Standout Panels – Death Note Manga Vol. 1

Most manga posts talk about the plot and characters. Panels, gutter, speech bubbles, sound effects, font, motion lines, and overall page layout are sometimes overlooked when in fact, the impact of these definitely make a contribution to the work.

Spoilers ahead.

1. Context

Light picked up the Death Note, which grants the user the ability to kill a person provided that they know the name and face of the person they wish to kill. He has just finished reading the rules of the Death Note.

Thoughts

The bottom panel is all black. This foreshadows that Light will use the Death Note. Although in an earlier panel he says that it’s stupid, there is a contradiction between what he is saying and what the panel shows us.

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2. Context

Light tested the Death Note in person. He wrote ‘traffic accident’ as cause of death, and a traffic accident happened right in front of him.

Thoughts

This death confirmed that the Death Note is real. The entire page is dedicated to this one panel. One, the death is shocking to Light and shocking to us as well. Two, we can bet that things will only get more interesting from here on in.

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3. Context

At a G8 Summit, officials representing countries from around the world are arguing over Kira. Kira is the name given to the killer of the criminals. As we know, Light is Kira and he has been mass-killing criminals in order to create a “better world.”

Thoughts

I am focusing on the last panel of this page, but the entire page works as a whole because the rest of the panels emphasize the importance of the text in the last panel. This page is cluttered! There’s a lot of people and bickering, represented by the spiky speech bubbles. Then there’s the last panel, and the background is white. The text silences everyone. From this, we know that L is a very important person.

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4. Context

The top half is a flashback, while the bottom half is present day. In the flashback, L talks about a direct confrontation with Kira. In the present day, the Japanese police are watching the public broadcast for the direct confrontation.

Thoughts

Instead of focusing on the panels this time, I am focusing on the gutter. The gutter is the space between the panels. Normally it is all white. However, because we have a flashback, the gutter is black. We can tell that it is a flashback because of the gutter. Then, the gutter gradually transitions from black to white. This signifies that we are brought back to the present.

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5. Context

A man by the name of Lind L. Tailor claims to be L on TV, and says that Kira is evil. This riles up Light, and he writes down the man’s name in the Death Note.

Thoughts

Light usually writes the names on the lines but here, he writes Lind L. Tailor’s in huge letters. The first letter of the name takes up the space of over five lines! Light’s writing is not straight and you can tell that he wrote this quickly. Just by looking at his writing, you know how Light was feeling. He was pissed!

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6. Context

So it turns out that Lind L. Tailor is not the real L. Now the real L is talking to Kira through the same public broadcast. L managed to dupe Light by proving that Kira exists, that Kira is able to kill without being present, and that Kira is located in the Kanto region of Japan.

Thoughts

Look at those motion lines! Motion lines are usually done when there’s an action, but we have a television screen in this panel. The scene is dramatic and it shows how amazing L is.

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I hope that by writing this post, everyone will appreciate all the decisions made in manga and ALL comics!

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Shounen Ai Recommendations

Shounen ai is the genre for boys love manga and webtoons. It’s different from yaoi because it’s suitable for people under 18 (meaning there’s no sex involved). These are my top 3 shounen ai series.

These are very sweet and cute series. There’s no rape involved at all. I say this because a lot of yaoi series have rape scenes, which is unfortunate. Not only that, but a lot of BL series have poor representation of LGBTQ+. I am referring to older series, so I’m hoping that with time there will be better representation and CONSENT! I’m not saying that those series should not exist because I’m not one to police what people should or shouldn’t read – it would be a good change for sure though.

1. Here U Are – Ongoing, by Chinese author DJun

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Synopsis

Most people think that LiHuan is scary-looking because he is very tall, which is why he does not have many friends. He’s also not very sociable. YuYang enters his life because his job is to welcome the new university students and the two get along quite well.

Thoughts

The art is phenomenal. Every panel is in colour and the way the author DRAWS. FACIAL. EXPRESSIONS. aaaaaaaaa

Every panel is carefully planned. I am a fairly quick reader so I usually zoom through comics but when I read this, I have to slow down to absorb all the details. The faint blush, the way LiHuan looks at YuYang!!

