The Manga Guide to Physics

The Manga Guide to Physics

by Hideo Nitta, Keita Takatsu, and Trend-Pro Co., Ltd.
May 2009, 248 pp.

"I found the cartoon approach of this book so compelling and its story so endearing that I recommend that every teacher of introductory physics, in both high school and college, consider using it."
American Journal of Physics

“Absolutely amazing for teaching complex ideas and theories. . . Excellent primers for serious study of physics topics.”
Physics Today

Megumi is an all-star athlete, but she's a failure when it comes to physics class. And she can't concentrate on her tennis matches when she's worried about the questions she missed on the big test! Luckily for her, she befriends Ryota, a patient physics geek who uses real-world examples to help her understand classical mechanics-and improve her tennis game in the process!

In The Manga Guide to Physics, you'll follow alongside Megumi as she learns about the physics of everyday objects like roller skates, slingshots, braking cars, and tennis serves. In no time, you'll master tough concepts like momentum and impulse, parabolic motion, and the relationship between force, mass, and acceleration.

You'll also learn how to:

  • Apply Newton's three laws of motion to real-life problems
  • Determine how objects will move after a collision
  • Draw vector diagrams and simplify complex problems using trigonometry
  • Calculate how an object's kinetic energy changes as its potential energy increases

If you're mystified by the basics of physics or you just need a refresher, The Manga Guide to Physics will get you up to speed in a lively, quirky, and practical way.

Author Bio 

Hideo Nitta, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Physics at Tokyo Gakugei University. He has had many papers and books published by Japanese and overseas publishers on subjects including quantum dynamics and radiation physics. He also has a strong interest in physics education. He is a member of the International Commission on Physics Education (ICPE), which is a commission of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP).

Table of contents 

Prologue: Does Physics Bother You?

Chapter 1: Law of Action and Reaction
Chapter 2: Force and Motion
Chapter 3: Momentum
Chapter 4: Energy

Appendix: Making Sense of Units

View the detailed Table of Contents (PDF)
View the Index (PDF)


"I found the cartoon approach of this book so compelling and its story so endearing that I recommend that every teacher of introductory physics, in both high school and college, consider using it."
American Journal of Physics

"Overall, we found the books absolutely amazing for teaching complex ideas and theories to people of nearly any age."
Physics Today (Read More)

"This is a perfect introduction to four key physics concepts—law of action and reaction, force and motion, momentum, and energy—especially for fans of anime and manga."
School Library Journal (Read More)

"The book purposefully departs from a traditional physics textbook format and it does it very well."
Dr. Marina Milner-Bolotin, Ryerson University

"If we are going to enthuse the next generation of physicists, mechanics, and engineers then perhaps this is the book to do it."
The School Librarian

“One of the best in the Manga Guide series. It's also a great fit of form and subject. Recommended.”
Otaku USA Magazine

"Tennis is well-chosen to tie the educational and entertainment aspects of the book together."
Comics Worth Reading (Read More)

"If you are a student (or know a student) who is intimidated about the prospect of an upcoming physics class, this might be a very good book to provide ahead of time, so they can familiarize themselves with the concepts (and equations) ahead of time, in a less intimidating way." Physics (Read More

"And what about being confronted in daily life by Newton's three laws of motion? Or getting on Jeopardy and having to calculate how an object's kinetic energy changes as its potential energy increases? You'd be glad you'd have read this book. Besides it has cool pictures."
COED Magazine (Read More)

The Manga Guide to Physics "is an awfully fun, highly educational read."
FrazzledDad (Read More)

The Manga Guide to Physics "provides a great opportunity to learn some of the basics about physics."
Dr. Dobb's CodeTalk (Read More)

"My favorite of the series."
Matthew Helmke (dot) Net (Read More)

"Having applications of physics that are easy to relate to makes things easier to understand. That's where this book excels in my opinion."
AstroNerdBoy's Anime & Manga Blog (Read More)

"As a parent, I love the idea behind the book but I wondered how teenagers would take to it. I gave The Manga Guide to Physics to my daughter and solicited her opinion. The verdict? She thought it was great."
The Best Kept Secret (Read More)

"The art is fantastic, and the teaching method is both fun and educational."
Active Anime (Read More)

Extra Stuff 

Sample pages from The Manga Guide to Physics:

book spread

Errata for the first printing

Page 74:
In the middle of the page, Ryota should say: "You can find acceleration by calculating the change in velocity over time."

Page 85:
In the v-t graph, the area of the rectangle should be represented by v1t.

Page 143:
The section "Elastic and Inelastic Collision" is not meant to imply that momentum conservation can only be applied to perfectly elastic or inelastic collisions. The conservation of momentum holds for all collisions. A perfectly inelastic or elastic collision simply makes our calculations simpler.

It can be difficult to solve conservation of momentum problems if both final velocities are unknown. However, if you know one final velocity or know the objects stick together (perfectly inelastic collision), you can solve for the other final velocity.

Page 144:
The symbols for angles in the introduction to this section should be θ (theta) and φ (phi), not q and f.

Page 146:
The first sentence in the second to last paragraph should read, "A derivative of zero means that the momentum does not change."

Page 165:
In the last frame, Ryota should say, "Yes, the potential energy of a particular height transforms into kinetic energy in a falling object."

Page 181:
Several instances of "break" and "breaking" should appear as "brake" and "braking" on this page.

Page 192:
In the fourth equation, we are expanding the right side of the third equation.

Page 203:
Since the spring expands by x to reach its natural length, the integral should be from -x to 0, not 0 to x, as shown.

Page 210:
The text equation underneath Fnet = Mg - mg sin θ - μ mg cos θ should read:
net force = weight of M - component force of gravity - force of friction