It’s the story, stupid.

Posted by on December 11th, 2009 at 11:00 AM

Manga publishers here are pinning their hopes on downloadable visual content—viewed on cell phones or other mobile screens, via a monthly fee. Will that work? I suspect it might help, actually, though I’m fairly lonely in my optimism, and it’s probably merely a stop-gap measure to stanch the bleeding. But if you look at the recent modest successes of Kindle and other E-readers, you’ll see a gratifying trend: Whatever our penchant for distraction, we still want stories—and good stories remain both precious and rare. So regardless of what Takashi Murakami and the rest of us (myself included) theorize about “superflat,” 2D and the singularity and Japanese illustration ticks, styles and fashions, the truth is that the heart of the appeal of the best manga and anime lies in the quality of their stories.

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