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SMAC! MANGA DOJO #9 – "4 'IFs' that creates Manga"

Mayuna Mizutani Mayuna Mizutani 21/05/2018 17 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 season is Summer. “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 season is Autumn (or Fall!).   <Previously in Manga Dojo> Shihan teaches Penmaru that “Manga is a Wonderful Lie”. But when his home-made Maid Robot, brimming with Shihan’s wonderful lies and ideas, threw away his precious snack, Shihan’s heart shattered by cruel, cold wind of ”reality”……    

Ep.9 “4 ‘IFs’ that creates manga”

  Shihan: Mont blanc……my Mont blanc……sob……   Penmaru: (Uh-oh, Now Shihan’s “annoying” mode is on…… ah! I have an idea!)   Penmaru; S-Shihan! Since you’re really sad, why don’t we talk about manga? Please teach me how to draw a good manga!   Shihan: Hm……? What’s the that? Why are you so hyper……?   Penmaru: Manga is entertainment, right? So if we talk about something fun like manga, I bet we’ll become more happy! Penmaru: You know, Mocchi told me the importance of the “royal road” of manga. After I heard it, I realized that I could WOW the readers more, if I learned about the “royal road”…and you’re the one who can tell me all about it! So, please teach me more about creating manga!   Shihan: Penmaru……You……!   Shihan: Alright! It’s the one and only Mocchi, my good friend, who asked me to teach you the secrets of drawing manga. I cannot stop now!   Penmaru: (Yay!! It worked!!!)     Shihan: Now, let’s come back to the topic of how to find the “SEED OF IDEAS (NETA)”. Do you remember when I told you that “ideas can be found inside your brain”?   Penmaru: Yes! And that it’s ideas inspired by what I’ve witnessed, or experienced in the past.   Shihan: Then, what exactly is the best way to find new ideas?   Penmaru: Hmmmm……ah, how about drawing an episode of someone doing something funny, directly into the manga?   Shihan: I see. That’s a good start! But if you just draw it as it is, you will most likely end up with a picture diary of what you’ve seen. It’s not a “wonderful lie”, either.   Penmaru: I see, because manga is a wonderful lie……Mmmmm………   Penmaru: Oh, how about turning the pretend plays I did as a child into a manga?   Shihan: Interesting approach! But I’m not quite sure if that would be a story that the readers would enjoy reading……   Penmaru: You’re right……Hmm, what should I do……   Penmaru: “Neta-dashi” is difficult, indeed…… if only there was a handy tool that plonks out lots of fun ideas……   Shihan: !!!! Penmaru, what did you just say!?   Penmaru: Eek!! I said I want a handy tool that keeps plonking out fun ideas!! I know there’s no such thing! I’m sorry!! I’ll try thinking myself!!   Shihan: No, you got it right, Penmaru! Good job!!   Penmaru: ……Huh?   Shihan: “If only something nice like this could happen”…… THAT is a statement, and a handy tool that helps you build towards the first step to creating manga!!   Penmaru: Eeeee!?!? W-What do you mean!?!?   Shihan: Fufufu, you wanna know? This lesson includes a secret lesson told by Ryuji Tsugihara sensei, one of the judges of the SILENT MANGA AUDITION®, and creator of many popular mangas, including the significant car series, ‘Yoroshiku Mecha-doc’! So listen with care……   Penmaru: Gulp……!   Shihan: There are many ways to establish an idea for a manga. What I would recommend, is to think about this statement: “IF ONLY……” or “WHAT IF……”.   Penmaru: You mean, like, “IF ONLY I WAS A MANGA CREATOR”……?   Shihan: Absolutely! Now, you’re a ninja dog who wants to become a manga creator. By tweaking that fact, for example, how about a slice-of-life manga with a boy and a smart dog…The boy is known as the best manga creator in the world, but the secret is, it’s his dog that actually draws the manga. The man must protect this secret from everyone……so the manga is all about his everyday struggle to hide this surprising fact.   Penmaru: Hahaha, that would be really funny!! Wow, it’s true! It really makes it so easy to imagine a story!!   Shihan: The “IF” can be about almost anything! “IF ONLY there was a handy tool that could help me create manga…” “IF ONLY I could go back in time……” “WHAT IF I could take revenge on that bully?” “WHAT IF I could date my crush?” ……Just like that, you’ve found a good starting point.   Penmaru: I see!   Shihan: According to Tsugihara-sensei, there are 4 types of “IFs” you can utilize in manga:
