I picked this book up for fun. I already know a lot about electricity. I have been known to read electron tube spec sheets and circuit designs for fun and amusement. I’ve been known to scrounge around at ham radio festivals and used book stores looking for old design manuals or tech books. You may remember my blog entry about one of my projects where I built a tube-powered guitar amplifier. So, I didn’t buy this book because I needed/wanted to learn the material. I already know it.
I picked up The Manga Guide to Electricity because it looked like a fun way to introduce the topic to a new generation. Guess what? I think it is. The book was originally drawn and written in Japan a few years ago and was only recently translated into English. The story line is okay, but it won’t rank up there with Watchmen and the like. This isn’t a graphic novel. However, it is interesting enough to make a subject that can sometimes be difficult to absorb for new learners more accessible.
The book begins with the assumption of no real background in electricity or electronics. It then builds up to a pretty solid foundation in basic theory and gives a clear understanding of how electricity works and can be created, influenced, and corralled by an engineer or circuit designer to do specific tasks. The book doesn’t teach actual circuit design, but it does give a very clear introduction to very important concepts and components including voltage, potential, current, resistance, Ohm’s Law, capacitance, batteries, magnetism, diodes, rectification, motors, both alternating and direct current, and even the main types of electricity generation in use.
Each chapter starts with a part of a graphic tale that introduces specific concepts for that chapter in a clear and fun manner. Then, to make sure the conceptual understanding can be made solid, each chapter has an additional and more traditional text and diagram section with a more detailed explanation of each concept.
If you know anyone, especially someone who enjoys manga, whether a teenager or a kid at heart, or just someone who appreciates art with their text, who also is interested in a solid and interesting basic introduction to electricity, this book is well worth the read. I recommend it highly and am going to take a closer look at the entire series of manga guides that is still growing.