Random Curiosity

Comic Girls – 03 »« Comic Girls – 01

Comic Girls – 02

OP Sequence

OP: 「Memories」 by Comic Girls

「今日から学校でした」 (Kyou kara Gakkou Deshita)
“Back to School”

The first episode’s post began with a quote from Rohan Kishibe: “To write something interesting, you have to write what you’ve seen, what you’ve done, what you’ve experienced!” This might’ve been in reference to Rohan getting prepared to lick a crushed bug for research, but it rings true with the mangaka of Comic Girls’, who find that school might just be what they need to be able to get a better feel for the stories they write and the characters they create. Koyume, Tsubasa, Rukki have that idea down to a T as they take the initiative to use their school-life as a means of researching how people their age look and behave. While Koyume is able to make friends quickly who are eager to tell her about their love lives with boyfriends and exes, Tsubasa and Rukki are experienced in studying fellow students to use as a frame of reference on how their characters should act and look.

Although fiction is often routed in fantasy, the idea of characters and plot elements being down to earth, easy to relate to, and a part of a writer’s collective experience of the world around them is a criticism that is held over an author’s head. If your characters behave unrealistically or make the reader feel like they’re reading the work of an author who knows nothing about how people interact or relate with others, you’re bound to receive criticism for not creating a world that is in-touch with the human experience. It can be an unfair expectation on an author, especially since there’s only so much of the writer’s personal experience that can go into stories with mythological creatures or intergalactic exploration, but at the same time, an unbelievable character who is either inconsistent or too perfect can potentially cause a problem among your readership. Being compared to Twilight is hard to swallow, but it would be a comment that is hard to avoid if you don’t have enough background on how people act and function to write convincing characters or depict actions that fit with both the fictional narrative and reality.

This is the crux of Kaosu’s conflict as her characters getting slapped with the “unrealistic” label is due to her own inexperience with human interaction and crippling social anxiety. With a lack of knowledge towards how people would act, she only has herself and the anime she enjoys as the basis for her manga’s characters. It is a strange criticism for a 4koma comedy series since none of Kaosu’s characters need to be realistic, but if they are inconsistent, it can be owed to the idea that Kaosu’s anxiety is the wall that’s preventing her from being able to have clearly definable cast. The irony can be felt with Kaosu’s own inconsistencies as she can switch between being horrified at everything around her and getting excited about Rukki drawing ecchi manga, but it’s all on-par with how people act, and it is understandable how Kaosu’s behavior teetering between panicked and enthused is reflected into characters that are deemed “unrealistic”. After all, if a writer had a dime for every time they’ve heard a character they based on a real person being called “unrealistic” or a Mary Sue, they’d be rolling in that James Patterson money.

The show’s perspective on social anxiety is interesting though because even though Kaosu makes enough cute faces that it comes off like a comical trait, it hinders much of how she interacts with the world around her and is a personal issue she grapples with during these past two episodes. Her dislike of crowds and catastrophizing of uncomfortable scenarios comes up when the girls are shopping for drawing equipment, but it’s genuinely sad when it actively affects her during her first day of school. Rukki and Tsubasa’s motivation help her truck through the class introduction, but as soon as she captures the curiosity of most of the girls in class who want to know more about her, she outright passes out and needs to be taken to the nurse’s office. What hammers the seriousness of what Kaosu is going through is how she reacts when she realizes that Koyume had such an easy time being able to fit in with a friend group right away, and that the possibility of Kaosu making friends with anyone other than her mangaka dorm-mates or neighborhood cats really cuts to her core. For all of the cute and elaborate expressions Kaosu makes, her anxiety takes enough of a toll on her that it isn’t played off like a joke other than in relatable scenarios like being afraid of crowds or awkward situations.

Other than the deeper aspects of Kaosu’s soul-searching and ultimate realization to calm herself down by visualizing her time in high school as a research project, it was a light and pleasant episode that looked into the inner-workings of how the other girls come up with the art and stylings that match their respective genres. Tsubasa’s giddiness about being in the stationary shop was great to watch as she gathered up the filters, pens, and tools she would need to craft shounen manga to her liking. Additionally, it lends itself to how versatile materials can be used by different authors with Koyume and Rukki looking at a floral pattern filter as a way to capture either a summery dress or cute lingerie. Some of the more fun aspects of Comic Girls is seeing how they look at the same object and see it in a different light based on the niche their manga’s are tailored towards. As the girls become fond of each other, they start to see both the discrepancies between using a violent ink splash in shounen and shoujo manga, but also how similar their use of other tools and research strategies can be. There are also many moments that are extremely cute such as Koyume putting a bow on the teacher they single out as being adorable, and Rukki doting on Kaosu after being awestruck by the motivation she has to start trying to see school as research to improve her craft. At the moment, Comic Girls most valuable asset is being able to blend the introspection of its characters with the cute, comedic slice-of-life attributes within its own genre.

