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Henniker: Manga, Panel by Panel

This week, we read more from Nausicaa of the Valley of the WInd (by Hiyao Miyazaki), and Rurouni Kenshin (by Nobuhiro Watsuki).  Our discussion topics included:

  • Subjective motion (putting the reader INTO the action)
  • Advancing the story by emphasizing details of the setting
  • Character traits (via actions, reactions, and expressions)
  • Expressive cartooning
  • Silent panels
  • Panel choice as a means of story construction

By reading, studying, and selectively copying bits and pieces of Miyazaki’s artwork, we’re internalizing some of his techniques, as well as a taste of the voice of a master mangaka.  This will be important experience when we begin our individual manga projects in the coming weeks!

Here are some examples of our preliminary explorations; the arrows at the top of the comics indicate whether you should read the panels -left-to-right-> (Western style) or <-right-to-left- (Japanese style):


We’ve also discussed the many Japanese artforms that make up the historical roots of manga, including:


For more about the fascinating history of Kamishibai, students can check out Allen Say’s Kamishibai Man in the school library.


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