Some of Our Favorite Anime and Manga About Anime and Manga

narutaki_icon_4040 I love animation and comics. Period. The artforms that is. And the more I learn about the process, the more appreciation I have for them. I feel like there isn’t a year that goes by where I don’t see something so incredible that it makes me revere the mediums all over again.

There is a lot to learn and having better access to Japanese news and culture has given us lots of insight: from the first time I learned about the assistants a manga-ka has to crowdfunding for animator dorms (!). But non-fiction accounts aren’t the only way to learn about an industry. In fact, creating a fictional world set within the very real parameters of manga creation or animation studios may illuminate the true struggles and triumphs even more.

hisui_icon_4040 If you are an animation fan for any amount of time there is a tendency to wonder what is the precise magic that transforms still pictures into moving images. (It is not actually sorcery that creates animation unless that animation is stop motion.) Some people are interested for academic reasons, others as it is a potential career path, while most just want a deeper understanding of their hobby. But like any attempt to see how the sausage is made it can be anything from an eye-opening moment of wonder to harsh bucket of cold water depending on how the lesson is presented.

Anime and manga have done several stories that look at how they are made with various degrees of love. In some titles it is the heart and soul of the premise and others it merely a set piece for comedy or romance. Those anime and manga range in its opinion of itself as everything from seeing the industry as havens of marvelous artistic self-expression to soul grinding commercial product factories with most portrayals being some sort of mix between those two extremes. No matter which of the two ends of the spectrum the title falls on they are usually an eye-opening insight into how the stories otaku love are created.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #141

I got to read Gen Manga volumes 3 & 4 back to back. Reading both volumes in succession makes me realize that the storytelling in Gen is somewhat compressed compared to your normal mainstream manga experience. While the storytelling still has a distinctly manga feel you don’t get the impression that the stories contained within are assuming they are going to run for 20+ books. They seems to be primed to end in a book or two but could run longer. Mainstream manga seems more designed to run for a long time but could be cut short if forced to. The individual chapters still have a more manga styled decompressed flow but chapter to chapter it seems more compressed. But all the compressed vs. decompressed storytelling talk from Ogiue Maniax might be why I am noticing it more. Vs Aliens is still my favorite story in the anthology. It has a very quirky story with some unusual twists every chapter. The only problem is that is quickly coming down to the big reveal of what is actually going on. If the final reveal is lame is going to really hurt the overall story. The boxing story is Wolf is still solid but I am not sure if I really care for the added element of the hyperactive flat chested girl vs the distant chesty girl love story. My feelings on KAMEN are still up in the air as I am interested in the story but not deeply invested. There is a promise of a big fight scene in the next chapter. How well the fight is pulled off I might help me solidify my feelings. I still don’t really like Souls. Volume three ends one arc and volume four starts a new arc. Volume three ended a bit lighter than I assumed it will but this genre has just never been my cup of tea. In volume 4 there is a one shot story called Sorako. This really feels like an American indy comic. It is the story of a small town girl who feels trapped in her small life under the backdrop of looking for her dog that ran away. It is slice of life in a way that really feels like an American comic more than a Japanese style of same formula. Gen is still an interesting experiment in the U.S. It has the feel of a doujinshi anthology but will a more consistent schedule. I am curious how well it will do here.

With great elation, I started the new season of anime by watching Bakuman S2. We start the season with Ashirogi Muto waiting for their editor to come to the studio to go over their contract for serialization. It is an exciting time and they are also invited to the Shonen Jack New Year’s bash. This episode is really about them getting acclimated with their new positions, getting assistants, and meeting some new people as well as getting to know others better. It is mostly a set-up for things to come and I can’t wait for those things!

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Winter Wrap Up

The purpose of the post is two-fold. The first is that while we do a season preview every quarter we only randomly mention what we think of how the shows we finish in Ongoing Investigations. This is my attempt to give my concluding thoughts on the shows that wrapped up in the winter. Often it is your final thoughts that are most important. The second reason for this post is to use a song title from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and get a bunch of completely undeserved hits. I will try to avoid major spoilers but I will also warn you that talking about the end of any show might just give you more information than you are looking for.

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