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Manga vs. anime: telling the difference

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Manga and anime are an international literary phenomenon that are incredibly popular with readers young and old. It’s no secret as to why they’re so successful: both styles offer gripping stories in uber cool settings, engrossing the reader in a way that is completely different to traditional literary styles.

But what the heck is the difference between the two styles? Surely they are one in the same, right? Well, to the uninitiated, maybe, but both styles contain nuances that make them easily distinguishable from one another.

So, if you’re thinking about picking up the best manga books Australia has available, here’s how to know it is that genre, or if it’s from its anime counterpart:

The key differences

Okay, so you are probably well aware that both styles originated in Japan and that they both have some pretty legendary titles under their names (think Dragon Ball, Naruto and Pokemon).

However, if you’re new to this big and often overwhelming world you may be struggling to know the difference between the two styles, so let’s take a look a look below:

Anime is a special animation style with bright, vibrant colours, high contrast imagery, sci-fi and fantasy themes as its core characteristics.

The term anime stems from the Japanese word “animeshiyon”, which is simply the Japanese word for the English “animation”. English speakers then took the Japanese word for animation, shortened it (anime) and today you have its name.

There is an ongoing debate as to what classifies this style, as many traditionalists won’t agree that works made outside of Japan can be included under the title.

Naturally, the style has global influence and popularity, and so many people from all walks of life have made their own productions in this similar style, and the contention continues as to whether it can still be called “anime”.

There are several classic titles under the umbrella term, as well as countless productions ranging in degrees of popularity. Some classic titles include:

  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Dragon Ball Z
  • Sailor Moon
  • Galaxy Express 999
  • Hunter X Hunter

Manga is similar to anime in the way that it uses bright colours and highly defined facial features to convey character emotions. The word stems from Japanese “man”, meaning “aimless”, and “ga”, meaning “pictures”.

Some classic titles under this genre include:

  • Dragon Ball
  • Akira
  • Naruto
  • My Hero Academia
  • Fullmetal Alchemist

Whilst many will argue there are heavily nuanced differences between both styles, the key thing to remember is this: anime is either a movie or television show, whereas manga is a comic book or graphic novel.

This being said, manga has a far longer history than its TV/film equivalent, with many works dating as far as the 12th Century earning a place under the genre. Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind that the original literary style has been a massive influence on anime, with many works being adapted into hit TV shows and movies over the years.

Find great titles online

So, as you can see, there is one key difference between the two genres that make them easily distinguishable from one another: one is originally found on screen and the other is originally found in comic book or graphic novel form.

You can find top quality titles for both all over the internet, in bookstores, comic book shops, art galleries, streaming platforms – the list goes on – such is the extremely important influence both styles have had on world popular culture!

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