Let's talk a little about manga. There are a lot of uppers and downers in the manga industry that I'd like to discuss. Some of the more positive things that I enjoy: the art. Oh man. I can't draw at all myself, so I am always amazed when someone can draw the same characters over and over and keep them looking the same but different as well. One of the best parts of manga is reading the story through the art and not just through the words. You can always get a gist of the story even without knowing what the words are, though the words do help. Which brings me to a negative point: translations. Not only are there different kinds of translations, there's also the wait to get a new series translated to English so we can enjoy it as well. I know America is wholly aware of the popularity of anime and manga in English speaking countries (specifically here), so I am surprised how long it takes some of these American companies to get things translated. Admittedly its much faster in recent years than in previous years as its become a more prominent culture, but its still not quite as great. And also the extended time between release dates to hype up each volume's release and get more money has always been something I despise. Though I guess in retrospect it does keep the story alive longer for you than it would if you got all of the volumes at once and read them in a day.
Another negative point this comes to is price. Manga is TOO EXPENSIVE. Especially when some of these stories are hundreds of volumes long. Who has that kind of money? Sure some books stores will have buy two get one free and other little incentives, but $10 a book is too freaking expensive if you really love the manga and want to buy them all. Its been a huge drawback for me to buy entire series; at AKON this year I talked myself out of buying a series I really did love because I just didn't want to drop 70 dollars on seven volumes. They really need to drop the prices on these things. These companies would actually make more money if they sold each volume for say, $5 instead of $10. The price of the books do not compare to the enjoyment you get out of them. You can read one ~200 page manga in an hour and ten dollars for one hour is really kind of a rip off. I would consider buying more if it were not for the outrageous prices.
A great thing about manga and anime is that they both have a variety of plots and genres so large, they could stand as all the movies we ever need. There is action, adventure, romance, comedy... even porn! Its absolutely astounding what the anime culture has achieved in its lifetime. An issue many people have complained and praised in the years passed is fanservice. Most often it refers to sexual content for the male audiences that is present for the same reason said similar content is present in everything; to gain viewers. There's no difference between the fanservice in anime and the fanservice in every single TV show and movie ever created. These complaints are more relevant in the culture of anime because anime tends to exaggerate to a much larger scale than mainstream media does, but in the end it's all the same so this small bit of relevancy is basically moot. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of the fanservice in anime by any means (I'm actually someone you could consider close to a feminist in many ways) but the reality of the matter is that its not going to go away and its easier to just endure it then to try and fight against it. This is not something that's going to die away because women feel objectified--women have been objectified like this for so many years its become fairly commonplace. Obviously not a good thing, but something fueled by many women themselves so the argument becomes weaker and ultimately useless. It is not impossible to endure a few over-sized breasts for an otherwise good story line, so I wouldn't get too picky if I were you.
What's more interesting about anime that is not present in manga (in my opinion at least) is the color and animation. An obvious thing since it's ANIMATION, but when you read a book, or in this case a manga series, and see a movie, its two completely different worlds and it pulls from two totally separate parts of your brain. Manga doesn't allow for as much imagination as a full text book does, but there is still much to be desired in paneled art and the animated screen takes care of that void quite nicely. Of course anime adaption of manga are just as differing as books-to-movies, but as a whole manga-based-anime series are generally about 90% spot on with the series. Anime series do a much better job of sticking to the story than major motion pictures and many that I've seen usually stray from the story line because it hasn't been finished to begin with. Not to mention since you already have looks for the characters, you see the exact characters you already know and love on the screen which I call totally awesome.
What I love about anime and manga is the diversity and I try my pallet in all the genres as much as I can. Sometimes you feel like watching something suspenseful and dark, in which case a good series might be Death Note, or if you are looking for a more fun, upbeat sort of series there's always Desert Punk or Ouran High School Host Club. You can get your dose of romance with Fruits Basket or paranormal with Witch Hunter Robin. And of course there is always Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon for your 'classics.' There are much too many to list them all, of course, but you get the idea.
Its hard to not find something you'd like, though I suppose you have to be open to the culture to begin with. Something I love about it all is that it stems from a culture entirely different from our own and you get to learn about countries and cultures you might not otherwise know. I think anime and manga open up the eyes of Americans more than they normally would be, especially in this generation when Americans have a very difficult time look past their own borders and acknowledging that there's more to the world than just the United States. When you join the world of anime and manga, you ultimately indulge yourself into one of the largest and most versatile cultures there is out there, so if you aren't already a fan, you should consider checking some of it out because there is definitely something you would like out there.