Even if I don’t know why I want to write about manga – and much more – I can’t explain what manga could do in a theatre – I feel something, a ‘do it’, there is something to find.
So, let’s go.
It’s summertime, so OK. I will let the “something” drive me today.
What do I like in these famous mangas “shônen”?
It is not so easy to say, except that they are well made and interesting.
It’s their “learning novel” side of the 21st century I think.
Let’s take 4: Death Note, Assassination Classroom, My Hero Academia & One punch man.
I have the ‘thread’: there will be a video game from One Punch Man and I wondered how they would make this story playable.
The first thing I liked was the main character.
Who is the main character in Death Note? Light Yagami
He is young. He is brilliant He has a dark beauty, a trap for girls. He is fighting for justice. And this fight pushes him on the wrong side.
The main character of Assassination Classroom is Koro Sensei. He is a pure monster – a kind of really curious yellow octopus – and he is going to explode the whole Earth on a given date. Other than that, he’s the best teacher you can imagine, the most considerate, the most powerful, the most protective.
Saïtama, the character of One punch man, was a very normal young man. Very classic. Rather handsome kid. And he did not get his job. He lost his hair. He trained 3 years. And he became the strongest of all the universes. He fights almost by idleness.
As for Izuku Midoriya, nicknamed Deku – he is born without any power. In his world, it’s a shame. All his career is going to be to obtain a power, to learn to control it and to finally exceed his master in the eternal fight against the evil.
The common point between all these heroes is that they are not classic heroes
They are cleaved. Light is a nice boy who becomes a killer “by justice” – and will end up in My Hero Academia in the speech of the evil Stain.
Izuku is nice – but he is weak. Saïtama is alone – and nobody needs him. He will finally fight especially to get recognition from others.
Koro is a real teacher figure – who must pretend to be the bad guy to get the teaching out of the good.
And what do we learn with these mangas?
That the notion of good is not simple.
Heroism is a rising value, but it is riddled with pitfalls – and especially moral pitfalls.
That the idea of evil is even less simple: all the evil heroes of My Hero Academia are people who have good arguments.
Those who are ignoble with Saïtama, they are not monsters: he is not afraid of them. They are the others, the people of everyday life. And then, he looks… stupid.
That love can be a punishment: I think that all Death Note fans loved Light when he was ‘punished’ by Misa’s horrible and pervading stupid love. We all had trouble for him and his exhausting love.
And even if we are for L, because he is less powerful, because he is smarter, and because he is not lost between good and evil – when Misa arrives, we like Kira / Light. And it really becomes very interesting to live as a reader / viewer experience.
Koro is not a monster. There is another monster behind him – but he was a hitman. A hitman that everyone loves and everyone is crying during the last call of the class.
Well. These mangas move the simple understanding: the good here, the evil there. It does not work, you have to think.
We must find the evil in our big generous ideas. And conversely.
And that’s what gives them value. They make you think.
And I did not talk about the other characters!
About Ryuk who is a God of the Death as horrible as good-natured, huh Ryuk?
About Nagasi Shiota, who will be Koro’s pupil – and who will then become a teacher, like Koro – but in a much more realistic classroom.
Shiota may be the solution of manga. Now you are tall. It is not too pretty. And above all, nothing is clearer at all!
I think I could write 50 pages, and still have some things to say about it.
But what to do with that in our theatre?
We will have to find a way to value them, because manga, like video games, suffer from a very bad image. But I am convinced that they will move youth far more than moral lessons. These are learning stories, like a lot of video games. We leave with nothing, we are the weakest and … let’s throw ourselves. Let’s test, wrongly, what it might mean to be a bad guy or a nice guy.
And besides, these two arts have splendid graphic creations! The hands on Shigaraki’s face are an amazing find!
So so … maybe workshops and festivals that showcase the graphical, sonic and writing qualities of manga could be placed in Altair’s mechanics – after all, why not staging derivative stories? of manga? Inspired by. The immediate layer – like the one missed by Death Note – is not sensible.
If you have ideas, you’re welcome.