For readers of East Asian comics, you have probably encountered the terms manga, manhwa, and manhua. All of those are actually different in many ways, but have no fear—I’m here to explain them to you for easier understanding!
The main difference between manga, manhwa, and manhua depends on which country they came from. Manga is from Japan, manhwa is from South Korea, while manhua is from China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong.
What is Manga Explained
Manga refers to comics or graphic novels from Japan. Recently, it has become more popular to the point that it’s outselling comic books. A lot of these are used as source material for numerous anime adaptations.
A common art style for manga would have to be cartoonish-looking characters with big eyes. Think Astro Boy by Osamu Tezuka, the Godfather of Manga. His art style that featured the now-iconic “anime eyes” was inspired by Disney characters.
What is Manhwa Explained
Manhwa refers to comics originating from South Korea. It was brought to the country during the Japanese occupation. Similar to manga, manhwa has been used as source material for various series. K-dramas such as Cheese in the Trap and Itaewon Class were adapted from webtoons, the term for digital manhwa.
Manhwa is read from left to right, similar to American comics. Digital versions are in color. Popular titles include Solo Leveling and Killing Stalking.
In terms of general art style, manhwa characters look more realistic as compared to manga. A manhwa creator is referred to as a manhwaga.
What is Manhua Explained
Manhua originates from either China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong. The terms manga and manhwa actually came from the Chinese language. They also have their own distinct genres. Wuxia refers to martial arts stories. Xianxia, on the other hand, is more for the fantasy and magic types.
Manhua is read from right to left and digital versions are published in color. Similar to manhwa’s art style, it’s also more realistic-looking. One popular title is Battle Through the Heavens, which has been adapted in different forms of media. A manhua creator is called a manhuajia.
All of these comics have their own certain appeal and storytelling due to the rich cultural differences. If you’re a huge fan of either manga, manhwa, or manhua, you should definitely check out the other counterparts too!