Ah, manga. Or Japanese comics or whatever you want to call them. Love them or hate them, they have taken the West by storm in the late nineties and there seems like there’s no stopping them.
This just begs one question: Why do so many people love manga? Most people will dismiss manga as just some fad Japanophiles (or “weeaboos” as some people call them) love because it’s Japanese. Let’s look at this medium into some detail.
First off, no, manga is not superior to western comics and vice versa. Both are pretty much the same thing: Low-brow entertainment for teenagers. Both share the same type tropes, genres and styles. Both have superhero stories (trust me, Goku and Naruto do qualify and superheros,) horror, girly stories (even though the West mostly has Archie while Japan has, like, a million others) and other genres.
So, what’s so different about manga? The best answer I see is that manga is basically the same stories found in Western comics but with an Eastern feel. You see, Japanese culture has its ideas of how to tell a story and what society is which does come out in plenty of manga. Some people find this fascinating.
Other reasons can be is that manga has more genres that Western comics sorely lack. There’s a lot more slice of life, romance, children and, let’s face it, balls to the walls weird stuff than what we see come out on this side of the Pacific. Please, name me one Western comic about high school kids being high school kids and name me one Female hero that’s not essentially a sidekick for a male hero? (Sorry, Wonder Woman is only famous because of Superman and Red Sonja is relatively unknown.)
One other reason can be because we as a species love, and I mean LOVE, serials. Your average Western comic runs for about seven issues while a manga runs for about four-hundred. Many have a lot more than and are still going. Some people do tire of these series, but many, MANY people continue reading them.
I know what many of you are thinking, “why would anyone want to read the same story that goes on for twenty years?” Does your mom watch soup operas? Yes? How long have Days of Our Lives and General Hospital been on the air? About forty years? and your man has been watching them for twenty years? It’s the same with manga. Many people fall in love with certain characters that they are hell bent to continue reading about them for the rest of their lives. Do you know how many people cry because a thirty chapter ended and they want to see another three-hundred chapters? They’re out there. They’re willing to stick with a certain story for fifty years and they just don’t care.
In the end, manga is just another entertainment medium that a ton of people love. Many people may love it too much, but that’s with every fandom. This may not be your cup of tea and I won’t bash you for it. You like Game of Thrones or Marvel comics, fine. I love manga and will do it for a while now. It fills a need for many non-Japanese and it will continue doing so for a while now.