Leaps and bounds

September 21, 2009


You know, if you get the opportunity to spend a weekend settled down with a long run of manga volumes you know are really good, I really recommend it. This weekend was spent revisiting and catching up with Kyoko Ariyoshi’s Swan, which resulted in this week’s Flipped column. Such a great series.

Shame! People will see them and cry…

September 21, 2009

Over at The Manga Critic, Kate Dacey takes readers on a tour of her Manga Hall of Shame:

“The flipside of being a gourmand is that I’ve encountered my share of truly dreadful stuff, too — the kind of manga with such incoherent plots, unappealing characters, clumsy artwork, and tin-eared dialogue that they beg the question, Who thought this was a good idea?

My personal set of neuroses must be such that I edit out memories of truly dreadful manga that I’ve read, and that’s a blessing, because I know I’ve read a lot of it. So it’s much easier for me to define some qualities that render a comic unreadable for me:

  • Needlessly impenetrable logic systems: When characters need to provide a running narrative on what precisely they’re doing for a reader to have the vaguest clue, it’s all over. This is probably because I care less how the characters are using their incomprehensible power sets than I do about what the characters are like as… y’know… characters.
  • Fan service that isn’t remotely sexy: I honestly don’t have a problem with fan service, provided it’s actually enticing. When it ends up looking like some weird anatomical chart or it’s ultimately sex-negative, I’ll take a pass.
  • Indifferent execution: Is there anything sadder than a great idea that ends up stillborn because more energy went into the conceptualization than the execution? It’s probably unfair, but I get more irritated with comics that could have been great but wound up mediocre than I do with comics that never stood a chance of being anything but dreadful. At least resolutely dreadful comics can be fun… briefly.
  • Bait and switch: Along the same lines, I entirely over-personalize it when a good first volume is followed by an absolutely untenable second. I don’t know if that’s the result of editorial interference or if the creator only had once decent volume worth of ideas in them, but it really, really gets on my nerves.
  • Anyway, go over and share the pain with Kate. You’ll feel better.