Many people know or have heard the word manga before but what exactly does it mean? Manga simply means Japanese comics. These Japanese comics are similar to American comics, but not entirely. Manga differs greatly from the traditional western comics in many aspects. The storytelling in manga has a huge shift when comparing it to American comics. Its character design and art style also differ but most importantly the range (in regards to genre) is far more vast. Manga is a unique and creative artform that is very underrated.
In manga, stories are usually large and elaborate with flashed out worlds. Japanese creators put a lot of effort into world-building because it helps viewers get fully amused into the story. A lot of manga often has very creative and unique plots and premises you don’t really see anywhere else, due to their openness to experimentation in Japan. Manga stories also range in the target audience age and gender. There’s stories for young boys and girls and also an older audience. Another thing is that manga stories are every plot orientated and a single story can last from 1-10 years, depending on the author.
The biggest difference between manga and traditional comics is definitely the art. One of the biggest reasons that manga may not be preferred is because every manga volume is drawn in black and white, unlike the full color wheel in American comics. This is due to the fact that most stories are published in weekly magazines (that demand a chapter a week) before being turned into manga volumes. However, it makes up for it with it’s beautiful art. Manga is very detailed and well-drawn and often has large panels with beautiful art. Character designs are equally as detailed, with characters styling massive hairstyle and fashionable clothes that can change through the story.
The most impressive thing that manga provides is the amount of genres that it undertakes. Western comics mostly tell stories that involve superheroes, but the storytelling potential for manga is limitless. Manga loves to tackle genres very traditionally; they love to give genre a twist and sometimes even deconstruct the genre entirely. There are tons of manga that fall into many genres, and as a result authors are forced to be creative and find new ways to look at a specific genre, which is quite refreshing. The fact that mangas have just a strong fan base for every genre is pretty impressive.
In brief, manga is a very unique and beautiful art form. It has given us thousands of amazing stories and many more to come. Even if it’s manga isn’t that well known in the states it has been growing in popularity in the last decade, mostly due to the incredible storytelling, the amazing art and with large scope of reimagined genres. It is a very enjoyable media that deserves more recognition and acceptance. Luckily, manga has been gaining loyal fans around the world.