Reflection #3: Akira

I’ve really enjoyed Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira this past week. I’ve never read manga before now so it was a bit of a new experience for me. Some of the major difference that I noticed in manga opposed to other more western comic styles were the super detailed panels, the amount of panels and the superhero-like action sequences.


Daniel R. is in my web comic group and explained that the setup for creating manga is done much differently than the American way of doing comics. He said a team of writers and artist is first put together. A director and writer over sees the project, the first artist comes up with a pencil sketch, then another artist goes over the pencil drawing with ink. Eventually the drawings are perfected on computer program and handed off to a director. This way they can produce up mass amounts of panels a week and put out some every day.


This is very interesting to me because it allows the team to make very detailed panels. It’s also interesting to me that several artist do the drawings before the final step, I wonder if get creative input or if the director gives them very specific instructions. Another thing I really like about Akira is the mystery of it. In the beginning I was more tuned into what is happening, because I didn’t want to miss the punch line of what’s actually going on.


Also the way the action sequences are happening make them really easy to follow. One panel essentially ripples onto the next. The layout of the panels also has this effect. They seem to speed up by having little to no dialogue making your eye jot from one panel to the next. On page 105 the pill seems to roll from one panel to the next down the page even though that’s not the reality of the scenes, meaning they are not disconnected shots of one big scene, they are the same scene shown differently each time.