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Old 2012-09-28, 17:38   Link #1
NinjaRealist
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Worst Background Art in good and/or popular Manga?

I was recently on yahoo answers! and this guy was going on about how boring the background art in the Naruto manga is.

I thought about this and reread a sampling of Naruto chapters and jesus was he right. 90% of it is the same generic looking rocks and trees. I had never noticed this before but it's so true. I like Kishimoto's cityscapes, but these are rarely the backgrounds for the fights that make up so much of this series.

Can you guys think of any manga that have these kind of slap-you-in-the-face terrible backgrounds? The artwork itself doesn't have to be bad, the backgrounds have to merely be formulaic, uncreative and repetitive?

Thoughts?
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Old 2012-09-28, 18:07   Link #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaRealist View Post
I was recently on yahoo answers! and this guy was going on about how boring the background art in the Naruto manga is.

I thought about this and reread a sampling of Naruto chapters and jesus was he right. 90% of it is the same generic looking rocks and trees. I had never noticed this before but it's so true. I like Kishimoto's cityscapes, but these are rarely the backgrounds for the fights that make up so much of this series.

Can you guys think of any manga that have these kind of slap-you-in-the-face terrible backgrounds? The artwork itself doesn't have to be bad, the backgrounds have to merely be formulaic, uncreative and repetitive?

Thoughts?
Speaking about background, If Naruto is bad, then Bleach is worse, since the author only uses little to no background at all (usually just simple and plain white). But that kind of background is very common in most shounen series, because in fighting scenes, readers eyes would be drawn mostly on the characters and their fights, rarely on background.
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Old 2012-09-28, 19:23   Link #3
NinjaRealist
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Originally Posted by Insane View Post
Speaking about background, If Naruto is bad, then Bleach is worse, since the author only uses little to no background at all (usually just simple and plain white). But that kind of background is very common in most shounen series, because in fighting scenes, readers eyes would be drawn mostly on the characters and their fights, rarely on background.
This is a very good point, but I think the degree to which different artists do this is very different.

I mean just looking at the Big 4, Fairy Tail and One Piece both have far superior quality of background art compared to Naruto and Bleach. I don't think the character art in Bleach is bad, but it is not really to my taste at all and yes the backgrounds are terrible: some of the worst in mainstream manga honestly. It can be said of Naruto at least that there are some decent backgrounds when the fighting stops, but Bleach always has boring monolithic backgrounds and the fighting almost never stops so why even talk about the other backgrounds?

As far as I can tell, about 50% of fight scenes in Bleach occur floating over the same generic suburban Japanese cityscape.

To use some examples from less popular ongoing fighting mangas, I think the background artwork in Nurarihyon no Mago, D. Gray-man , and Kenichi Strongest Disciple are about on par with each other but I like the background art in D. Gray-man the best of these. Nurarihyon no Mago has some flashes of brilliance but it's wildly inconsistent. Kenichi is kind of m'eh.

Hajime no Ippo might win the prize for boring backgrounds but that's kind of to be expected from a manga about people who fight in a standardized, virtually unchangeable ring.

I think the best background art in a fighting manga, in my opinion, would have to go to Blade of the Immortal (which obviously has some stellar art in general). In this same vein, Vagabond also has some excellent background art.

Also, like you said, fighting manga are, in particular, not known for great backgrounds.
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Old 2012-09-28, 20:33   Link #4
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This is a very good point, but I think the degree to which different artists do this is very different.

I mean just looking at the Big 4, Fairy Tail and One Piece both have far superior quality of background art compared to Naruto and Bleach. I don't think the character art in Bleach is bad, but it is not really to my taste at all and yes the backgrounds are terrible: some of the worst in mainstream manga honestly. It can be said of Naruto at least that there are some decent backgrounds when the fighting stops, but Bleach always has boring monolithic backgrounds and the fighting almost never stops so why even talk about the other backgrounds?

