Monday, January 30, 2012

Manga Mondays: Style ~ Make or Break?

So today's question might get a little confusing just by reading the title. Basically, what I'm asking is this:

Does a Mangaka's [A Manga artist] style make or break a good manga?

Now let's think about this: I'd have to say yes and no. To be honest, a lot of mainstream otakus hate the old style. However, would our ideal of manga be alive today if it were not for the old style of manga? No, our contemporary manga style wouldn't exist without the influence of old manga. Manga evolves from manga. Other mangas are created from influence by other mangas. Every mangaka and wanna-be mangaka study each other. We grow from each other, and that's what makes this style so unique.

So back to the topic. Here's why I am on the fence for this.

Let's look at Basara, which you can read [Here]. For anyone who wants to be a Mangaka or just anyone who wants to read a fantastic action-packed and romantic story, read Basara. Written by Yumi Tamura, the original serialization of this manga in Betsucomi magazine was from September of 1990 to June of 1998. As you can probably tell and/or if you clicked the link, this is an old-styled manga. I was completely turned off by the drawings. I am so used to mangas like One Piece (which is awesome, MONKEY D LUFFY<3), Fairy Tail (NATSU DRAGONEELLLLLL FOR THE WINNNN!), and Bleach (FUGG YEAH, GETTIN' IT IN, ICHIGO KUROSAKI!) that the style just didn't fit my eyes.

However, Basara is a single reason why I do not discriminate style within a manga anymore. This story was so exceptionally written and executed that I literally cried for hours during and after I finished this story. The dramatic irony of the reader and character development and uniqueness between them can create such a flood of emotions within the reader that they just don't care what style is used; WE JUST WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT! I seriously left my computer, sat on my bed, and contemplated the story and the characters as I drew my own characters. There is so many things to think about within this story. There are constant themes that are evident within every chapter, and seriously, I didn't do homework for the next week except for at school. I would hop onto my computer and immediately start reading this story. I can understand why people would be put off at first (I even said I experienced that), yet this story is simply the epitome of completely planned and well thought-out story telling. The mangaka leaves you wanting more after every chapter. Seriously, if you are reading this, go read Basara. You will fall in love with every character, every story, and every line. I absolutely love it, and it is one of my favorites. (BTW, if I was reviewing it, I'd give it 4/4 polishes.)

Okay, there is also why I said no.

This time, let's look at the style and how it affects the story with...

Okay, once you click it, it isn't such a bad style, right? Well, yeah it's not bad. It's pretty mainstream as seen with the pretty and sparkling eyes on a girl and the boy looks a little girlie and the whole shee-bang.
However, this is one of those stories that, just because the art is great, doesn't mean the story is equally great. Yeah, I know that Basara  and L-DK  are two different genres. But you know what they both have and execute? Love. Yeah, the fugging theme of romance. However, I'm not comparing the genres in this case; I'm comparing the execution of the story and art. You can't have a manga without a good story, and you can't have a manga without good art.

Anyways, L-DK has good art for being mainstream. It's proportions are intact, and facial expressions are well expressed. However, this manga lacks what a manga should have: A good and solid plot-line. It takes 30 fugging chapters just to reach an actual and legit romance between these two idiots. I swear, I wanted to slam my monitor at the wall. The progression was slow, and about half way through, I ask myself, "WHY AM I READING THIS!?" Well, I actually just wanted to know what happened and what the heck was bothering the main male protagonist. Okay, so yes Basara had a bit of a slow romance, however in between all the romance, there was legit events happening that seriously affected the entire story. It had serious implications when something would happen within the story, whether it is about the main plot or a character's story. That is why Basara's art doesn't break the entire manga. You weren't just left in some random way-lay of a story, and then suddenly, the story goes, "Whoops! Let's go back to the main story and quickly end this little arc [if you can even call it that!] in 3 fugging pages!" (I'm not bitter...) But that's what it felt like in L-DK. Don't get me wrong; the story isn't entirely bad, but the reasoning behind this story is so convoluted; I am still wondering how I even remotely liked it or somewhat finished it til the latest chapter. 

So to conclude my ranting, I'd just like to say that the story and art make up a manga; obviously, you can't have one without the other. However, the quality of the art does not entirely ruin a manga. Most people who recommend manga do not really judge on the art but rather the story. The intricacy, development, and characters within a manga's story really keeps the reader wanting to buy the volumes and enjoy the manga.

If you don't believe me, go read Basara and L-DK. You will see how convoluted and cliche L-DK's story is that you might gouge your eyes out and see that Basara is everything that you could really want in an action/adventure and romance manga. Or it might be vis versa.

Inked with Brilliance and Love,

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