Comic Girls is a yet another cute-girl-doing-cute-things anime. This time the topic is manga. The main character is Kaos-chan, a budding 漫画家 [まんがか, mangaka, Japanese comic artist]. Following her failures as a yonkoma (I swear that post is coming) 漫画家 her editor suggests she moves into her publisher’s dormitory for fledgling female artists.
As always I’m not only looking for something to soothe my soul. I’m hoping to learn more about manga creation, as I’m interested in all things art.
Let us do this episodically:
In episode 1 we are introduced to the cast. Simply said we meet all of the four 漫画家 in the picture above. The purple haired Ruki meant to draw cute manga for kids, but ended up drawing erotic stories. The blonde and busty Koyume-chan draws shoujo manga, but is having a hard time drawing men. Kaos-chan, the main character, draws yonkoma, but is still searching for her niche. And last, but not least, Tsubasa is the most professionally advanced artist with published books and serialized shounen manga.
As you can see, each of the girls has certain problems and hopefully by the end of the series, these problems will be resolved with the help of the other girls. So far the anime is very predictable and slice-of-life.
The second episode has the girls shopping at a huge stationery store and in the second half going to school. The stationery store visit was amazing. Except for the sloppy job on the racks.
Screentones: The girls stop by a rack with screentone sheets and each one chooses what she needs.
Screentone is a technique for applying textures and shades to drawings. In the conventional process, patterns are transferred to paper from preprinted plastic sheets.
For a more in-depth explanation, watch WhytManga’s tutorial on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Q2U4EfKCfjI?t=2m50s
There are flowery ones for Ruki (for cute underwear), bubbly ones for Koyume (for her shoujo manga) and intense cracking ones for Tsubasa’s shounen manga.
Meanwhile Kaos-chan, who draws digitally, doesn’t need them.
Masking tapes: These are used to tape paper to the drawing board. Or, you know, to decorate to-do lists, diaries et cetera. I have a small collection of them myself…
Digital × Traditional: While the main character draws digitally, on a tablet, the other three draw traditionally. This aspect of the anime is interesting to me as well. I hope they’ll elaborate on it further down the line.
The second half of the episode is less interesting. Actually the only thing worth mentioning is a scene where Kaos-chan talks about how she’s uncomfortable at school and how it affects her manga; in a recent survey her manga about high school students was criticized as unrealistic. Tsubasa’s speech about how going to school and meeting so many people can fuel your inspiration and creativity hits home with Kaos-chan.
I didn’t like episode 3 as much. I loved the rainy days animations, but the actual content—body image, sketching contest, exhaustion and starvation,… It was a mixture of fanservice and cringeworthy “girl talk”.
Final evaluation: Will we keep watching? Of course! Still, thus far Comic Girls doesn’t meet my expectations. There is too little information about the process of manga making, so I’m not learning much. But, having skimmed some of the manga, the anime is doing a pretty good job adapting the yonkoma format into fluid units. I have high hopes, especially since we are watching this anime late and have heard some praise for the series.