manga vs comic books

Comics are out, Manga is in

In my last blog post I spoke about my experience discovering Manga for the first time. I’d like to expand on that moment to touch on a much wider cultural phenomenon we are witnessing.

After blazing through the first volume of the Chainsaw Man manga I knew I wanted to go pick up the next couple volumes to feed my newly found interest. Immediately, the next day I headed to Kinokuniya — a Japanese bookstore in Sydney’s CBD. However, to my surprise upon entering the Manga section of the store I’d come to find the aisles packed with customers browsing the endless array of manga.

I was shocked, I’d never seen a bookstore so busy in my entire life. There were high-school kids, couples, fathers and sons and almost anyone else you could imagine browsing the shelves in pure glee. You could feel the excitement in the air and could tell people were genuinely invested in these stories.

Which really made me think.. Why is Manga so popular?

I did some research and found some videos you might find interesting about how traditional US comics are declining whereas Manga is booming.

Perhaps the traditional superhero comics from Marvel and DC have become confused with their own identity. Theres multiple multiverses and an assortment of differing origin stories for each character. For example, If I wanted to dive into the world of Spiderman I’d have no idea where to even start.

Maybe it’s the accessibility that makes manga so appealing. From my experience manga is very straightforward and easy to find where a series starts and finishes. Most of the anime adaptations are almost always true to their source material. Which not only makes it easier for fans to continue with the story when the anime ends, but it also creates this sense of familiarity and comfort when you watch the anime alongside the manga.

Nonetheless, I thought this was an interesting case study for a budding storyteller and brand-builder like myself. If you have a spare hour during your week you should go check out your local bookstore and browse the Manga aisle and take note on what the Japanese are getting right.

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