Today I will be looking at Manga Dogs by Ema Toyama.
I’m sure anyone interested in a particular artistic medium had at least some dreams and ambitions about becoming a professional actor, director, artist, game developer. Well that’s no exception to our main characters. Meet Kanna Tezuka, a fifteen year old manga artist, who has already made her debut as a professional. So when finds out that her high school has started a manga drawing course, she gets excited only to get quickly disappointed. Upon the entering the classroom, she meets the other three main characters: Fumio, Fujio, and Shota. These pretty-boy manga wannabes quickly figure out that Kanna is a pro and adopt her as a sensei.
The story is mainly a satirical slice of life of how Kanna deals with their delusions and behaviors while trying to maintain her own workload. These range from how our trio dreams about how to spend the million dollar prize money (while Kanna comments on how they haven’t entered yet.) or how they imagine their manga names (while Kanna disapproves of the ridiculousness) or how they spend their time reading manga (one needs a person to turn the pages for him, and another flips to the end.)
The manga is shown through Kanna’s perspective, and highlights how an so-called professional views the trio’s absurdity (Kanna herself isn’t much better, ranking the lowest). The characters have very simple archetypes from this volume: The extra happy yet dumb prince, the cool and collected glasses guy, and the cute boy loli type, and that’s all they will be of this volume. Even our main character isn’t much, an over-serious loner, looking down on everyone below her status. There’s nothing really particular that makes these characters stand out, if I even bother to remember their names.
While the story isn’t much play off of, the artwork is a step up. Most of the shots in this manga are the faces of our main characters and their face expressions take the stage, taking a simple declaration and amplifying it with emotions. Our main character Kanna even is quite expressive for that fact that half of her face is covered by her hair. There’s a couple of points where half of a box is dedicated to her silent deadpan expression. Even the text itself has its own feelings placed inside it, with plentiful uses of bold font and sizing.
I spent 11 dollars on this one volume and I really regret it. But at the same time, I’ve bought I am Here! and read Missions of Love since it came out and I’ve read it twice. I have a soft spot for Toyama’s art style and that probably all I will really give it. And that probably be enough incentive for other fans of her books to go out and buy this. Otherwise, there isn’t much that this volume offers in terms of fulfillment, character or story-wise. I saw some hopeful development in the last chapter but I have a feeling it’s will end comedically and pass it off as nothing. Like other people would end up doing to begin with anyway.