I have been trying get through a certain volume by one of my favorite creators for a while now. I think it may have been over a month between the whirlwinds of Anime Expo and San Diego Comic Con. I have never ever taken a month to read a manga before, not with multiple attempts to pick it up and read to the end like this.
It isn’t that I don’t like the story itself. The art is the fine, but there is SO MUCH GOING ON. There are tons of little asides, a lot those artist columns every so often and, of course, tons of sound effects and dialogue. It’s just gets so busy that you feel like you’re reading little side plays in each and every panel. There’s always something going on aside from the main story and it’s a little too crazy.
Now, if you’re like most people you’re thinking, “Manga? Wordy? What’s she on?” It’s not that I cannot read a dense novel or anything, in fact, I’ve always been an avid reader. What I’m complaining about is really the sheer density of text to process as you read, which is on top of the expressions and actions depicted in the art.
There are some mangaka that get away with wordiness, and some who don’t. I remember I had to stop reading Death Note after a while because the sheer weight of all the information I was trying to process gave me a headache. It’s not that I hated Death Note as a manga, just that Ohba and Obata’s art and storytelling couldn’t convey that information smoothly for me. My boyfriend, when I mentioned this post’s topic to him, chimed in that Masamune Shirow’s manga gave him a similar feeling.
As an editor I’ve learned that some publishers just go for wordy manga, Hakusensha’s Hana to Yume manga being some of the “worst” on the market, which is ironic since their shoujo manga is some of the most popular. Some examples include Gakuen Alice, Maid Sama and V.B. Rose. It might not be something most people notice, but having to edit those titles always meant having to do twice as much work as a non-Hana to Yume title. All those asides, making sure they’re in the right font or in the right place or too small to read…
So what do you think? Can manga be wordy? And, if so, what fits your definition of wordy manga?