Details vs. Flow In Manga Panels

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Highly detailed artwork can be very impressive and help to bring a story to life, but is it always the best choice for a story? Maybe not??

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31 Comments

  1. I call it One Piece Disease. There's just so much packed in each panel that it gets irritating to look at. I dropped it once Alabasta was over because I just didn't want to deal with it anymore.
    The webcomic Vibe has OPD, but its particular viral strain incorporates eye-searing color choices into the mix. It's a shame, as I think both series are pretty great.
    I have yet to see a series with Bleach Syndrome.

  2. Even though it's an action shonen manga I feel like D.Gray-Man has this problem. A lot of the fights just sort of devolve into a mess of particle and whooshing wind effects so it can be hard to follow what the action that occured to cause the effects in the first place.

  3. I found Trigun an absolute bitch to read but I don't think it's because of too much detail. It's more incoherent transitions from panel to panel. It's like if I was watching the anime and it keeps skipping ahead a couple seconds.

  4. Yep. Plus, too much detail and realism (if it's constant) can though not always make the art look less expressive, so humor and action scenes feel flat.

  5. Just yesterday I was watching your old Digi Cribs episode on your manga collection where you talked about SLD!

    Haven't read much manga, but Berserk impresses me because I feel like appreciating the details of the art is always optional for the reader, which I think is key. I tend to hang on to pages for a while, but my eye is always tugged along at a decent pace due to the excellent blocking and composition. I also think this is a huge reason why Berserk can be so goddamn funny on occasion, his timing and illustration of the joke is top notch.

  6. I have definitely experienced what you're talking about
    I've read manga where I thought "This would be good in color" because its so detailed this its chaotic and needs something to show us how things are different
    as for the flow thing I remember in sousei no omyouji there was a scene where benio stabbed a impurity and then dragged the sword across its body and cutting it which took about 1 – 1.5 seconds in the anime but it only had one or two panels in the manga so I missed it until I went back and re-read it when I realized that I didn't see that part

  7. What you say is the flaw of manga I find a thing that makes it better than anime. I've read many, many manga chapters and detailed pages is what draws me in, I have the time to look at each detail rather than have it flash by in a few frames in an anime.
    That and voice acting of a single character in a single scene can ruin an entire series for me as with unnecessary "suspense"(or rather lazy 20 second long animation) and any flaw my imagination would not have, an anime can, and inevitably will, have.
    The real problem arises if a lot is shown with very little happening.

  8. I know Witchcraft Works has beautiful artwork in the manga, but the anime adaptation is sub-par with the quality, it looked very robotic in comparison. I dont know if that's what they were going for, but the result was a bit unnerving.

  9. The school library at my middle school had king of bandits jing books, i read like the first five books in 3rd grade and the immense detail coupled with how young i was resulted with me having no idea what was going on.

  10. You've done well linking "hard to follow due to overly complex scenes" and Nihei Tsutomu to the same moment.

    Kentaro Miura is as detailed, but pretty easy to read.

  11. I've always noticed that 4komas are less detailed, and your point about that is excellent. The most detailed 4koma I can think of is Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun, but it uses certain intricacies like shoujo manga effects to its advantage.

    Please do more manga based videos!

  12. I don't what it is, but I cannot tell what's going on in Tokyo Ghoul Re for the life of me. There's always swirling blackness that takes the shape of something or other. A lot of that manga is a bit hard to interpret, which takes away from its pretty good story and interesting actions scenes.

  13. Tl;dr I like Sun-Ken Rock but not some new coloured shenanigans, do you have anything like Berserk/Vagabond to recommend?

    One of the most gloriously beautifully drawn manga I've ever read is Sun-Ken Rock. By using the contrast between the light greys of the background and the stark black and whites of the characters, I find it easy to immediately focus on the characters, then appreciate the backgrounds on second look. If you haven't read it you are seriously missing out.
    On the other hand I often find coloured manga and manwha overly confusing in their rich description of everything happening in a scene. Often I feel that colour is being used to overwhelm the reader, rather than to enrich a scene and present it in greater depth. Desolate Era is an example of this, and although I love the Combat Continent and Combat Continent II, it is sometimes guilty of overloading the senses, detracting from otherwise gripping fight sequences.
    You showed the example of Vagabond as a beautifully well detailed manga and I whole heartedly agree. The grimy detail that this manga presented really brought to life the era for me, and was the spur for my fascination of historically based martial arts manga. Its beautiful description of often disturbingly graphic scenes made me draw comparisons to Berserk and its depiction of hellish landscapes and creatures. It pains me to say that I have been at a loss in finding something that doesn't just have a similar style, but uses that style effectively to engage me in an unknown world.
    So I come to my final question: you obviously have good taste and wonderful experience of anime and manga, so can you think of anything that even comes close to these two manga, anime included? I would love to hear your opinion as I am currently stuck in a spiral of inability to find more engaging titles to read under the torrent of ecchi, harem, fantasy high school drama, and if you even gave the time to read to the end of this comment, thank you :)

  14. I'd say berserk had that problem sometimes with the flow getting messed up because of the detail. Like every fucking panel is gorgeous and it took me forever to read it because I would stare at them for waaaaaay too long.

  15. Despite enjoying "Madoka Magica: The different story" almost every panel is so dense with art that it made it difficult to comprehend what was happening.

    I really enjoyed the manga – including the complicated art – but it was a difficult read nonetheless.

  16. I am a very slow manga reader largely because I look at pictures for far too long. I often can't just let my eyes gloss over them like a normal person, no matter how small the panel is. I'm not sure what the reason for it is but I have a similar thing with reading regular books where I'm a lot slower at that than I used to be.

    One of the harder mangas for me to read was Makoto Raiku's Animal Land, because his action scenes are often very detailed, and there are many parts in that manga where the main character is in a massive grouping of different animals, and there were big two-page spread battle scenes where you could see all of them charging. I could spend several minutes on those.

    But funnily enough I actually very much prefer manga to anime. Which is part of why I wish I could read it faster!

  17. I think that it would be necessary to talk about the difference between reading the actual books, and reading manga online. Because as far as I'm concerned, the difference in flow, tension and climax is immense.

    Since I often read online, I tend experience this "gap" inbetween the pages which builds tension considerably. The next page will then have a sort of pop effect when they come up. When reading in person, you'll always see the next page in your peripherals, which means they'll never have that wham/punch effect I get from reading online. What do you think?

  18. I think a really good comparison here is Berserk versus Claymore. Both have incredible and detailed artwork but when I read Berserk, my engagement is uninterrupted and I'm absorbed into the brutal and oppressive atmosphere of the world Guts' inhabits (and as always the lighter moments with Puck are simpler and move at a brisker pace to alleviate the tension).

    Whereas when I read Claymore I am oftentimes genuinely confused at first glance as to what in the fuck I am looking at. I linger on panels not because I'm absorbing the details of the image but because I am trying to understand what it is I am seeing. The broader concept of the image is lost in the mess of details that take up the entire panel.

  19. sometimes, too much details can also confuse in a fightscene. I love berserk as a manga, but there was more than one situation where I looked at the panels and went "uuuh… what exactly happened?"

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