LiHuan treats YuYang extremely well. The pacing is quite slow, but it’s worth the wait.

2. Cherry Blossoms After Winter – Ongoing webtoon, by Korean author Bamwoo

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Synopsis 

Haebom’s parents passed away when he was very little, and he’s been living in his mother’s friend’s house. Taesung is his age and they live under the same roof. Haebom is shy and often gets picked on by others. Taesung, on the other hand, is very popular at school.

Thoughts

I read this before I watched My Hero Academia, but I have to say this. Haebom is so similar to Izuku and Taesung is so similar to Todoroki. If you ship Izuku with Todoroki, then you will like this series! 

I like this series because Taesung never bullies Haebom. In fact, he treats him very well and protects him too.

3. Hidamari ga Kikoeru – Ongoing manga, by FUMINO Yuki

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Synopsis 

Taichi is a college student looking for work, and he meets Kouhei, a student with a severe hearing disability. Despite rumours, Taichi believes that Kouhei is a good person for sharing his lunch, and befriends him. Taichi becomes a note taker for Kouhei, in exchange for bento lunch.

Thoughts

This is one of the more realistic manga I’ve read, which is rare to come across. They become very good friends and their relationship is so pure. There are some sad moments, which adds onto the realistic element of living with a disability.

If you are interested in more shonen ai series, here are more cute ones:

  • Dress Him Up (Korean webtoon)
  • Fools (Korean webtoon)
  • Meeting Him (Korean webtoon)

Why I Like Anime So Much

I had doubts over writing this post, but all the support I received on Twitter made me complete it in the end.

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Screen shots from yesterday

In elementary school, I had zero interest in gossiping about other female classmates or gushing about boys. I hated Western pop music and reality TV shows. Most of all, I made zero effort to change myself or pretend to be like them. I do think that my indifferent facial expressions hindered me from making friends. No surprise, but I didn’t have many friends. I didn’t think I was better than other people because I didn’t like myself that much either. I felt that I didn’t belong, like an alien that belonged to another planet.

I went home after school right away by myself. During the summer breaks, I stayed at home by myself during the day because my parents were working. I watched anime all-day when I was home alone and did my homework when my parents were home. I had a lot of free time, so I achieved A’s in everything except gym. Anime was a way for me to pass the time and it distracted me so I didn’t have to think about real life. I read a lot of manga too.

I learned about the world, places, people, and relationships through anime. My life was uninteresting and uneventful so I relied on anime to be my guide. At the same time, I was able to differentiate between anime and reality. All too well. I felt indifferent towards reality. Anime worlds weren’t that great either because of all the challenges the characters had to face. Still, the impossible happened in anime. A notebook that could kill people? Anime was so interesting!

This is my favourite song, and it represents how I felt when I was younger. Strangely, the song calms me and I don’t feel sadness over loneliness anymore. I’ve learned to embrace it.

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My current life is so different from my lonely childhood. When I was young I didn’t have a blog, no outlet to express my thoughts and feelings. I just had anime. It was like a friend. I still watch anime because it passes the time. With countless titles to watch and shows coming out every season, it’s endless fun. It’s still interesting.

Now that I am more involved with activities in my life, I can spend my time blogging about anime, cosplaying as anime characters, drawing anime fan art, attending conventions and more. Being active with anime has made me part of this online community of anime bloggers. You are all so nice to me. Thank you for that. When I was young, anime was the friend that killed boredom. Now, anime has provided me with fun activities and many friendships. 

As a kid, real life didn’t make me feel a lot of emotions. I was neutral most of the time. Anime made me cry countless times, and One Piece was able to make me laugh many times. Watching anime made me feel human. 

If You Like… You Might Like…

In this post I compare similar anime/manga/Asian dramas/games!

1. If you like Detective Conan, you might like Ace Attorney (and vise versa)

Both have showed me that people lie all the time and that people will commit murder for silly reasons. Everyone is a suspect!

