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Old 2008-08-18, 20:38   Link #1
babybro
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Your Opinions on OEL Manga (Original English Language Manga)

After doing some research, I found out OEL manga (well specifically from Tokyo) do not sell to well here. For example in tokyopop, it's very rare for an OEL to be within the 50 sales for manga. This recent events have caused a majority, if not all of Tokyopop's OEL to be moved to a web comic format.

So do you guys like OEL? If not, is it due to the fact that it's not from Japan? And say if that same OEL was rereleased from a Japanese company like Kodansha (For example, megatokyo is being picked up by Kodansha.) Would you pick it up than?

As an aspiring manga artist, I'm just trying to gather if my art/story will be enough to gather an audience, or do I need like an authentic stamp from Japan (like Kodansha) for people to give it a try?
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Old 2008-08-18, 21:53   Link #2
Seditary
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Qualitiative statement: I don't know where 'here' is, so my musings will probably not amount to much as I'm likely not a member of your local intended market.

I couldn't care less where my entertainment is produced, as long as it pleases me in some fashion I will enjoy it. Pretty much all original english language manga I've seen (which is admittedly, not that much) has been pretentious, boring and try-hard, hoping to cash in on the english anime/manga fan.

If your art/story is of equivalent quality and presented with sincerity, I can't see how anyone would baseline ignore your work due to origin, only individual tastes.
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Old 2008-08-18, 22:28   Link #3
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Quality of plot and dialogue really matters. If I'm selling to English viewers, I would rather study Peanuts and works by Marvel and D.C. Comics before turning to manga, for despite all their problems, I have seen more innovative plots and dialog from Marvel or D.C. compared to Japanese Manga. And of Course, Snoopy Rules!!
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Old 2008-08-18, 22:49   Link #4
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Whether it is OEL or japanese isn't particularly a cause to like it or not. Basically, most of the OEL manga I've looked at was simply crap - unrelated to the language, it was just bad.

It just seemed to me that the authors really didn't cope with the manga format well or the subject matter was just not appetizing to me. It didn't really have anything to do with the originating language (a fair amount of japanese manga is crap as well).

There are a couple I've seen that might appeal to some, but other than Megatokyo, none have kept my attention.
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Old 2008-08-18, 22:56   Link #5
wontaek
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In fact, if you are an aspiring manga artist, I recommend you read the classic Literature masterpieces before start writing/drawing. Most of the well known manga artists have studied the classics, as in serious historically well known literature works, in their own ways before achieving success, and this can be seen/read in many references or parodies.
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Old 2008-08-18, 23:03   Link #6
Seditary
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Excellent advice from wontaek, they're not called classics because they're old.
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Old 2008-08-18, 23:16   Link #7
Zeroryoko1974
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my opinion? OEL is not manga. Its just companies trying to find a way to not have to pay license fees to Japan and have an artist that will work cheap
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Old 2008-08-18, 23:27   Link #8
cicido
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Pretty much agrees with everybody here, they're just not that good. Especially when you compare them to the Japanese titles on the same shelf.
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Old 2008-08-19, 02:35   Link #9
babybro
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Interesting, so this leads to the second question? What makes them not so good? A member stated boring, but boring in what way? Was the dialogue dry? Was the action scene's not so good? Did the plot have no sense of direction? Or did the plot have no interest with you?
Reasons why you dislike OEL will be very helpful as it will help assure I do not make the same mistakes.

(That and read the classics like woetang mention lol.)
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Old 2008-08-19, 02:57   Link #10
wontaek
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babybro View Post
Interesting, so this leads to the second question? What makes them not so good? A member stated boring, but boring in what way? Was the dialogue dry? Was the action scene's not so good? Did the plot have no sense of direction? Or did the plot have no interest with you?
Reasons why you dislike OEL will be very helpful as it will help assure I do not make the same mistakes.

