Difference Between Manga and Anime

The main difference between manga and anime is that the manga is the drawings in comic books and graphic novels while the anime is the audio-visual form or the animated form of drawings.

Japan is the motherland of both these fascinating storytelling media: manga and anime. For cartoon and animation lovers, these two are often well-known terms. Yet most us don’t know the exact difference between manga and anime.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Manga
     – Definition, Features, Examples
2. What is Anime
    – Definition, Features, Examples
3. What is the Relationship Between Manga and Anime
    – Outline of Association
4. What is the Difference Between Manga and Anime
    – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Cartoons, Anime, Animation, Manga, Art

Difference Between Manga and Anime - Comparison Summary

What is Manga

Manga is a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels, created for the entertainment of children as well as adults. Manga is simply the hand-drawings in comic books. Apparently, they have a long and complex pre-history in earlier Japanese art in the 12th century. The history of the present manga can be traced back to a style conformed in the late 19th century Japanese art. It became popular in the western countries following World War I, mainly as a result of the manga story Astro Boy manga series by Osamu Tezuka.

Outside Japan, the term manga highlights comics typically originated in Japan, but in the Japanese language and culture, manga ‘漫画’refers to comics as well as cartooning. Usually, manga stories are typically drawn in monochrome (black and white) although there are some colourful mangas as well.

Difference Between Manga and Anime

The subject matter or the genres in manga covers a wider range from action, comedy, thrill, humor, supernatural, historical drama, mystery, sexuality, romance, detective to sports, games, etc. Therefore, the fame of manga is evident from many mangas being translated into numerous languages around the world.

In Japan, manga has already become entrepreneurship where manga artist known as mangaka can earn a good income upon their popularity. Usually, a mangaka works with few assistants and a creative editor from a commercial publishing company. Their manga is published serialized in large manga magazines that consist of many stories. Upon the popularity of a certain manga, it will then be published as one whole story volume known as ‘tankōbon ‘.Later the same artist or another may create an animated version of it. Some popular publication companies of manga are Shueisha, Shogakukan, and Kodansha

Similarly, most manga serves as the basis for anime, thus making a certain story having both a manga version as well as an anime version. However, not all manga have an anime version and vice versa.

Some popular mangas are Naruto, Crayon Shin chan, Doraemon, Dragon Ball, and Golgo 13 (most have anime versions as well).

What is Anime

Anime, in brief, means the Japanese art style in the animated form. They are usually computer animated, hand-drawn animated forms, having an audio-visual quality. They are often characterized by colorful graphics, vibrant characters and fantastical themes.

Anime is another depiction of the technological advancement of the graphical story illustrations at present. However, Japanese anime dates back to 1960 with the pioneering publication of Osamu Tezuka after whom the Japanese anime industry sprang to an internationally renowned stage. However, at present not only Japan creates anime but other countries as well.

Since anime typically consist of the audio-visual or animated form of these stories, there are characteristic and techniques such as the story-telling mechanism, combining graphic art, characterization, cinematography, and other forms of imaginative and individualistic techniques.

Similar to manga, anime has numerous genres and subject matters; it is also categorized according to the target audience as well. Therefore, there are children’s’ (子供 kodomo), girls’ (少女 shōjo), boys’ (少年 shōnen) and a diverse range of genres targeting an adult audience. Therefore, unlike manga, anime stories usually end up either being TV series or anime films.

Figure 2: The popular anime film: Spirited Away

Moreover, though most of us consider anime to be highlighting on the animation concept, in reality, it focuses less on the animation of movement instead it focuses more on the realism of settings as well as the use of camera effects, including panning, zooming, and angle shots. Therefore, anime is in a way similar to directing a film as well; it needs a well-trained director with good cinematographic knowledge. At present, there are over 430 production studios created especially for the anime industry throughout the world. Studio Ghibli, Gainax, and Toei Animation studios are some of the leading production studios among them.  

Relationship Between Manga and Anime

Most often it is manga that serves as the basis for anime, which results in the same story having both an anime and a manga version. However, with the advancement of the technology at present, anime is even created without making the initial manga drawings.

Difference Between Manga and Anime


Manga is a style of Japanese art in comic books and graphic novels, typically aimed at entertaining adults as well as children while anime is the animated style of Japanese art.


Manga is only in printed form or hand-drawn while anime is in the animated or the audio-visual form. Therefore, anime can be computerised, unlike manga.


Some popular manga artists are Osamu Tezuka, Eiichiro Oda, Akira Toriyama, Masashi Kishimoto, Takao Saito, Fujiko Fujio, Yuki Midorikawa, etc.

Some popular anime artists or directors are Hayao Miyazaki, Akira Toriyama, Osamu Tezuka, Takahiro Omori, etc.


One Piece, Dragon Ball, Case Closed, Golgo 13, Doraemon, Naruto, Astro Boy, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Death Note, Natsume Youjinchou, etc are some examples of manga.

Some examples of anime are Naruto, Natsume Youjinchou, Death Note, Dr. Slump, Dragon Ball, Doraemon etc. (TV series), Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro (films), etc.


Manga and anime are popular story forms originated in Japan. Manga refers to the story illustrations in comic books or graphic novels while anime refers to the animated form of stories. This is the main difference between manga and anime. Manga comparatively has a longer history than to that of anime while most manga has served as the basis for anime. However, not every anime is based upon manga.


1. “Manga.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 11 July 2018, Available here.
2. “Anime.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 10 July 2018, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1.”Ternyata Kabuto mempunyai Saudara #naruto #kabuto#manga #587″ by Nurudin Jauhari (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flicker

About the Author: Upen

Upen, BA (Honours) in Languages and Linguistics, has academic experiences and knowledge on international relations and politics. Her academic interests are English language, European and Oriental Languages, Internal Affairs and International Politics, and Psychology.

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