31 Days of Post (2) Day 24: A Manga Post
I’m somewhat disappointed with anime and manga news sites. My biggest problems with those sites are the lack of analysis and the privileging of anime over manga. So, what do I want to see when it comes to manga reporting/ analysis?
I’m a nerd. I want to know how mangaka work. What kind of research do Kishimoto and Mashima do? Does Arakawa and Kubo outline or write in the moment? How do they deal with the influence of the greats like Tezuka and Toriyama? These questions fascinate the heck out of me. But, like with comic books, often times interviews with mangaka tend toward promotion of upcoming storylines. Though I could be wrong and there are such in depth interviews. I hope I’m wrong.
I also want a stronger critical analysis of manga. Rather than reviewing Naruto or Fairy Tail, what do those two series mean? Now, I’m sure there is some good lay analysis laying around the internet somewhere, but I haven’t found it. And academic criticism is even harder to find (there is a dedicated journal, though). Here are some questions I’d like to see answered (or maybe even answer myself when I have the time):
Why is Naruto the most popular shonen manga series in the U.S. ?
How does Naruto relate to the concept of the child soldier? Does Naruto glorify the child soldier? Or condemn the child soldier? How does tone form the perception of meaning?
In Fullmetal Alchemist, the Ishvalans are the victims of an attempted genocide. For Western readers, the Ishvalans are reminiscent of Arabs, but for Japanese readers, the Ishvalans are inspired by the Ainu. How does this knowledge affect readers in both cultures?
Waiting for Fairy Tail to end, can the series reveal where heroic fantasy begins and epic fantasy ends?
I could go on. Hell, there are likely hundreds of potential research topics available.
But sources to answer and prove one’s arguments might be harder than one wants to imagine.
There aren’t that many scholarly books on manga. So far, I’ve only found a few histories. And there is that journal. I don’t know if The Journal of Popular Culture has ever featured articles on manga. Plus, one must be aware that manga are Japanese cultural products, and it would be stupid to not keep that in mind. Really stupid.
All that said, I do want to read more analysis and scholarship of manga.