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SMAC! MANGA DOJO #7 – "Do not fear the 'ROYAL ROAD'!!"

Mayuna Mizutani Mayuna Mizutani 16/04/2018 12 min read
<Characters> Penmaru 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.” His favorite snack is Shoyu-Senbei (Rice cracker, soy sauce flavor).   “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 favorite snack is Mont Blanc.   Mocchi The chairman of the SILENT MANGA AUDITION® Committee, and Chief editor of the SMAC! editorial team. A good friend of Shihan, who introduced him to Penmaru. His favorite snack is Dorayaki.   <Previously in Manga Dojo> “It is easier to find ideas by combining knowledge you know, rather than drawing what you don’t know.” With that, Shihan taught Penmaru some invaluable TIPS to find ideas using old knowledge. But with his obsession with everything “new”, Penmaru declines and runs away from the Dojo! Will Penmaru’s journey end here!?  

Ep. 7 “Do not fear the ‘Royal Road’!!”

  Penmaru: Sob… Was it really right for me to run away from the Dojo……?   Penmaru: O-Of course it was!! I want that Maid-san robot AND I wanna draw new things!! They’re definitely much better than the old traditional stuff!   Penmaru: That blockhead! That bonehead! Shihan is so mean!   Penmaru: What should I do now? Should I find a new tutor, who has a fresher mind…?   Penmaru: ……I know! I should rely on HIM! He should understand my vision!     – SMAC! Editorial Office, Kichijoji ZIZO bldg –   Penmaru: Excuse me sir, it’s Penmaru!   Mocchi: Ah, Penmaru! How’s your training going?   Penmaru: Mocchi! Well, I’m actually having a little trouble right now…   Mocchi: ???   – After a while of blah-blah yadda-yadda… –   Mocchi: I see… so you feel that Shihan is too obsessed with his “old” ways? You don’t think he’s accepting your “new” way of thinking?   Penmaru: Yep… I know Shihan isn’t saying anything wrong, but I feel it’s all a bit outdated…I mean, manga doesn’t work like that anymore.   Mocchi: I see…   Penmaru: If I really need to learn from someone, I want it to be someone who is innovative and challenging, rather than stubborn and old fashioned!   Mocchi: Hmm, what kind of person do you imagine when you say “innovative and challenging”?   Penmaru: Let’s see… hmmmmf… ah! How about someone like Hirohiko Araki sensei, the creator of ‘Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure’? ‘Jojo’ is quite unique and different from the traditional JUMP manga, isn’t it? I wish I could create something unique and original like him!   Mocchi: Ah, so that’s what you think Araki sensei is?   Penmaru: Eh?   Mocchi: Well, what if I tell you that Araki sensei himself draws with the belief that ‘Jojo’ is a “traditional” manga. A manga that follows the ‘Royal Road’.   Penmaru: Eeee!? Is that true!?!?   Mocchi: Very much so. He’s even written a book about it, ‘Araki Hirohiko no Manga-jutsu (Hirohiko Araki’s Manga Technique)’. In it he gives his reasons why he believes it’s important to acknowledge traditional methods and also gives his own theory on the ‘Royal Road’. It would take years to explain everything, but by reading the book, you will see how much Araki sensei cherishes the ‘Royal Road of Manga’ – or the ‘Golden Road’, in his words.   Penmaru: Wow, I’d love to read it!!   Mocchi: Wel, this is what he actually mentions in the book –
“If you want to draw Manga, you must know it’s ‘Royal Road’, and be aware that you are heading down a ‘Golden Road’. The ‘Royal Road of Manga’ should lead you to the classics that has been inherited and loved over time. A person who just wants a transitory hit, may be able to produce some successful manga, but they will never understand the true ‘Royal Road’. In fact, I warn you in advance that Manga is no juicy business to be undertaken with such an attitude.”
—Quote: “Araki Hirohiko no Manga-jutsu” (Shueisha Shinsho, 2015)
Penmaru: Hyeee, he’s pretty harsh…!   Mocchi: In more general terms, I guess he means “You can’t practice something without knowing the basics”. A person can’t multiply or divide if he doesn’t know how to add and subtract. A person can’t write a novel, if he doesn’t know any words. This is absolutely true for manga. Only geniuses can succeed by initially tackling manga with the “other” way…and you can’t tell if you’re that genius or not!   Penmaru: Ugh… you’re right……   Mocchi: Araki sensei tells us the ‘Golden Road’ is like a map. Imagine you’re climbing an uncharted mountain – without a map or the basic knowledge of climbing. All you can do is wander around aimlessly, making it less likely for you to reach the top. Worst case, you might even get stranded, right?   Penmaru: I- I see…!   Mocchi: What we call the “Royal Road” or the “Golden Road”, are in fact a ‘map’ using ‘routes’ that have succeeded in the past. I believe it would be very tough to find “your own way” blindly with no prior knowledge of what actually works. Plus, it sounds a little arrogant to assume you can, too.   Penmaru: Eek!   Mocchi: As you say, Manga has no “absolute right or wrong” answer, with each creator developing their own style. But it may be a good idea to step back and think why and how -is it just a strong preference of yours, or something based on a certain theory/achievement?   Penmaru: You’re right……     Penmaru: Thank you so much, Mocchi! I’ll go back to the Dojo and continue my training! I’m gonna learn all the basics from Shihan and establish my own manga creation once again!   Mocchi: Yep. The training might be tough, but I know you can do it! Ganbatte!   Penmaru: Yes! ……Um, by the way…   Mocchi: ?   Penmaru: It seems I’ve spent all my pocket money getting here……Is it OK if I borrow the bus fare back to the Dojo? Call it an expense?   Mocchi: ……   Penmaru: Tehehehe……   Penmaru learned the importance of the “basics” from Mocchi. Spotted how this story ended with the good old traditional slip!? No? OK then…… … Anyway, can Penmaru return to the Dojo by next time!? Wait until next time, to figure out!   < NEXT EPISODE… April 23 MON >   Did you enjoy reading this story? Did you find the hints and tips to improve your manga production? If YES, please share the article with your fellow creators! If NO, please let me know how we can improve Penmaru’s journey! We welcome any and all kinds of opinions and questions, requests and comments, day and night! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for updates 😉
Script: Mayuna Mizutani – Follow me on Twitter and Facebook Illustration: Roberto F. – Support him on Instagram, Facebook & Tweet your questions / opinions / reviews at #SMACMangaDojo, and I will answer! 😉
Mayuna Mizutani

Mayuna Mizutani