Why Manga is better than Anime

A final clash between Naruto and Sasuke, as portrayed in the Naruto manga. The hand drawn art of manga is the most personal way to view the art of an original story. (Photo Courtesy of Shueisha Inc.)

Among fans of Japanese media, there may be no bigger debate than “Anime vs. Manga.” Fans will debate endlessly over which medium is best for portraying their favorite stories, but in the end there is a superior option. 

Manga is the best artistic medium to portray these stories.

Creative Control

In Japan, their country of origin, anime programs must follow strict sponsorships and network guidelines to what they can and cannot show on broadcast. These regulations include limits on violent content, foul language, and, as Article 175 of the Penal Code of Japan describes, “indecent imagery.”

These censorship guidelines work to muddle the original intentions of the series’ authors and dilute the themes of the original works. When broadcast, these anime adaptations lose parts of the original message and soul that authors intend. Reading the original manga is the best way to get the author’s uncensored vision of the story.


The meddling of broadcast regulations is not just limited to creative expression. Anime shows are big investments for publishing companies, and sometimes they try to milk the scheduling of their shows for as long as possible.  

Some major animes like One Piece follow broadcast schedules that require one episode a week. This forces the studio to stretch a 19-page manga chapter into a 23-minute episode every week in order to not overtake the pacing of the manga. 

Other adaptations are seasonal, splitting up manga arcs into 27 episode seasons, chunking parts of the story, and making fans wait years to watch the next sections. Manga does not have this issue, as they follow an unencumbered, weekly/monthly release schedule. Manga can also be binged much easier than anime, as chapters can be read much faster than episodes, and bulk chapters are readily available.


When it comes to anime in the United States, many shows can not be accessed legally unless you pay for a subscription to a streaming service (ie; Crunchryoll, Netflix). 

Manga, however, is much easier to access for free. Publishers such as Shonen Jump offer many of their manga series for free via their website, and volumes of manga are available physically or digitally at many public libraries.

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