Friday, February 3, 2012

The (So Not A) Manga Hamlet

Yes, it is I: the manga-reading, convention-going, anime-watching geek from class, talking about the (so not a) manga version of Hamlet. I decided to go for some of the classic artwork, so I picked the version drawn by Adam Sexton and Tintin Pantoja (picture to the left of the cover art if you aren't sure what I'm talking about). Just for some random manga information, when I say classic, I'm talking about the style of character drawing, meaning the large eyes (Hamlet actually looks somewhat normal on the cover, now that I look at it) and especially the narrow, elongated jaw.

So why do I keep saying not a manga? Well, here are a few more common manga facts: 1. The book is read from 'backwards' to 'forwards' (if you are thinking a typical English book), and from left to right going down. Here's a simple example of the order in which to read a manga page--->

What about manga artwork? Well, there's some leniency (for example, many manga artists--called artists, not authors--are moving away from the typical jaw-and-colorful hair shtick) but a few things are still quite universal. The drawing of men, for instance, is usually kept so they appear mostly emotionless (unless they're meant to be gay, in which case their expressions are usually overly dramatic and flamboyant). Their 'expressions' are communicated through external means, usually a universal sign--a 'sweat drop' can mean exasperated or worried, while a # sign on their forehead means they are extremely peeved or annoyed--or even the kanja (Japanese 'word') in an 'unbubbled' area of the current action space. 

Well, if that makes up a manga, why am I so frustrated? IT'S NOT A FREAKIN' MANGA!!! Or, it is a VERY loosely based-upon manga. It's formatted as a common American book (meaning left front cover to back right, and read from left to right). The one thing I'll say is that the artwork at least stays up to some Japanese manga styles. Also, I was pleased to see that it was written in the actual Shakespearean language. I say this because I've seen both manga and anime (Japanese animation, a.k.a. cartoons) interpreting Shakespeare works, and they usually 'update' the language so that it appeals to a wider audience. Now, I will admit that I've mostly seen this done with Romeo and Juliet (anyone else not surprised?), and never with Hamlet, but it is still a relevant factor to reading THIS media and specific version. 

In the end it was an interesting read. Even I, the experience manga reader, had a bit of trouble the first few pages. That was mostly because I had trouble deciphering who was saying what line, however. Once I was accustomed to the artist's preferred method of showing who was saying what, it was easy as pie. It became an easy read, as well, because with all manga I tend to sit and read, unblinking, until I've finished the entire volume. (I say volume because I have easily gone through an entire 18 volume series in one day, moving only because I had to go pick up the next one from of the shelf). 

So I've basically just revealed to you how much of a TOTAL geek I am, but I hope you've learned something. Also, if you want a bit of information about graphic novels vs. comic books (as I felt out during our discussion today), this link will take you to a (I think it's a blog post) entry that clearly and simply breaks down the difference between the two. That way you will have adequate knowledge between the three different styles: manga, graphic novel, and comic book. Til tomorrow! ©Cortnie

No comments:

Post a Comment