Manga vs Anime: What’s the Difference?


Manga and anime are massively popular in their home country of Japan and around the globe. But, what’s the difference between the two?

The biggest difference is that manga and anime are different types of media. Manga is print media—similar to a comic book. Anime is film/TV—a type of Japanese cartoon. But these aren’t the only differences.

Below, you’ll learn more about manga vs anime. What do they have in common? And what makes them different? 

What is manga? 

Manga is a type of Japanese comic book and/or graphic novel. While they look like normal comics, there are some clear differences that make manga special. 

Firstly, manga is read from right to left, and back to front! The writing and drawing styles are also quite different. And, manga is always printed in black and white on a special type of paper. The sheer variety of manga and the unique storytelling make these Japanese comics an amazing reading choice.

When certain manga become popular, it’s not uncommon for them to be adapted into an anime. 

What is anime?

Coming from the word animēshiyon, which means (you guessed it) animation, anime is the name for Japanese animated tv series and movies. Anime is characterized by bright colors, high contrast, vibrant characters, and epic soundtracks. 

One of the main differences between anime and other types of cartoons is the way the characters are drawn. They often have disproportionate bodies, wide eyes, unique hairstyles, and unusual facial expressions. It’s easy to spot an anime character when you see one. 

Anime gained widespread popularity in the 1980s, but the first anime movie was released in 1907. It was called Katsudō Shashin. Ten years later, inspired by European cartoons, the Japanese started producing more and more anime using cutout animation techniques.

The first anime with today’s typical style of animation was produced in the 1960s. Since then, anime as a genre has continued to gain popularity. Today, there are over 400 studios, including big names like Mappa, Ghibli Studios, and Ufotable.

What’s the difference between manga and anime? 

We can clearly see the big differences between anime and manga. But other than the fact that one is written and the other is animated, there are some other differences you should know:

  • Style of drawing. While the style of drawing is similar in both, manga’s characters are black and white compared to the colorful characters in anime. 
  • Character design: Animation studios often draw characters to look older than they actually are. For example, in the Demon Slayer series, fans often wonder: How old is Tanjiro? It’s easier to tell how old he is in the manga because the anime makes him seem more like an adult. 
  • Pacing. In anime, the action unfolds for you. There are special effects and fast cuts that make the story fly by. This can make reading a manga feel a bit slow by contrast.
  • Attention to detail. Some may prefer to enjoy all of the scenes for as long as they please and capture every detail. This can be done only by reading manga. Anime is just too fast.
  • Storytelling. Manga often focuses more on character development. So, people who read manga can go much deeper into a story. By doing this, they can “get closer” to the characters and get to know them much better. 
  • Cinematography. Even if most anime uses manga as their source material, their creative cinematography can totally change the impact of a story. Zooming, angle shots, camera effects, and music make the story much more eye-catching and sometimes more emotional.
  • Artist’s rights and control. Anime studios often change things from the manga and even add some of their own ideas. For example, if a series is very popular, a studio may decide to alter it and add more storylines. Other studios may cut entire scenes and characters out of the original manga when adapting it for the screen. So, watching an anime and reading the manga it’s based on can be quite different experiences.   

Final Verdict

Even if they appear to be similar and have the same characters and stories, there are some major differences between manga and anime. And that’s not a bad thing. While most anime uses manga as source material, there are many unique stories manga can offer and anime cannot—and vice versa. So, one is definitely not better than the other. Both have their own benefits, which is why we recommend exploring both anime and manga.  


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