The moeblog character design, though? THERE IS NO EXCUSE.
( I'm not sure what it set out to do, but I feel pretty confident that it was a mission that probably wasn't needed. Not really a review, but also no spoilers. )
You don't get to see a comic through a character's eyes because comics can't do the handheld camera bullshit and even film long since realised that an entire film emulating someone's POV would kill the audience
Anyway, I went over and did the count.
STATUS OF MY SHELVES, CA. NOW:
Maus (biography, ca. mid-seventies to mid eighties?): First person voice past (the father telling of his story) and present (Spiegelman's reflections upon his re-telling of it)
Hugo Tate (fiction, roughly nineteen eighties): First person voice used in journal entries and letters to friends and family that are so self-centred that they obviously are just journal entries in disguise (that is: present)
Odilou (fiction, mid-eighties to mid nineties?): First person voice present
Palestine (documentary, early to mid nineties): First person voice present
Understanding comics (documentary, mid nineties): First person voice present
Strangers in Paradise (fiction, mid-nineties to late noughties): First person voice of various characters, on different occasions, present except for in the epilogue
Persepolis, Embroideres (autobiography, early noughties): First person voice retrospective
Blankets (autobiography, mid-noughties): First person voice retrospective
Daisy Kutter - The Last Train (fiction, mid-noughties): First person, but sparingly used and mainly seems to substitute thought bubbles; retrospective in the epilogue
Elfquest: The Searcher and the Sword (fiction, late noughties): First person voice retrospective
Blue Is The Warmest Colour (fiction, late noughties): First person voice used in diary entries read within a frame story
Herr Merz (biography, coupla years ago): First person voice used by quoting letters and other writings on the subject
Are You My Mother? (biography/autobiography, coupla years ago): First person voice present
Very quick thoughts to this:
- Documentary is overrepresented, with well over half of the titles here being either non-fiction or lightly fictionalised real events (Maus, Persepolis, Blankets)
- Mainstream comics are also underrepresented, with only three titles whose open and stated goal is to be light and entertaining instead of some degree of "deep" (Daisy Kutter, SiP and that Elfquest one). The rest of them do clearly have various degrees of special audience that does not include the normal comic-reading lot. More telling about my comic tastes than anything, I guess: the non-artsy-fartsy titles are all independent.
- The topic-oriented documentaries on my list (Maus, Palestine, Herr Merz) dwell, to a surprising degree, on the artist's struggle with telling the story. Seriously: How often do you see documentary films, far less non-fictional book, that spend a good third of the story detailing how the documentarist is being torn about the topic they're uncovering? Understanding Comics is the one exception, but that one's more like a textbook anyway.
- Palestine and Understanding Comics are the only titles on this list that ultimately isn't focused on the life of one human being.
One interesting thing to note is that the only time I've found first person narration used in manga would be in four of the stories in Kaoru Mori's Anything and Something, all short and two of them instances of a one-sided conversation between a fictive, off-screen part through whose eyes the story is seen, and the on-screen, speaking part. This is probably where someone should comment on the creepy thing with this being scantily-clad women speaking indirectly to the reader of seinen manga, but that someone won't be me because Kaori Mori so very clearly loves women for something else than their butts even if she does have a thing for bunny suits.
Today, on "What's Wrong With The Tsubasa/xxxHolic Verse": The list of plot-carrying characters who are NOT, knowingly or unknowingly, living under some variety of false identity!
1. Fei Wan Reed
(2. Doumeki, if you count him as plot-carrying)
Writing this, I also had another epiphany: there is one single plot element that could have made Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles 3x less terrible: if we the readers were at any point uncertain about whether or not Sakura will remember Syaoran again. If it was at any point real, tangible doubt that he could get the girl. I don't care how - be it that Yuko's price was mentioned frequently enough to remind us that it existed as a real, fateful condition. Be it that there was a romantic rival who appeared as a real threat. Be it that the core of the bloody plot was less adamant about how THE WORLD WILL END IF SYAORAN AND SAKURA DO NOT GET TO SHAG.