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The Manhua Saga

Once upon a time, before I even started this blog, a very dear friend of mine lent me a couple of good old manhua books, on the conditions that I would promise to return with some feedback. Well, this promise has been years overdue now, which I was going to deliver by posting here something on Manhua last night, if I haven’t been so hooked up by the thoughts of those BU issues…  Well, I guess my dear friend can wait ^^:

Anyway, manhua, by Wikipedia’s definition is”…...Chinese comics (which are) originally produced in China. Possibly due to their greater degree of artistic freedom of expression and closer international ties with Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan (Republic of China) have been the places of publication of most manhua thus far, often including Chinese translations of Japanese manga….” (Wikipedia).

My post here, however, deals only with manhua created and/or published in Taiwan… or manhua for “shoujo” only so to speak.

For those of you who are interested in the general history of Taiwanese manhua, I suggest you to refer to here (chinese only). There are also plenty of academic research studies, some available online, which were carried out to study the manhua industry in Taiwan, for instance, “Evolution of Taiwanese Girls Comics and Script Creation” by Lai Yi Ling, 2000.

For what I am familiar with, and based on my observations only:

It is no secret that the industry of girl comics, or “shaonu manhua” as I will call it hereafter, began to bloom with pirated copies of shoujo manga from Japan in the 1970’s. The common characteristic of such “pirated copies” was the poor quality of their production and translation!

The government of Taiwan enforced a censorship legislation in the late 60’s, which practically destroyed its domestic comic industry from before, whilst some publishers found loopholes and survived by printing pirated copies of Japanese (shoujo) manga instead. The legislation was finally revised in 1987 soon after the Martial Law of Taiwan was lifted. But by then, the comic industry was already dominated and heavily influenced by those  “imports” of Japanese manga.

In the early 80’s, some local publishers organised comic competitions to call for young and talented artists to create stories for their new manhua magazines. Manhua artists, such as ZHANG Jing Mei and GAO Yong rose to fame after being awarded in the competitions and later trained by their publishers. Since then, the local manhua industry started to flourish again.

Ironically, as the imports of Japanese manga was officially legalised in Taiwan in 1992, the local manhua industry was once again put into test by the influx of Japanese manga. Soon after, the market was saturated with about 30 manhua and manga magazines being published in the same time in Taiwan.

Despite of the matching skills of the manhua artists to their Japanese counterparts, many printing houses were forced to close down due to financial constraints and lack of popularity in light of a constantly changing market.

Over the years, albeit some shaonu manhua artists such as I-Huan (aka YI Huan), Nicky Lee and Ryan, have thrived since the late 90’s, most of many others have become less well-known by far.

There are numerous of academic research studies, as well as amateur discussions and debates, being carried out recently to assess the sustainability of the local manhua industry. The general conclusion was that, aside the lack of financial support from the local publishing firms and government, artists and editors need to work together to improve their skills of creating stories and storyboarding in order to re-capture their audiences’ attention once again.

My say: I always enjoy reading a manhua of a chinese historical romance, or in which an old Chinese legend was being depicted. Personally, I would have thought the publishers and manhua artists have managed to “nail it” by investing further into this “niche market” of historical dramas. Unfortunately, in the last couple years, I have not seen many more developments in shaonu manhua, but insteade witnessed some of these stories being underrated or artists slowing down in the industry, etc…. which is quite sad to see really because those were very talented artists after all!

Another thing about shaonu manhua – do expect a good degree of melodramas (especially for the earlier vintage ones)….

Generally speaking*, chinese romance novels, similar to the likes of Harlequin’s, is a widely popular genre in modern literature in Taiwan. It is fairly easy to distinguish the similarities in the style of storytelling between a chinese romantic novel and a manhua. Sometimes I even suspect that the manhua storyboarding was probably created taken that into account, thus melodramas in manhua…. (but that is just my view only!)

(*in other words, don’t grill me here for statistics please!)


Below some examples of shaonu manhua and artists (besides Nicky Lee, Ryan and YI Huan that is….). Will update the page with more pics in due course….. well, someday!

LIN Yu Chin 林玉琴

Wedding (Seasons 1 -2) 花嫁

Visionary the Other Side 虛幻彼方, on hiatus


LU Xiang Ru 吕相儒

Wedding theme 嫁情曲 (hiatus)


LIN Qing Hui 林青慧

Incandescent Moon  焚月

Hua Qian  花縴

The Only Female/ Incomplete Talented Woman 不全才女


Zhang Jing Mei 張靜美

Bird of Youth 青春小鳥

Angel at War 代戰天使


JUN Xiao 曉君

Shadow of Visions 幽夢影

Xia Ke Xing  霞客行


OU Bi Feng 歐碧鳳

The Pearl Grudge 珍珠怨

Legend of Purple Hairpin 紫釵記


YOU Gui Xiu 游圭秀 (I love her!!!! ^^)

The Wicked Queen 壞心的皇后

Yan Zhi Cuo 胭脂錯 (prequel)

Li Ren Man 儷人蠻 (sequel)


YOU Su Lan 遊素蘭

Angel Myth 天使迷夢

Melancholic Princess 倾国怨伶 (prequel)

Fire King 火王 (sequel)


HOU Cai You 侯采佑

細彊曲 (prequel)

斷腕公主 (sequel)


LUO Ling 羅玲

Xie Shui Die Yi (Playful butterfly?) 戲水蝶衣


YANG Shao Lun 楊邵倫

Love is Trillion Watt 愛是億萬伏特 (on hiatus)


WANG Yi Wen 王宜文

Beacon Fire Love 烽火情緣

The End of Love 愛情的盡頭

Paper Crystal 紙水晶

All In 賭國風云錄


GAO Yong 高永

Brahma Cakra (?) 梵天變

Zodiac Police 星座刑事

Strictly Forbidden 男生禁止步

Princess Diana 真情黛安娜


REN Hong 任紅

I Am a Man 男樣

Angel loves Demon 天使愛魔鬼


Jo Chen 咎井淳

Mirror of the Other Side 鏡子的另一邊



Others – some to be updated


吴柔萱 – ARDOUR 魅力反射


岑小京 – 騎士公主 (on hiatus)





鄭玉兒 – 銀河彼端




YU Jia Ren 俞家燕

Billion Dollar Princess 百億公主


LIN Min Xuan 林珉萱

Chicken Cutlet Princess 雞排公主


NAN Gong Yu 南宮燠



to be updated


DING Bing 丁冰 (China)

Loulan Yi Meng 楼兰旖梦


MING Xiao Xi 明晓溪 (China)

Show Princess 泡沫之夏

Angel Will Love You Instead of Me (会有天使替我爱你)


XIA Da (シャアタァ) 夏達 (China)

長歌行 ちょうかこう   (新連載)




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