Scott Pilgrim and Shonen Manga

Photo: Shannon Cottrell/LA Weekly from the release party for Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour in Los Angeles

There's a recent interview with Bryan Lee O'Malley over at Manga where the Scott Pilgrim creator talks about the influence of shonen (boy's) manga on his comic series.

I guess the concept of fighting the ex-boyfriends, and the structure of this story, one of the things that inspired this was the book, Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga (by Koji Aihara and Kentaro Takekuma). Me and Chris (Butcher, manager of The Beguiling), we both LOVED that book. I was just getting started as a cartoonist. I read the chapter about shonen manga in that book, and thought, 'Wow, this is great.'

It wasn't like I had read a whole lot of shonen manga before then. (Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga) described the structure of shonen manga plots kind of like it's a shish-kebab, where there's meatball, meatball, meatball on a stick, with each meatball representing a fight; that's how it explained what shonen manga really is. (laughs) So that just kind of stuck in my head. "

I like that O'Malley took something that's a parody of the conventions of a genre and turned it into a distinct work. Friday night, I went to see Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and wondered if it would pick up on the shonen manga/anime elements. It did.

I'm not going to say anything that might spoil the film, just pay careful attention to the battle scenes, then watch a few of the big action-oriented animes, like Bleach or Dragon Ball Z, and you'll notice the similarities. What I noticed is that even the way the actors project their voices during the evil ex battles is similar to the voiceovers in English-language dubs.

Link: Interview with Bryan Lee O'Malley