Are Books And Manga The Same? (Get To Know)

The debate about Manga and books has existed ever since Manga burst into international popularity. It is often argued that books yield much more significant benefits, and kids reading Manga are often met with scorn from their parents.

How true then is this sentiment? Well firstly, books and Mangas have several things in common. This is especially true for young adult fiction and fantasy books, which tend to cater to the same age group and audience.

Pile Of Books On Hand
Compared to publications that simply utilize text, Manga offers more visuals and uses both pictures and words to tell its stories.

The format of storytelling remains the same too: introduction, story building, climax, and cliffhangers are all devices used in the same way in both Manga and books. Furthermore, the depth of the story and the extent of world-building are mostly identical, and it is possible to convert a Manga into a book or vice versa.

On the other hand, the medium Manga and books use to convey the story are completely different. Manga provides greater visuals, and incorporates both pictures as well as text in its storytelling, as opposed to books that only use text. Mangaka (Manga writers) have a higher number of tools at their disposal as compared to authors, and hence can compress large amounts of information into just a few pages.

Mangaka gets to play with the size of the panels, the font size, and styling, as well as the body language of the characters, to better convey particular emotions to the readers. Even changes in the traditional layout of pages and different panels can help maintain, or attract focus to certain aspects of the story.

Kentaro Miura, writer of the critically acclaimed Manga series Berserk, and Inio Asano, who wrote multiple famous works including Solanin, are two prominent examples of Mangaka who have used the visual aspects of Manga to a great extent and got too much success.

When Was Manga First Introduced 1814
How Big Is The Manga Industry 613 billion Japanese Yen
Find out more about Manga here in this table.

Is Manga the same as reading a book?

The simple answer is: no.

Book authors have the rather tricky task of painting the complete picture to the readers through words. Something as simple as a new character introduction often requires a paragraph-long description of the character’s physical attributes.

On the other hand, visual mediums of storytelling such as Manga or comics can simply show the required character, and not waste time explaining how the characters look.

In our current age of decreasing attention spans and packed schedules, the ability of Manga to provide a higher level of entertainment and content in a short time is much treasured by the youth and is one pivotal factor in the bursting popularity of Manga.

The concept of arcs and volumes in Manga also introduces a change as compared to the usual chapters of a book. An arc is not quite as long as a short novel, yet still has a touch of finality in its ending- it provides satisfaction to the readers as each arc is a story in itself, with its climax and ending. This allows the readers to remain interested in the Manga by dividing the main storyline into short, consumable segments.

While reading a chapter or two may take the same time as an average-sized arc, chapters do not yield the same amount of entertainment by a long shot. Finishing a volume tends to leave the reader increasingly content as opposed to finishing one part of a novel.

Haikyuu!! Manga
Haikyu!! by Haruichi Furudate

What is the difference between a book and a Manga?

Reading books is considered more productive, with the main argument being that books help improve vocabulary. This is undeniably true, as books of course have a broader word base. However, for the readers who have high productivity on their list, it would be wrong to say that Manga does not have anything unique to offer.

Like all art forms, Manga derives its beauty from the amount of detailing present, and the psychological aspects of the storytelling. The slightest wrinkles on a character’s brow and sweat droplets symbolize fatigue or anxiety. Expressions like this have a great impact on the story and can be of great value to aspiring writers of both novels and Manga.

In addition, it allows the readers to be more attentive to visual clues, something that has great significance in the real world. Most importantly, the purpose of Manga is entertainment, and that is thus the most crucial perimeter on which Manga should be judged.

The ever-rising demand and market of Manga are perhaps the greatest testament to its success. While some people call Manga childlike and unrealistic, this is entirely false and is mostly due to them being ignorant of the topic.

Each genre has something different to offer to the public: Shonen remains a fan favorite with the usual thrill that action has to offer. Meanwhile, Seinen focuses on an older fanbase, with Manga like ‘Vagabond’ and ‘Made in abyss’ being extremely graphic in their violence to a level that would be impossible for a fantasy book. Isekai too is ever rising in popularity, as Manga such as ‘Re: Zero − Starting Life in Another World packs a comedic punch with the usual fantasy and action elements.

Romance and romcom have always been incredibly popular, ‘Kaguya-sama: Love Is War‘ is one such Manga that gained acclaim internationally for a romantic comedy with a great plot.

Naruto by Masahi Kishimoto

What makes Manga so enjoyable for everyone?

The answer to that is comfort.

Nowhere is this better seen than by the fact that big shonen such as One Piece and Naruto remain the most watched or read to date. The sheer comfort of watching our favorite characters is enough to elevate a good mood.

Rereading especially invokes a strong feeling of nostalgia which is much praised by all readers. Conclusively, shows like Non-Non Biyori have gained a very large fanbase simply due to the comfort, and mental peace that they offer. Thus, it is undeniably true that Manga can be extremely helpful in improving mental health, and provides a unique opportunity for pleasure and relaxation.

This brings us back to our original argument, are books better than Manga, or is it the other way around? The question is perhaps no different from comparing books and movies- they are all different art forms, with none being better than the other.

Both offer unique experiences and benefits. Indeed as often said, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder- it’s a matter of personal preference whether someone likes books more or Manga.

While some might enjoy the intricacies of complex writings and beautiful texts in novels, others would find the graphic representation and shortness of Manga to be more compelling. To compare them is therefore unnecessary; studies have shown that reading in general, be it books or Manga enhances our mental capabilities and helps fight depressive symptoms.

Video About Manga


  • The debate of Manga and books have existed ever since Manga burst into international popularity.
  • Reading books is considered more productive, with the main argument being that books help improve vocabulary.
  • The purpose of Manga is entertainment, and that is thus the most crucial perimeter on which Manga should be judged.
  • Both offer unique experiences and benefits, Manga enhances our mental capabilities and helps fight depressive symptoms.

Other Articles

Scroll to Top
Skip to content