Why Read Manga?

I feel like I need to add more to this post by Nate (Manga Guy).

Although I agree with Nate’s words for the most part, there are some things that need correcting or just plain rebuttal. Then again, what can I say? This ain’t the Animanga Spellbook for nothin’.

Nate says people always demand more content from their manga storylines and never less – this is true, except for that key word “never”. Normally the argument is that people would ask for more content, but in rarer cases, I’ve seen reviewers say series were biting off more than they can chew and should condense their storylines down a bit, such as Concrete Revolutio‘s examples here.

Sidebar: I would like to note that Concrete Revolutio does have a manga, but apparently it deviates from the anime after a while so it fits into two volumes.

Nate also says “anime itself isn’t very profitable” (emphasis in original). Anime and manga are two arms of what is known as the “media mix” – a good anime should be able to bring in the moolah by itself as well as amplifying word of the original material, if there is any. For anime-originals, there is one less arm of the manga mix, so someone normally gets tapped to do a straight (or as close to straight as the producers would like!) adaption to patch that part up…yes, even things like Phantom in the Twilight, where the manga doesn’t get publicised outside its own magazine and webpage (well, in Phantom in the Twilight‘s case, it was more like a website than a magazine, since it was serialised on Comico, but that website functions like a magazine), get manga…Normally you have to dig on the Japanese side of things to get access to these adaptions in the first place, though. In other words, they normally just don’t get licensed.

Furthermore, anime isn’t very profitable because most of the money doesn’t actually get to the creators – it’s taken up by licensing fees (which are notoriously expensive), import fees (if any) and the rest of the whole production, distribution and advertising system that sits between you and anime.

According to a poll Shineek – he who runs Chibi Tamago – did to insert manga/LNs into Chibi Tamago, most readers (the ones playing the game, at least) take about 20 minutes to read one chapter. Specifically, my answer was “about 20 minutes to half an hour, but that’s if it’s a volume for a wordy series like Detective Conan or Death Note” – if I’m chipping away at a series week-to-week, each chapter is about 5 minutes, but if I’m catching up on 50-odd chapters (as Manga Plus makes me do sometimes) or reading volume to volume, then it really adds up…

There is a bit of a deadly assumption in saying all manga fans – or potential manga fans – are in their 20s and read Harry Potter in their youth. Manga is meant to be for all ages – I think that’s one of its inherent appeals – and, of course, there’s always the one person who hasn’t seen or read X series, regardless of how popular it is…I know that for things like Attack on Titan, I can’t read them because they’re so hyped up, people get annoying about them.

Finally, I’d just like to add that I read manga because it’s cheaper than anime…well, at least it was in the days when everything was physical collection. Manga is made at much cheaper prices than anime, sold for just as much and, in some cases, can be marketed as a “graphic novel” or “comic”, so it’s easier to find if you’re not going to a specialised pop culture store (or “geek goods store”, as I’ve called it in other posts).

Sidebar 2: There are differences between comics – at least, the ones I’ve set eyes on – and manga, but I don’t want to bore you with a laundry list of how they differ. Maybe someday, if I can think of a way to present that without it being a laundry list, I might do a post on it, but I won’t promise anything on that front…


So why do you read manga, for those who do? Why don’t you read manga, for those who don’t?

14 thoughts on “Why Read Manga?

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  1. I started reading manga after years of watching anime online. I guess I just wanted to find out what happens in the arcs following the anime’s end, and now I read much more manga than I watch anime curiously enough…

    Last year, I discovered the library near my uni had manga (not a lot of volumes or series but enough to read one or two whole popular series) so I read a few more physical volumes than usual which has led me to buy more volumes this year as well… (I prefer to read online one or two volumes at least before buying think I may yet try to collect series if see that I love them enough to reread them in the future.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read manga because I love the art and I really connect with the method of storytelling. I’m a bit of a slow reader, I love pouring over the pages and I like how, in long-running manga series, the story has room to breath and can take it’s time exploring the characters. There are some series for which I prefer the anime over the manga, usually action series, but more often I prefer the manga.

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  3. Im weird in that I usually don’t read a manga unless I’ve already seen the anime first. Usually it’s because they just ended a season/story arc and I don’t want to have to wait years to find out what happens next 😅 But I’ve found a lot of awesome manga/light novel series this way and it’s given me more appreciation for the anime too.

    I need to read more manga, but the main thing for me is cost. I’m old school and prefer to read hard copy books over e-books whenever possible, but since I read so fast (I usually read a volume of manga in about half an hour) that can get expensive real quick! So I either have to shell out for a monthly service or find some bootleg fan translation in the deep, dark corners of the internet.

    Also, am I the only one who has to read manga while listening to the original music from the anime? It gets me way more into the story. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For me, it depends – I have both cases where anime -> manga (or its source LN in relevant cases) has occurred and the opposite. It’s just what I encounter first that colours my perception.

      I’m the sort of crazy person who likes to predict the future’s “hottest new thing” based solely on the source material, but that bites me in the butt sometimes – I don’t always like what becomes a “big thing” in Shonen Jump, for instance.

      I have a post coming soon about how to find manga for cheap…you might be able to learn a thing or two from it. I definitely understand the need for a physical book rather than an e-book, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing how you feel as well as showing why you got into manga. I like hearing what people think on things and I’d love to discuss anime and manga further with you sometime!

    Thanks so much for reading me!

    Personally, I really like manga because I get to the meat of a story within like half the time that it would take me to watch an anime. In addition, there are so many good series that will never get adapted because they’re probably not something people would want to watch on television. Manga gives me lots of opportunities to see unique things.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I read manga for the art and the stories, as it’s a good blend of traditional books and cartoons/animation. But that doesn’t mean it’s just comedy. There are so many manga choices out there, and it’s a much wider range than anime. Plus even if there’s an adaptation, it usually doesn’t cover everything, and I want to experience as much of a story as possible if I like it. And when it comes down to it, I’d rather read something than watch something.

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  6. I don’t read manga. I used to read comic books when I was young, later everything went into visual novels and they were ok. I just have no interest in the medium anymore. The last manga I read was Princess Mononoke and my thoughts were how I enjoyed the movie so much more. I needed a magnifying glass to make out the panel details and I really didn’t get that much more out of it.

    Every penny spent on an anime makes someone money. The trick is to make good anime that will be popular enough to entice enough viewers to make it worthwhile to spend the money to produce, license, and market it. The cost of creating an anime is many times that of creating a manga but the potential for making money is also many times. Niche anime are likely to cost more money than they generate but a manga publisher can control their costs by printing fewer copies and so don’t need to print something that is universally appealing.

    Most people who watch a popular anime will never see the manga. Consequently, when I judge an anime, it is completely independent of the manga. It fails if you have to read the manga to understand what is going on.

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  7. For me I end up reading the manga because it was faster for me to do so! I can read about three volumes of manga in the time it takes to watch two episodes of a standard anime. Plus I use to be part of library system that actually bought series it’s patrons recommended. So when a bunch of us would ask for new manga, we got new manga!

    Now I read manga because I need to sharpen my Japanese reading skills. I’ve been pretty impressed by how many volumes and series my rather debatable skills have gotten we through.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve had one or two libraries which would purchase manga, too. One time. I tried ordering a volume of manga when the regional publisher recently went defunct and a librarian approached me personally about it – that, to me, is a commitment to customer service.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That sounds like an amazing librarian to do that for you. My library usually asked me what titles they should invest in and for awhile I was right on the money! Nowadays I wouldn’t have a clue, but I’m glad to know there are others out there getting serious about manga!

        Liked by 1 person

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