(That and read the classics like woetang mention lol.)
Let's try answering with a question? Why does so many people find Snoopy's battle with Red Baron so amusing? There isn't much dialog there, and plot is always the same, but why? Why does a dialog work in the Classics, but not in recent cheap novels? I have my theories about these, but I may be wrong, so I will refrain from stating my guess for these questions.
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Old 2008-08-19, 03:09   Link #11
yezhanquan
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Actually, I don't find Snoopy that funny. After all, the American strips become "meh" to me.
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Old 2008-08-19, 03:38   Link #12
wontaek
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Originally Posted by yezhanquan View Post
Actually, I don't find Snoopy that funny. After all, the American strips become "meh" to me.
Let me rephrase my question, then. Why does so many people remember sequences of cuts from Adachi Mitsuru's Touch or H2 that doesn't have any lines in them? How does he convey the feelings and conflicts within the character with so little action or dialog? How does he make us feel the flow of time? This control of pace and conveying of wordless thoughts is what seems to be most lacking in most of today's manga, perhaps in most of today's entertainments in the world.
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Old 2008-08-19, 03:55   Link #13
yezhanquan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wontaek View Post
Let me rephrase my question, then. Why does so many people remember sequences of cuts from Adachi Mitsuru's Touch or H2 that doesn't have any lines in them? How does he convey the feelings and conflicts within the character with so little action or dialog? How does he make us feel the flow of time? This control of pace and conveying of wordless thoughts is what seems to be most lacking in most of today's manga, perhaps in most of today's entertainments in the world.
Hmmmm... the art of the unspoken word. I personally feel that it's somewhat overrated. Not that it's useless or anything, but I won't be pissed that a series doesn't have even a single moment like this.
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Old 2008-08-19, 04:57   Link #14
Irenicus
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OEL is a medium that is a victim of its own mediocrity: if just about every piece that came out either outright sucked or decent at best, then people will automatically assume, fair or not, that the rest will suck equally; the task of pulling the medium out of the gutter and make it respectable is a Herculean one indeed, and some will even question the merits of such a task, though if you think you're up for it then you need not to listen to what we have to say really. We'll judge when a critic declares emphatically that your new entry proves so excellent that people should try to control their prejudices and take a look at it.

'til then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wontaek View Post
Let me rephrase my question, then. Why does so many people remember sequences of cuts from Adachi Mitsuru's Touch or H2 that doesn't have any lines in them? How does he convey the feelings and conflicts within the character with so little action or dialog? How does he make us feel the flow of time? This control of pace and conveying of wordless thoughts is what seems to be most lacking in most of today's manga, perhaps in most of today's entertainments in the world.
...you're just getting old.

Okay, I admit. That was horrible of me. More seriously though, I think you might underestimate newer artistic creations a bit. Classics aren't born in a day -- they stand the test of time; and one just can't predict which creation would truly stand such a test without, well, having it actually happening.

So Dumas' Les Trois Mousquetaires was a masterpiece of swashbuckling and wit, or for a manga example few manga can even pretend to beat Buddha in excellence; and then you see 95, even 99% of today's entertainment to be utterly unable to match their glory. Right around here many people will start concluding right away that the past golden age was greater or somesuch, but I think that's wrong. It was just that one near-perfect percent of that past has survived the destructive power of time more or less intact.

If we can't find that one hidden gem in today's flood of information and media, all we really have to do is wait.

As a side note, I hate Adachi. He's boring. God he should just stop it with the baseball.



I agree with your original point though: studying classics is oftentimes very beneficial in developing an artist.

Plus, what separates the best creations of the day with the generic bore is true depth and subtlety. In this, OEL manga -- the topic at hand -- is a demonstration of the latter case. I've seen many manga, OEL or native Japanese, and Korean manwha, which have pretty art at first sight or an interesting start but quickly breaks down and becomes boring and generic. The art proves amateurish, or if professional then indistinguishable from other copies out there compared to the masters; the stories often tie around one interesting concept (or worse yet, not even that) but quickly become reliant on cliches and other generic processes to sustain the storytelling; and one wonders why OEL manga isn't popular anywhere...

The very nature of the medium isn't conducive to true skill either. Many -- most? -- Western graphic artists-to-be would just become comic authors or illustrators; "OEL manga" is an entirely derivative medium, relying on the manga boom to provide both inspiration and individuals who will create things for the medium. This lack of tradition and ironically creativity is damaging to its chance to be considered a respectable medium. I know generalization is bad and all, but I think it's true right now if one says that OEL manga artists are more interested in imitating Japanese creations, often losing the subtlety present in the best of the latter in the process, than to express their own visions that are supported by learning [of the classics and the basics].

Otherwise they'll just be normal graphic artists, no?
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Old 2008-08-19, 06:47   Link #15
Fevvers
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OEL manga has surprised me, actually, granted I haven't read that many, but some of them impressed me quite a bit. Queenie Chan's The Dreaming and Vinci Vanna's A House in Venice to name a few were really well-done with their atmospheric, gothic and understated narratives. I could care less whether OEL artists are imitating the Japanese or whathaveyou, as long as they deliver quality stories. From what little (which will be remedied soon, really) I've read, they don't disappoint. As for the crappy ones, well, tons of crappy Japanese manga exist as well, it just makes the discovery of a brilliant title all the more satisfying.

