As the vast world of anime starts to make its way towards mainstream pop culture, so does its source material. The majority of anime titles that we watch are an adaptation of a manga. In case you aren’t aware of what that is, it is the Japanese equivalent of comics and graphic novels. However, there are notable differences between them—one of them being that manga is read from right to left. Another one is it’s usually printed in black and white.
With anime being released on a seasonal basis, some of us just can’t wait a year (or even more) to find out what happens next. So for the impatient and excited fans, they turn to manga—where the story is already far ahead compared to the current season being aired.
That’s only one side of the otakus of today. Some choose to read the manga of a newly announced anime adaptation, as preparation. Some have been reading manga for a long time. Some post their pride and joy on Twitter and TikTok—an extensive collection of manga, their bookshelf occasionally adorned with character figures.
According to Publishers Weekly, NPD BookScan reports that “sales of print manga titles in the US increased by 3.6 million units in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020”. In the past year, people definitely had more time to read. They dabbled in reading manga online and offline, eventually getting immersed and perhaps even starting a collection. (I would know, I am unfortunately one of those people who are now broke after buying tons of volumes.)
Manga sales shot up while superhero comic sales declined, according to an article from ICv2 in 2019. There is a great difference between the genres of manga and comic book cover. While general knowledge of comics involves superheroes, it would be hard to define the same thing for manga.
Manga is updated weekly or monthly in a magazine alongside different other titles, while comics are usually on their own. Comics can be tied to multiple creators while manga is associated with a single one. In terms of art style, it’s more diverse with manga. While comics do have certain eye-catching elements of their own, some are plastered alongside long blocks of text making it difficult to keep track of as a whole. Manga is more visual in their storytelling; with the flow of the drawings more dynamic and not overflowing with text.
For others, it’s merely a matter of personal preference but it’s undeniable that the popularity of anime today is related to the increase in purchases of various manga titles. Not only do we have multiple streaming platforms available but you can also easily find places to read manga both online and offline. So whether you want to be an avid manga collector or a lowkey reader, you have a diverse list of options to choose from.
Which one do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below!