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Manga or Anime: Which Side of the Fight Are You On?

In our large community of otakus and weaboos, there is a wide spectrum of popular mediums to entertain us. Anime, manga, video games, and light novels are just a few of the ways that we consume our “addiction.” But, with any fandom, some fans congregate in certain areas that appeal to them more. Fans, of all types, have always been a passionate bunch, full-heartedly supporting and promoting what they love. However, this is where some members clash. Those that are in the anime/manga community are familiar with this conflict; manga or anime?

I’m not going to attempt to prove which one I think is better; I’m not interested in starting a war.

manga vs anime meme

But I want to go over some big points that have arisen from this rivalry. Also a note, I will only be discussing mangas and the animes that were adapted from them and vice versa. There are many original animes and mangas that were never animated. These are not the usual ones being thrown in the fight.

The Dreaded Filler Episodes

Often the manga or anime and it’s resulting adaptation are bound to vary in content. In the case of an animated manga, the anime is often much longer and potentially more drawn out. Some scenes that were a few chapters in the books could result in a few 20 minute episodes. 

The manga’s development is a key reason why the anime may be slow to release episodes. Depending on the author it could be due to actually drawing and chapter creation. An example of this that is very personal to me is Berserk by Kentaro Miura. His art style is like a work of art, extremely detailed and full of texture. This could be a reason why he has slowed down increasingly, since Berserk was first published in October of 1989.

breserk hiatus chart
A Hiatus Chart of Berserk’s Chapter Release by AvidAnimeViewer.

And that’s where the cursed word, “filler episodes” come in. More prevalent in some animes compared to others, filler episodes are exactly what they sound like. Episodes used to “fill” in the space between “main plot” episodes. For example, a filler episode could be thrown between a “fight scene.” This prolongs the time between the start of the battle to the end. The episode could start where the battle left off, but instead of seeing the fight end in 15-20 minutes, the viewers could be thrown into a flashback sequence. Another alternative would be an episode that isn’t even related to the battle at hand. 

Fillers can be entertaining too…

Some filler episodes are entertaining, as they can give fans more information. Also they can be fun as well, with specials or holiday episodes, fans are able to see their characters outside of the normal canon. I personally really enjoyed the Zanpakuto Rebellion Arc in Bleach, a whole “non-canon” arc about the spirits of swords physically manifesting as real people. But I have also had friends encounter “bad arcs.”

One Piece has 20 seasons and sits close to 1000 episodes. One of my friends watched One Piece religiously. However, after reaching the upper 500’s, he told me that the fillers made it unbearable to continue.

one piece jump heroes
Crossed out characters are series’ that have finished serialization. One Piece stands out, it’s anime premier spanning 1999 to now, is a whopping 21 years old.

Style and Story Changes

Most anime studios can replicate the original manga artist’s style easily. With the ideas already laid out, most of the time all that is needed is animation. In fact sometimes these adaptations can be a positive improvement on the series.

manga vs anime

one punch man original manga vs redraw manga vs anime
From left to right, the original, the Yusuke Murata redraw, and the anime.

But sometimes stylistic choices or changes in script can contribute to negative audience reviews. 

Some notable examples of anime styles that were not popular with fans, were the 2016 continuation of the Berserk anime and 2013 anime adaptation of Aku no Hana. I am a huge fan of Berserk, and I was in love with the beautiful art of the 1997 anime.

Berserk_1997_anime
Berserk 1999 with that addicting 90’s style.

But in 2016 when the anime was continued, a lot of fans reacted negatively to the new animation choice.

1999 Berserk vs 2006 Berserk
1999 Berserk vs 2006 Berserk

Although the story remained consistent, the decision to choose a 3D animated style vs the original cel shading turned off a lot of fans. Since the 2016 anime, the newer episodes seem to now use a better mix of 3D assisted animation and 2D drawing.

Preference of Medium

The simplest reason in the argument; some people just prefer reading while others prefer watching. I personally started reading manga first. It was more accessible, and with school and other extracurriculars, I found that anime took too much time to watch. 

Other friends of mine prefer anime over manga because they like seeing the “pictures move.” They often put anime in the background while doing chores or homework. This is much more doable than trying to read manga and write an essay at the same time. 

The Results

Unfortunately, you’re always going to have the die-hards. The ones that are “purists” who won’t deviate from the originals. There’s isn’t a problem with that, only when that decision starts encroaching on others. 

There isn’t a right or wrong answer to which is better. At the end of the day it’s what you’re watching and enjoying. As someone who was a “manga-only” consumer for a long time, I would only ask readers of this article to take away one thing. 

Keep your mind open and if you really like a series, then try out its manga or anime adaptation. Studios and artists work hard, and if something is worth promoting then we as fans should support them. 

Do you like watching anime or reading manga? What do you think about the “purists”? Are there some series that you will only watch? Which will you only read? Leave a comment below, I’m always looking for new suggestions. 

manga or anime meme
Another argument for another day…

Author’s corner

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“Mathilda Lam is an aspiring writer and long time otaku. If you’d like to get in touch or enjoyed what you read, check out her blog at peachslug.wordpress.com.”

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alsmangablog
3 years ago

For me, I find that which version I prefer will vary depending on the series. For action orientated series, I sometimes prefer the anime. More often then naught, however, I’ll prefer the manga. 🙂

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mathildaatheprofessional

I’m the same. I typically read manga, maybe it’s just because I started liking manga first. But there have been so many times where my favorite manga series were animated, and I quickly binged it whenever it came out. One Punch Man for example, the animation on that is superb~! Also I’m very big into romcom mangas, but a lot of the ones I like don’t have animes yet :'( Thanks for leaving a comment and I’m glad you read my article ^^!

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