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Manga in Theory and Practice: The Craft of Creating Manga: 1

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Araki’s thoughts on the relationship between Setting, Story and Character and how they’re all tied together by Theme are worth remembering and a good primer for new writers. He also gives a lot of good tips and suggestions about those elements of story and how they work in a Shonen comic. SJ: How do you come up with the Stand powers? Do you come up with the character or their powers first? Sometimes, maybe influenced by my physical state that day or some chemical change beyond my understanding, my drawings go better than I had anticipated and make me think, “This line is really great!” or “I nailed the curve of that cheek! It’s perfect!” When those drawings come like unexpected presents, when my art is better than me, I think that maybe it’s the god of manga descending to visit me." He then discusses how, essentially, the use of effective friction between characters and motivations can create intrigue and fascination, as well as an enthusiastic reader-base.

Y cómo se observa? Observando. Haciéndose preguntas. Diseccionando todo hasta entender cómo funciona en sus elementos más básicos. Creando un diccionario visual y narrativo. the hero must always rise, or always fall, but never go through ups and downs, because that confuses the reader and looses their interest... The book's main flaw - and it's a serious one - is its uncritical use of racial and gender bias. Araki writes and draws shonen, the most popular manga genre, aimed at boys and young men, as opposed to shojo (manga for girls). (Other genres include josei (for women 18-40), gekiga ( "dramatic pictures," complex narratives for adults), yaoi (or Boy's Love, about gay male relationships written by and for women), yuri (lesbian romance), bara (explicit gay narratives), Adventure, Sports, and Comedy). Much of his advice - such as the hero never being allowed to fail - is shaped by his experience writing weekly and monthly shonen where each installment has to excite the reader enough to read the next episode. Extensive reader surveys are conducted, and the least popular manga get cut. As such, the system, while an effective marketing device, has to play into the existing biases of its young male audience. It's a machine for perpetuating patriarchal attitudes about gender and reflects a shallow reasoning about emotions, personality, and success based on pop psychology. The upside is that its themes often convey positive moral messages about perseverance, friendship, and justice. Further, manga had grown as an industry to reflect a more inclusive perspective that values diversity. When an artist gives form to something invisible, their state of mind will be reflected in the picture whether they’re aware of it or not. Any attempts at fake sincerity will be in vain. The readers will always see through to the truth." SJ: One of the endearing quirks of the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure manga is the fact that many of the characters have names based on bands or musicians. Why did you decide to do this?You patiently wait the next day for Chapter 3, and grandfather Hirohaki Araki starts to tell his great story -then all of a sudden half-way through his story you start to feel you need to take notes -because, no longer can you retain all your grandfather's advice through mindful imagery. You ask him to start over from the beginning, and your grandfather tells you the story again, but this time you’re taking notes! *YA* You feel excited! However, again through the 3rd chapter grandfather Hirohiko starts stopping midway through thought patterns to surprise you pictures, and you expect him to explain why he stopped his thought process. Yet, grandfather Hirohiko continues through the story like he never showed you those pictures in the first place. You question yet you ignore his old man ways. He says he'll talk about what he said earlier in a later chapter, but that later comes in the form of listening very very carefully now to put together his knowledge, which starts to become very challenging with much thought. I bring these notes with me to the meeting, and as I talk with my editor, I revise and add to them. Additions come through our exchange of ideas, and if something seems weak, I’ll rework the idea, which may result in needing to perform additional research. It's become a running joke among your fans and colleagues that you're an immortal who doesn't age. Do you have any beauty tips you'd like to share with our readers?

