Anime Vice News

One Fan’s Opinion: Visual Quality Doesn’t Matter

Pretty is nice, but isn’t necessary.

After reading the comments in my last One Fan’s Opinion, reader Dream brought up an interesting point regarding why Berserk takes 10 to 20 times longer to create than a manga like Naruto, and that’s because there is so much more detail. There is no arguing with that, but what I would like to know is if it really matters? I would like to say yes it does, but in reality it doesn’t, to a certain extent.
 

Here is my number one rule that seems to ring true with any medium that involves the passage of time. Viewers only appreciate the beauty of something for the first ten minutes of it, after that it becomes common place. Depending on what it is, it could take only ten seconds, or sometimes even ten days, or ten months. Let me give you a topical example. After watching Toy Story 3 in 3D, the entire audience seemed to be in awe about how great the 3D was, gasping at parts where it stood out. However, after around the ten minute mark people didn’t really care anymore. By the end of the movie I myself even forgot it was really in 3D, by that time I was so engrossed in the film that the visual quality didn’t even matter.

Artwork might not be as good as the example above, but all I'm really looking at is the movement. 
Artwork might not be as good as the example above, but all I'm really looking at is the movement. 
The same goes for Berserk. I’m usually blown away by the cover art, but I don’t read the manga any slower than I read a manga like Naruto. What I follow is the movement on the page, imagining how this single page plays out in real time. I don’t stop to smell the roses, but push forward to help keep a sense of continuity within the story. Yes, I will stop and stare at the large two page murals, but I eventually move on. I’m happy that he spends this much time putting so much detail in his artwork, but for this medium I believe it is waisted. It is the same reason why someone can feel just as engrossed playing the first Legend of Zelda, as a current version of the same game.

 *barf*
 *barf*
However, this is not an excuse to draw or enjoy horrible artwork. It first has to be at or above a certain quality that will assist the imagination of what it is trying to portray. Going back to Hunter X Hunter, when Togashi started to enter his stick figure phase, I just could not get back into the manga, his artistic quality dropped so much that it was impossible to plow through it. Perhaps if he created the entire manga that way I would have nothing to judge this section of bad artwork against. It really took me out of the Hunter X Hunter world, and made me realize I was just looking at doodles.

My point is that if you are ever concerned about reading or watching something that might not currently appeal to your visual standards, to at least watch it for ten minutes, because after that you will be more likely concerned with the actual story, than with what it looks like.
Dream moderator on June 23, 2010 at 12:40 p.m.
I'm actually not too picky with visuals as I was only using the samples to make a comparison over the difference in visual quality between a monthly/ bi-monthly and weekly manga publication. As long as there is at least some decent effort into making the visuals look good, then there's nothing I can really complain about. But I do have some manga titles I find to look hideous visual-wise. 
 
GodLen, that sample of Hunter x Hunter reminds me of how bad I found the visuals of the FLCL manga to look. 
 

 Naruto looks like Picasso compared to the doodling of FLCL.
 Naruto looks like Picasso compared to the doodling of FLCL.
Chromaon June 23, 2010 at 2:02 p.m.
Since this is a visual medium the higher the quality of art is, the better. That said, I agree completely that it is not the only factor in enjoying a story. The story itself is most important, and you can give something a chance even if the art isn't beautiful. I'm still happy to wait longer for a Manga though when the art takes more time and is of a high quality, so long as I enjoy the rest of it what goes into it. 
Gaseroon June 23, 2010 at 4:43 p.m.
I agree. I appreciate a well drawn image every couple pages, but I don't need every page to be an artistic masterpiece.
hitsusatsu11on June 23, 2010 at 4:53 p.m.
Visuals matter a lot, however what matters just as much or more is preference of art styles.
Kelleth moderator on June 23, 2010 at 4:57 p.m.
Shin Chan and Medabots fall under my ''bad art but still enjoyable category'' and back in the day it really did not bother me that the art wasn't that great :)
Kuma_From_Argentinaon June 23, 2010 at 5:52 p.m.
@Dream:  But Picasso is surrealist... so you mean Naruto seems more pyschodelic than FLCL manga? 
 
I'm going to slaughter Kentaro Miura unless he writes a knew chapter of Berserk... I'm having a fit of gore abstince....
Dream moderator on June 23, 2010 at 5:59 p.m.
@Kuma_From_Argentina:  My statement was hyperbole. It wasn't meant to be taken literally.
MercuryCrusaderon June 23, 2010 at 7:55 p.m.

Go Nagai isn't much of an artist, but man, his classic manga works are awesome overall. So yeah, I have to agree that visual quality doesn't matter all that much (as far as rating the quality of the work overall).

Calexicoon June 24, 2010 at 7:25 a.m.
Gankutsuou consistently amazed me with its visuals, as did James Cameron's Avatar.  I do believe that visual quality can be important to a series, but it doesn't have to be.
agila61on June 24, 2010 at 7:58 a.m.
So, to boil the argument down, is it that: 
(1) Quality of the art only has an impact while you are conscious of it 
(2) We get used to high quality art or schematic cartoons quite quickly 
(3) So there is no difference in the impact of high quality art and schematic cartoons. 
 
It seems like trying to build an objective argument for something that is entirely subjective preference. Some people will enjoy the experience of reading a manga with high quality art more than other people.  The fact that they enjoy the experience of reading a manga with high quality art does not mean that its the only factor in their enjoyment of the manga, but its one more dimension.
 
For manga series with chapters coming out in bi-monthly or quarterly serials, that limits the speed that the collected volumes can be issued. Obviously, many of the people reading these serials do not need chapters coming out more quickly in order to develop an attachment to a series, or else the collected volumes would not sell to those who had read the serials who were fans of that series. 
  
For people that need a more continuous flow of material to maintain a connection with a series, they will not be reading the bi-monthlies and quarterlies, they will be reading the monthlies and weeklies. 
 
And so, for  

I would like to say yes it does, but in reality it doesn’t, to a certain extent. 


... in reality it matters for some people and not for others. In reality, artistic quality brings some people back no matter how long it is between releases. In reality, for some people not only the artistic quality but also the artistic style, brings the emotional connection back as soon as they start reading the next released ... and in reality, for other people, none of this applies. 
 
That's kind of why there is an audience for the big platform weekly series that are mostly drawn by a gang of assistants under the supervision of the primary mangaka, as well as an audience for auteur manga with incredible attention to detail. 
JackSukeruon June 24, 2010 at 9 a.m.
Lol "waisted"...    
reinon June 24, 2010 at 9:06 a.m.
Do you think Ah! my goddess would have been as popular as it is today if the artwork remained like this? 

sickVisionz moderator on June 24, 2010 at 9:46 a.m.
@rein: Yes.  That's not poorly drawn or anything, it just looks like 90s era manga.  It got popular with that artwork.
 
I think visual quality is an immediate in or out thing.  Alone, it's not enough to sustain me watching or reading something but it can immediately make me want to check something out or totally ignore it.

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A medieval themes dark fantasy epic which follows the path of the Black Swordsman Guts on his quest for revenge against an army of enigmatic monsters bent on recreating the world around their own psychotic desires.

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