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.