A friend of mine introduced me to a manga a while back called Bakuman.
It is a manga about manga (genuis, I know).
Basically, it’s about these two kids who meet in middle school and decide to become manga artists (or “mangaka). The story follows them as they write and draw various manga, some which are successful, some which are not. Their dream is to have a manga get turned into an anime.
It’s a pretty cool story, and it really outlines the manga creating process. It shows how the characters go to a big company (basically Shonen Jump) and have to meet with an editor, who assesses their work. If it’s good enough, they get to publish a one-shot (that is, a story with only one chapter) into a contest, and if it wins, the company hires them. Well, that’s the way it went in the manga, if I remember correctly.
It’s a really interesting process, where the editor is the center of it all: everything has to go through them. It’s kind of the same way for Western editors too, I suppose, but there is a much bigger emphasis on the editor in manga production. In weekly magazines, the editors decide which stories get cut, and which gets to continue. They generally make this decision based on votes from the audience, where those stories below a certain amount of votes usually get cut. So very tragic.
Also mentioned are the assistants which manga artists hire. They usually do things like shading, background, some colouring and other little things so that the artist has more time to draw the important stuff. This is simply a time saving process, since artists often must meet weekly deadlines for a 15 page chapter. Generally the need for assistants means that your manga is worthwhile; at least enough to have to hire extra help to meet grueling deadlines.
One of the other characters wants to be a voice actor, so there are some things mentioned about that, too: the need for an agent to get you auditions, making a demo reel type thing, auditioning in general…it’s pretty neat.
Overall, I don’t know if the process outlined in the manga is exactly the process in the real world, but I thought of this manga when we talked about production in class. It’s a cool manga with a good story, and I would recommend because it was awesome. It was a unique concept about manga within manga (manga-ception) and even if it isn’t completely accurate with the real world process, it’s still worth looking at.