Manga critic/creator Kentaro Takekuma isn't a person to ignore. Viz's out of print translation of his Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga is a must find for anyone interested in the patterns that shape the medium. Similarly, his debate with Negima's Ken Akamatsu on manga's digital future is a must read. In his latest conversational bombshell, he's proposed that manga be oriented for left to right reading.
Takekuma feels that manga needs to foster its financial and artistic future by looking to readers who haven't grown up with right to left languages like Japanese. The artist commentator argues that manga should aim to boost its overseas sales by not by focusing on preexisting hardcore fans. Instead, manga should aim to be accessible and appeal to readers who aren’t necessarily Japanophiles.
He points out that English and Chinese, the two most-used languages on the planet, are commonly read from left to right.
Takekuma also argues that manga needs to rethink its direction to stay globally competitive. He argues that with the many foreign students of Japanese manga production, within the next ten years, international artists will be able to couple the manga look and feel with local sensibilities will make it increasingly difficult for titles by Japanese creators to find readers abroad.
“I’d go so far as to say the industry is being insanely short-sighted,” he remarks, saying that manga producers have been resting on past successes.
Hellsing's Kota Hirano and Patlabor's Masami Yuki were drawn into the Twitter debate. The latter said that Takekuma may have a point, but Hirano compared Takekuma to a mad scientist out of one of Yuki's manga, and said that artists shouldn't be immediately breaking from years of ingrained artistic philosophy.
That's despite Hirano experimenting with left to right storytelling in his own Ikaryaku.