Book Review: The Manga Guide to Biochemistry

Manga Biochemistry coverThe Manga Guide series take an interesting approach to teaching the principles of science.  Each book is in the form of a graphic novel, supplemented by summary text and graphic explanations at the end of each section.  I have previously reviewed the Manga Guide to Relativity.

Biochemistry is the study of processes that take place inside the bodies of living organisms. This book is suitable for teenagers; it will give them a head start on biology courses.  It is also a good review for adults who what to gain a basic knowledge of how our body works.  The book will be especially interesting to people trying to lose weight as the protagonist in the novel part of the book is trying to do.

The first section, “What happens inside your body” deals with cell structure and function.

The second section, “Photosynthesis and respiration” deals with sugars, carbohydrates, alcohol, and metabolism.  It explains, among other things, why you can lose weight on a low carbohydrate diet.

Section 3, “Biochemistry in our everyday lives” deals with cholesterol and fats, blood types and why fruits get sweeter as they ripen.  It explains the difference between the so-called “good” HDL cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Section 4, “Enzymes are the keys to chemical reactions” explains how proteins and enzymes interact to build and repair body tissue and protect us from foreign invaders.

The last section, “Molecular biology and the biochemistry of nucleic acids” deals with DNA.

The book contains an index for quick reference.

The principal author, Masaharu Takemura, PhD. is an Associate Professor at Tokyo University of Science, specializing in molecular biology and biology education.  He notes in the preface, that the text was checked by two independent scientists in the field, so the book has been “peer-reviewed.”  Artwork was done by Kikuyaro.

The book was published originally in Japanese by Ohmsha Ltd. of Tokyo and in English by No Starch Press Inc. of San Francisco.  This book and others of the Manga Guide series are available at No Starch Press at

The books are also available on