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Manga Study Guide: Barefoot Gen/Bubbles

Manga Conventions: Thought BubbleEdit

Thought bubbles, also called Fukidashi in Japanese, are usually used for expressing the thoughts of characters. Some manga authors come up with their original thought bubbles, but their fundamental basics are same enough for the readers to notice that the character is thinking in his or her head.

There are two basic types of thought bubbles:

One is a very common and widely-accepted thought bubble that resembles a cloud. This thought bubble comes with small circles that connect the person's head to the thought bubble.

Another type is a thought bubble that is more commonly used in manga. The thought bubble is an oval that has lines going out from it, and text in the centre of the thought bubble. It is usually used to express character’s voice or opinion that is powerful although other characters cannot hear it. This type is also used to express telepathy. These thought bubbles are placed close to the character who is speaking. As stated before, authors of manga can create their original thought bubble. For example, instead of lines, it can be dots that is radiating, or just fuzzy outline which is often used in Shojo Manga (manga for young girls).

‘Barefoot Gen’ uses thought bubble in shape of a cloud, but it is rarely used in the book.Usually, thought bubbles are used often to express the character’s opinion, because it is not a conversation and the characters do not feel the need to share their opinion. For example, it will be unrealistic if the character suddenly starts talking to a nearby person about the day’s weather. But in ‘Barefoot Gen’, although many views and opinions are expressed, they always talk about it to somebody or something. This can be seen in page 104, where Gen’s father begs to stop the war. Gen’s father looks in the direction of Iwakuni where Americans are bombing, and it seems as though Gen’s father is talking to the Americans or the war itself. The only situations where thought bubbles are used are when the character is thinking to themselves about personal things. Such as when they are offending somebody else. An example of this is in page 63 of ‘Barefoot Gen’, where both Gen and the chairman insults at each other, but without saying it out loud. It can be inferred that Keiji Nakazawa used speech bubbles for when he wants a strong message delivered to the readers. And because there are many strong messages concerning war and peace, many characters, especially the Nakazawa family speaks their mind out.

Manga conventions dialogue bubbleEdit

Dialogue ballons are a graphic convention used most commonly in manga books,comic strips and strips and cartoons to allow words to be understand as representing the dialogue of a given character in the comic. -Speak tails are small,dedicate or even missing,usually over character’s head.The normal talk’s bubble are circles with tails.


Bubbles representing different character’s dialogue features different edge designs.One character’s dialogue might be inside perfectly oval dialogue bubbles,while their companion’s dialogue falls into a geometric shape.


If a character is upset ,the text bubble must be jagged


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