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 Post subject: Japan or America?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:10 pm 
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Okay, so I've been working on this one manga idea for a long time. Like, a LONG time. The storyline is pretty much planned out--it's got a beginning, an end, and a rough middle, but I'll need to flesh that out some more first. The character designs are all done except for one dude, but he's got a twin sister, so, even though they're technically fraternal, all I really need to do is come up with a hairstyle for him. xD Since I've already come to accept the fact that it WILL be a long story (it's inevitable with me...my teachers used to have to tell me to keep my stories a little shorter in school), and since I like the plot so much I want it to go places and for people to know about it, I've decided that I'll push off its actual publication until later, when I've built up some experience and a reputation--maybe I'll start with some one-shots/miniseries, maybe even some four-panel manga. But I won't stop working on it altogether until that time comes: I'll keep working on it, add to the storyline, storyboard, maybe even (most likely, actually) start to draw, once I can get a PC tablet. It's most definitely NOT my first manga idea; I bounced around for a while, even did character designs for each. I may even go back to the first idea I had for a start-up work. But this particular idea is one I really like; I've even had dreams about it becoming an anime, which I'm not sure about as to whether or not it needs to be published in Japan...but that's a dilemma for later.

Getting to the actual POINT of the thread (this is why my stories are so long), it's quite simple: the story takes place in the USA, with the names and such all in English. The setting is currently a town on the Jersey shore that'll kind of mix in with my hometown in terms of design. However, I've had thoughts for a while about moving it to Japan, with Japanese names. I've asked a lot of people in real life--my otaku friends, my otaku little sis, etc.--and all of them, yes, ALL, have told me I should keep it in America. But I've had my doubts about that.

There are pros and cons to both. Obviously, I know the terrain in America, I know how the schools work, I know what we do for fun, I know what we typically like to eat, etc. I wouldn't know any of that in Japan; thanks to the "Life in a Japanese School" articles, it's easier, but it's not like I'll have a firsthand experience. This'll also lessen my credibility; I've never been to Japan, I'm not Japanese (the farthest Eastern heritage I have is Ukrainian, which doesn't help much), I don't know much about Japanese food, and I don't know much about their everyday lifestyle. People may feel a little less than welcoming to a mangaka that hasn't been to Japan. Also, the story has pretty much already been planned out in America, and I'd have to go back and change a LOT of things if I moved the setting across the world.

Now, there are pros to Japan, too: for one thing, it'll probably generate a larger fanbase, from what I can tell. I've seen a highly-negative response to the recent anime Heroman, which takes place in America, the characters have American names, and the author...well, I don't know much about the author, but his name is Stan Lee. Heck, I've only seen one episode of the anime, but I've watched trailers on YouTube, and people left comments about...well, you can guess what they were, probably. When I've brought up the subject with people I've talked to, also, they seem to give a negative response as well. The fanbase IS an important part to me, because I want people to read my story and like it, so others can learn about it. Also...well, it would be fun to put it in Japan. xD I'm not gonna lie: picturing my little moe in a serafuku tempts me. And my main character in something like an Ikuto/Lelouch suit fits perfectly; he's exactly the Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome I want him to be. Not to mention that picking Japanese names is always a great time~ And, thirdly--what's the rush? As stated above, I've already decided that it's not going to get published right away. If I need to rethink the story, so be it; I've certainly got the time.

I'm sorry if this thread is too long, but I have to ask: what's your opinion? Do you think I should move it to Japan, or keep it in the USA? I know it may not be wise to base my decision off other people's opinion, but getting an opinion from manga readers like you will definitely help--plus, I'm completely neutral right now, anyhow. So, please, give me your opinions!

To help you out, here's a rundown of the main characters I've got (no scans, sorry; my printer says it can do scans, but it lies). Just so you know the names I'd be changing, or not changing. They are listed in order of importance:

Spoiler! :
Troy2.0/Troy--The title character and, obviously, protagonist (yes, the series is called Troy2.0, so I'd need to change the whole series title, too! D8). Troy is the pioneer model in the new cyborg warfare division of the United States army; the series starts with his awakening in a government laboratory, with no memory of the past except for one hazy image of being fired at and hit by a shadowy assailant. He is told by his creator and master that he is actually a reanimated dead body, given life only by a network of circuits and electricity throughout him. He looks like any normal human teenager, but his attack, defense, and healing abilities make him almost completely immune to attacks by any other manmade weapon. He is also informed that his sole purpose in this second life is to follow the orders given to him. His first mission is to infiltrate a high school in New Jersey, posing as a student, because...well, it's very complicated, I'm really tired, and it'll make this verrry long, so I'm just gonna leave it at that for now~

Immy--Imogen Frost, or "Immy," as she is affectionately called by friends and family, is the second main character in the story. Standing a mere 5' 0" tall, with bouncy pigtails and a sunny, innocent personality, she puts the moe in "Moe moe, kyun!" (Or, at least, in my mind she does. xD) She springs right up to Troy on his first day of human high school and becomes his self-appointed tour guide, and, at lunch, she doesn't hesitate to drag him over to the lunch table where she and her ragtag group of friends eat. When they welcome him in, Troy accepts it as an aid to his student guise...but there may be a little more to it than just business! Later in the series, it will be revealed that Immy has actually had a very dark past that she's hidden even from her closest friends for years, and, well...then we get to some spoilers. Sorry. xD Let's meet her friends now!

