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Shonen-esque battles/action scenes of anime/manga




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Samuknight



Joined: 25 Mar 2015
Posts: 17
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:05 pm Reply with quote
Initially I only wanted to discuss one specific topic but realized just how possibly huge and multi-faceted and on top of that I woudn't be surprised if related off-topic discussion comes as a result.

He original question I wanted to ask before making the header more general was "Why did anime/manga develop such a unique fight choreography?"

I mean if there's one thing anime/manga is famed for, it is the style of fight direction. From people punching and kicking each other midair DBZ style to range projectile battles where two opponents are stuck planted on the ground as they try to concentrate on using all their energy to overpower the enemy's blasts like in with theirs as typical i Yu Yu Hakusho to master swordsman quickly vanishing and wiping out an army with hundreds of blows per second a la Rurouni Kenshin, fight choreography is one of the things that make anime stands out.

In fact a common reason why so many haters can't stand anime/manga is because of this unique bizarre style of fight choreography and these many same haters will often make an exception for anime that "doesn't feel animesque" with relatively realistic battle drawings and scenes such as Cowboy Bebop and Ghost In the Shell.

Hell at least half of the Cowboy Bebop fans I met state that one of their frustration is finding other anime series with more down to earth battle scenes as opposed to the flashy superpowered scenes of DBZ and YYH combat.

At the same time its presicely this unique style of battling why so many anime fans have stuck to watching anime for years. I remember the first time I saw Saint Seiya's Galaxian Tournament arc when I was finally giving anime a chance after losing interest for years I was simply blown away by just how [expletive] intense and fast-paced it was. It literally felt like the fighters were [expletive] throwing attacks that are over one ton in force and genuinely moving faster than the speed of sound. On top of that even after I lost interest in anime in my teen years, I always still remember how DBZ and YYH had such fight scenes so exciting I couldn't find them elsewhere, not even in Hollywood with the exception of legendary classics such as The Matrix and Rob Roy.

I cannot tell you how watching Saint Seiya which singlehandedly revived my anime interest surprised me at just how anime fights were far more vicious and exhilarating than I remembered and when I finally read DBZ and rewatched YYH for the first time in years, the battle choreography just blew me so much I could not speak a word and I began to regret ever losing interest in anime/manga.

Its precisely the words I described in the above paragraph that can sum up why the battles are one of the reason anime fans love anime so much.

With that said, I am quite curious why anime/manga-especially Shonen series-developed such a unique style of fight choreography? I mean I read a lot of American comics and I will be the first one o ell not only are the battles drawn so differently. Most American comic books lack the feeling that the superheroes are hitting each other at the speed of light with their thousands of blows and hits that are supposedly ten tons of force don't have the ouch factor I often feel from manga and anime despite bloodied faces , etc. In fact I'd say that excepting comic series heavily influenced by anime/manga such as Scott Pilgrim and some of the gory gritty series aimed at older audiences such as Spawn and Punisher, few American comics have fight scenes that made me feel so tense as anime/manga typically does. Even among series with legitimately good battle scenes I have yet to see an American comic book with battles on the level of DBZ, HNK, YYH, and Rurouni Kenshin. And most Otakus who are also comic geeks I chatted with so far on other sites agree with my statement.

So I am wondering why only anime and manga had developed such a choreography style? Further more outside of Hollywood big budgets EG Lethal Weapon and Chronicles of Riddick and video game, why mass media as a whole fail to capture the same "moving faster than light" feel and excitement of anime/manga?

In particular how come Western comic books which not only have superheroes who can stop rains with a hand and dodge bullets, failed to capture this FTL feel and have fight choreography so intensely gripping that manga, especially Shonen series, have as a staple? I find this so jarring because of how manga writers frequently admit Western comic books from childhood influenced their storytelling style and some such as Nobuhiro Watsuki of Rurouni Kenshin fame are even self-admitted diehard comic geeks who collect Spawn action figures and such. I mean I even read an article stating anime/manga Shonen conventions are based on superhero scenes. So why is Shonen style battles so alien to American comic books before manga came to the point that recently many American writers are even copying the choreography of DBZ and other Shonen classics as seen by O'Malley, author of Scott Pilgrim?

Bonus question what are the influences that led to Shonenesque style fights? I mean despite comics supposedly influencing manga so much, its quite difficult to see in say Blade similar one-man army scenes of taking out a hundred in what seems like a single sword swing in the same manner that Kenshiro takes out an entire army of bikers in what looks like one kick. I have seen old Kung fu cinema and Japanese martial arts flicks such as Sister Street Fighter have fighting while in the air over thirty fight high in the same manner as Ranma. So I wonder, is Kung Fu cinema and some of SOnny Chiba's early stuff a big influence? In particular where did the exchange millions of beams from your hands with your enemy come from? I can understand the one-man army and fighting in air coming from Kung Fu flicks but I have yet o find any older media portray beam fights that DBZ has.
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Jose Cruz



Joined: 20 Nov 2012
Posts: 1419
Location: Serra Gaucha/Minnesota
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:38 am Reply with quote
Japan has by far the most developed comics industry and comic culture in the world. Being much larger than the comic cultures of other countries means that their comic style developed to a far greater degree than comics from outside of East Asia, which are not as influenced by manga as one would expect.

One of the consequences of this uniquely developed culture was the development of an unique visual language to express movement and action in the comic panels. Comics and animation made outside of East Asia which don't try to copy Japanese stylizations conciously will not feature these elements.

Also I would think it's plain incorrect to think US comics influenced manga by a substantial extend. That idea is more of a consequence of ethnocentric mentality of some people in the US rather than an actual fact of reality. European comics influenced manga in the 19th and early 20th century and then from the 1940's onwards manga developed more and more into its own cultural universe. Today it's a obviously a center of influence and not a periphery.

Also DBZ probably has a lot of original elements given its among the most influential manga ever.
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