Crafting The Perfect Story: The Three Elements of Storytelling

Everyone looks at stories differently.  It’s why people have differing opinions when it comes to stories that we enjoy.  Some of us like anime, manga, or other similar Japanese stories.  Others enjoy the attachment of watching actors on the big screen, or experiencing stories first-hand through a video game.

Stories are universal, but as we all know, every story won’t work for everyone.  Knowing that, I’d like to introduce you today to what I consider my Three Elements of Storytelling–the three factors, that I believe makes a story great, from an objective point of view.

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Reading Between Manga Review: Boku Wa Mari No Naka

Reading manga is an interesting journey.

I don’t know what it is,  but every interesting manga I hear about tends to be one that’s psychologically, thematically, and ethically…weird, to say the least.  I’ve actually made a list of such strange stories in manga, for the simple reason that they’re so, so common.  And, with Boku Wa Mari No Naka, or “Inside Mari,”I can add yet another manga to that list.

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My Top Ten Favorite Stories: #1

Here we are, my favorite story of all time.  Let’s go.

So, up to this point, there’s been a variety of stories that I could call my favorites.  They, at least in my eyes, are some of the best stories of their respective mediums, and have all influenced how I view, and judge stories even today.  However, no story up to this point has influenced my view of storytelling in general than my number one, which I experienced for the first time three years ago.

Suffice to say, my view on stories has changed a lot since then.

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Some of My Favorites: 5 Weird Manga… That Somehow Work?

Man. Haven’t touched on manga on this blog in a while.

There are some STRANGE concepts for manga, absolutely.  And honestly, I think I see more strange manga, than anime- maybe the big budget studios don’t want to risk putting their effort into something controversial?  Regardless, some of these strange manga just go all in for being weird and absurd.  From absurd concepts, such as that of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, or rather perverse and odd ones, such as Midori Days, these manga often thrive off of their strangeness.

However, some manga, do more than that.  Using their strangeness, they manage to tell a legitimately compelling story, with good characterization, thematic elements, and an intriguing plot. With strange, surreal elements, a blatantly perverse plot, or a simply ridiculous premise that would not go well in Western countries, these manga manage to take strange concepts, and create seriously good narratives.  So today, I’d like to take a look at some of the stranger manga I’ve read, that manage to also, somehow, create a great story.

Now: a bit of warning.  As it is with the nature of such a topic, most of these manga contain rather adult scenes and concepts- 18+ only.  We’re talking about stuff that, in the Western world, simply would not receive much mainstream attention- and, for the most part, as far as manga is concerned, that just happens to be lots of stories with blatant sexual themes.  Trust me though: these manga are GOOD.  That said, let’s get into the list!

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A War of Trickery – Liar Game (2005-2014)

A little secret about me- I love any series that focuses on mental trickery, the psychology of people, and the moral nature of humans in general.  They tend to be thought provoking,  challenging, and provide scenarios where you can’t help but wonder, “what would I do in that situation?”   As far as manga goes, there are a few series that jump to mind that provide this sort of stimulation.  We have the manga version of Death Note, the deadly game of “Life is Money,” but, for this Throwback Tuesday, I’ll talk just a bit about a manga that I feel hasn’t been talked about very much: Liar Game.

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Life Is Money: Sensory Deprivation’s Effect on the Brain

It’s obvious: people go to extreme lengths for the sake of cash.  Most blatantly, people can rob a bank, a gas station, hold others up at gunpoint, but such desire for money can be shown in other means as well.  Questionable business decisions, moral ambiguity, participation in crazy game shows, money is quite often the motivating factor here.  How far then, would people be willing to go for a large sum of it?

Life is Money is a rather interesting manga, asking this question, along with far more philosophical, psychological topics that are rather interesting.  In a game where people kill each other by using “Mental Overs,” putting one’s body under huge stress through verbal attacks, there is a lot of room for clashing ideals, the effect of one’s history on who they are in the present and other such plot points.  However, one of the main parts of the game that was presented, I feel, didn’t get such an explanation and focus: the taking away of the five senses.

Every day the game went on, a dice would be rolled that decided whether you had to have one of your senses taken away, or you got off free for the day.  This allowed for some interesting psychological attacks, and made for rather unique plot points, but otherwise, this idea was not focused on explicitly, choosing instead to focus on character interaction and a mix of conflicts of their ideals, and psychological warfare.  However, I’d like to further delve into what makes taking away the senses so debilitating to an individual, and, in-universe, what would make them so much more likely to “Mental Over.”

So yes.  Today, we’re going to learn a bit more about neuroscience and psychology, relating to the ideas of sensory deprivation and solitary confinement.  And yes, there will be spoilers, but trust me, Life is Money will still make for an interesting read in spite of them.  Last thing before we get started: the manga does have some…creepy imagery, so if that’s not your thing, well, I warned ya.  Sounds good?  Aight.  Let’s get into it!

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Why YOU Should Read Goodnight Punpun

I was at a loss for what to write about for a while.  Should I go back to something something Xenoblade Chronicles, should I talk about another anime I’ve been watching, should I enter the world of visual novels on this blog?  After all, this IS still a new blog.   But then, I revisited this old gem, and damn.  I feel like I’ve been saying nothing but either positive, or analytical stuff, but I’d like to indulge myself one more time to talk about one of my personal favorite stories of all time, Oyasumi Punpun, or Goodnight Punpun, by Inio Asano.

This post will be heavily, HEAVILY based on opinion, and opinion alone, so if that doesn’t interest you, then.  Well.  Eh.  What can ya do.  Regardless, for those who continue onward, let’s get talking about life, humanity, and what exactly makes this story one of the all-time greats.

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