Some stories are inspired by a clear message that is known to the author.
Barefoot Gen was inspired by the creator’s experience of surviving atomic bombs. He knew what he wanted to write about – the story was very clear to him.
In many cases, however, creators know that they need to create a story, but they don’t really know what the plot will be like, who the characters will be, how the characters will develop, etc. A very common experience is for a writer to start out with one idea and say that the characters took control of the plot and ran away with it.
If the artwork is committed to a message, it has a chance of being good art.
If the artwork fails to commit to a message, it will always fall short of its potential.
Most anime stories involve highly complex teamwork between many stakeholders – musicians, original character designers, animators, directors, producers, voice actors, etc. In some unfortunate cases, severe failures from a minority of stakeholders can ruin the efforts of all. Continue reading