Saturday, November 26, 2005

Doujinshi Manga Good or Bad?

Naruto Doujinshi

Doujinshi Good or Bad?

This is what I love about Japan, they have Doujinshi manga, and more often than not, it's actually quite good. Sometimes not. So what exactly is the good and bad about Doujinshi?

I went to this actual site, and found it to be a neat hybrid of fan-novel blended with Doujinshi manga snipits and lots of pin up art. Keroyon Jima is a talented artist when it comes to mimicking the great Kishimoto-sensie.

Sometimes you see the quality of Doujinshi and wish that America had something similar, maybe that way we would get original, at least semi-interesting stories involving classic characters like Superman and Batman. If Doujinshi was legal in the U.S., I'm sure there would be ridiculous stories involving our beloved characters as well, but this is all part of the artistic fun. Not that we have to worry about ever having this, setting legalities aside, comics in the U.S. have NEVER sold well enough to support an onslaught of Doujinshi related sales. If we did have such a thing, the industry would quite definitively collapse onto itself. Superman, X-Men, etc. would have to be selling 3 million times the amount they do per month to even exist in such a saturated comic book market. Yet, it still would be fun to see some original stories done by people who respect and enjoy the characters without the limitations put upon them by the major publishers. I guess a comic nerd can dream can't he?


So what is everyone's opinion on Doujinshi? Is it bad? Does it take away from the original artists? Or does it only prove why the professionals are really those indeed, pros. I think, having spent considerable time in Japan that Doujinshi tends to do well, sometimes taking a not so popular title and making it better. Other times it's so horribly bad that it's not even noticeable. Yet it is a great outlet and gives opportunity for many artists to break into the industry (honing their art skills without so much as ever having to have an original idea), an outlet we don't have in the states. Maybe that's a good thing? But certain manga-ka have made it into the industry from their college sales of Doujinshi. Ever heard of CLAMP? They were lucky enough to go onto better things from their humble beginning as Doujinshi artists. (Ref. See: Manga: Masters of the Art, by Timothy Lehmann.)

In the end, the Japanese manga-ka just shrug it off as another form of their vast artistic medium, and I think the harm Doujinshi does is minimal at best. True, Doujinshi are only as good as the art and stories in them, a point worth noting. This truth of all art forms is, perhaps, why sometimes Doujinshi can be better than the original manga titles (although this is highly rare.) They are fan comics in the truest sense, ones which make sales/profit off of other's properties and have the potential to drive away readers from the main staple books which they are paroding. This still hasn't stopped the steady upward rise in popularity of Doujinshi over the past five years, which one could say, is booming in Japan right now. In fact, in the broader scheme of things, Doujinshi haven't affected manga sales too drastically, rather they have only added to the constant rise in manga popularity in Japan. But whether this is good or bad, is up to those individuals dealing in Doujinshi.

Naruto Doujinshi 2

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