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Manhwa vs. Manga

Agathe is a half Japanese who is currently living in Japan. She loves watching anime and reading manga.

Let’s be honest—Japan has ruled the cartoon and animation world for so long—they’re immensely popular all over the world. One can’t discuss Japan's culture without mentioning anime and manga. These stories and illustrations are highly entertaining. Some have become very famous like Death Note or Naruto and have been adapted into animation. Yup, in fact, manga inspired other countries to make similar artwork. For example . . . yes, Korea—South Korea, to be precise.

Korea’s manga is called manhwa or sometimes, webtoon. Girl bands, boy bands, and K-Dramas are what people usually think of when they think of Korea, but recently, their manhwa is slowly gaining recognition as well, thanks to the app called Webtoon. If you don’t know what Webtoon is, it’s an app that allows you to read web comics and includes mostly Korean manhwa. You're also allowed to make your own web comic and share it on the app, and I heard that you can even get paid if your web comic is official. Would you ever want to make your own web comic?

The Differences Between Manga and Manhwa

This is just my observation, but Japanese manga is monochrome—the colors are between black and white and sometimes grey, though the beginning of the manga is often colorful. However, manhwa is completely colorful, which is wonderful—they are mostly web comics, so they don’t need to use expensive ink like Japanese manga does, which is perhaps the reason why manhwa is more colorful. The text layout is also different. As you know, Japanese text is laid out from right-to-left, and so, the manga’s text layout is also the same. While manhwa’s is different—it’s laid out from left-right—the one we’re familiar with.

Mostly, manhwa is adapted into drama series, whereas manga is adopted into anime, and that’s what I really like about manga, I suppose. Since I’ve never seen anime that is adapted from manhwa, I can’t imagine anime with the Korean language because I’m more familiar with the idea that anime uses Japanese language. I guess it depends on the person.

Three Examples of Manga

Below are some manga that most people find highly entertaining! So, give it a try if you were thinking of reading one.

Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto

Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto

1. Naruto

It’s safe to say that everyone knows Naruto—it’s so popular, in fact, that it was adapted into an anime series. Naruto is a manga by Masashi Kishimoto. The manga revolved around the main character’s life, Naruto Uzumaki, and guess what? He is a ninja! But I suspect you know that already. How could you not? Even those who didn’t watch the anime know that Naruto is a manga or anime about ninja. It was published in 1999 in the 43rd edition of Shounen Jump Magazine. Naruto got so popular that it rivaled Dragonball's fame. So, are you interested in reading Naruto or watching Naruto?

One Piece by Eichiro Oda

One Piece by Eichiro Oda

2. One Piece

Next up is One Piece, and I think you know this manga and anime too since it’s very popular. Its popularity matches the popularity of Naruto. One Piece is a manga that tells the tale of a group of pirates with Monkey D. Luffy as the leader to search for the legendary treasure—One Piece; hence, the title of the manga. It was created by Eichiro Oda in 1997, and it’s still being written now. How many years has it been, I wonder?

Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba

Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba

3. Death Note

This is another manga that’s widely popular, and it has been adapted into anime, though both the anime and manga have ended. It’s very enjoyable, and it is one of my favorites. As the title suggested, the manga is about a note that can kill people just by writing the names of the person whilst imagining the face of the person.

The "note" belongs to the Grim Reaper. Pretty different from the Grim Reaper we're used to with its scythe, huh? Anyway, a genius student named Yagami Light found the notebook and decided to make use of it—that’s how it all began. All in all, the manga is very clever and just amazing. It’s totally recommended! We need to thank Tsugumi Ohba for this masterpiece.

Two Examples of Manhwa

Manhwa is great as well, and I enjoyed a few of them. Below are some of the manhwas I recommend.

unTOUCHable by masstar

unTOUCHable by masstar

1. UnTOUCHable

At first, I was skeptical about this manhwa. For starters, it’s about a vampire, and I imagined it to be something close to Twilight. I’m not a big fan of Twilight so . . . I guess it’s just not for me. After asking someone about it, she told me that it’s different because it’s about a vampire who consumed humans, not by drinking their blood, but by touching them. The notion is so ridiculous to me that I gave up the idea of reading it. It sounded like a romance that is just trying to find an excuse to touch the main character’s love interest.

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One day, I decided to read it anyway because I ran out of things to read and got bored, I suppose. It turned out that the story was interesting. A modern vampire named Sia Lee is attracted to her neighbor who, apparently, tasted delicious to her. Sia Lee got so desperate, and it’s very interesting to read because Jiho, her neighbor, hates to be touched while Sia is just dying to touch him. Well, I recommend that you read the rest by yourself. It’s very humorous and frustrating to watch Jiho denying her. It’s a good read for those who like the rom-com genre. It's available on webtoon and it's drawn & written by masstar. Go check it out!

Dr. Frost by Jongbeom Lee

Dr. Frost by Jongbeom Lee

2. Dr. Frost

Now, this is one of my favorites as well. It’s sort of like Sherlock Holmes or Kuroshitsuji—they all involve cases to solve, and stories about solving cases are my favorite. The difference is that in this story, the case being solved is related to psychological issues, which makes it all the more interesting.

Yes, I recommend Dr. Frost by Jongbeom Lee if you want something challenging! The manhwa centers around the main character, Dr. Frost, who solves psychological problems. This manhwa has also been adapted into a drama series so you can try watching that too. Like unTOUCHable, it's also available on webtoon.

Manga or Manhwa?

So, which do you prefer between manhwa and manga? Well, both are good, but people's tastes differ, right?


Unknown on June 22, 2020:

Noblesse literally got an anime adaptation and God of Highschool is getting one soon lmao

Mande magnificent on December 17, 2019:

Read both love manga but there are really good manwha

The most famous idk why it isn't up there

Is noblesse

Killer stall is another good one 2

Lil french on December 01, 2019:

So, very good guys but i love manga

Momo on November 20, 2019:

Who tf needs manhwa when you can read manga lol

Ssss on November 15, 2019:

You forgot God of highschool

Thatpolishguy on April 12, 2019:

Manga seem to be dominated by the isekai and shounen genres.

Manhwa seem to deal with broader adult content (divorce, widow, workplace ethics) than the usual 'adult content'

A must read for the aging manga/jump crowd.

Ari on December 07, 2018:

You forgot Killing Stalking in the manwha list.

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