Anime verses Manga

This has been a debate among my friends for quite some time now. Which is better, anime or manga? I know some people will argue for one, and some people the other, while the third group (which I fall into) will say both!

Well, let’s look at this for a moment…

Manga is hand-drawn frames that the reader needs to imagine the connecting pieces, because they are given only the main points of the story. The details in a manga can be much more defined and intricate. Also, manga can contain more bits of a story and can therefore have several off-shoot stories about either the main characters or supporting characters. Manga also gives the reader more leeway in how they pieces of the story connect. Any reader of manga can tell you that if an anime is made of a manga they have read, some of the details are not how they imagined them while reading. This is especially true during the fight scenes. The reason is that each reader has a different mind-frame and thus may picture something happening differently than the manga-ka intended. And, they also already have the background story before watching the anime, which gives them a greater depth of knowledge about the characters (especially the minor ones).

Anime on the other hand, is more colorful and give the story more depth visually, and the entire sequence of the story is shown (the watcher does not have to fill in the blanks so to speak). But, unlike manga, the scenes tend to be less detailed and unimportant things are given a soft treatment (meaning they are not as defined and intricate). Also, anime tends to have a more strict story-line and does not deviate from the “vital” information very much nor very often. In this, anime gives you everything that you see, there is not real ability to add to the missing pieces as there is in manga, because there are no missing pieces. Of course, what is not shown can still be imagined, but those are usually minor parts of the larger story. Opposite of reading the manga first and then watching the anime, is those who have seen an anime first and then learned that there was a manga. These people, once they read the manga, learn that there are many details in the story that the anime has left out – which a lot of times it is due to time restraint or budget. However, in reading the manga, they obtain a new appreciation for the anime as well, and I think this is because they are now getting more details and more of the background story.

So, here is something else to think about when it comes to manga readers and anime watchers… while there are fans of both – those who appreciate manga more, and those who appreciate anime more; I have come to learn something interesting, usually (but not always), the people who read manga also watch anime and vise verse. Although people have their preferences, I have never seen instances in other ‘rivalries’ where one side cannot appreciate the other (such as – games, sports, etc.) Now, I do not know if it is because these two wondrous art forms come from Japan and therefore the respect of the culture that created them carries over with it to other countries; or if anime and manga lovers are just more open minded about what each has to offer and so, they can appreciate both, even if they have a favorite. So what is it about this wonderful group of anime and manga lovers that can bring them together in such a way and still be able to agree to disagree?

No matter which side of the manga/anime line you stand on, I will almost guarantee that you have at least one toe over the line into the other realm. But the question still remains…. Which is better and why? Each has its positive and its negative aspects, but both are stunning and amazing works of art. The characters are three dimensional, as well as people who want to root for! Anime and manga make us laugh, cry, cheer, feel angry, sad or depressed. It is because we feel for and connect with the characters on the page/screen. They become friends, family, loved ones; and we always want what is best for them. Although, in reality, they do not exist.

So regardless of which one you prefer, you and I both know that anime and manga are awesome! Period!

Written by: Samantha Cook          August 22, 2014

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