Manga NAME Practicals : “BONOLON the Forest Warrior” – Japanese Manga 101 #033
04/09/2015 7 min read
Today is the 4th September! Just one month left until the deadline for round 4 of Silent Manga Audition. How is your manga coming along? Please do your best, right up till the 30th! Hojo-sensei, Hara-sensei, and the rest of the judges are looking forward to seeing what you can do! So far, we’ve explained the important points for Manga NAME creation. From now on, we will be demonstrating those points in actual usage, while looking at an actual name of “Forest Warrior Bonolon”. Forest Warrior Bonolon is a children’s picture book, with character design by Tetsuo Hara-sensei, and story written by Nobuhiko Hories, under the pen-name Kitahara Seibo. It’s a free book released once every 2 months, with over 1 million copies distributed to restaurants and convenience stores all over Japan. This picture book was originally created for parents to read to their child. But manga artist Ryuji Tsugihara-sensei has turned it into a Manga NAME. Picture books rely on still images and text, but a manga needs more “acting” & “directing”, as demonstrated in this name. This NAME is also available on our website, the SMAC MAG, for everyone to see! So let’s begin! The opening scene is orthodox. There’s a long shot to show the reader the world setting, with a short explanatory text to strengthen the description. It says… “Long ago, deep in the mountains, there was a small village surrounded by a forest. In the middle was a giant camphor tree, where a god was said to live, and when the villagers had problems, they went to pray at the tree.” This is where the manga-like depiction begin. A picture book just has a paragraph of text explaining everything, but in the manga, we have a scene with the villagers complaining about their troubles. The story is that there’s a terrible disease spreading around the village, and through the villagers “acting” and “lines”, the reader feels more tension. The point here is that the setting isn’t explained through text, but through the character’s actions and words. Next, some important characters are introduced. A small village girl named Lemo, who’s going with her mother to pray at the tree. The mother is weak from the disease, and Lemo is trying to encourage her. Here, the camera zooms in, and each character says a few lines to illustrate their situation. These close-ups tell the readers that Lemo and her mother are the protagonists – the important characters. Seeing how Lemo is trying to cheer on her mother, the villagers have the following conversation: “Poor child. Her father passed away when she was young, and now her mother is also ill…” Through the villager’s conversation, we understand more of Lemo’s background. Using a third party to explain the main character’s actions or situation, is a basic technique used in manga. The next scene. Lemo smiles at her mother, but when she prays to the tree, she says “Please save my mother!” The mother watches Lemo, and with tears in her eyes, prays “After I die, Lemo will be all alone. Please Look after her.” This shows that Lemo and her mother are thinking of each other’s happiness more than their own. Pay special attention to where they are facing and their lines of sight. In the final 3 panels, the mother’s tears fall onto the roots of the tree, and there’s a small sparkle. The sparkle is to show the readers that something important just happened. This, is the “Hiki-Goma”, the panel to make sure the reader would want to turn the page, to find out what happens next. GOT IT? What will become of Lemo and her mother? Next time, we’ll continue looking at Forest Warrior Bonolon, as we explain the techniques used in the Manga NAME! See you next time!!