Detective Conan (also known as Case Closed) is a manga and anime while Ace Attorney is a Nintendo DS game series. Obviously Ace Attorney involves more active participation because you are doing everything. Detective Conan is similar because I always try to figure out who the culprit is before the end of the episode. The culprit is always a character we’ve seen before. This applies to Ace Attorney as well.

2. If you like Liar Game, you might like Kakegurui (and vise versa)

Liar Game is a manga and Japanese drama series. Kakegurui is a manga, anime and Japanese drama. The live-action for Kakegurui is very good. There are very exaggerated moments, but it resembles the anime in that sense. You have to understand that the exaggerated moments are deliberate. This is my order for Kakegurui: manga > live-action drama > anime.

It is similar to Liar Game because the characters are placed into situations in which they have to play games against other players. The winner will win money and the loser will go into debt (we’re talking big amounts of money, like millions of dollars). These series have showed me that people cheat all the time.

3. If you like Your Lie in April, you might like Our Times (and vise versa)

Your Lie in April is an anime that will probably make you cry and Our Times is a Taiwanese movie that will make probably you cry. You might have heard of YLIA but Our Times is very popular as well. It was a highly successful movie in Asia and it’s my favourite movie of all time. I give it 10/10.

Both are similar because a main character tells the other character a lie that is crucial to the plot.

4. If you like Naruto SD: Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals, you might like Attack on Titan: Junior High (and vise versa)

Both are gag series and the characters are drawn in chibi-style. I enjoyed both, but I liked Attack on Titan: Junior High more. These are pretty funny and they are done by different creators (so not the original Naruto and Attack on Titan creators).

There is also the Naruto: Chibi Sasuke’s Sharigan Legend manga if you’re interested. I personally couldn’t get into it.

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5. If you like Fushigi Yugi, you might like Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time. You might also like Scarlet Heart Ryeo

In all three, the female protagonists travel back in time into a feudal period. They are met with a lot of attractive boys.

Fushigi Yugi and Haruka (manga and anime, Haruka is also an otome game) are more similar because the girls are entrusted with a mission that involves travelling with the boys. Scarlet Heart Ryeo (Korean drama) is less similar because the female protagonist stays within the palace grounds.

Now for the ones you probably know already…

6. If you like Death Note, you might like Code Geass (and vise versa)

You probably know this already because both are very popular anime. Both involve intelligent protagonists with huge goals. Light in Death Note wants to become the god of the world and Lelouch in Code Geass wants to rule the world. Both gain supernatural powers that allow them to do things that normal people cannot do.

7. If you like Naruto, you might like My Hero Academia

This is an obvious one. When I watched The Battle Tournament in the U.A Sports Festival Arc in MHA, I was reminded of the Chunin Exams in Naruto. Naruto is the “weakling” who becomes strong, similar to Midoriya. Both are extremely popular shonen shows.

Manga I’ve Dropped

It seemed many people enjoyed my post on anime I’ve dropped so I decided to make a post on manga I’ve dropped!

1. Dragon Ball

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I know that the show was a lot of peoples’ childhoods but I never got into it. The first few chapters of Dragon Ball did not interest me because there was urine, butts – just gross things. I like characters in bishonen style better. That’s just my personal preference.

2. Mikan no Tsuki

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The art style is not very good and the story was confusing. Overall, not a good impression.

3. Kirihito Sanka

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This manga is by Osamu Tezuka, the godfather of manga. I understand that he is massively influential to anime but I am not his fan. I’ve read a bit of Lost World, Astro Boy, and Ribbon no Kishi. I’ve also watched Metropolis.

I am not his fan because 1) he grossly exaggerated features of POC. For example, I don’t like the way he drew Chinese characters or African characters. It’s stereotypical and racist. Kirihito Sanka (Ode to Kirihito) was done in 1971. While I can see that it was made many, many years ago, I still don’t like it. I know that some American cartoonists did the same thing too and I don’t like that either.

2) There was rape in Kirihito Sanka, more than once. 3) Reading Kirihito Sanka made me groan at so many moments. The characters are ridiculous and I don’t agree with many of their actions.

4. Masamune-kun no Revenge

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Masamune kept talking about taking revenge on Aki but he ran so many errands for her, like getting bread for her.

