Way I understand it, japanese comics seldom like doing colors because it's expensive. Remember there are no japanese comic books per se (flimsy 32 page issues, all about one comic), but rather these huges books containing 16+ different comics, each 16 pages long (like the American shonen jump, which is rather flimsy by japanese standards); these are rather cheap, and so they use a paper that holds black and white well, but not color (like news paper). Colors are saved for special occasions and, like in the american Shonen Jump, have to be put in higher quiality paper, making it more expensive, so even a guy like Shirow will draw most of it in black and white. Not to mention that making a color comic takes far more time, and depending on the magazine they're working for, the artist and his team may have to output a 16-page episode in as little as a week, which usually leaves coloring right out.
Even so, guys like Shirow can deal out amazing images on good ol' black and white.
As for Mr. Shirow's wordiness, he creates mind-bogginly huge and complex backgrounds for his worlds. Grab a copy of Orion if you're able. Like the chat room episode you mention, he devotes a whole lotta pages in a bar, where the main character discusses with her buddies the whole background and theory behind interstellar travel in that universe. It is so long, wordy, and confusing, that about halfway (if I remember correctly), one of the buddies thinks to herself "I don't get it", which is, basically, Shirow making fun of himself and his need to explain his backgrounds with minute detail.
And the tachikomas rock. If you caught the original Ghost in the Shell manga, Shirow did this tachikoma comic fillers for some of the episodes, one-page gags with SD tachikomas. And then he also dedicated one episode to them, where you see one of them trying to convince the rest to start a revolution against the humans, claiming they are little more than slaves. In the end, the agitator is found to be basing his dogma on a whacky grade-B sci-fi movie, and is run out of the tachikoma barracks by sheer ridicule; but it turns out the humans were watching the scene unfold, because this thing happens from time to time and sometimes they need to step in. Basically it turns out the tachikomas really are alive and the humans so consider them slaves, and thus treat them well but are always alert against insurrection; in fact, I don't remember correctly, but I think the situation was defused by the humans taking control of one of the tachikomas and pointing out gthe origin of the revolutionary dogma.
Pretty heavy stuff, this guy writes.
Faith is what credulity becomes when it finally achieves escape velocity from the constraints of terrestrial discourse- reasonableness, internal coherence, civility, and candor. Thus, the men who commited the atrocities of September 11 were neither cowards nor lunatics of any sort, but Men of Faith- perfect faith- and this, it must finally be acknowleged, is a terrible thing to be.