What I look for in anime and manga

Every  fan probably has his or her own criteria for what they consider good quality anime and manga . I would like to share my own standards.

Story – Obviously the story is one of the most important aspects of any storytelling medium. Some stories are rather simple (Pokemon) and other can be complex ( Evangelion). Both can be enjoyable for different reasons obviously.

Art/ Animation – I’m an artist and generally judge manga/anime based on art style and quality animation. Some of my favorite manga based on art are Naruto, One Piece and Bleach. If you know anything about these series you know that they’re also among the most popular. I believe part of the reason they’re so successful is due to their art. Each series has its own unique art style.

Anime animation can at times appear to be limited. Sometimes the mouth of a character is the only part of a characters face that moves during dialogue. The consistent use of static imagery can leave a lot to the imagination. However, there is superior animation found in some anime called “sakuga“. For some examples of sakuga animation search on YouTube.

Character Balance – Some anime/manga suffer from “main character syndrome“. Many of the main characters tend to be disproportionately stronger than their counterparts. Almost all characters live to be saved by the main character, it becomes tedious. In some cases secondary characters are on par with or surpass the main character although its generally temporary.  That said I understand  the main character can’t lose every battle or even most battles. Some balance between characters is required. In Bleach the main character is Ichigo, I think he’s a over powered. I don’t recall him ever losing a battle and he seems to always find new hidden powers somewhere. Why do I consider Bleach to be balance then? The other character’s (except most of his human friends) rival or surpass him in power. Our you can say at the very least they’re strong in their own right. Monkey D. Luffy (One Piece) is clearly the strongest of his crew but they hold their own in battle against many foes. Luffy has lost many battles and isn’t the even close to being the strongest character currently in the series. He of course still benefits from being a main character. He could never died but he can still lose.

Character Design – the design of the character’s are not really important to me personally. However, I feel you could generally tell whether a character is important or not depending on their detail. Characters like “Sai” in Naruto and basically all the soldier’s in the quincy army in Bleach ( see Manga 544) are rather plain. This tells me that the importance is temporary , non – existent or  they’re going to died soon.

Action/Battle – Not all the manga and anime I enjoy are battle heavy (Death Note) but, most are. Generally speaking the best battles tend to have sakuga animation. Sakuga animation usually makes action better but doesn’t necessarily mean that a scene couldn’t be good without it.

So what is your personal view on what makes anime/ manga good? Do you agree with me? What are your criticisms? Should I add to my standards?


8 thoughts on “What I look for in anime and manga

  1. The biggest thing for me is always the story. I try not to place much emphasis on art styles and the animation quality, even if I don’t like them at first. If I find that the story really interests me, I usually end up getting used to these two factors.
    While I don’t really look for too much character balance, I do tend to find myself enjoying a series more if it strays away from the “main character syndrome.” It’s recycled so often that it’s enjoyable when there’s a different approach. I enjoy most anime and manga series, but most of the series that are my favorites are the ones that tend to avoid the overused concepts and settings.

    1. I agree that different approaches can be enjoyable. I’m also certain that my love of good animation and art has probably prematurely turn me off a lot of good quality anime and manga.

  2. Speaking about artwork, does it ever bother you guys that the nose and mouth in manga and anime are drawn so minimalistic?
    I think its such a loss: beautiful backgrounds and characters but then there’s always those bullshit nose and mouths.
    Even in the most beautiful drawn series they are just horrible.

    1. I would image that the simplicity of the facial features helps when dealing with more important aspect such as backgrounds. I also think that drawing mouths and noses with great detail can become repetitive and time consuming.

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