CHARACTER – What if there was a person like this? ITEM/OBJECT – What if there was a thing like this? SITUATION/CONDITION – What if I’m caught in a situation like this? SKILL/ABILITY – What if I had a power like this?
  Penmaru: Hm, 4 IFs……   Shihan: Let me elaborate with examples… First, the CHARACTER: ”If there was a person like this, school life would be much more enjoyable!!” or “If there was a person like this, I would definitely fall in love!” This would be a case of you imagining a charming and interesting character, that can drive the story forward. Like, “A talented Samurai who doesn’t kill”, or “A princess who pretends to be a prince”.   Penmaru: Aha! That’s ‘Ruroni Kenshin’ and ‘Princess Knight’, isn’t it? I see, it really works!!   Shihan: Bingo! Next comes the ITEM/OBJECT… “If only there was a handy item like this…” or “If there was a object like this, the world would be in panic!” Try to imagine an item or object that would change your life drastically, and let your characters react to them! Ideas like “A treasure that grants your wish when you collect them all”, or “A notebook that kills people, when you write down their name” would be in this category.   Penmaru: Hey, that’s ‘Dragon Ball’ and ‘Death Note’!! Now this is getting fun! How about SITUATION/CONDITION?   Shihan: This may be quite standard for most creators. All you have to do is imagine, “What would I do in this situation?” or “Wouldn’t it be fun to have a condition like this?” For example, “What if a thief and a cop fell in love?”, or “What if I have to live in an apartment with a ghost?” would definitely be fun to imagine!   Penmaru: Hmm…… those are ‘Cat’s Eye’, and ‘Nobo & Her?’, I think!!   Shihan: You’re right! And finally, for SKILL/ABILITY. This is similar to the ITEM/OBJECT case, but I assume it would be easier to understand by looking at stories of supernatural battles, or magic stories. This is the case where ideas are born from thinking, “If only I had a power like this?” or “It would be scary to have a power like that!”.   Penmaru: ‘Fist of the North Star”s “Hokuto Shinken – the martial art that makes opponents explode from the inside” would definitely be this, right? And perhaps the “Stand” abilities of ‘Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure’, as well?   Shihan: I see you’re getting the hang of it, Penmaru! Try to identify the four “IF’s” found in hit manga to help you practice.   Penmaru: Hehehe, yes!!   Shihan: CHARACTER, ITEM, SITUATION, and SKILL……if you can come up to an interesting, exciting setting for the story, following a little polish, you’ll be able to create a good solid story.   Penmaru: Got it!!   Penmaru: ……But, how am I supposed to find the “IF” from my own experiences? I mean, it would be extremely difficult to come up with an “IF” from scratch!   Shihan: Good question! But I bet you already know the answer.   Penmaru: ?? I that so…?   Shihan: Repeating Osamu Tezuka sensei’s words, “Manga is a visual expression of your desire”. That is, all these “IF”s come from the desires you experience in daily life. Try to look back at situations where you where troubled, and remember what you wanted at that moment…… The CHARACTERs, ITEMs, SITUATIONs, and SKILLs will help you solve them, with the power of your imagination! It may be a difficult way of thinking at first……but imagine it as if YOU were the protagonist!   Penmaru: Me……the protagonist……!!   Penmaru: I’ll do my best!!! I’ll try to come up with an interesting story!!! Right now in fact!! I’m gonna write it all down in my notebook! Here I goooooo!!   Zooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooom!   Shihan: Wait, Penmaru! I’m not …… Oh well, I hope he come up with an idea that fully embraces “interesting”……   “The 4 IFs that creates manga” had given Penmaru a new inspiration! Now both Penmaru and Shihan are back from the blue, full of energy! Can Penmaru bring an “interesting” idea to Shihan by next week’s installment!? Don’t miss the next thrilling episode!!     < NEXT EPISODE…May 28 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