I saw this discussed in the context of tags on meta, and surprisingly, there doesn't seem to be any authoritative-looking answer when I Googled aside from some forum threads which I don't know if I should trust.


Anime and Manga are two different storytelling media. They both originate in Japan, and are closely related, but are ultimately two different things. The confusion between the two arises mostly because it's often the case that the same story will have both an anime and a manga version. The terminology will vary a little bit depending on whether the person you talk to is a Japanese person or a westerner; I'll try to point out where this happens.

Anime (アニメ, a shortened form of アニメーション, which is literally "animation" when written as a loanword in Japanese) are Japanese animated cartoon videos. These air on television or are released to home video. Producing an anime is a large undertaking, and requires the work of an animation studio with a large number of people.

There is some debate as to whether non-Japanese cartoons qualify as anime. A Japanese person would say that any cartoons at all can be included as anime, including western series like Avatar: The Last Airbender or Spongebob Squarepants. Most people outside Japan use the term solely to refer to Japanese-origin series, or at least those which are inspired significantly by Japanese anime (so Avatar might count, but Spongebob certainly wouldn't). For more information, this Anime SE question might be helpful.

enter image description here

An image from the Saint Seiya anime

Manga (漫画, which could be literally read as "whimsical drawings") are Japanese comics. Unlike anime, they're typically black and white. Manga are often used as the basis for anime, but not every anime is from a manga and most manga are never made into anime. Manga usually only require a small number of people to produce, at minimum a mangaka (who is the author, illustrator, and all other major roles) and an editor. Unlike western comic books, most manga are read right-to-left.

As with anime, Japanese fans wouldn't have much problem labeling comics from other countries as manga. In the English-speaking world, it's more complicated. OEL Manga (Original English Language Manga) is now a standard term for comics like Megatokyo which are inspired by manga but produced in English-speaking countries. There's also manhwa (Korean origin comics) and manhua (Chinese origin comics), both of which heavily borrow from manga. Japanese people would usually label all of these as Manga, but English-speakers will usually make the distinction.

enter image description here

A couple of panels from the Saint Seiya manga

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    I think it's important to note that anime is often based off stories that were originally presented in manga. – user606723 Aug 11 '13 at 5:45
  • @user606723 You're correct, but I did mention that in the answer, just under the manga section rather than the anime section: "Manga are often used as the basis for anime...". :-P – Logan M Aug 11 '13 at 23:40
  • It also can happen in reverse (original anime -> manga), like with Darker than Black – Izkata Aug 12 '13 at 12:43
  • Note that most Japanese people (except nerds, er, otaku) will happily call an animated movie or TV show a "manga" as well. – Michael Borgwardt Aug 12 '13 at 15:09
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    In case anyone cares, I've reused most of this in a similar answer on Anime SE – Logan M Jan 3 '14 at 18:19

Anime is animated, manga is still images. And they originate in Japan. Anime:manga::cartoons:comics.

  • Beat me to it. Although your answer is a little short, if I may say so. – Sebastian_H Aug 11 '13 at 1:47
  • In case someone who is not a native speaker of English is misled by your analogy "Anime:manga::cartoons:comics", it should be noted that "cartoons" are not necessarily animated. – user14111 Oct 24 '14 at 3:58

Manga are comic like books. Animes on the other hand are animated films. What people would call a cartoon (although im pretty sure there's a difference and some people would kill me for calling an anime a cartoon).

Many good selling Mangas are made in Animes - that is, animated TV series. For example, the Naruto animes are based on the Manga with the same name.


I think that anime is actually animated films while manga are actually books, but some people say that anime is harder to draw and is drawn with detail, while manga is easier and doesn't have as much detail as anime.

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    Hello and welcome to the Stack Exchange. Quick note: this was already answered (in a much more elaborate manner) over two and a half years ago. I suggest checking out the Tour to get a better idea of how to ask and answer questions. We're not a typical discussion forum. Don't be discouraged, we were all new here at some point. – Meat Trademark Apr 8 '14 at 4:46
  • Many manga actually contain a lot more details in the drawing that are lost when adapted to anime. This is because drawing a manga is a lot less work than anime (no need for drawing tweens), so it can afford more elaborate drawing styles. Also, manga are usually grayscale/black and white while anime are usually in color, which means manga cannot rely much on colors to differentiate characters. – Lie Ryan Aug 3 '15 at 13:03

One is a comic version, the other is an animated version. Usually the manga or anime have a book of it and a show. Both were made by the Japanese but they have a lot of differences besides the fact that one is a show and one is a book. Anime is animation of a cartoonish show and manga is book of pictures or comics (also graphic novels). They are not the same!

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    How does this provide any additional info that's not already contained in the accepted answer ? – Stan Nov 17 '14 at 21:01

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