Manga vs. Graphic Novels

manga_gnEven though graphic novels and manga have many differences, they are alike in some ways, one of them being that they mostly use art to tell their story. For scenery, what in a normal book would take a few sentences only takes one frame in these kinds of books.

Manga are not the same as what you might think of as comic books. Manga reads right to left. Graphic novels and comic books read left to right. Though these differences are evident at first glance, most people still don’t know the difference between graphic novels and manga. At first I didn’t know the difference either, but over time I have come to recognize their characteristics and can now tell them apart.

One of the differences, as previously mentioned, is that manga reads right to left, while graphic novels read left to right, the way we are used to. The reason that manga reads “backwards” is because that is the traditional way the people read in Japan. The only publishing conversions that are made from Japan to America are that it is translated from Japanese to English, and that maybe the translator put in some notes. When manga first started being published in the U.S., publishers would “flip” the pages as to not to confuse readers as much. However, there was a downside to this. For example, a poster in the background saying, “Happy Birthday”,would read, “yadhtriB yppaH”. To preserve the original format, publishers now publish them right to left.

For me, another difference between manga and graphic novels is just the feel of the art. Manga has a more flowy style, while graphic novels have a choppier feel to them. Most manga also have titles that were not fully translated into English, and an example of a graphic novel could be a more modern version of a comic book.

Personally, since I have been reading manga for a long time, I feel that graphic novels are a tad tacky. Nevertheless, I love reading either manga or graphic novels in my spare time, and both kinds are usually enjoyable for people of all ages.

-Linna C., 7th grade

1 thought on “Manga vs. Graphic Novels

  1. Thank You for doing a post of the difference between manga and comics. This is always one thing that bugs me all the time when I am explaining what manga is. Great post by the way.

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