SMAC! Web Magazine

Manga CHARACTER Thinking “The WAY OF LIFE”- Japanese Manga 101 #048

Hey guys!
Last time, we talked about how we WEAVE manga like a sheet of fabric, with vertical threads and horizontal threads.
Today, we continue talking about the SECRET ART of manga creation.
We have learned from great artists themselves and our senpais.

The secret art:
MANGA is CHARACTERS.

 

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This is a famous line by a great manga writer and storyboard creator Kazuo Koike,
and is handed down as the most important principle in the world of Japanese manga creation.

To be quite honest, when I was young, I also thought,
“Hey wait a minute, the world and story are also important in Manga”.
But through the years of working a with great many manga creators,
I realized the truth and importance of this principle, more and more.

In series manga, we often hit the creators block, as to how the story should proceed.
There is nothing WRONG with the story, but the manga is just not satisfying to read.

“Will the readers, really be entertained by this?”
That moment we scratch our heads, late into the night.
What to do, in times like this?
The next secret art:
WHAT EMOTIONS of the characters, will make the readers happiest?
What ACTIONS will move the readers?
Concentrate hard on thinking about just those two points.

 

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So, we focus on the protagonist and supporting actors, imagine being them ourselves.
And think, what situation will make our characters REALLY struggle,
REALLY scared, REALLY happy, REALLY Angry, REALLY full of tears, and EXPLODE with laughter?
We think deep, hard, and dig REALLY deep into the characters’ mindset.

 

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That often gave us great turn of events, that we just didn’t see before.
Many of those ideas were just what made the whole manga, a big success.

We have said this several times here on Japanese manga 101, and say it again.
The readers experience the world and story, though the eyes and senses of the characters.
For the readers to want to TURN THE PAGE of the manga,
we must first make the readers, feel attached to the characters, feel sympathy, and wish to become the characters themselves.
Not a page of that manga story will progress, without the reader turning the page.

It’s not some grand ideas like a big world, or a mission to save the world that makes readers to turn the pages of your manga.
First you got to entertain the readers with your characters living everyday life like
Sleeping, getting up, and eating breakfast. Really everyday stuff.

THEN the next step is to show the readers what makes the characters to show changing emotions,
On what principles, do they make important judgement in their life.
You show the readers, their way of life, their missions and goals through the decisions your characters make.
This is how you make the reader, feel the empathy, become one with the character.

Put simply,

The secret of art:
The CHARACTER, is IT’S WAY OF LIFE.

 

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Here in Japan, we often hear how people say,
“I have learned all important things in life, through MANGA.”
That may be an indication of the fact, how many readers project themselves onto Manga characters,
and how many important lessons in life are told through all those characters.

GOT IT?

We will continue to uncover the secret art of Manga creation.
Stay tuned!

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Taiyo Nakashima