Is Manga too Long?

Until recently I would have absolutely said yes to this question. There are so many manga’s that take a huge amount of time to read. It’s often that the worry of “will a show get bad” stops becoming a possibility and an inevitability since the mangaka’s get so overworked that it becomes near impossible to make a good story or draw well.

It’s more of the idea that whether a manga will end or not has nothing to do with the story coming to a close but it getting less popular. If a show is really popular it will always continue. It’s why I say if you want you’re favourite characters to finally get together the best thing you can do is stop supporting it and voting it so that the manga comes to an end and the characters finally get together. It’s scummy and it sucks but if everyone likes it and keeps buying it the manga will never end!

So to get back to the question “is manga too long?” is probably but it depends.

The classic example is death note. The manga was coming to the end with the conclusion but then because it was popular they were forced to add an extra 1/3 on top for no reason except to sell more copies. The final part of death note was really bad and it would have worked so much better to just have it end. So when I see manga like that I think it’s too long.

A fair opposition to this manga being too long thing is that some manga’s are just designed to go on forever, which I think is fine. It makes a lot of sense and you can hardly call a manga that aims to go on with constant repeating arcs too long since that’s the point. The only thing that I will say is that length can often kill the manga due to power creep. There is a trend with these never ending shows that the power gets out of hand and nobody cares anymore because they realise it’s just a pointless power gain, none of the villains matter, theirs no character development and they’ll do the exact same thing over again for no reason.That’s what I don’t like about those kinds of manga.

The main reason why I bring this up is because I’ve often found myself wanting to get into manga but can’t really because everything is over 100 chapters long! As much as I might like this having short self contained stories of 20-50 chapters would make manga a lot easier to get into and would probably make me return to reading it more since I know it won’t be a burden to read. It will also be the mangaka’s artistic vision (most of the time) and it won’t have any extra parts added on to the end that drag it down and make it suffer later.

It’s a thought really. It’s great if you find a manga that you like but having everything be really long is a high barrier to entry unless you’re manga’s Gantz (which is great) and each chapter takes about a minute to read since most of it is brilliant action.

So the answer is, it depends? I basically don’t want any story to be dragged out to be longer than it should be just to sell more because it will make it worse.

What do you think?

 

 

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16 thoughts on “Is Manga too Long?

  1. I think it really depends on the manga. I’ve followed series that were a tad lengthy but knew when to wrap up their conclusion in a natural manner. Then there are others that are obviously, obviously stretching out the plot for all it is worth, at which point I usually quit.

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  2. I think some of this has to do with how manga is consumed in Japan. A lot of what we end up getting here in volumes (tankobon) was originally serialized in magazines. That’s what happened to DeathNote. From what I understand these magazines are under a lot of financial pressure to continue popular series. They need their weekly product to fly off newsstands. That’s how they make their money. So, of course they push for long-running, popular stories. They want their readers to pick up that next volume when they see it at the train station’s newsstand.

    I think when we see terrible endings it’s because a lot of mangaka get this pressure to keep stories going and when their magazine numbers drop the publishers cancel them. It happened to Naruto and it happened to Bleach. Bleach, as much as I loved it, should have ended after Aizen defeat. It’s kind of clear, if you look at it closely for this kind of clue, that Kubo-sensei tried to write couple of endings. There’s at least two arcs where Ichigo is literally stepping off into the sunset…. and then comes back… and then we ended up with a stupid arc of nothing but fighting that screeches to a halt with a time skip forward because “Oops, everything’s been cancelled!”

    Some things, on the other hand can withstand a never-ending storyline. Chi’s Sweet Home (which is pictured above in your blog)–that thing could probably have 500,000 volumes because it’s about cats being cute. Every story is a variation on the theme. If the mangaka gets stuck, they can just ask for Real Life ™ stories from their friends. If that got suddenly cancelled, it wouldn’t affect the “plot” all that much.

    Plus, it’s not true that all manga are long-running. As someone who reads a lot of yaoi, I can tell you that there are hundreds and hundreds of manga that are complete at one volume–or two, or three. There are even tankobon published that are collections of self-contained short stories.

    Those don’t see as well to English-speaking markets, so you don’t see them in bookstores very often. Mostly what we get are things that have already crested a certain popularity wave…. and once a thing is popular, the pressure to continue it starts.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Haha, it’s ok I got what you meant! I don’t mind typos in comments (as long as I still understand the comment) because it’s not something I expect people to pay that much attention too here. The point of the comment is the main thing that matters.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Your are correct, manga is published that way and it’s what happened to death note. I’m pretty unhappy when they do something like that because the increase in length is making the manga worse and bloated. It’s fine when the story is designed to go on forever but I’m annoyed with the drop of quality when it’s not.

      I’ve heard that Bleach seriously drops in quality. I dropped it at the end of the soul society arc myself because I loved that ending and thought I wouldn’t be able to take bleach seriously if it had so many arcs just like that first one.

      I didn’t recognize Chi’s sweet home in the manga but thank you because I now know where my friends profile picture is from! I don’t mind it really with stories that don’t really have an arc like structure though. I just don’t want manga’s to go on pointlessly.

      Yeah I do like those short manga stories that are very easy to read. I find that the ones recommended to me are seriously long though and it’s annoying. The way manga is published is that the popular ones go on forever so of course the popular and long ones get recommended to me. It’s difficult to find something like that on its own.

      Thank you for the comment, it was interesting!

      Like

  3. I think manga-reading is a pretty low effort commitment. If each chapter takes 5 minutes to read (maybe 8 at most and 2 at least?), I can read manga from my phone while waiting for buses. I’ll just read whenever I have a bit of extra time, and leave it for a while when I’m too busy!
    As for plot, I agree that shounen series can get way too long. It’s a problem with the industry and the whole idea of weekly continuation.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah I think it’s low effort as well, but it’s also good. I hate to get manga where it feels like a book though, those ones a real pain to read. Even with that it can still be a really high barrier to entry when the length of so many manga’s are so long,

      Yeah the industry does cause it. It’s not that they have a story that they want to publish, it’s that they publish something as long as it’s popular. That’s why I say if you want your favourite characters from your rom com to get together stop buying it so it will end and the characters can get together.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It depends. Some series went on way past their prime, and others unfortunately ended too soon. I say that 10-20 volumes is a good length for most series, although some are better longer or shorter.

    Liked by 2 people

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