Now, if only I could find a site/blog (aside from ANN) that gives detailed reviews of OEL manga; it'd help me tremendously so.
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Old 2008-08-19, 07:53   Link #16
cyth
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My two cents:

I think OEL aren't going to sell well with manga fans, you have to find it a new audience. Perhaps the best course of action would be to start publishing chapters in magazines that do this in some way, because not many are going to buy a product that doesn't have any kind of well-established reputation (except among manga fans). Most people also don't buy sight-unseen.
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Old 2008-08-19, 08:04   Link #17
Seditary
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babybro View Post
Interesting, so this leads to the second question? What makes them not so good? A member stated boring, but boring in what way?
Since that was me who first said that, I'll provide an answer.

Boring in the sense they fail to generate any emotion in me, leaving me not caring about events or characters presented. Specific reasons for the failure are varied and often depend on the work viewed but also refer to the last few paragraphs from Irenicus for more exposition.
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Old 2008-08-19, 21:36   Link #18
babybro
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@ Irenicus

But many of the statements you made towards OEL also applies to a lot, if not the majority of manga and anime in general. Ideas are constantly reused and recycle through the gutter and still found popular.

Examples = Love Hina to Mahou Sensei Negima
Monster Soul to Fairy Tell

And of course there are tons of cliche that exist within manga in general almost to the point to where you know what's going to happen. A good amount of manga, even popular manga, rely heavily on cliche just to attract audiences.

So creativity and cliche's can't be the main distractor from OEL's otherwise Manga itself would be going down the same slope.

@ Seditary

Thanks for the information you provided. If I may ask, what were the OEL's you read and what were wrong with them so I do not fall within the same trap. Regarding cliche's and creativity, I already mention that a lot of Manga is also plagued with the same problem.
Do you believe some of the manga or anime you watch also falls within the cliche or lack of creativity category.


Another thing I have to take into consideration is the wants of the company. Perhaps there are OEL that are out there which does have an enrich tail of creativity and excite you, but perhaps those manga is not what the companies are looking for. I am worried about that with my own manga because I'm trying to go towards a unique direction I believe. My goal is trying to balance heavy fantasy with realism. Fantasy regarding summons, guilds, and magic, and realism like cheating fathers, racism, suicide, and so much more. But because it's a mix that is rarely seen in manga, I think companies will be hesitant in taking a chance. Because it's not a clear proven formula like other manga's or OEL are out there. So perhaps the redundancy seen within OEL is because they are only trying the safe road and not wanting to see if something new might work?
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Old 2008-08-19, 22:56   Link #19
Irenicus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babybro View Post
So creativity and cliche's can't be the main distractor from OEL's otherwise Manga itself would be going down the same slope.
Unfortunately, they are. You're correct of course, I personally encountered many manga which are cliched and quickly dropped them. Many other mediums have the same problem. What distinguishes OEL and normal manga is that the former has no masterpieces whatsoever. Some may be able to point out a few decent ones, but that's just about it.

So a manga fan can at least pursue their hobby knowing that with such a large pool of materials, a large pool of talents that are creating these materials, and a well-established tradition that ensure the flow of these talents, there'll be something good for them to read at least, say, once a year.

Big name pieces in manga come out all the time, and we of course hear and read about them; I haven't heard about such pieces coming out of OEL yet.

Someone who went into OEL wanting to sample the medium would just find only drudges. This might change soon -- this might've already changed -- but too bad for now, bad PR is hard to remove.

The problem with it I've said above: it's a young medium and it's an entirely derivative medium, with a much larger and more established alternative in both normal Japanese manga and normal Western comics respectively; not a very good condition to be producing masterpieces really.

Your problem will be two-folded: producing a good piece on your own and crossing the hurdle that is the (so far justified) prejudice in the general public that will definitely make your creation less respected and received than it deserves.

If you can stand that pressure, go for it. Maybe ten years from now we'll look back and your name will be on the top of the list of OEL pioneers who made the medium respectable and established.
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Old 2008-08-20, 02:37   Link #20
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OEL manga needs to drop the "OEL" portion -- divert away from "imitating" the Japanese style of story-telling -- and simply come up with pure non-Japanese stories ported into the manga format. Can you imagine something like NBC's Heroes originally as a manga? Epic stories make epic work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Irenicus
I haven't heard about such pieces coming out of OEL yet.
Sadly true. But who knows? Someone brilliant may come along... someday. Maybe.
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