Anime is colorful. It has voice and music. It contains tens of thousands of frames. It requires advanced computer software and high level of technology.

On the other hand, manga is nothing but a drawing with pen and pencil.

I would expect manga to be produced faster than anime under these conditions. However, it appears to be not the case. In most long running series, anime eventually catches up to the manga.

Is it because the mangakas are lazy, or is there another reason behind this?

  • 9
    It's one mangaka versus a team. In many cases, the mangaka also has to come up with the story, which the anime production team can just pick up and follow.
    – Gao
    Mar 9 '15 at 8:43
  • Why don't mangakas make a team? Mar 9 '15 at 9:30
  • 2
    Sometimes they do make a small team (see Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun for example), but I guess usually one person suffices. It probably has to do with cost and quality control (different mangakas have different styles). Once in a while, you do get a thousand people to (re)-draw a volume of a manga.
    – Gao
    Mar 9 '15 at 9:46
  • 1
    An episode of anime can contain 2 or more chapter and sometime skip some chapter. Mar 9 '15 at 10:55
  • 3
    Dude, even hinting pro mangaka to be lazy...
    – Mindwin
    Mar 9 '15 at 22:36

Mangas are usually written by one person, called the mangaka. The mangaka has to come up with creative ideas, original scenery, character expressions and dialogues while making sure that the story flow is coherent and planning ahead to pick up the story in the next chapter and see if he/she can take it from there. The mangaka first has to draw everything in frames of various sizes (some of which are very difficult to fill due to abnormal proportions [to create effects]), outlines everything and then fills in the ink. Sometimes the mangaka even has to come up with a color cover page/chapter.

Anime production houses employ many individuals who don't have to work around the clock all the time (shifts reduce workloads on individual employees). They already have most of the original artwork from the manga, and they simply have to digitize it and add vibrant colors (not that it isn't difficult). Most voice recordings are done prior to the final graphical rendering. The mangaka is more likely to be pressurized when trying to meet the next week deadline than anime production houses, because a shortage of ideas is a disaster for the manga but easy to deal with in the anime (just adding a filler often makes it up, regardless of the quality of the content). This means that the mangaka prefers to spend a little more time on the story to think and draw more carefully.

The list goes on and on, but for the sake simplicity, I've decided to end it here. Just a side note that most mangakas work an average of about 18 hours a day (almost no days off), which can't really be characterized as lazy.

  • 8
    Pro mangaka doesn't necessarily work alone. They may hire assistants to help them with background, inking, etc. The mangaka themselves have to come up with the story and the layout, though (character design also, but it is not part of the tasks have to be done every chapter).
    – nhahtdh
    Mar 9 '15 at 11:19
  • Also, anime have a big component of reused stuff. First of all, op & ed. Second, lot of background scenes. On a manga, you normally doesn't see reused stuff, or, at least, they have tiny changes. Also, some anime rely on computer modeling of the characters, because of this, making movement of a character are very simply after modeling these character on the adequate program (And it's a work you do at first, and reuse on all animation process). Mar 9 '15 at 22:23

A 20-page manga chapter takes a week to produce. And based on the dialogue at the beginning of Shirobako episode 10, given that the script and the storyboard are already complete, 5 weeks is considered a very tight schedule to produce a single anime episode, and 2 months (8 weeks?) is normal. That's not faster than manga. The reason a long running anime can air an episode every week is because they have bigger staff, and the whole process is in a pipeline so they don't wait until the current episode is over to start on the next episode. For example, the animators work on the next episode while the background artists work on the parts the animators just finished.

Anime adaptations catching up to their source material has more to do with the density of the source material as it's produced. For instance, it might take just 4 minutes to read a chapter of BLEACH as it uses large panels that eat up the page count, but the anime has to cover 20+ minutes so they'll adapt 5 chapters. This may be attributed to style, laziness, or the profit the creators get from dragging out a series, if you must.

  • I think you nailed it with the pipeline work process and the adaptation of 5 manga chapters in 1 anime episode.
    – Gao
    Mar 22 '15 at 13:55

Anime actually take months and months to create. That's why the seasons(spring,winter,fall,and summer)come in handy.Every week they edit it and maybe voice acting. So anime actually takes longer to create then manga

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