Idea Magazine’s latest book, Design of Manga, Anime & Light Novels, is a collection of exciting packaging and editorial design for otaku-centric endeavors with the first lengthy critical essay about the history, practice and evolution of graphic design for manga (Japanese comic books), anime (Japanese animation) and light novels (manga/anime-influenced Japanese literature). Essay by Kiyonori Muroga and Ian Lynam in English and Japanese.
If you are interested in manga, anime, Japanese character design or Japanese graphic design, this is a must-have.
This book features design projects centered in the industries of Manga, Anime and Light Novels, which have evolved in Japan since the late 80s. There have been many texts and discussions about the definitions and histories of these media. However, we would like to bring them together in a unified corpus, starting from the fact that they have shared aspects of realism and visual grammar that unite them both stylistically and in attracting common audiences.
Here, the term “design” refers to the form in which these works of Manga, Anime and Light Novels are realized – physical books, magazines, CDs and DVD packaging designs. These types of projects are unique hybrid forms which link innately Japanese visual culture with Modern Graphic Design.
There is a high emphasis in multi-layered texts and juxtaposed figurative images, as well as poignant use of color and texture. For some, they could be regarded as “bad” examples of the ‘standards’ of modern design, which has set a high value on rationality and functionalism. At the same time, these designs push expressionistic modes of communication and are fraught with complexity and contradiction- pinnacles of signature work which captures the ethos of the designer as author.
It is this level of both abstraction and pluralism which helps connect readers to individual works in this varied field, instigating an emotional connection both through visual narrative storytelling and each title’s component parts. Taste is paramount, and each of the projects featured within refer to contemporary communicative means as much as to traditional forms of expression in Japanese visual culture.
The book weighs in at 268 pages, is approximately 9” by 12”, softcover, full-color, and the text is in English and Japanese.