The Filipinos have a lot of creative talent when it comes to art. We do create stuff from the renowned studies in the US as well as the juggernaut at Toei. Heck, there are more studio looking forward in outsourcing their art to us. Aside from being cheap, we do have a good sense of art. But all that art will no where be good if the story suck. Nichijo is all art but it never really have a good sense of what it is. Maybe it’s more of a cultural difference in comedy. But having it rerun in Japan with a compressed format is already a clear sign that it didn’t bode well to the Japanese market.
Story in a Filipino audience is fairly straight forward. Mainstream media has been dumbifiying us with nothing but the same shit but with different food coloring or combination. But unlike presenting a food or flower arrangements that can put an impact on the overall impressions. Shit is shit. Drama is far over rated and overplayed. Love is far overplayed and exhausted. The people at OH NO! Manga has taken the risk of selling manga inspired work to jump-start the comic industry, with Anime art that should catch the attention of the like-minded fans, or younger audience. While I reviewed two series that is published, I can not put my complete enthusiasm on their work. While they do have some positive in it. It is still the same old. Eventually, they will dig themselves their own grave and forever be forgotten or placed along with Filipino pocket-book love novels selling for cheap.
To avoid the pitfalls, Mangaka and artists should break the mold of the old and take into a wider scope of their story concept. Here are the things a Filipino Mangaka should note conceptualizing their work.
Love Stories Are Like A Vagina of An Veteran Hoe. Use Them Carefully
While I may seem to condemn romantic based stories for reason that is simply due to that THEY ARE ALL AROUND. Unless you are not pulling anything from a Korean-drama or any of the teleserye (Oh please no). You are not different from the two station pulling IP from famous Korean Drama and make a crap ton of money with a half ass job of doing it. You should put love elements if it necessary to the story. If it is necessary, make sure it is being used in a new way. By new way, it doesn’t have to me something that isn’t been seen or used. It can be presented in a different way. There had been a lot of romantic stories out there. We exhausted most of the ideas. Why not arranged them in a way that we feel that it is new or interesting. Imagination. Use it.
Don’t Be A Moral Beacon. Make Use of Adult Elements
One of the things that I seen in OEL Filipino, is the utter lack of sex and medium to extreme violence and gore. While we are the most hospitable nation on the planet, being very respectful and kind toward others (generally speaking). Seeing rape, sex, torture and heavy blood and violence is seen as a taboo and often forbidden delve in newest works. These elements can really capture the interest of the audience. What makes Manga so unique is that it has variety of genres and type to choose from. OEL Filipino works so far never had delve beyond the confines of simple fist fights and gun battles. It hinders the story for its potential value. The surge of indie films and the appreciation to the public is mainly due to the issues and element presented in the story that is normally not seen in mainstream media. Gay themed films with sex leveled in more than the past “bold” films in the early 80s and 90s and the love of putting the issue of poverty to the most extreme drive the indie to its stardom. So why instead confine yourself in the moral norm, rather get to the meat of the matter and attack the moral norms. Use it as a slingshot to take the audience to its feet. You should be a keen observer. Look around, find something that tickles your curiosity. Use it and create a theme to run from it. You will now have a skeleton to your story.
Set Your Story In An Unexplored Or Close to Reality Timeline
I think why love stories are so prevalent in the media is because it is easy to piece together. There is hardly any thought to make a good story. Just throw big stars and let their fandom rake the money. In Manga, it is often the chemistry between the couples and pairings that makes the money. By the playful active nature of Tari Tari, the master and servant relations of Gosick, to the bizarre dynamics of Arararagi and Senjogahara. Of course, you need a good story to make these parings work. But I would suggest a more interesting way to make a unique manga. Pick a unique unexplored setting.
Unlike love stories. Settings are not much regarded in media. Often case we rarely see stories that are based in the past. While there are a deal of stories that tried to appeal to the sci-fi audience. Much of it are half-done. There a ton of settings that is left to be explored. In most cases using these timeline can take a lot of effort, since this needs to be accurate as possible. One thing that comes to mind is Historie, a manga that is based on the time of Alexander the Great. For this, a good OEL Mangaka should look into considering this route as well. For the Filipino side, we can use the Spanish era as a backdrop of the story. Not only that you will get the attention of the audience, the audience will learn something from it. This can also tie in to targeting a particular moral. There are slices of culture sandwiched each era. Often these can be reflected to the societal issues we face today. I also have the other suggestion in the timeline, which include the brief British occupation, or World War II set up in the Philippines. To think, we only have one film that even tackle the events of World War II in Philippine soil. For a Mangaka, you can use the lack of it and be the forefront of delivering rich story from it. You just need to be accurate on your detail.
No Corruption and Poverty. Use Politics but None or less emphasis of the Former.
Since the indie film boom, we are in no part subject to a repeated statement that our country is poor and corrupt. In almost every show in the mainstream media, to the foreign documentary that always reminds us of our poor state in the modern society. A mangaka should focus on something that is not related on these issues, for reasons so common that there is no point of doing it. I can go on about how our country is not the source of inspiration for Humanity has Declined. Yes. We do have negatives in our country. Every country has one. But we shouldn’t use it as the center of the story. Are we too happy that we need something that is so negative to ruin our day? Haven’t we all run the poor vs rich and powerful troupe so many times in films that the movie industry died of ideas (more of piracy, but that’s just their excuse). As an aspiring Mangaka, you need to think of other things. Think outside the box. Look for issues that might be overlooked by society. Oh please. No Gay themes. Okay, maybe a bit. But we had a lot of these in the indie scene, it is almost the same as poverty porn. I may be forgiving if its a shota story.
Drilled It To Your Head? Good.
When you think about doing Manga in this country. We often don’t associate it with money. People do it. But it is more in the realm of connecting with your hobby. OH NO! manga is the first commercial publishing company that is trying to take the market by bringing Manga inspired work to Anime enthusiasm to the kid at heart. But with most of their work being nothing by rehashes of romance. It only shows that the Filipino is all but pretty pictures with no substance. Just like the people who run this country.
Images Used are under Fair Use.