Is a ninja dog who dreams of becoming the greatest manga creator in the animal world! To help achieve his dream, Mocchi gives him a mission… “Learn how to create manga at the Manga Dojo.”
“Shihan” Manga Master
The master of the dojo and Penmaru’s tutor in the ways of manga. An experienced editor who had worked in the manga industry for over 30 years, his dream is to establish manga dojos all over the globe!
Ep. 1 MANGA IS ENTERTAINMENT
Penmaru: So this is the Manga Dojo… Ugh, it smells sweaty…
Penmaru: But Mocchi insists, if I want my dream to come true, I must learn here. Well, here I go…!
Penmaru: Hello? Anyone here?
Shihan: AHA! Welcome! You must be Penmaru. I am Shihan, the master of this Dojo! I’ve heard all about you from Mocchi.
Penmaru: (Mocchi…! He’s counting on me!!)
Penmaru: Yes! Nice to meet you, sir! I am Penmaru and I want to become the best manga creator in the animal world!
Shihan: (*Twitch*) Hmm…The best manga creator in the animal world, you say…?
Shihan: I see. So, are you working hard to make your dream come true?
Penmaru: Yes! I practice drawing at least 6 hours a day! I read manga as much as I draw, too! I also study scene directions, and… I do everything that is necessary to improve my skills in drawing manga!
Shihan：……I see. You assume the readers will read your manga, providing you can skillfully draw and direct your scenes?
Penmaru: Eh? Did I say something wrong?
Shihan: You are not wrong. However, you are missing a vitally important point.
Penmaru: Whaaa!? What do you mean!?
Shihan: Penmaru, here I have two manga – “A manga which is poorly drawn, but is entertaining to read”, and “A manga with brilliant drawings, but not entertaining to read”. Which would you take?
Penmaru: !! I would take the “entertaining” manga!!
Shihan: “Brilliant drawings” and “skillful scene directions” are great at grabbing the reader’s attention. However, Manga is about “WHAT” is drawn, not “HOW WELL” it is drawn.
Penmaru: I see!
Shihan: This is what Tetsuo Hara sensei had to say in an interview…
“In America and France, comics are drawn in color and I have to say, it’s looked upon as a form of art. If you visit these countries, they’ll say “drawing manga is art”. But we don’t think that way. We think it’s entertainment. This way of thinking may be fundamentally different, but we think of manga as purely entertainment.”
Shihan: Whatever the standard is, art is valued by it’s beauty. But many manga creators, including Hara sensei, don’t draw manga to show off their skills, they create to “ENTERTAIN”. This way of thinking is what makes Japanese manga fun to read.
Penmaru: You mean, art is about “being skillful”, and fun is about “being entertained”… manga is entertainment, so it’s better to think “What would be entertaining?” rather than “How can I draw better drawings?”
Shihan: Yes. Profound stories, technical scene making… there are various ways to make your manga better. However, you must not forget the core message – “WHO” you are doing this all for.
Penmaru: Yes, Shihan!
Penmaru: …But, is it really possible for an ordinary ninja dog like me to create such entertaining stories…?
Shihan: …Penmaru, why do you think Japanese Manga became the fun to read, entertaining manga it is today?
Penmaru: ??? Because the creators are entertaining people?
Shihan: Is that so? Think of it this way… “Japanese Manga is entertaining, because manga creators desperately thought about how they can surprise the readers, even at the risk of their own lives!”
Shihan: The history of Japanese manga is a history of severe competition…Magazines with entertaining manga will sell, while those without are discontinued…
But that’s not all. Even in the same magazine, manga creators would fiercely compete with each other. Manga that gets the readers votes survive, while manga that doesn’t get votes simply die – No mercy!
Shihan: To continue their career as a manga creator, they need to be chosen by the readers. To get chosen by the readers, they need to draw entertaining manga. Manga creators work their brains until it bleeds, to find the right, entertaining ideas.
Shihan: Penmaru!! Are you prepared to draw manga until your brain bleeds!?!?
Penmaru: Hyeeeee!! I… I… I caaaaaaan’t!
Shihan: Yeah, really!!!
An unexpected reply from the Manga master!
Can we really rely on him!? Will this series even continue!?
Figure out in the next “SMAC! MANGA DOJO” episode (if we have any)! Don’t miss it!
Tweet your questions / opinions / reviews at #SMACMangaDojo, and I will answer! 😉