Review: The Manga Guide to Electricity


“The Manga Guide to Electricity”, part of “The Manga Guide” series by No Starch Press, is a novel approach to the old problem of getting over the initial mental block when trying to learn electronics.

We decided to compare this book to another introductory text: “Getting Started in Electronics” by [Forrest M. Mims].  [Mims]‘ book is a handwritten masterpiece of electronic literature. The writing style is friendly and concise, the examples are simple, and the drawings are excellent. It also makes sure to keep the learning process as application based as possible. Unlike other books, it doesn’t bog the reader down with math and theory that is only useful to advanced students. Since its original printing in 1983, [Mims]‘ has become the de facto standard for beginner electronic literature.


“The Manga Guide” attempts to walk the beginner through the very basics of electronics using the interactions between [Rereko], a resident of planet Electopia; [Yonosuke], a transdimensional robot cell phone; and [Hikaru Yano Sensei], an electrical engineering researcher at a Japanese university. [Rereko] is apparently very bad at electricity, and is sent to learn the basics from Hikaru over the summer by her professor.

“The Manga Guide” is a lot of fun to read. The interactions between the characters are lighthearted, and the whole setting has a sort of quirkiness about it that makes you keep reading just for the joy of it. It covers most of the basics thoroughly and with excellent examples. The art is a very well drawn, playful style of manga.


Unfortunately, in order to keep the story going, a lot of little but important details were left out of the manga. To compensate for this, there are mini chapters of what can be politely described as some of the most dry electronics text ever written. We found ourselves skipping over this text often to get back to the manga parts of the book. Another disadvantage to this book is that it is hard to go back to previous pages in order to reference things since one subject may be spread across several pages of story. This is just an unfortunate side effect of the manga format. A book like [Mims]‘ has the advantage here because the information is denser and easily indexed.

In conclusion, this book is a great addition to any library, but not to be relied on for learning. While “The Manga Guide to Electricity” introduces you to the basics very well, unless you want to suffer through the mini chapters, you will be no closer to building a circuit at the end than when you started reading. [Mims]’ book, on the other hand, leaves you with all the skills to begin experimenting with, building, and designing your own circuits. Luckily, at the price range of this book, there is really no reason not to pick it up and give it a read.

No Starch Press has provided us with two copies to give away. Just leave a comment including the words “I want this book.” and you’ll be entered in the random drawing. Please only use the phrase once or you’ll be disqualified. Entries will close 12PM PDT Thursday August 6, 2009. Congratulations to our winners [daniel n.] and [Fiach Antaw].


  1. LEo says:

    I want this book

  2. ERez says:

    I want this book

  3. az1324 says:

    i want this book

  4. macegr says:

    Wow…offer some free trinket worth a couple dollars and the lurkers really come out of the woodwork.

  5. DO WANT

  6. macegr says:

    Also, there is a difference between a guide to electricity, and a guide to electronics.

  7. unlike the other one this comment includes the words “I want this book.” because I really do… I like Anime, never read a manga…

  8. pyrobat says:

    i want this book

  9. I want this book for our new hacker space library.

  10. Dan Fekete says:

    I want this book?

  11. Scooner says:

    I want this book.

  12. TheDeepFriedBoot says:

    i want this book

    Lol, thats a lot better than some of the text books we have to work with. Someone get a copy of that book to some of the employees at best buy who work in automotive.

  13. octelcogopod says:

    anime and manga need to burn in hell

  14. nem says:

    i want this book.

  15. neophox says:

    I want this book.

  16. triton says:

    I want this book

  17. andrew says:

    i want this book

  18. ribblem says:

    I want this book.

  19. lux says:

    i want this book

  20. Josh C says:

    I want this book!

  21. drew says:

    I want this book

  22. vostein says:

    ^^^To the fellow that hates manga, most mainstream stuff that passes as manga is utter shit, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t good artists in that field, there are books such as ‘comickers’ devoted to the awesome artists in that field. It’s a shame a drawing ‘style’ like manga attracts a bunch of weird untalented fucks, but those are few and in between in contrast to the casual fans out there.

    Oh btw, I want this book!

  23. Bags says:

    I want this book

  24. jack says:

    i want this book! i really like manga and this would be a great read for me.

  25. Kris says:

    i want this book

  26. Naer Dinsul says:

    I want this book.

  27. TFG says:

    I want this book.

  28. Marteen says:

    I want this book.

  29. Malleus says:

    i wondered why there were so many comments so damn quickly.
    Now I know it was just lots and lots of people saying I want this book.
    like i just did ;)

  30. César says:

    i want this book.

  31. make says:

    i want this book.

    i have the mims books from Radio Shack (f* “The Shack”), and they’re quite good. I also happen to be an ee student, and like manga.

  32. technomuse says:

    I also flipped through the book at defcon…looks like a great addition

    I want this book…please?

  33. RyanG says:

    I want this book.

  34. Possum says:

    i want this book.

  35. PaulBo says:

    i want this book.

  36. Akikaze says:

    I want this book.

  37. Stunmonkey says:

    I want the mims book.

    @ gert – I also want to curbstomp people who draw manga. you aren’t alone.

  38. RussWill says:

    I want this book.

  39. I want this book.

  40. evan says:

    I want this book.

  41. theb says:

    I want this book.

  42. Damn says:

    Looks like someone is spamming with comments… You should guys add captcha to the comment system.

  43. furan says:

    I want this book.

  44. aefaradien says:

    I want this book.


  45. Taylor says:

    i want this book.

  46. Alex says:

    I want this book, *and* I’m not a robot.

  47. fetret says:

    I want this book

  48. napalm says:

    if this was a calvin & hobbes style as opposed to frickin manga, id SOOOOOOOOOOOOO BUY that

  49. not1butme says:

    i want this book.

  50. Leandro says:

    I want this book.

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