Character Profiles in Manga

When I first got into manga, I got sucked in for the stories and artwork. As I devoured volumes of Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura, Fushigi Yugi, and the like I came across character profiles mixed within the pages or beginning of each chapter. The mangaka would detail a character’s date of birth, blood type, favorite foods, etc. After noticing a lot of manga had these brief character profiles, I started looking for them as I read a new series.

Aki's Profile from the Ayashi no Ceres manga

I like the idea of getting to know a character’s basic personality outside of what is already presented in the series. The mangakas must enjoy presenting their readers with these profiles because it gives life to a character. The character becomes more than just a pretty drawing in a book. It starts to feel like you are getting to know a real person. The character profiles included in the manga (at least the ones I have read) allows us to connect to the characters. I always like knowing what the actual ages are for each of the characters in a series (if the year is provided of course) because it adds to the imagination. We read manga to escape reality and to dive into a different world for an hour or two. The panels play out like movies in our head and we give voices to the characters based on how we think they should sound.

I also find it funny how relatable these characters can be when the profiles sometimes include what a character likes to eat, what subjects they dislike in school, and their dreams for the future. Back when I read Sailor Moon and I read a character profile I would think, “Wow, she hates math just like I do. We have that in common.” It’s a strange kind of connection to make between yourself and a fictional character, but it’s fun to fantasize what it would be like if these characters really existed and not within our own minds or fantasies.

When I read a regular book (non-manga/comic book) I always have a number of questions running through my head. How old is this character? What would this character enjoy doing based on his/her personality as presented by the author? I really try to get inside the head of a character, especially when it’s a story I’m really into. When mangakas actually consider making profiles for their characters, it shows that they not only care about the characters they create but they want their characters to feel real. I really think this is a fun idea. I’m glad they do this often in manga. It adds an extra layer to the character you otherwise wouldn’t know about.

How do you feel about character profiles in manga? Do you find it enjoyable to read like I do?