Comic book fans, rejoice!

Over the past few years, manga and anime have both become increasingly popular inside the US. At one time, not too long ago, both children and adult fans of comics were limited to only those produced in the US or, at the very least, in English-speaking countries. But today, Japanese-based anime and manga are both available in the US, much to the delight of American fans. If you don’t already know, what follows is an explanation of how these three storytelling media differ from one another.


The term “anime” refers to a specific animation style that was first developed in Japan. Typically consisting of themes that combine both fantasy and science fiction, anime illustrations are brightly colored and exaggerated. The word “anime” comes from the Japanese term “animēshiyon,” which was based on the English word “animation.” This is probably the easiest way to remember the differences between anime and both manga and comics, since anime are typically either movies or TV shows – in other words, they are animated rather than static images appearing online or in print.


The term “manga” refers to the style used in Japanese graphic novels and comic books. The appearance of manga illustrations resembles anime in some ways, and features facial features that are often exaggerated and extreme. The word “manga” is a combination of the Japanese terms for aimless (“man-“) and pictures (“-ga”). The easiest way to distinguish manga from anime is that manga consists of static images created in the Japanese illustration style. Unlike American comics, manga are typically printed in black and white rather than color. Manga storylines are usually much longer than American comics and often extend throughout several chapters in a book. Manga topics also tend to be more risqué and adult-oriented than American comics.


The differences between manga and comics may be a little less obvious, since both are comprised of static images that appear in comic books. But there actually are several differences in artistic style that allow the reader to clearly delineate between these two genres. The first of these is related to where and how the two are distributed and sold. Most manga come in the form of either a book (graphic novel) or as a weekly magazine, and many of these publications are printed in black and white. On the other hand, comics created inside the US are usually sold in comic book form, on and issue-to-issue basis, and in color. Most American comics feature storylines that are fast-paced and action-based, as opposed to either of its Japanese counterparts.

For fans of comics, manga and anime, all three genres have something different to offer their audiences. Although anime and manga are widely popular in Japan, US audiences have only recently become familiar with these illustrated stories. And the key to US fans enjoying Japanese anime and manga, as well as Japanese fans enjoying American comics, is high quality translation. This requires not only a linguist who is fluent in the target language, but also one who is familiar with and sensitive to the cultural differences between the two countries. And make no mistake – there are countless differences between Japan and the US. What may be totally acceptable in one country can turn out to be unacceptable or downright offensive in the other. For this reason, employing a native speaker who is familiar with these cultural differences is always the best choice.

If you are seeking translation services for comics, anime or manga, the best place to begin your search is by contacting a reputable translation company. They can match your needs with an experienced, professional linguist – preferably one who has experience in translating these genres.