Saturday, May 17, 2003

writing in context

Jason asked me if I was interested in writing a "How To Write" for a manga-inspired anthology.

I thought about it for all of two seconds before saying no.

While I may be able to give useful advice on story fundamentals and such, I am almost completely ignorant when it comes to what makes manga manga. It is alien to me, like certain European comics. If I agreed to write a column or article, it would be the case of a blind man bluffing about seeing.

Granted that all stories follow strive towards similar goals, certain mechanisms in the Japanese art form (so lovingly embraced by we Filipinos) I simply do not understand. And these conventions are critical to the form, after all.

Too bad for me. But not really. I find that I am decidedly old-school when it comes to manga - Akira, Lone Wolf and Cub, Nausicaa. I have next to no interest in "big eyes, small mouth" - I find it antithetical to the evolving "Filipino" style. It one thing to be influenced, another thing not to innovate - for both story and art. There are many beatiful manga and anime (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro), but I prefer them in context - by Japanese creators who write, illustrate and create from their cultural experience (which why, despite the fact that it outsells X-Men in the Philippines, Culture Crash never worked for me).

But can a Filipino create manga that's beautiful? Certainly. But it wouldn't be manga now, would it?

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