What is the difference between Manga and Anime?

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Not many of you new to this site know that I (PinkyP's creator) used to draw cartoons (static not animated) to earn my bread. I only did this part time, creating caricatures as gifts and business cartoons and so on.

While I was devoting myself to the business of cartooning, I dabbled with many different cartoon drawing styles as thanks to Japanese culture, there is now  a vast amount of difference. I kept encountering the terms Manga and Anime and as such I had to learn the difference as they seemed to be used interchangeably.

So what is the difference between Manga and Anime?

The easy answer is that Anime refers to Animation and Manga to comic books.

In Japan, Manga is a general term for comic and as such could easily be used by them in reference to the Beano. In Western culture however, we think of Manga as being a specific type of Japanese comic drawing style.

Similarly ‘Anime' is Japan's word for all animated cartoons and TV shows. In Western culture however, we think of Anime as specific to Japanese animation and films.


Manga and Anime refer to different artistic, production and management styles. Manga being the work of a single artist producing original works and Anime referring to larger company based production with teams behind them, possibly recreating existing works.

What we in the West consider to be Manga and Anime are both characterized by slightly larger than proportionate heads, large eyes, small noses and often exaggerated mouths and facial expressions. Female characters may have tiny mouths meanwhile. The hair is nearly always flamboyant, spiky in nature.

Manga illustrated graphics novels are increasingly popular in the West as are Anime Cartoons.

manga reader

There is also a cartoon style known as Chibi which is a super cute child like cartoon figure with simplified limbs and expressive eyes. The list goes on. As a cartoonist the difference in styles interests me greatly and I have a number of ‘how to draw Manga' style books featuring different character styles. I love the diversity! I haven't though managed anything myself worthy of either term.

chibii fantasy