ED Sequence

ED: 「涙はみせない」 (Namida wa Misenai / Can’t Show You My Tears) by Comic Girls

Preview

April 12, 2018 at 3:23 pm
5 comments »
  • April 12, 2018 at 9:25 pmQuikbeam

    The last two seasons i have found myself enjoying shows that i originally meant to dismiss entirely. Last season i loved Yuru Camp and Sora Yorimo Tōi Basho and looks like this season this one is going to be a winner for me.

    • April 13, 2018 at 7:29 amSMinstrel

      It’s growing on me as well. Not (yet) to the extend of Yuru Camp and Sora Yorimo, but it’s hard to top them so I have no complaint…

  • April 13, 2018 at 3:09 amIncognito

    “The first episode’s post began with a quote from Rohan Kishibe: ‘To write something interesting, you have to write what you’ve seen, what you’ve done, what you’ve experienced!’”

    Huh, that reminds me… I ought to find a way to watch the Thus Spoke Rohan Kishibe OVA. Anyway…

    http://randomc.net/image/Comic%20Girls/Comic%20Girls%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2007.jpg
    “We need to go wider. WIDER.” (Nutbladder-busting, “Ume Aoki” wide.)

    http://randomc.net/image/Comic%20Girls/Comic%20Girls%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2018.jpg
    “The ‘Running late for school while having bread in your mouth’ cliché…” *ding*

    http://randomc.net/image/Comic%20Girls/Comic%20Girls%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2036.jpg
    I love how that last white kitten is similar to Kaoruko, social anxiety and all. Also, being surrounded by kitties is one good way to achieve “death by cuteness”–besides being surrounded by all of your favorite waifus. (HHNNNNNNGGGG!)

    Dangit, they’re all cute. Except Tsubasa, she’s “ikemen“.

    So the next episode is about “jiggle physics” in manga? Can’t wait.

  • April 13, 2018 at 2:13 pmRoguespirit

    One thing that I’m hoping to see from this show is genuine character growth, which I know might be a bit much to ask for from a 4-Koma manga adaptation, but it’s been done.

    One of the biggest avenues for this growth that I can see is how the girls can easily learn from each other. Kaos wants to learn how to draw more mature and curvy characters, she has Rukki whom she might be able to learn from. She’s also anxious and suffers from a great deal of social anxiety. This is her schtick so I don’t expect this to go away but she could learn a few things from Tsubasa about keeping cool (in more ways than one). Finally, from Koyume, she can learn a lot about social cues, interactions and generally about how high-school girls act.

    Speaking of Koyume, she has opportunities to learn how to draw guys now from Tsubasa. Whether Tsubasa herself inspires some of the characters she creates or Tsubasa teaches her directly through actually showing her or indirectly through Koyume acting as an assistant, she can learn how to draw guys. I see Tsubasa serving as the inspiration as the most likely given how Koyume loves drawing girls (a great many on the internet can relate to this I’m sure) and Tsubasa looks androgynous enough that she can have her cake and eat it too. Considering how popular Tsubasa is at school (as this episode showed) I’m sure a character design based off of her would be a hit.

    Rukki wanted to make children’s manga but her naturally mature looking character didn’t work for that; however, with Kaos there to provide some adorable inspiration not to mention cute chibi character designs, she might be able to find an outlet for that desire to make something more innocent.

    What about Tsubasa? Well, her I’m not so sure with. It’s possible she may get some criticisms for her female characters seeming too shallow given how focused she is on macho stuff and she may need to reconsider some things but she’s the most enigmatic of the lot so we may need more time to get to know her better. Maybe now that it’s Rukki’s turn to receive assistance, we just might.

  • April 15, 2018 at 10:18 amKeep Refrigerated

    I’m not looking as deeply as some are, but I’m still enjoying this much more than I thought I would. I think it has more in common with Slow Start from last season than anything else. They’re the eclectic group of girls that could survive on their own, but do better when in the right group. Then take each of their issues and amp it up for the comedy. With that recipe and what I’ve seen, this should be a decent show. Also, I’m guessing that the manager of the dorm is some kind of manga artist as well. Maybe even the strict teacher at school.