No todos los días se tiene la oportunidad de leer un texto íntegro y (casi) sin ilustraciones de un mangaka tan relevante como Hirohiko Araki, creador de JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, una obra que no obstante correspondería a un Nivel 2 de clásicos en el mundo Manga (donde el Nivel 1 son los títulos que todo el mundo, quizás, podría reconocer sin necesidad de haber leído el Manga o visto el anime—Dragon Ball o Naruto, por ejemplo), ha adquirido una popularidad muy sustancial en México y Latinoamérica, cosechando de paso un fandom detestable e indispensable a partes iguales. Araki, pues, es un autor de tremendo talento, y su semi-autobiografía funciona como resultado conceptual a una creciente demanda por su trabajo, así como la justicia nunca concebida por otros grandes de antaño que se fueron sin dejar algún documento que precisara sus memorias. Major props to him for admitting the earlier arcs were marginally defined by their abundance of dichotomies. I was drawn to it for the same reasons I was drawn to Sonic Adventure 2, Yin and Yang, and the colour grey. But while fantastic for superficial reasons, it's too reductive, as he admits and says he learned from (and I believe) later on. Perhaps JoJolion was a test of this, and that's where my complex feelings towards it lie. Unfortunately for at least this reviewer, Araki doesn’t come out, nor do his characters. No cool 'ships…no secret past in yaoi. Manga in Theory and Practice is the practical vehicle for manga knowledge that its title advertises and Viz’s English edition provides a more sober cover and its raw translation is, for better or worse, un-calibrated for American readers. In Dio’s case, I depicted him as coming from an unfortunate upbringing, saddled with a father who had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. [...]five-part system he call “The Royal Road” Themes, Characters, Setting, Story and Art. Manga, he argues, is “the most powerful multidisciplinary art form…A creative person without the ability to draw can become an author or scriptwriter, and one without the ability to write can become a painter. But a mangaka must be able to do everything.” Now, while the book is poorly translated in places, and the advice itself fairly vague or common (with exceptions, of course), I'd still recommend an admirer of Araki read this work. It is overflowing with enthusiasm and passion by someone who truly adores the form in a way few living mangaka do. It's filled with great tips for ALL artistic expressions - even a dancer might take something from his words. However, it's not for one who is unfamiliar with him, and would come of as simplistic, perhaps pretentious. He explains basic story structure as “ki-sho-ten-ketsu, or Introduction (ki), development (sho), twist (ten) and resolution (ketsu),” and explains what each section should accomplish and how it should relate to the other parts of the story. While he remains focused on manga, many of Araki’s precepts could be applied to Western comic books, graphic novels and story development for animation.

Hirohiko Araki advice is an excellent contribute to the mangaka community; however, this book the reader will only get to the middle of Chapter 3 before putting the book down to take notes for contemplation of putting the puzzle together. The Shueisha Inc. who translated this from Japanese into English did not properly structure the paragraphs of this book. Blame Shueisha Inc. editorial staff for disrupting the flow of the story, not Hirohiko -since English is not Hirohiko's native language! Aún explicando la necesidad de los cuatro elementos regidores de toda narración —personajes, historia, escenario y tema; en ese estricto orden de importancia— Araki siempre acaba poniendo algo de sí mismo entre líneas. Cual es el método que él utiliza, o ha utilizado, para llegar hasta sus conclusiones. Y en ese arranque metodológico, es donde deja ver lo obvio: consiste no en hacer, sino en mirar.

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Within this book is a wealth of valuable knowledge. I wouldn't say it's complex, and I'll be the first to admit that there is advice here that I know I've heard multiple times from other writers I look up to. That being said, I think what's most valuable to me as an artist (and what's most interesting to me as a fan) is how much his worldview and work ethic affect his process. His reasoning for setting these guidelines for himself and talking through why he thinks one thing works and others don't is absolutely fascinating. He comes across as incredibly passionate about the mere process of developing his work. It's something I admire quite a bit. Think of the golden way of which I write in this book as signposts directing you to the royal road of manga at the summit. Attempts to reach those heights without any such map or anything else to guide the way will be frustrated far from the peak. This is something I’ve seen and heard happen many times. [...] To be perfectly honest, by making public ideas and methodologies that are trade secrets, which up until now I’ve held under monopoly, the publishing of this book will be disadvantageous to me on a personal level. But I’m writing this book because my desire to impart these techniques is far greater than any disadvantage that may come from revealing them." True, with admitted exception and alternative or fringe forms, of other mediums. Whether it be Jay, Gatsby, and Daisy; or the Xenomorph, the Babadook, the velociraptor of Jurassic Park. Could go on; characters are, often, key. I could name a ton of exceptions but the case is still a strong one. Especially if the metric result is 'popularity' or 'success' (often the same thing to some.) Qué hace concretamente en el libro? Nos explica cuáles son las claves universales de la narrativa, cuáles son los elementos más importantes del manga y, para mostrarnos porqué es así y no de otra manera, también nos pone ejemplos tanto de su propia obra como de la de otros, sean del manga o fuera de él. Porque Araki no cree que su libro esté limitado al aspirante a mangaka. Ni siquiera que el manga sea una singularidad. A sus ojos, las leyes del manga son leyes universales. Todo medio narrativo, de la literatura al cine pasando por el manga o el teatro, siguen las reglas que él recopila en el libro.

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