As you can see, getting into manga has gotten me out and about. Not only that, I’m usually catching conversation with people as I thumb through the choices on shelves at my library or local stores.
As a writer and happy-to-be-a-word-nerd, I’ve found that strangers are just friends who have not been asked for their opinion yet. A response to an anime DVD in its case may need more specialized knowledge, but you can open a book and turn it over and start discussing it with just about anyone near you as you flip it in discovery together, or to select pages.
Manga get people talking. It’s been a lot of fun so far to reach out and touch a tome and someone else’s world at the same time. I appreciate the work that goes into the story lines and the character development because as a writer, I know that to make that happen well, there is real life observation and mixing, and then there is devoted work in isolation to translate it to the page.
Takao Yaguchi – Manga Master
I’d like to share an Aha moment inspired by an interview I read with Takao Yaguchi (2002, translated by Francoise White in a Japanese book, later published in English as Draw Your Own Manga.
“What is most difficult is depicting inner emotions, or where there isn’t any dialogue. I get really excited drawing scenes where there’s a lot of action and jumping up and down In order to create drama you must put all your energy into building up the story, but after it reaches the climax, it’s just a question of finishing it up until the last scene. That part is easy and fun. In manga, you keep repeating this process.”
“Manga is drawing, but it’s also art and it’s important to achieve a beautiful picture.”
On the latest trends in manga Yaguchi said, “If you wrote out in words the amount of information contained in just one manga story, you would probably run to hundreds of thousands of words. First the image is embedded in the reader’s mind, then they read the story.”
On Manga Artists Then and Now
Yaguchi, like the other greats including Tezuka, Sanpei Shirato, Kazuo Koike and Tesuya Chiba developed as they drew epic, large scale and fantastic manga – mostly by trial and error. Yaguchi noticed that young people were not furthering this legacy with their own development. They were taking shortcuts.
“Some young artists neglect the background with the excuse that they haven’t got the time or they lack the necessary skills. There has also been a lot of work with successions of close ups, relying on exciting dialogue to carry the story. I feel there’s a danger that this will result in an overall decline in the quality of manga.”
What has been your experience in manga? Do you ‘read’ for the story in words or pictures?
See you in the next frame,
About the writer: Helena Kaufman is a writer who grew up with the Flintstones and Casper the Friendly Ghost with some Astro Boy on occasion. She holds onto the Classic Illustrated Comics’ “Hamlet” her big brother once gave her and later in her adult professional life, helped launch a comic book for teens on the topic of drug and alcohol addiction, sponsored by a teen help line. Now Helena thinks it’s time to find out about the fun, fantasy and appeal of anime and manga. She’s curious about how it impacts current communication and what it’s really all about.