Secretary pp. 56-92 Analysis

Secretary pp. 56-92 Analysis

An analysis of the entire fight between SV and the jerboa has been uploaded to YouTube. In making these, I had two aims: one, for readers to check their own insights against what I personally had in mind while drawing, and two, to prepare readers for the amount of analysis that has the ability to give each story more depth. This analytical approach will reveal much more about the characters and their aims than they choose to reveal themselves.

Hopefully, these videos will help and encourage readers to form their own conclusions beyond what is obvious in the story.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

6 Responses to “Secretary pp. 56-92 Analysis”

  1. Casey says:

    Excellent! I understand what happened much better now! The analysis was also very entertaining, and the comments stimulated a lot of thought!

  2. Kittah says:

    Thanks, I was actually thinking SV was getting his ass kicked, but he landed a few.


  3. schnctdy says:

    That helps, and is for the most part not what I inferred from my original reading.

    I wonder if I’m capable of the level of analysis you require of your readers? I wonder if most readers are? Is your aim here to appeal specifically to readers whose minds work along the same lines as yours, or are you attempting to change the way people think?

    I’ve spent some time trying to get my friends interested in your comic – and these are not dumb people, some of them comic artists themselves, and most extreme rational/judging types with plenty of liberal arts credentials under their belts – and they all give up after a few pages. Part of the reason for this is that you require a lot of activation energy (learning a lexicon, getting used to a kind of visual storytelling which isn’t entirely intuitive for those who weren’t raised on manga), particularly for what at first glance seems like an oekaki webcomic about kung-fu-fighting talking animals. Part of it is that your style of characterization depends heavily on abstract, concept-driven motivators – so while every character has a definite, relatable personality, they all slip into the kind of compressed, code-word-heavy syntax that you use to describe the action in the youtube videos when they’re trying to say something important, which engenders a “real people don’t ever talk like that” response, and forces the reader to go back and decode the panel rather than just reading it and moving on. This is a particular difficulty in cases where the comic is meant to be read at breakneck speed.

    I’m not saying that any of this is bad on the face of it. (A lot of the charm and uniqueness of NOFNA would be lost without it.) I’m just surprised that you seem to _expect_ your readers to work at enjoying your comic, and that you make semi-disparaging comments about the mental acuity of those who don’t. It’s refreshing to read a webcomic that doesn’t give a shit about expanding its reader base, that doesn’t want to sell t-shirts, and that expects to be treated seriously as literature; I would only caution you against assuming that the readers are at fault when they don’t understand what you’re trying to tell them, when it might be more profitable to view it as an opportunity to work on refining the clarity of your language and visual style.

  4. Zack says:

    Hi Schnctdy,

    I agree that NofNA is demanding and at times unfair. Some sections are particularly difficult, requiring reader participation and multiple readings to get through. This is simultaneously its biggest shortcoming and its best asset.

    NofNA is was brought to fruition because I was not able to find any difficult comics to read myself. I definitely felt that something was lacking as I desperately searched for an interesting story that had a lot of meat. This is going into my early 20s, when the neocortical areas of the brain approach full development and gain powerful abilities of inference–abilities which demand exercise. In the end, I ended up producing that which I longed to take apart.

    While NofNA has drawn readers from the age of 13 and beyond, it is truly geared for older readers. But I do not want to leave younger readers behind, and older readers in particular will not bother if they are able to perceive that something is going to be more difficult than it’s worth.

    Due to these reasons, I tried to make the analysis entertaining and engaging for both younger and older readers, while hinting at the scope of what NofNA or ANY work can be. Some comments in the analysis and elsewhere may seem condescending, but they are certainly not meant for insult. They are meant to allow me to fade into the background; I want to become invisible—and when I do, I want to make sure readers understand just how much NofNA can be torn open.

    I am truly concerned with its enjoyment to both demographics, and I will continue to work to make NofNA more accessible while—paradoxically—having it retain the layers that engaged readers may want to peel away.

  5. Cor says:

    Wow. I’m… actually a little embarrassed that I managed to miss so much even after all of the effort I put into understanding it. X_x;; Thank you for the analysis. Half of the attempted blows/blocks completely escaped me without it.

    I do very much adore this comic, of course, or I wouldn’t have taken the time, but… I think I do think I have to second Schnctdy’s concerns. It is a good thing to put those layers there for the more obsessive of us to claw away. However, right now some of your deeper layers simply aren’t there to find — or rather, the ‘correct’ conclusions are often impossible to differentiate from any other wild, nearly baseless extrapolation. It is good to keep in mind that one’s own work will always seem more clear than it really is. If the logic feels like a leap to you, it’s more than likely a vast ravine to cross for most of your readers.

    More specifically, it may be good to tone down your movement distortion if you want these little intricacies of each hit to come across. Very often it robs us of the detail we need to understand the movement — rather self defeating if meant for emphasis.

  6. Tyro says:

    I really enjoyed the clarification on the movements, particularly about the Yarak thing. I hadn’t noticed all the blows! Just goes to show how much attention each panel requires, you dont draw anything without reason. I read the comic slowly, as each page popped up at first. That let me delve in those little details ( always stuns me how many levels it has, it’s fascinating to peel them back and see an allusion to a variety of things. For me thats why I love this comic, it’s not straight forward at all! ) but I was having a hard time seeing the flow of the fight scenes. I went back to the first page and re-read the pages, but moving quickly and having to remember the details without so much focus. It was then, specially for those fight scenes that the whole thing really came to life in an animated way. Having the memories of the details I stared at earlier made it much easier to understand what was going on in the context of rapid movements. I’m still a little unsure about something you mentioned in the video, I mean I had noticed the snow aspect but hadn’t thought of it as anything much beyond styling and hinting at the motions. I am gonna have to re-investigate that, but without the vid I wouldnt have known. I like that you didnt impose on our unique interpretations, but you still clarified on a lot of vital things. (though I’m pretty happy that I wasn’t lost, reading it twice helps!) Thanks for taking the time to make all of this!

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