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How to find anime or manga at the library

Aug 06, 2022

Anime and manga (also known as Japanese animation and Japanese comics) have become increasingly popular over recent years due to their imaginative storylines, stylized art, and often complex characters. The Ottawa Public Library’s growing collection of manga and anime titles lets you read or watch a lot of great content and support creators without going broke at the bookstore or the anime shop! With over 30 library branches across the city, every library branch has a different selection of manga and anime on their shelves – not every branch has the same series, since we just don’t have the space or the budget to get over 30 copies of every single series, so if you’ve read every manga in your local branch, that is not ‘every manga in the library’. You can find and request different series, movies, and shows from branches all across Ottawa! 

But how?  

  • searching just for the term ‘anime’ won’t give great results, because in our bilingual catalogue this will also retrieve anything categorized as ‘dessin animé’ (French for ‘cartoons’, including everything from Disney films to Paw Patrol) 
  • searching for the Keyword or Subject ‘manga’ will find not just manga, but all the books or videos ABOUT manga: how to draw manga, comic history, biographies of manga artists, etc. 
  • traveling to different branches to see their different collections takes time and isn’t practical for everyone 

Good strategies you can use: 

  • search for either a title or author you know (assuming you know the correct spelling! The website search does not auto-correct), so if you’re looking for the tenth volume of Fullmetal Alchemist type ‘Fullmetal Alchemist 10’ into the search bar; or if you want to know whether the library has any manga by Junji Ito, click the drop-down arrow left of the search bar, choose the ‘Author’ option, and type ‘Junji Ito’ into the search bar to get everything by him (and not things ABOUT him) 

  • find recommendation-lists by staff or other library users by clicking on the drop-down arrow to the left of the search bar and choosing the ‘List’ option, then typing either ‘anime’ or ‘manga’ into the search bar (not both – that would limit your results to lists that only have BOTH terms in their title, and miss out on lots of great lists that have only one!). This option is especially useful when searching for anime, since you can avoid the ‘dessin animé’ problem mentioned earlier! 

  • if you just want to do a random look through any manga the library might have, instead of doing a search, you can BROWSE: in the menu-bar across the top of the website, click the Browse tab; from the drop-down menu that appears, choose ‘New Titles’; scroll down past the thumbnail images to find columns of sections you can browse – in each of the Adult, Teen, and Children’s sections of the collection, you can click on the Graphic novels option; this will show you all of the newest graphic novels the library has in that section, and you can scroll through to find the most recent manga. 

  • if you just want to do a random look through any anime the library might have, choose the Keyword search option and type ‘Japanese’ in the search bar; when the long list of results appears, use the filters (under the side-column ‘Filter your results by...’): choose the format Movies & TV (either DVD or streaming video, whichever you prefer) and choose Content: fiction. This will leave you with only fiction movies/shows with Japanese dialogue, and though not all of these will be anime, it will still have filtered out a big chunk of non-anime, making the anime easier to find! 

Important tips: 

  • Don’t rely on “I’ll just wait for it to show up on the shelf” - especially if the series is super-popular, your best bet is to place a hold and join a waiting list for a reserved copy; otherwise, with everyone who does place holds, you could be waiting for YEARS! Note: the more holds an item has, the more likely the library is to buy more copies ;)

  • Can’t find a series in our collection? If it’s a recent publication, you can click on the Services tab on our homepage and file a ‘Suggest to purchase’ request to bring that title to our collections management team’s attention. Keep in mind this may not help for older series that are already out of print. 

Get started browsing with a few of the staff lists below, and happy browsing!

Anime for adults and teens
by Vilka

A variety of anime movies and series available to borrow or stream. The anime category includes a very diverse range of stories, from fantasy and science fiction to serious historical and modern-day dramas, philosophical forays, romances, and screwball comedies. Note: many of the items listed include content or themes not suitable for younger children. For child-friendly titles, please see the list 'Anime for kids' or do an advanced search for anime in juvenile collections.

Popular manga series: adult & teen
by Vilka

A selection of some of the most popular adult & teen manga titles available at the Ottawa Public Library, to give an idea of the variety of genres & tones of manga available. Whether you're into action, comedy, drama, romance (innocent or steamy?), horror (spooky, gory, or psychological?), mystery/thriller, fantasy, sci-fi, or historical, long storylines, short series, or episodic vignettes, there is something for every taste! Note: this is NOWHERE NEAR a complete list of OPL's manga collections! To find more, search for Keyword: manga, or search by a Title or Author name you are interested in to see if they are available.

Manga for People who Don't Like Manga
by Vilka

A selection of Japanese graphic novels for readers unfamiliar with the format or tired of recurring manga clichés. Includes series and stand-alone works.

  • Vagabond


    Vol. 1

    By Inoue, Takehiko
    Beautifully realistic art tells the story of a young man's rise from orphan outcast to legendary swordsman during the samurai era, paralleled by his higher-born but can't-do-right childhood friend, who struggles to make his own name. Serious story with strong character development.
  • A Silent Voice

    A Silent Voice


    By Ōima, Yoshitoki
    Very touching drama of bullies, bystanders, and long-term effects tells the story of a boy who torments a deaf classmate until consequences force him to grow up. Years later, he wants to make amends, but is that possible? Also available in French (Aussi disponible en français)
  • A Bride's Story
    Beautifully-illustrated, heartwarming historical fiction about the arranged marriage between a nomadic bride and her much younger town-dwelling husband somewhere on the Silk Road in the 1800s. All is going well until the bride's family decide they want her back. Also available in French (Aussi disponible en français)
  • Planetes


    Volume 1

    By Yukimura, Makoto
    Follows the small crew of a clunky garbage-ship cleaning dangerous wreckage from space, as they try to get the job done without strangling each other from cabin-fever, and reconcile themselves with the reasons they ended up in this isolated line of work so far from home. Swings smoothly from humour to philosophy and even suspense.
  • Vinland Saga

    Vinland Saga

    Book One

    By Yukimura, Makoto
    Beautifully-drawn Viking saga about a boy who joins the mercenary band that killed his father in hopes of someday getting revenge. A meditation on the meaning of true strength and freedom, and the quest to understand the peace his father dreamed of in a world about to undergo great change.
  • Monster


    Volume 1, Herr Dr. Tenma

    By Urasawa, Naoki
    Nail-biting thriller about a doctor who saves a child's life, only to learn the child is a dangerous killer. Framed for murder, the doctor goes on the run across Europe trying to clear his name and stop the growing, charismatic child's frightening schemes.
  • Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms
    A very touching, thought-provoking story of the aftermath of the nuclear strike on Hiroshima, starting 10 years after the event, following survivors and descendants through the long-term physical and social effects of war and nuclear attack on ordinary people.
  • 5 Centimeters Per Second
    A poignant, realistic story of first love and growing up. Two best friends are separated when one moves away. They promise to stay in touch, but slowly start drifting apart as the years pass; yet each remembers their friendship and hopes to be reunited someday.
  • Yotsuba&!



    By Azuma, Kiyohiko
    Lighthearted comedy about the everyday adventures of a precocious but oddly clueless little girl who moves into a new neighborhood with her dad and starts befriending the neighbors and exploring. Cute without being saccharine, and quite funny.
  • ES : Eternal Sabbath

    ES : Eternal Sabbath

    Vol. 1

    By Soryo, Fuyumi
    Interesting thriller about a man with mind-manipulating powers on the run from the laboratory that created him, surviving by inserting himself into unsuspecting people's lives and memories until a dedicated researcher notices things about him that contradict everything she understands. Will she expose his secret, or should she help him?