Manga vs Anime: What Is The Difference You Should Know?

Manga vs Anime: What Is The Difference You Should Know

What is the first thing arising in your mind when it comes to Japan? Manga vs Anime? If this is your answer, don’t stop reading this article. It is undoubted that Manga and Anime have risen to popularity around the world. With a variety of incredible manga and anime like Death Note, Your Name, Attack on Titan, etc., these Japanese entertainment forms make people in many countries crazy about them.

Frankly speaking, both anime and manga seem to be quite specialized hobbies. So, Janbox is here to help you explore the secrets about them. What is manga/anime? What do you know about its origin and history? What is the key difference between manga and anime? Manga vs Anime – Which one is superior? Let’s answer all these questions right now!

1. What is Manga?

In terms of its meaning, manga (Japanese: 漫画) is defined as a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels. The art form tells a logical narrative by using illustrated images and text on a page. Besides, the themes, styles, and contents of manga are so diverse that it has great popularity in Japan as well as in the rest of the world.

Most manga comics are often printed in black-and-white. In addition to some reasons like faster printing or lower cost, people think that printing black-and-white materials will remain the impact of the artwork instead of coloring them. It seems a little boring but makes manga special. A variety of manga lovers enjoy it in this way because it pervades a unique tone and vibe. Manga are published via chapters or volumes and are the base of many anime titles. Besides, Japanese manga, in its original form, is usually read from right to left, which is quite difficult for beginners to adapt.

Manga is usually printed in black and white.
Manga is usually printed in black and white

When it comes to manga, many people might be curious about its origin and history. Let’s go back to the past! In Japan, it is believed that narrative visual art had existed between the 12th and 13th centuries. The earliest examples of manga’s origins are books of sequential drawings, dating from Japan’s Edo period (1603-1867). These drawing styles were affected by the traditional ukiyo-e style. However, this form of entertainment had not got the name “manga” until the 19th century.

After World War II, manga rose to popularity because, under American occupation, Japanese art was more influenced by occidental cultural products such as Western superhero stories and Disney cartoons. In addition, magazines and newspapers that specialized in publishing serialized stories also emerged this time. Manga has developed enormously, featuring many different stories, writing styles, and artworks as well. Finally, it became widespread on the Western market. Now, it is not wrong to say that manga is a universal phenomenon.

Some famous manga in Japan
Some famous manga in Japan

How many categories of manga do you know? The manga consists of various genres and topics like action, comedy, horror, science fiction, adventure, romance, drama, mystery, sports, games, and so on. Japanese comic books cater to all audiences in different age groups. Some manga works are beloved and popular all over the world like Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, or Dragon Ball. There are some popular categories as below:

  • Kodomo: It is a kid series that usually serves children. It is about simplistic stories with bright characters and simple life lessons.
  • Shonen: It is a series for young boys. This genre of manga often features brave heroes who fight off huge enemies.
  • Shoujo: It is usually towards young girls. Shoujo manga normally tells stories about young women looking for romance.
  • Josei: It is a manga for female adults (around 18-30+). Josei manga frequently features more emotionally complicated stories, sometimes containing a few elements of violence and sex.
  • Seinen: It is quite similar to Josei manga but gears towards males (around 19-30+).

2. What is Anime

Anime (Japanese:アニメ) refers to Japanese hand-drawn or computer animation with a distinct style. The name “anime” is derived from the English word “animation”. Anime are TV shows or movies which are an animated version of the manga source title. In Japan, anime is known as all forms of cartoons, regardless of style and origin. However, to the viewers outside Japan, this term means “animations made in Japan”. It could be any animated shows or movies using a particular Japanese animation style like vibrant colors and characters, colorful graphics, fabulous themes, or vivid panning. Their distinctive look as well as the way it is animated depends on the studio company in charge of the animation.

What are the features of anime? If you are a big fan of anime, you must be familiar with its impressive characters. People in anime are often drawn in a special way, instead of in a realistic proportion. They have usually oversized eyes, overstated facial expressions, and exaggerated hairstyles. Different from cartoons that often indicate stylistic simplicity and a specific thematic, anime specializes in sophistication and its subject matter. Famous anime titles are usually released in seasons while an anime series will last for only one season including either 12 or 24 episodes.

Impressive and colorful characters in anime
Impressive and colorful characters in anime.

Regarding its history, there is some interesting information that is worth exploring. Do you know what the first Japanese film was? It was titled Katsudō Shashin, introduced in 1907 and considered as the first example of anime, as stated by The Milford Public Library. In 1917, Japan started producing animations via trial-and-error drawing as well as cutout animation techniques, inspired by French and American cartoons, according to These animations are firstly known as “manga-film”. A Japanese typical style of animation came out during the 1960s with the original animated series of Osamu Tezuka and became widespread in the second half of the 20th century. It has gained popularity not only in Japan but also in the rest of the world until now.

