Comic book nerds unite!
Love reading comic books? Love studying Chinese?
There’s a way to combine your two passions: Read Chinese manhua online!
Chinese 漫画 (màn huà) — manhua are Mandarin-language comic books that are heavily popular in Chinese-speaking countries.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find manhua on shelves of your local bookstore in Western countries.
But don’t worry! There are plenty of seriously handy online manhua resources for downloading and reading as much manhua as your heart desires.
What Is Chinese Manhua and How Can It Help Me Learn Mandarin?
Chinese manhua are Mandarin-language comic books similar to Japanese 漫画 (まんが) — manga. These comics are popular throughout China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Most manhua are written in simplified Chinese. Manhua from China is read from left to right, similar to American comic books, while manhua from Taiwan or Hong Kong are typically read from right to left like manga.
Manhua is usually categorized by genre: Satirical and Political, Comical, Action and Children’s Manhua. Needless to say, it’s easy to find a manhua that’ll entertain you as well as teach you Chinese.
Like playing a Chinese video game or watching a Mandarin-language movie, reading manhua can help Chinese learners improve their fluency in a fun way. When you want time to sit back and relax, find a manhua from one of these resources and improve your Mandarin while chilling out.
Reading manhua can improve your Chinese reading skills, much like a regular Chinese-language book would. Reading regular Chinese books is a fun way to brush up on your 汉字 (hàn zì) — Chinese character reading skills. Reading manhua is helpful in the same way, but with the added bonus of some beautiful artwork.
Reading Chinese characters in an engaging context will help you remember the vocabulary. If you’re looking for even more Chinese-learning resources with entertaining content, check out FluentU!
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Each video features annotated subtitles with translations in English, hanzi and pinyin. You can access FluentU’s full video library on your web browser or, better yet, download the app at the iTunes or Google Play store to learn Chinese on the go!
Learn Mandarin by the (Comic) Book: 7 Places to Read Chinese Manhua Online
Weibo’s Manhua Channel
Weibo is one of China’s biggest microblogging social media sites. In addition to offering a blogging and social platform, Weibo also has an online manhua section that’s 100% free.
To read manhua on Weibo, simply search through the main manhua homepage for a title or cover that interests you. After clicking a title, select the first page of the book to be taken to the in-browser reader.
A vast majority of manhua available on Weibo is in hanzi only, so advanced learners, this resource is great for you!
- “渡灵” (Dù Líng) — “Guarding.” A fantasy novel about love, life and being a demi-god.
- “夏天只是一天” (Xià Tiān Zhǐ Shì Yī Tiān) — “Summer is Just a Day.” A comedy manhua about a surgeon with no sense of humor who falls for a comedian.
Manhua Tai is a China-based webcomic platform specializing in online manhua. Many of these manhua aren’t scans of print manhua per se, but rather webcomics submitted by artists and writers online.
There’s quite a variety of genres and art styles to choose from, and every comic on this site is free to read in your browser. While everything is in hanzi, there are plenty of comics on the site that are fairly simple and would work well for beginner and intermediate learners.
- “霸道忠犬寻爱记” (Bà Dào Zhōng Quǎn Xú Nài Jì) — “Tyrants of the Loyal Dog.” A young woman and her former bodyguard are reunited and realize they have more complicated feelings for each other than they thought.
- “绝世唐门” (Jué Shì Táng Mén) — “Amazing Tangmen.” In a fantasy world, a group of flying fighters attempts to change history.
Omanhua is a manhua site that specializes in action, science fiction and horror manhua. If you like action and the darker side of art, check this one out!
Omanhua dedicates itself to making sure no stolen artwork ends up on the site. Because of this, many of the manhua you select may redirect to the artist’s website or a place to purchase the physical or digital version of the manhua. Still, there are a lot of free comics to read.
- “斗罗大陆神界传说” (Dòu Luō Dà Lù Shén Jiè Chuán Shuō) — “Douro Mainland Legend.” The god of the sea and the god of destruction enter a disagreement that could be cataclysmic for the world.
- “鬼情人仇” (Guǐ Qíng Rén Chóu) — “Ghost Love.” A ghostly love story as old as time.
YesAsia is a super popular site for everything Japanese, Korean and Chinese. We’re talking movies, TV shows, video games, collectibles, toys, foreign goods and more.
One awesome part of YesAsia is their manhua section. These are all physical manhua that you can purchase through the site and have shipped to you directly from China and Taiwan. There are a ton of manga and Western comics translated into Chinese available for purchase, as well.
Once again, most of the manhua at YesAsia are entirely in hanzi. If you enjoy variety, this is the site to check out—there are dozens of genres to search through.
- “一些爱的故事” (Yī Xiē Ài De Gù Shì) — “A Love Story.” A tongue-in-cheek comedic manhua about the friendship between a mischievous child and a self-absorbed man.
- “皮蛋小子” (Pí Dàn Xiǎo Zi) — “Pidan Kid.” A person in love with their friend tries to grapple boundaries in this romance manhua.
Kuman is a great manhua site specializing in comics for children, teens and young adults. Most of the comics on this site are free to read but cost money to download.
- “全界旋煋” (Quán Jiè Xuán Xīng) — “Roaming the World.” An action-adventure manhua for teens.
- “总裁的致命毒药” (Zǒng Cái De Zhì Mìng Dú Yào) — “The Leader’s Deadly Poison.” An ongoing webcomic about a psychologist and a patient who develop a fragile love affair.
Book Walker is a publishing company that provides webcomics, scans and physical copies of their own manhua. Most of the content on their site costs money, but it’s certainly worth it.
If you’re interested, Book Walker also features regular literature in addition to manhua. Plus, you can rent a bunch of their manhua for a lower price instead of purchasing manhua to keep.
- “魔法咪路咪路” (Mó Fǎ Mī Lù Mī Lù) — “Magic Mi Lu Mi Road.” A cute love comedy designed for children. The hanzi is simple, so beginners, look at this one!
- “同居不安定” (Tóng Jū Bù Ān Dìng) — “Unstable Cohabitation.” A Chinese translation of a Japanese office romance comedy.
When all else fails, try Amazon!
There’s a ton of manhua available for purchase on Amazon, as well as a lot of Chinese-language versions of manga.
We know almost every resource we’ve covered are hanzi-only, which kinds of sucks for beginner learners out there! Luckily, with a lit bit of searching, there’s actually quite a bit of pinyin manhua available on Amazon.
- “No-brain and Unhappiness.” Two unique characters try to deal with their poor tempers and cluelessness.
- “Fantastic Journey of San Mao.” A beautiful, vintage manhua about one of the world’s longest-running cartoon characters from China.
Talk about the ultimate manhua library!
With so many genres and art styles out there, we can bet you’ll find a new manhua series to binge-read.
And One More Thing...
If you want to continue learning Chinese with interactive and authentic Chinese content, then you'll love FluentU.
FluentU naturally eases you into learning Chinese language. Native Chinese content comes within reach, and you'll learn Chinese as it's spoken in real life.
FluentU has a wide range of contemporary videos—like dramas, TV shows, commercials and music videos.
FluentU brings these native Chinese videos within reach via interactive captions. You can tap on any word to instantly look it up. All words have carefully written definitions and examples that will help you understand how a word is used. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.
FluentU's Learn Mode turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you're learning.
The best part is that FluentU always keeps track of your vocabulary. It customizes quizzes to focus on areas that need attention and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a 100% personalized experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store.
Em Casalena is a published author, freelance writer and music columnist. They write about a lot of stuff, from music to films to language.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Chinese with real-world videos.