20-year-old Aihara Minoru has come to Tokyo to make his dreams of becoming an action manga artist come true. To his amazement, he lands a job as a live-in assistant of his favorite mangaka, Takakura Kenji, who writes a popular fighting manga called "Ultimate Banchou."
Upon arriving at his new workplace, however, he discovers that his idol is not the tough guy he'd always imagined. The truth is, Takakura Kenji is the pen name of Sekai Ichiko, a girl his age who is basically a moe character (she looks and acts like a little kid). After Aihara's obvious disappointment starts them off on the wrong foot, it's going to be tough for him to prove to her that he has what it takes to be a manga artist!
Moecchi with progression.
That would be the quickest way to summarize the little gem of Comic☆Studio that I happened to stumble upon a few days ago.
What we have here is a story about a 20-year old man named Aihara Minoru who dreams about becoming an action mangaka. By a stroke of fortune he manages to land a job as an assistant to the author of his favorite manga series, Takakura Kenji. Unlike the muscular guy he was expecting however, he finds out that it is merely a pen name for the true mangaka, Sekai Ichiko, who cannot be explained as anything other than a moe legal
loli character. And thus, our romcom setup is established as the essentially useless Aihara tries to accept his new reality.
The story is extremely straightforward as it simply follows the daily life of the little manga studio and its few inhabitants. However it has considerable development when it comes to character relationships, especially taking into consideration that Comic☆Studio is only four volumes long. Over this short timespan, readers get to experience a huge moe overdose from the absolutely adorable Ichiko, in addition to a decent amount of fanservice AND above all: actual relationship progression. Quite a bit of it in fact. If there is one thing this manga sure as hell did right, it is its super cute and enjoyable love story along with a very conclusive and satisfying ending. Admittedly said ending came somewhat spontaneously as the manga evidentially got cut short, however despite that it managed to wrap everything up perfectly in the final chapter which at least for me is a very big deal when it comes to romance manga.
Other than our main coupling there is also a supporting cast consisting of the other assistants in the manga studio as well as a few others, and they add a ton of laughs to the story as this manga is also really damn funny at times. Honestly, as far as pure entertainment value goes, Comic☆Studio really is on top from pretty much start to finish, which in the end... is really all that matters. It's short, simple and not particularly original but in this case that is not really an issue. Definitely worth a few hours of your time.
There are a lot of manga out there with crazy stories, moe characters, and sometimes even giving us some rather sexual romances but this one is a little odd. To think they would actually take a moe character and make it the Mangaka of a manga all about fighting and battles is pretty interesting. Not to mention the age of the character or at least how old she looks like and acts. I almost feel sorry for both of the characters, Aihara for finding out exactly who wrote his stuff and Kenji to be judged by how she looks. I can’t blame Aihara for it
though because she does look like and act like a little kid. The sad part is that although they could have made the story interesting, they made it a standard Seinen romance instead. I would have loved to see it more of the type that Kenji actually creates then the cutesy little love story that it is.
The whole idea of the two main characters getting together seems to go a bit to fast as from the moment that Aihara ends up on Kenji’s doorstep like a lost little puppy; she seemed to have feelings for him. Then its one misunderstanding after another as we have images of the two falling on top of each other and touching in the wrong areas. And then Kenji would do a standard tsundera answer of punching him or acting all tuff when really she is just like a lovesick child. Then we have the other two characters, one being a high school girl with a crush on Kenji and the other is a more responsible adult who seems to not have much say in what’s going on. Both of them are useless and just get in the way of the two main characters having a relationship. It reminds me a bit of the storyline for Ai Yori Aoshi where you just know from the beginning who was going to be with each other, the side characters were only forced in to make some comedy happen. I can see so much more conflict happening with pretty much anything else so why they fell back on adding extra’s for the conflict seems like it was just going for the fans. I do give them props though that all the girls are not throwing their panties at Aihara though. We at least have a character after Kenji while the other is just more of a parental character.
Sadly, just when I thought that the manga was going to end with a really fitting meaning behind it, it just went on. I saw great promise with the end of one of the volumes only to be let down that the manga was still going on. They went into a very perverted area that I really think would have been much cuter if they had left it out (Doesn’t help that Kenji looks like a Lolita character as well). The actual ending was pretty good but somehow, I feel a bit bothered by how the ending summed up. I wish it had more of an underlining meaning like what it had in the middle because some of the rest of the manga felt forced. In my mind, it just should of ended at volume 3 and not had the 4th volume since the last one lacked something.
There were also things that I didn’t really understand as they use a lot of manga trade lingo that I have not really learned yet, things like ‘name’ made me feel confused. I thought that it was a rough draft or the basic idea of how the manga would go but then there are times when Kenji is working on it at the end of working on that version of the manga. These questions were not answered anywhere in the manga so I just couldn’t figure it out.
The artwork is actually very pretty with really good shading and nice detail work. I actually think it looks like one of the better of the manga’s I’ve read. Still, the male is slightly bland and the girls are all set for the fans with the moe, the tomboy, and the mature adult and with the rather ‘hot’ looking scenes, its hard to take it as different then any other manga out there with this style of story.
The basic plot is fairly familiar: young man wants to become a mangaka, takes a job working for his favorite artist who turns out to be a young woman, they fall in love. And along the way, there are a number of jokes about breast size, there are beach and onsen episodes, there are jokes about moe culture... basically all the things that you would expect from a shounen or seinen romantic comedy. And Comic Studio does all of those things about as well as the next seinen rom-com.
All that being said, there are three things that distinguish Comic Studio from the rest
of the pack:
1) Some attention is given to the actual details of creating manga as a team, as opposed to idolizing the "artistic genius working alone" myth that is often perpetuated.
2) The love story here is somewhat original, especially for a seinen rom-com. While told from Minoru's perspective, it's clear (to the reader, anyway) Ichiko has a serious crush on him from very early on in the manga. Telling a story from the perspective of the perused--rather than the pursuer, is unusual for a seinen manga and makes the love story seem fresh.
3) Ichiko, despite being 20, looks like a child. Surely this will appeal to some and turn others off, especially when it comes to the more ecchi moments.
So is Comic Studio a good, enjoyable manga? I thought so. It is certainly no worse than any other in it's genre, and I found the romance aspect of it particularly refreshing. I did find the loli aspect a bit troubling, which is why I don't consider this to be a great manga. But for a seinen romantic comedy, it's well above average.
A sweet romantic story about a mangaka-wannabe and his job at a small studio.
- It's a light-hearted funny and romantic type of manga
- Relationship starts early in the manga and ACTUALLY PROGRESSES
- Main heroine is 20 years old but looks and sometimes acts like a child
- Main male character is actually useful, sometimes bold and likeable
- Interesting side characters
- Kind of rushed ending but still very satisfying
- Art is quite Moe
- Only 24 Chapters
- Since it's so short the story sometimes feels rushed
- Main heroine is 20 years old but looks and sometimes acts like a child. (This is really just your preference)
characters do get development but not a lot
Overall - A manga which you will enjoy if you like sweet romance stories. The ending is satisfying enough to not leave you feeling a lack of closure.