Aug 29, 2013
"Supply and demand economics yielded exponential growth in panty expression, and panty flashing became omnipresent".
In the distant,magical times of the 1980s, one of the best-selling books in Japan was 'Structure and Power:Beyond Semiotics', by Akira Asada, where he discussed simulacra, post-structuralism, historical psychoanalysis, Saussurean signals ,the New Left ,the desublimation of post-modern culture, and other impressive-sounding, obnoxious, sophomore Philosophy undergrad poppycock. In the turn of the millenium,psychiatrist Tamaki Saito and critical theorist Hiroki Azuma redefined otaku culture and introduced it a subject of sociological study with their books Psychopathology of the Beautiful Fighting Girl and Otaku:Japan's Database Animals, respectively. In those books we can see
that Tsukino Usagi is a phallic girl, learn about the immensely fascinating history of Gainax, and touch on the supreme icon, and the industrial sex sale tailored on otaku psychology that is Rei Ayanami . Between these two phenomena however, almost twenty years elapsed, and editors don't like vacuums. That's where this work, out in 1990, comes in. Now, you can become a million-volume-selling manga artist and cultural phenomenon, if you just follow these simple instructions!
Character-Story (10/10): The story is about two aspiring manga authors, discussing their plans to become billionaires and conquering the world through manga, and their plans to do that, in the form of advice from the professor-character to the young man burning with guts. Deciding to follow the famous dictum of Anatole France ," if you find something written down, and it's written well, don't hesitate for a moment", most chapters dwell on a specific archetype/trope/cliche of manga in general or trash a particular genre, like shounen battle manga, mysteries, shoujo, mahjong etc. The characters are over the top to say the least, one of the most funny satires I've ever read, it's like combining the outrageousness of Furuya Minoru(I see that he's on the recommended list, that's good), with the somber tone of A Drifting Life, except when the main character has qualms with the artistic integrity of his work vs. loyalty to his friends and employers, and is shown gripping with depression on a long, starry night, you just have him excrete something, and dismiss all this seriousness as poppy...cock. Also, the fact that what they discussed about the '80s is more than perfectly valid now may send you into a mini-rampage against the garish, ludicrous guttural , copies of copies that rule the cultural landscape, devoured by mindless drones etc. etc. Really, the only two things they don't completely nail in amazing style and economy of expression are the moe boom and the angsty deconstruction, and you can consult the latter two books I mentioned in the intro for that.
Art(10/10): The art , while on its own merit fine, including the hysterical/constipated faces, mostly while dealing with some sort of excretion or erogenous zone (or the characters' DREAM), acquires an elevated, special connection to the story in two ways. Firstly , while doing a brutal takedown of a specific aspect of the industry, the manga will cannibalize the prevalent art-style of the niche in question with a Spinal Tap aesthetic , while having the third-best facial expressions I've ever seen in manga ( after Boku to Issho and Otokojuku). More important than that(and the way I found out about this manga), are the all-encompassing, source-citing, two-page infographics provided for a greater understanding. Whether examining the plot-lines of shonen manga (it's all about FIGHTS) , or poring over the marketing intricacies of children's entertainment (it's the mother that buys it), they are all important , timeless frames of introspective , hard hitting cultural analysis and should be part of the curriculum for any self-respecting Humanities major ever.
Enjoyment(10/10): Can't compare it with normal manga, the 10 is a cop-out. If you disagree, you're not meta enough.
Overall(10/10): A hard copy of this deserves its place between One Dimensional Man and the Haruhi Suzumiya LN series on a mahogany bookshelf.
Reviewer’s Rating: 10
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