A pretty girl…

… is just not to be found in Hitoshi Iwaaki’s almost entirely awesome Parasyte (Del Rey).

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Don’t get me wrong. I love the series, I really do, and I’d put it in my all-time favorites category. But part of loving something is being able to recognize its imperfections and accept them, right? And in the case of Parasyte, one of those flaws is that Iwaaki draws young, female characters in ways that make them look haggard, dowdy, and… well… just plain weird, even when they aren’t supposed to inspire any of those adjectives.

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Seriously, she’s supposed to be happy in that panel. On the other hand, it’s a tribute to Iwaaki’s gifts as a storyteller that he’s managed to have a successful, award-winning career in manga in spite of his seeming inability to draw cute girls.

2 Responses to A pretty girl…

  1. Clearly you have not read Historie!

    I’d also say that the example you’ve given is a bit misleading as that kind of goofy expression is something that Iwaaki falls back on (with variations) with some of his humorous moments. Kana wasn’t exactly unattractive as far as manga females go, either.

  2. ridiculus says:

    Yes, I totally agree with Mr. Goodwin. Iwaaki can draw attractive girls when he wants to. Nothing special, maybe, but not bad, either. Kana is obviously conceived to be more attractive than Murano, and it is visible.

    I have recently read Neo-Devilman collection, and there is a story by Katsuya Terada and the other by Iwaaki. Terada is obviously far, far more alluring in his graphical presentation – his aesthetics far surpasses that of Iwaaki. But, on the other hand, in spite of this, he is not capable of reaching Iwaaki’s narrative and sheer humanistic qualities, not even coming close. So, in my opinion, he is far less interesting author.

    I believe that all manga should be approached more from a literary perspective than the visual one. I am not saying that it is on the same level as high literature, but in comparison to western comics it treats graphics more on a symbolic level, more like a text. A good book about this problem is Reading Japan Cool: Patterns of Manga Literacy and Discourse by John Ingulsrud and Kate Allen.

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