How To Follow Complicated Anime And Manga

For some anime and manga, it’s not only hard to keep track of all the characters, but also remembering how they are all connected.

Recently Japanese TV show Ame Talk did a whole episode on Hunter x Hunter. In one part, the program tried to explain how all the characters were connected.

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Complex, no?

In Japanese, these diagrams are called “soukanzu” (相関図), with “soukan” referring to a mutual relation. “Zu” refers to illustration, picture or drawing. In English, I’ve seen soukanzu translated as “character diagram” or “correlation chart.”

A soukanzu isn’t necessarily difficult to follow, with notes and arrows explaining the relationships between each character, such a parent-child or boyfriend-girlfriend, as well as things that happened between them or things they would like to happen.

To better explain, here is a Game of Thrones soukanzu, with added maps.

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And for LoL.

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But... Peter Rabbit?

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Even the Japanese news does this to explain complex scandals.

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See how this could help keep track of all those different folks? That’s why manga and anime have official and fan-made soukanzu.

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Though, sometimes they are.

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And then, there’s One Piece.

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There’s always One Piece.

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Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

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About the author

Brian Ashcraft

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored five books, including most recently, Japanese Whisky: The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Desirable Spirit.