Friday, October 19, 2012

MISC. MANGA, *Comic Party

After a successful adult and then non-adult dating sim game, Comic Party was adapted into a manga, and then later by two hit anime TV series. It was a little strange at the time to do a manga about the manga industry, or more accurately the world of dojinshi. Dojinshi is considered to be "fan comics" which are comics created by Japanese artists and tradtionally sold at comic book shows and conventions, the biggest of which is Comiket that is usually shown in this story as well as several other anime/manga titles. Unlike in America, Japanese publishers actually encourage independent artists to create books based on their works. Some of these artists actually get picked up by major labels after they start doing their own original material. While it is a fact that alot of dojinshi is hentai-themed, not all of it intended solely for lonely fanboys.

The story concerns high school student Kazuki, a boy with a talent for drawing that his cavalier fanboy friend Taishi cons him into going with him to Comiket and experiencing the feeling of being a dojinshi artist. This sparks Kazuki's ambition to becoming a dojinshi creator himself, much to the disappointment of his wouldbe girfriend Mizuki. Throughout the series, Kazuki meets other girls, who in the original dating-sim were the other love interests you would choose from. They consist of the country girl but gung-ho artist Yu, the egotistical and successful artist Eimi, the shy artist Aya, the klutzy printer Chisa, Minami who on the con staff, cosplayer Reiko, the idol singer Asahi, and the hero-obsessed comics creator Suburu. Suburu actually forms a special sentai team out of the cast to stop a disgruntled fan from ruining the convention. Despite all these potential girlfriends, Taishi sticks with Mizuki who has been his friend since childhood(as well as being the bustier one out of them all!). Taishi also has a big selloff with Eimi to take a position at a promising mainstream manga publisher, of which he eventually wins.

The manga to me told a slightly better story than the original anime series, as it carries Taishi's journey from casual fan to full-fledged manga artist, albeit a little swifter than expected over only five volumes. The original anime series was followed up by another TV show which was first going to be an OVA titled Comic Party Revolution, which in some respects is kind of a real sequel to the manga for more than one reason. One is that it was done by a completely different animation studio from the first series, and another reason is that there are characters and events introduced to Revolution that didn't appear in the original anime. Manga-ka Sekihiko Inui did a great job with this manga, and went on to create his own work like Murder Princess and Ratman. There was a totally different manga released in America through CPM Manga also titled Comic Party, but these was a three-volume anthology series featuring the regular characters as done by different dojinshi artists. Feel free to look both of them up.

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