Aislin--Aislin Armstrong is a wild, fiery photographer girl, with FOUR drill pigtails (count 'em: FOUR. And they're GREEN. Take that, Teto!) and an ever-present orange pair of those really stupid sunglasses that just have multiple slits through the plastic that look like blinds or something. xD And, of course, she's always got her Nikon camera around her neck! Not only is she the loud one and dreamer of the group: she's also a major otaku. YES, ladies and gentlemen. Her view on life often involves her wish that it was more like the world in anime and manga, and there will be a mess of outer-anime references with her around. xD She IS a yaoi fangirl, but she'll settle for a little twincest; in fact, a running gag throughout the series is her fantasizing about some Devin X Derek action, with them immediately either threatening her darkly or openly smacking her down. (Twins = twice the physical force!)

Sean--Sean Doolittle is Aislin's exact opposite, which leads to their constant arguments and the occasional fistfight (it's all for fun, really!). He becomes one of Troy's closest friends in the group, second to Immy. He loves anything musical, or having to do with music, and plays several instruments. Though he is more down-to-earth and less humorous than the above otaku, he still loves to have fun and be with his friends. (There may be a little Sean X Aislin verrry late in the series, FYI.)

Devin--Devin Brookscore rounds off the female portion of the group; she and her twin brother are both studious and largely lacking in terms of a sense of humor. Despite this, Devin is more of a motherly figure; she often serves to keep Aislin and Immy's loud-but-vague frames of mind in check, and cares deeply for all of her friends. She comes from a richer family, which feeds the hint of snootiness that appears on occasion, but it also means that she often dresses in a nicer way than most of her friends.

Derek--Derek Brookscore is Devin's fraternal twin brother, older by ten minutes. He's very into sports, and very studious; he's sort of like Devin, but maybe just a tad bit wilder.


There's so much more I could write, but I'm tired, sick as a dog, and this thread is already long enough. I'm gonna go let my cold pills knock me out now...oyasumi, and sorry if there was some bad writing in those character descriptions, I can hardly see straight right now~

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 Post subject: Re: Japan or America?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:38 pm 
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Um I can't tell if you're joking since stan lee is probably the most famous person in comics of all time.

But as an american writer/artist there is no shame in setting your story in america. That is actually much cooler, because anyone good at writing is gonna tell you to write what you know. Any inaccuracies about japan are going to be pointed out to you instantly. We actually have a japanese member here who would straight cut you down for mistakes like that if he weren't busy working on a game right now.

What you are really fighting against is the stigma of american made manga which probably isn't going to change for a while. Just put it out there and if its good, the fans will come. Just look at scott pilgrim, which was a comic that was put off as a "wannabe manga" but now has a full length motion picture and video game.

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 Post subject: Re: Japan or America?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:58 pm 
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My advice is the same as your friends': make it in America. Or you could make the setting vague, never clearly state it explicitly where the story happened.

If you think about it carefully, Naruto never explain where's exactly the setting. Lots of manga also only state that it happened in city A or city X (or somewhere in Eastern/Western Country).

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 Post subject: Re: Japan or America?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:50 am 
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The general thing is that if you have to ask, the answer is generally America. It saves you from looking ignorant.

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 Post subject: Re: Japan or America?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:55 am 
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I'm going to have to agree with Jubeh on this one. I think If you want to do it in Japan then you should do plenty of research. However, I think it's much cooler for an American Comic Artist to set his story in America. If I was a random person wanting to read a comic set in Japan and my choices were; Comic A written by Joe and Comic B written by Shuya I'd probably chose Comic B. Bryan Lee O'Malley is a Canadian Cartoonist and he set Scott Pilgrim in Canada. Japanese Mangaka usually set their stories in Japan because they are Japanese. People usually write what they know. That's my opinion. Of course, you can do what ever the silly goose you want. It's your story ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Japan or America?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 3:09 am 
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some teacher whose name i have forgotten wrote:
Most people get it backwards; they ask how much the pay is and then work at liking the job. What you need to do is find what you love and get someone to pay you to do it


Pandering to the audience in such an early stage as you are doing now is a bit of putting the proverbial cart before the horse. You will typically want to consider your audience as you make something. However, you don't want to make such a drastic change as this just to appease an audience you might never have.

Titania wrote:
I'm not gonna lie: picturing my little moe in a serafuku tempts me. And my main character in something like an Ikuto/Lelouch suit fits perfectly; he's exactly the Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome I want him to be


i thought it was seifuku... well regardless if you like this idea enough, why not run with it. Sure school uniforms might not be as common in the US as Japan ( though i am not really sure how common they are in either place) nor do they have the same design/appeal. It could still likely work though.

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 Post subject: Re: Japan or America?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 4:35 am 
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I went to school for eleven hours a day for three weeks in Japan this summer and I will tell you right now: research will never match experiencing it--not even close. That, and despite my experience, I don't fully understand the nuts and bolts of it all. You can't just research and experience it; you have to live it for a very long time in order to be able to paint a vivid picture for foreigners. That, and I honestly doubt that you can become able to live in Japan for a few years while you're still of high-schooling age. Honestly, now. Make it happen in America. It will be so much better. You can't even fathom it.

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 Post subject: Re: Japan or America?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:50 am 
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Ammurica. I mean unless late in the manga their's a point for setting it in Japan.

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 Post subject: Re: Japan or America?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 1:56 pm 
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Thanks, guys~ This really was a big help--I'll keep it in America. ^.^

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 Post subject: Re: Japan or America?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 6:30 pm 
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I agree, keep it in America. But for any future mangas, you possibly could make it in Japan. Mark Crilley, an American author, creates his stories in Japan (although he visited it a few times) and it works. You could still create uniforms for students, and make it a private school or something and make them look similar which would be nice.

I hope this helped, good luck and keep up the good work. XD

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 Post subject: Re: Japan or America?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:27 pm 
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The answer to this question is so obvious it would be patronizing to give one.

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