Now you too can learn the secrets! This mock-instructional tome is actually a hilarious parody in graphic-novel form of those books which seek to advise one on "how to draw manga". Now even a completely untalented, artistically uninclined novice such as yourself can learn what it takes to properly use a pen, create characters, license ancillary rights for anime and toy manufacturing, and become rich, famous, and sexually potent beyond one's wildest dreams.
"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.
It's easy to miss use the term deconstruction when you want to say subversion or variation. Taking a well known element and doing it different is showing your understanding of the medium, but it's not really taking it apart since you are choosing a single line of argument. This manga is a true case of a deconstruction of the classic elements of a shonen manga, from the evolution of the panty shot to the underapreciated importance of the friend with glasses.
If you love shonen you'll love this, the only real problem and for some people none of the will, japanese comedy is a
strange beast sometimes). Another low point is the occasional reference to whatever was important back in the year it came out nad how much the author loves himself. If you agree with every single point he makes I'm sorry to tell you that you might be wrong, but if you disagree with most of this you know nothing, Jon Snow.
I hope this review lasts 10 years so you can't to understand why someone would find that Jon Snow reference funny since that would reflect some of the biggest problems this manga deconstruction has.