Manga And Anime: Two Different But So Close Kinds of Japanese Entertainment

June 6, 2018

If you go deep into the history of anime, you will reach its Japanese origin. "Anime" is an abbreviation from English "animation," even though many used to think this word has French roots. In 1917, in the country of the rising sun, the world saw the first cartoons that were more traditional for the Japanese audience than for the American. Until the seventies, Japanese cartoons were called "manga-eiga," pointing out to the close relationship between anime and manga. In today's development, the anime has several types: TV series, films, OVA (anime exclusively for video), ONA (anime for the Internet), and TV-Specials (bonus series, often not connected with the main storyline).


Manga appeared much earlier than anime. The first Japanese comic books can be considered to be the pictures dedicated to animal life, which was created by Toba in the twelfth century. Although the word itself appeared only in 1814, the artist Hokusai Katsushika used this name for his "pictures of life." A little later, people began to call such pictures the Japanese comics. The fact that they gained popularity both among the Japanese themselves and around the world is the merit of Tezuka Osamu, who defined the characteristic style of drawing faces for both manga and anime.


In manga and anime, there are general laws for plotting and drawing details, which make them different from European or American animation. Firstly, it's a person. The tradition of drawing feminine marks delicate features developed in Japan as early as antiquity with enlarged round eyes as a sign of youth and purity. In the manga and anime, positive characters are always beautiful, long-legged, and wide-eyed. Negative characters can have eyes that look like the birds’ eyes and even covered with a bang or headwear. As for color, the traditional manga is black and white pictures, while the anime, with the exception of the first experiments, is always in color. The plot is a little more complicated. Manga is the text accompanying the picture. This text should be capacious, understandable, and with deep in time. Therefore, the storyline of the manga is often more exciting than the anime storyline created for the same background.


In the anime, the main video sequence, which is dynamic, often reveals all the intricacies of the main plot line. This is especially noticeable in those anime that are based on Japanese mythology with obligatory philosophical overtones. Anime has a certain, quite conservative structure that includes the required entry (prologue), the screen saver, the main story, the final screen saver, and, finally, the frames from the next series. By the way, the screen saver should last about two minutes and be accompanied with original music written specifically for the anime.

Anime vs Manga


Manga is a more common form of art. In Japan, comics accompany almost all printed publications. Some even come out in separate books. Manga is created for different ages: from children, who can barely read, to retired people. In the creation of the Japanese comics, there are usually two involved in the development: the author and the artist. Anime, on the contrary, consists of the entire team and consists of directors, artists, actors, voice-over actors, and others. Like any filmmaking, creating anime is quite expensive. And in Japan, it is taken seriously. Professional and famous actors are invited to help with the soundtracks of films.


The main external and immediately striking difference of the manga from the US comics is that the vast majority of Japanese stories are published in black and white, although bright-colored manga versions have a place to be. The roots of this situation originate from the middle of the twentieth century. This was a difficult time for Japan, post-war devastation and depression. In these years small circulation manga began to appear on cheap paper in black and white colors. The publishers did not have the financial ability to continue printing comics in color and in the quality that was during the pre-war years.


Back in our time, the manga has remained black and white. The question is why? Over these years, the Japanese comic books took about 25% of all printed materials that is a very impressive figure. The overwhelming percentage of this product is sold weekly and monthly and features a unique feature – publishing many mangas by separate chapters. The volume of one such magazine varies from two hundred to a thousand pages. Sometimes, all the chapters of a comic book are reprinted in a separate book called tankoubon. Many artists paint for several magazines at once, so if they were going to paint it in color, then it would be almost impossible to make the volume for all the magazines. Among other things, black and white printing is almost ten times cheaper than color printing. If you are already familiar with anime not by hearsay, you probably noticed that unlike their European and American cartoons, anime is distinguished by simplified animation: the characters move quite simply, and the picture itself is static. Manga and anime are interesting in their own way. They have gained such popularity among different people entire the world not without reason. The main thing is not to get carried away and remember that fantastic stories are just a figment of the imagination of talented authors.


Anime appeared in the early twentieth century, while the manga has been known since the Middle Ages. It is important to remember, anime are cartoons, and manga is a comic book. The subjects of manga are more profound and interesting, while the anime stories are somewhat simplified. Manga is often black and white, whereas anime is in color. Only a few people work over the creation of manga; the creation of anime requires a large staff, cash, and labor costs. Even though manga and anime have a completely different purpose, they both are exclusive examples of exquisite Japanese culture due to underlining the importance of different style. The next time you are going to buy manga or watch an anime series, remember the sophisticated story that lies behind its creation and people, who tried hard to bring the entertainment to you.


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