Age-Old Question: Anime or Manga?

fairy tail

Anime or manga? It seems like this question never escaped being asked in the life of a person who enjoys a certain Japanese subculture: he or she who watches anime or reads manga or does both. I’ve been asked, or rather dragged into the debate, many times: which is better? I don’t have an answer and I don’t think I ever will.

It’s a personal choice.

People would argue: manga is better because it’s the true source. It’s the original story. It’s how the story would have been if the anime has adapted accordingly. I’m sure followers of super long shounen series know exactly what I meant. The long, unnecessary, whiny fillers that manga readers loathe. Plus, you get to know what happens next a lot faster than watching the anime. Worst case scenario, anime-only fans will get the story at the earliest two years later.

naruto shippuden

While I find it amusing and fascinating that people would compare chapter to chapter between manga and anime, I personally couldn’t bring myself to do it. Partly because I wouldn’t remember anything I read clearly from few months ago, lest giving out the wrong information. And partly because it takes a lot of energy to do that.

I Prefer Anime Because…

It’s true that I’m usually not a fan of fillers. However, I’d say I’m more inclined to watch an anime than to read a manga. Perhaps because I’m enjoying these media for what it’s for: enjoyment. I’m not here to compare works or have some kind of intellectual awakening from watching anime or reading manga. So, I think at the end of day, the fundamental difference between the two media is the added dimensions in anime.

Anime breathes life into the characters we read about in manga. With anime comes voice, deeper emotional connections and movements. Battles, for example, are more interesting when animated. The clashes of weapons, the stomping of foot on the ground and of course, the often energetic background music.

Personally, these are added values to my enjoyment of a content. There are many things manga can’t do what anime can. I think the same can be said about what manga can do that anime can’t do too. For starters, manga offers limitless imagination and more insightful thoughts.

Hatsukoi Limited

I Prefer Manga Because…

I found out that I put my imagination into pretty good use when I read manga. That’s one thing I hardly do when watching anime (I mean, what is there to imagine, really?). I personally give voice (inside my head) to the characters. I would imagined how the characters would sound. Believe it or not, as it turns out, Kirisaki Chitoge from Nisekoi is exactly how I pictured she would sound.

Also, certain manga, especially in shoujo manga, have a lot of characters that do monologues. Some of this maybe important in seeing from a character’s perspective and understanding why a character does what he or she does. But sometimes, that may got lost in translation due to many factors.

As far as I’m concerned, anime and manga both have their own qualities I appreciate. Do you prefer one over the other? If yes, why?

P.S. Age-Old Questions is supposed to be a regular series bringing up popular debates when I first started out but things don’t always go as planned. This post has sit in my Draft list for over a year now. Ah, life.

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11 thoughts on “Age-Old Question: Anime or Manga?

  1. I don’t have a particular preference. I like, no, LOVE both. I like manga because I like to appreciate the mangaka’s original art and lines personally. I like anime because, well, it’s anime. Need I say more?
    (*´ω`*)

    • Haha, I don’t think you need to >.<. I like both as well. They each offer different things but at the end of the day, they're both enjoyable.

  2. “Technically”, I don’t have a preference. Looking at my list of watched/read, there is an obvious bias towards anime, but that mostly has to do with that *for me* the manga/novels I’m interested in reading have not been readily available until recently.
    But that aside, I see the two as basically different and don’t see a point in comparing them, to the point where I actually get a little annoyed when somebody complains “the anime isn’t like the manga” (or vise versa). I watch the anime in isolation, and I read the manga/novel in isolation.
    And beyond that, to me, the differences between the typical anime adaptation of a manga/novel is light years different when compared to “Western” movie adaptations of Western print stories, where the typical 90 minute movie is based on a 300-400 page novel, compared to the typical 300 minute anime (12-13 episode) is trying to adapt 3-4 volumes of a manga. It just doesn’t compare. I’m just happy the anime resembles the manga (sometimes not always apparent in a Western movie adaptation of a western novel).

    • “to the point where I actually get a little annoyed when somebody complains “the anime isn’t like the manga” (or vise versa)” <- I agree. There are occasions when I wonder why bother to watch anime if manga is very important.

      The only time I'd complain is when the story of a series is left hanging because apparently, the manga isn't completed. Because when a person is viewing anime only, it left somewhat a bad taste in the mouth when there isn't a proper end.

  3. For me, my question is more like – anime or manga or visual novel or light novel or games, lol.

    Although I found that I tend to prefer media with higher production values, that means, anime, games and visual novels will take first priority. When I’m looking for light novels and manga to read, I tend to ask myself this question “Do they already have an anime adaption?” And if they do, I would rather just watch the anime.

    I also focus on which medium is the original, and if it coincides with my previous need (being a high-production medium), than I would rather play them instead of watching the anime. Because of this, I never watched Little Busters!: EX nor Neptunia, since I haven’t finish them (though as of this comment, I already finished two PS3 installments of Neptunia, the former is a bit difficult though, since translation progresses are still at a standstill).

    • “I tend to ask myself this question “Do they already have an anime adaption?” And if they do, I would rather just watch the anime.” Lol. Whenever this thought crosses my mind, it’s usually when I’m too lazy to read. It takes longer time to consume a manga over anime, I find. Maybe this varies from one person to another. Besides, anime has all the dramatic effects to make it a tad interesting. This is not to say I choose anime over manga. But one cannot deny the production values, as you put it, when they wanna enjoy something they’re consuming.

      Speaking of which, I never really understand visual novels. I take that visual novels are games but less actions and more dialogues? When I play a game I prefer engaging, heart-thumping actions and really, really good BGM. So, I’ll always choose anime over VN. No questions ask. >.<

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