Close-ups: an emotive language in manga

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Manga is typically recognised in the Western world by the distinct visual styles of its characters and the vast array of symbolic signs that indicate various emotions and physical reactions. However, research into the use of visual techniques in the development of emotional life in manga is far from sufficient. This paper aims to explore the adoption of the cinematic technique–close-ups in manga–as a narrative tool to communicate a character’s emotions and build tension between panels. It draws examples from two manga and conversations with 16 young British readers to examine the impact of close shots on reader engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-489
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Graphic Novels and Comics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • cinema
  • close-up
  • Emotion
  • manga
  • reader

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