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Okay… I thought this was about revenge, not about becoming her servant. Masamune needs to grow a backbone and I don’t see anything there is to like about Aki. I don’t care if she’s cute! I don’t like anyone in the series.

5. Chobits

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I’m not big on robot manga or anime. Chi is adorable but that’s basically all there is to her. Picking her up from the trash reminds me of picking up a stray cat from the streets. Yet, she is seen as a love interest and it just doesn’t sit well with me.

What’s in a Scene? Crimson Hero

This two-page spread is from chapter 1 of the manga, Crimson Hero. I wrote this some time ago in 20 minutes (timed).

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This manga, Crimson Hero, is a shojo manga targeted primarily to teenage girls. The look of the panel is tense. Nobara is engaged in an argument with her traditional mother so there are tension and societal pressures that Nobara is feeling. This is shown by Nobara’s upset facial expressions in panels 5 and 8, and the use of spiky speech bubbles to emphasize the dangerous and toxic mood.

Panel 9 has a black background and white speech bubbles. This contrasts with the rest of the page because this is the only one that looks like it. There are no characters or background details. This emphasizes the tense mood of the story and also how Nobara is feeling. She is making a decision that is not trivial by any means – this decision of moving out to pursue volleyball will affect her high school years. The black background conveys a sense of determination in Nobara, that she has made up her mind and will stick to her decision.

Nobara’s upset facial expressions in panels 5 and 8 starkly contrast with her mother’s uninterested, stoic face. Her mother’s face in panels 3, 6, and 7 show that she is the no-nonsense, strict kind of person who does not seem concerned about her daughter’s goals, desires, dreams and wishes. This has implications on the story because the character differences bring out conflict, creating a dramatic effect on the reader.

The speech bubbles show a difference in character when we look at Nobara’s speech bubbles in comparison to her mother’s. In panels 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, Nobara’s speech bubbles are not perfectly round. This mirrors her internal feelings of frustration at her mother for not being allowed to pursue her desire to play volleyball at school. Her mother’s speech bubbles, on the other hand, are perfectly round. This shows that she is calm during this argument, despite Nobara’s checks flushing red in anger.

Her mother’s “cold” personality is shown through her dialogue, facial expressions and speech bubble size. This also shows us a bit about the traditional norms of societal expectations in the traditional house. Nobara is clearly not ready to inherit it at this point. This scene relates to the overall plot because it is the first, or one of the first conflicts Nobara faces. Her mother’s different views about volleyball creates an obstacle for Nobara and she is forced to make a decision. The visual choice in this scene show a lot of contrasts between Nobara and her mother. The images, speech bubble design, facial expressions, dialogue and other aspects compliment one another. The panels in this scene escalate to panel 9, the plain black background. It effectively conveys a tense atmosphere and we as the readers sympathize with Nobara instead of her mother. These visual aspects do this for us. These aspects portray Nobara’s resistance against her mother and against tradition.

Similarities Between Inuyashiki and Ikiru

Inuyashiki is about a father who develops stomach cancer and has three months left to live. Spoilers: He becomes a robot, which sets off the story in the manga. Before he became a robot, he is on a swing and sings a song. This is after he finds out he has cancer. His family do not have respect for him, so he is unable to tell them the news.

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Ikiru (To Live) is a black and white Japanese film from 1952 by Akira Kurosawa. It’s about a father who also has stomach cancer. He has less than a year to live, and is unable to tell his son because his son cares more about his money than him. In the rest of the film, the main character tries to find meaning in his life, similar to Inuyashiki. At 1:39, the main character’s facial expression looks like Inuyashiki whenever he is trembling. Later on at 2:53, he is sitting on a swing and sings a song. Both characters in Inuyashiki and Ikiru are singing the same song! Do you think Oku watched Ikiru and was inspired by this scene?

The biggest difference is that Ikiru is more realistic and there are no robotic elements to it. After all, this is a movie from the 1950s and it has real actors. However, their journey towards finding meaning in life is similar. What do you think? Has anyone else seen Ikiru before?