are more commonly used by manga artists (the central part of the “cloud” of pages) and which appear much more rarely (bottom and left parts). If you are a beginning manga artist and want to establish a unique style, you may want to position yourself in either of these areas, which so far have not been explored by other artists. To learn more, visit


Manovich, Lev. 2012. "How to Compare One Million Images." In Understanding Digital Humanities, edited by David M. Berry. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Manovich, Lev, and Jay Chow. 2012. Manga Universe. Courtesy of Software Studies Initiative, UCSD. In “8th Iteration (2012): Science Maps for Kids,” Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, edited by Katy Börner and Michael J. Stamper.

Manovich, Lev, and Jeremy Douglass. 2010. Manga Style Space. Flickr. Last modified October 23.

One Manga. 2012. Accessed August 13.

Acknowledgements: This exhibit is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-0238261, CHE-0524661, IIS-0534909 and IIS-0715303, the James S. McDonnell Foundation; Thomson Reuters; the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, University Information Technology Services, and the School of Library and Information Science, all three at Indiana University. Some of the data used to generate the science maps is from the Web of Science by Thomson Reuters and Scopus by Elsevier. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.