Naruto 2-page spread

Taking this double-page spread for example. There are total of 8 panels, but it's divided into three different segments from the top to the bottom.

I've tried reading from the top-right, to the bottom-right, then starting with the next pane downwards. I know Japanese manga is read right-to-left, and I'm having some trouble reading this particular part.

As a rule of thumb, how do I properly read manga with multiple panels like this?


2 Answers 2


You would typically read it in a S shape from one row to the next, always returning far right panel when you start a new row.

|    2    |   1     |
|  6  | 5 | 4 |  3  |
|    8    |    7    |

So on the first row, start from the far right and you hit the far left panel of the first row, move to the far right panel of the second row. Then at the far left panel of the second row, move onto the far right of third row and finish the page.

However because of the flow of action in this particular page the order of panels goes more like this:

|    2    |   1     |
|  3  | 4 | 4 |  3  |  <-- the 2nd and the 4th Hokage are acting simultaneously
|    6    |    5    |
  • So is there a general rule of thumb I can follow when dealing with crazy multipane stuff like this?
    – yuritsuki
    Commented Aug 1, 2013 at 3:57
  • 3
    The general rule of thumb is the first example, because it should work in 99% of cases, including the one example you gave, because this is the way of reading most readers are accustomed with . It's up to the author to direct the flow of the action. For the example you noted, notice the how the top and bottom rows (particularly the right most panels) mirror each other. The idea here is probably to illustrate the split-second swap in a more dynamic way.
    – кяαzєя
    Commented Aug 1, 2013 at 4:07

If the panels are arranged outside the norm, there isn't a general rule on how you should read it.

You kind of have to take in all the content at once, and use the context in order to try to figure out chronologically what happens first then next. For example, @Krazer had to figure out that both Hokage were acting simultaneously to know the order of the middle pannels.

  • 5
    +1 This is correct. Manga is a storytelling medium, but it's also a work of art. When artistic sensibilities prevail over importance to the story, mangaka are free to choose whatever arrangement they feel best creates the desired effect in readers. In practice, free-form styles abandoning the strict chronological right-to-left progression like this scene are relatively uncommon in shounen manga, but they're very common in shoujo manga.
    – Logan M
    Commented Aug 1, 2013 at 4:36

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