Like manga, anime is also divided into sub-genres including shojo, shonen, kodomo, josei, or seinen. It serves viewers in all age groups and spans many different topics, from horror to romance. But, regarding types of anime, we must say that there are two: anime adaptation and original anime.

  • Anime adaptation: usually adapts famous stories and series, mostly manga. Some well-known examples of anime adaptation must be mentioned as Death Note, Attack on Titan, Fullmetal Alchemist.
  • Original anime: is known as the original stories that are written by the original authors. They are not based on any other series or movies. Your Name and anime by Studio Ghibli are famous examples of original anime.

>> See more: Top 18 best websites to buy anime figures from Japan

3. What is the difference between manga and anime?

We have got a general knowledge about manga vs anime. Now, it is time for us to find out the differences between manga and anime. As mentioned above, manga refers to Japanese comic books while anime refers to animation like animated films and TV shows. Therefore, manga and anime differences are unavoidable.

The difference between manga and anime
The difference between manga and anime

3.1. Visual

In general, the visual is the first recognizable difference between anime and manga. While manga features hand-drawing with black and white features, anime shows up animated scenes with colorful characters, special effects, and vivid movements. However, manga is evaluated to have better details in the background and character design than those of anime.

3.2. Story delivery

Speaking manga vs anime difference, we must mention their story deliverance. Manga depends on hand-drawing pictures to deliver the story and describe the characters. It can highlight certain events as well as characters in detail, which makes them feel more impactful. Meanwhiles, anime uses animated scenes to tell the story and illustrate characters. Its characters come to life with impressive color visual and voice acting, combined with sound effects and background music to tell the story effectively.

3.3. Cost

Cost is also another anime vs manga difference. It is obvious that manga often costs less money than anime. Instead of requiring many facilities to make a manga, the main manga authors can need assistants but the cost seems not to be very high. On the other hand, producing an anime needs a lot of money, even rising to about 250 million yen ($2 million) on average for an anime series of 13 episodes, according to Anime News Network.

Cost is also another anime vs manga difference
Cost is also another anime vs manga difference

3.4. Control

In fact, manga authors have full control over their works. Therefore, the story can develop freely and follow the author’s plan. In contrast, an anime adaption often puts under supervision, so the story can be modified owing to the time limit. In short, control is regarded as one of the anime manga differences.

3.5. Length

With regard to chapter length, a manga chapter can last around 10-20 pages. But, the series length might have no limitation because it depends on the author’s plan. Sometimes, they have to end their manga in case it does not go well. Whereas, an anime series only lasts around 12 episodes. It often takes less than 30 minutes to finish an episode.

3.6. Popularity

Lastly, popularity is a must-mentioned difference between manga and anime. It can be said that anime is more popular outside of Japan. The reason seems to be that anime is easier to access and people in the West prefer television and movies to comic books. Meanwhiles, manga is believed to be more popular in Japan. It can be explained that manga is considered a hobby of the Japanese.

Thus, you have got yourself the answers to the question “What is the difference between manga and anime?”.

4. Which is better: Manga or Anime?

Is manga better than anime or vice versa? to be honest, it is difficult to say which one is superior, manga vs anime. Fans of each type are more possible to protect their hobby. Some say that anime is more interesting while others believe that manga is the best. In the end, it is not about the comparison between anime vs manga in general. It is about anime and manga versions of a specific series. Generally, we believe that both anime and manga are fantastic.

Manga vs anime: Which one is better?
Manga vs anime: Which one is better?

Both anime vs manga have their own pros and cons. Anime is visually awesome to watch whilst manga is enjoyable to read during a train ride. Anime is better in visuals, but the manga is superior when it comes to mangaka’s original vision.

So, whether manga or anime is better depends on how you choose to enjoy it. If you are into watching characters on television, want to immerse yourself in fantastic animation, and listen to the music, then keep watching. If you are fond of using your imagination to access the life of characters or just want to read as much as you want, then continue reading. Both manga and anime are worth being respected for what they offer.


In short, well-known as Japanese two visual media, both anime and manga share a unique visual style. While manga refers to comic books or graphic novels, anime is defined as animated shows or movies. By using hand-or-computer-drawn images, both of these storytelling media show similar visual sensibilities. So, now you have had a more detailed background about manga vs anime. There are pros and cons to both sides, let’s enjoy both of them in your own ways. We hope that this article of Janbox is interesting and helpful to you. If you want to know more about Japanese culture and specialty, don’t ignore our website!

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