As far as I can tell, about 50% of fight scenes in Bleach occur floating over the same generic suburban Japanese cityscape.

To use some examples from less popular ongoing fighting mangas, I think the background artwork in Nurarihyon no Mago, D. Gray-man , and Kenichi Strongest Disciple are about on par with each other but I like the background art in D. Gray-man the best of these. Nurarihyon no Mago has some flashes of brilliance but it's wildly inconsistent. Kenichi is kind of m'eh.

Hajime no Ippo might win the prize for boring backgrounds but that's kind of to be expected from a manga about people who fight in a standardized, virtually unchangeable ring.

I think the best background art in a fighting manga, in my opinion, would have to go to Blade of the Immortal (which obviously has some stellar art in general). In this same vein, Vagabond also has some excellent background art.

Also, like you said, fighting manga are, in particular, not known for great backgrounds.
That's interesting points you got there. One Piece and Fairy Tail indeed has complex background, but sometimes it would be very painful to eyes, and that kind of background usually get in the way and foreshadowing the characters movements (even i was surprised that the authors bother to draw even the simplest things, just like wires, stones, and such minor details that literally have nothing to do with the story).

As for D Gray Man, its background is really dark and creepy, but surprisingly the author is very skillful in using said background as visual advantages in combat scenes (the backgrounds grew darker and creepier as the fighting scene dragged on). Hajime no Ippo? I have lost interest in this one, since there's no conclusion of the story at all. If you think that the background is boring, then it's yes. The author still using shady coloured mark to draw the background (typical of manga in 90s). Nurarihyon no Mago, in the other hand, is very creative when it comes to backgrounds management, as the author is using very flashy and colorful tones (just read gyuki arc and you'll understand it yourself) that strangely made the fighting scenes more "lively" (contrast to most supernatural mangas that frequently using darker tones).

When it comes to backgrounds in manga, it's obvious that shojo manga hold advantages than shounen.
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Old 2012-09-28, 23:14   Link #5
NinjaRealist
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Originally Posted by Insane View Post
When it comes to backgrounds in manga, it's obvious that shojo manga hold advantages than shounen.
Yes, I agree with you.

Also the very best looking manga tend to be drawn very lovingly, over a long period, by single artists. Good examples of this are Nausicaa and Akira.
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Old 2012-09-28, 23:50   Link #6
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Yes, I agree with you.

Also the very best looking manga tend to be drawn very lovingly, over a long period, by single artists. Good examples of this are Nausicaa and Akira.
Ah, those two stories, how nostalgic......

OK, let's get back to topic. In my opinion, if we're talking about worst backgrounds in manga, here are some perfect examples:
1. KissXSis - the background is super plain, frequently using nothing but simple white and no tones at all.
2. Soul Eater - the backgrounds are too unrealistic, sometimes the author simply draw random things just to fill the blank spaces.
3. Hajime no Ippo - This series should just end already! It's very boring to see the same tones and background traits for 25 years.
4. Nearly all 4-koma mangas don't bother to draw any backgrounds at all, given its cramped and small spaces.
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Old 2012-09-29, 03:34   Link #7
NinjaRealist
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Ah, those two stories, how nostalgic......

OK, let's get back to topic. In my opinion, if we're talking about worst backgrounds in manga, here are some perfect examples:
1. KissXSis - the background is super plain, frequently using nothing but simple white and no tones at all.
2. Soul Eater - the backgrounds are too unrealistic, sometimes the author simply draw random things just to fill the blank spaces.
3. Hajime no Ippo - This series should just end already! It's very boring to see the same tones and background traits for 25 years.
4. Nearly all 4-koma mangas don't bother to draw any backgrounds at all, given its cramped and small spaces.
Yeah, I actually like the writing in the Soul Eater Manga, better than the anime, but the art is really dodgy. A lot of times the characters look deformed and misshapen. It's like it was drawn by a freshmen art student.
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