What's your opinion on color (or lackthereof) in manga?
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30 / M / East TX
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Posted 1/15/11
Given the fact that most all American/Europian comics are fully colored, what's your opinion on manga still being 99.9% monochrome, outside of covers and the occasional first page or two?

Obviously, adding color means it's more expensive to make, which will usually mean it's more expensive to buy, and it would take longer to produce. If it reached the point that it's expected to be in color, this would also mean that it would be more difficult for smaller studios and independent mangaka to make a name for themselves.

Those are the usual arguments made, oftentimes in a (understandable) fit of rage in response to when someone gets butthurt about Japan being "behind the times" compared to American comics. While I think there's a lot of truth to the above reasons, I think they're becoming less and less valid.

You could say that it stifles creativity, but that would be ignoring the precedent set by current American comics - despite the increase in cost, we're still graced by creative, uninhibited comics like Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, Crossed, Invincible, etc etc. Additionally, you have dozens of dozens of ongoing series that have no end in sight, and are fully colored (most all of these are superhero based, but hey, I guess that's what sells over here. Personally, of the typical Marvel/DC comics, I just read Deadpool =P).

You could talk about cost, but that kind of goes out the window when we're talking about large corporations producing money making machines like Bleach and Naruto. And personally, I would gladly pay a couple extra bucks for Jump if they made the most popular series fully colored. For popular, established series, I see no valid reasons whatsoever for them not to be colored. If Naruto volumes were fully colored and cost $15 instead of $8, I'm pretty sure we'd still have legions running around with headbands and adding -dattebayo to the end of their sentences that would gladly pay.

I think the perfect middle ground would be this: have the "norm" still be black and white, for cost effectiveness. This might lead to the kind of over-saturation we currently see, but to me having to wade through piles of crap manga to get to the good stuff is totally worth it. But, I think the norm should also be color for series that reach a certain benchmark of popularity. Say what you will but I think the only reason this isn't currently the case is just a refusal to evolve, and the fact that people (including myself) still buy them regardless.

tl:dr - manga being in b/w has it's benefits, but I see no excuse for popular manga to not be colorized.
Posted 1/16/11
Whether color is added or not, it doesn't really take away or add anything. Vibrancy, maybe, but frankly I could care less.
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Posted 1/16/11
If the entire chapter was colored it would take up alot of the mangaka's time. He/she will either have to hire more staff or to delay their releases.
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Posted 1/16/11
No reason to think the mangaka would have to do the coloring. The company that produces it would have to hire/contract colorers, just like in American comics. And there's no reason to think it would delay releases at all. It's not like the second the mangaka submits a manga to be produced it goes on store shelves, there's a process. If there's an extra week or two in that process, we would never ever know. It would just mean that they're working that much farther ahead of the retail release schedule.
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30 / M / Wisconsin
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Posted 1/16/11
Great topic. I think as thesandboxhero noted that having a colorer do the work would be a good way to prevent a longer delay and it would mean more employment for those people (which I understand is many) interested in working in manga as well as enhance the appeal of the medium in many cases.
Posted 1/16/11
i really dont care if its colored as long as its good
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Posted 1/16/11
Colour? Who needs it anyway (in a manga, that is)? As long as the drawing and plot are well done, I don't think us manga lovers would really care if a rainbow sat on our manga books or not. Plus, doesn't the lack of vibrancy differentiate manga from normal comic books, no?
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34 / M
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Posted 1/16/11
I recently picked up volumes one and two of DarkStalkers graphic novels, and found that I very much enjoyed the color. I was a little surprised; I generally don't touch western comics. (By "generally," I mean "ever.") That said, the art in the vast majority of western comics I've seen turns me off so thoroughly that all the color in the world doesn't help, and the pace at which manga is serialized in Japan generally precludes large amounts of color work. It'd have to be released more slowly, which I really wouldn't like.

In the case of works that are short anyway (like my absolute favorite manga, Doll, by Mitsukazu Mihara, it could work better, I think, and I WOULD love to see it, but honestly, it just doesn't bother me that it's line art.
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Posted 1/16/11
I don't mind it not being colored. When I get a volume and see the first two pages colored, it's a lovely surprise, but for the most part I am totally and utterly fine with it the way it is. As for the comic's here being all color.. Well, sometimes they aren't really that good. You get a "Kapow!!!" in one panel and then a "Zip-zoom!" in another. Wooo.. wow, that's can totally blow your mind!! Not. Because they take so much time coloring their zip's, kapow's, zoom's, and bam's they don't have time for much details (well, some). Manga pages usually have a lot of details going on in them.. so yeah.

That there is my opinion..lol.
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Posted 1/17/11
If it is going to take up too much time, why not release not-colored manga's first, and let othe rpeople hired for colors start from the start of the manga and release it later in full-colored volumes. (I mean i wouldnt want a manga half colored and half not colored, and i wouldnt want to wait longer for the releases of manga, so why not color the old ones, and let the new ones release not-colored first just to color them a bit later. No waiting longer for new chapters, and the mangeka's can see if they like it or not, so they dont have like 200 episodes not-colored, suddenly 5 colored and it didnt work out, so the last 105 chapters are not-colored again... Well you know what I mean, plus i would re-read the old chapters if they are colored.
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Posted 1/17/11

wossie wrote:

If it is going to take up too much time, why not release not-colored manga's first, and let othe rpeople hired for colors start from the start of the manga and release it later in full-colored volumes. (I mean i wouldnt want a manga half colored and half not colored, and i wouldnt want to wait longer for the releases of manga, so why not color the old ones, and let the new ones release not-colored first just to color them a bit later. No waiting longer for new chapters, and the mangeka's can see if they like it or not, so they dont have like 200 episodes not-colored, suddenly 5 colored and it didnt work out, so the last 105 chapters are not-colored again... Well you know what I mean, plus i would re-read the old chapters if they are colored.


My best guess there would be expense. On top of having to pay the staff responsible for handling colors, you have to go through the trouble of republishing a second edition. Color publication is drastically more expensive, and I'm not really convinced the sales would be all that great. I know I wouldn't buy a second copy of any of my manga just to get color, with the possible exception of Doll. If the sales don't make enough to be a significant profit, it's probably not worth the time and distraction to the publisher and its editors/marketing staff. A lot of these concerns might become less significant, if the digital manga stuff the major publishers are starting up in Japan takes off, but for traditional publication, I'm just not sure there's really any money in re-printing the same manga in color.
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Posted 1/19/11
Meh I'm not 5 I don't need colors to hold my attention. If a manga's good, it doesn't need color.

Besides, a lot of mangaka release art books to show off their full artistic skill, so it's not really a matter of "stifling creativity".
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