Comic Party Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C

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  • Art Rating: B-/A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: CPM Press
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 166
  • ISBN: 1-5866-4918-3
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Comic Party Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     July 01, 2004
Release Date: April 01, 2004

Comic Party Vol.#01
© CPM Press

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Various Artists
Translated by:Mayumi Kobayashi
Adapted by:

What They Say
Can a group of young, borderline-talented artists churn out their independent comics before a big festival? Will they ever have a hit? And more importantly, what yaoi couple will they draw?
Find out in the only COMIC PARTY anthology actually drawn by REAL indie manga artists!

The Review
A manga about doujinshi artists drawn by 16 doujinshi artists is what you get in CPM Press' Comic Party. By the way do you know what doujinshi is? (just kidding.)

CPM uses the original cover art by Odawara Hakone featuring Subaru, Eimi and Yuu in stereotypical poses. The back cover features rivals Eimi and Yuu in relax mode (these two are usually at each others throats).

Logo Check!! (2003 Megs).... CPM's does the job it is supposed to do, but loses comical feel of the original. Maybe a different font or color would liven it up a bit.
The printing is a little dark. You can hardly notice it on some chapters, but others that are detail heavy the printing has a bad effect on the screen tone.

This volume features a nice collection of volume headers, a character intro, and a page of quotes from each of the doujin artists that worked on this collection (except AYA). This title also features website addresses for most of those artists as well. I really like that as it is very helpful for those of us that are not too familiar with the workings of indie mangaka.

As this is an anthology with work from fifteen different doujinshi artists the different looks of the original character designs vary dramatically. A few artists like AYA and Kawachi Izumi try to stay faithful to the original AQUAPLUS designs, but a few artists, like Katase Yu, take a few liberties and show off their own style and techniques with mixed results. Overall, most of the chapters look real nice and having the variety of layouts, designs and techniques is pretty cool.

Presented in a tall B6 graphic novel this CPM Press title is in its original right to left format. I love the way CPM handles SFX. They sub theirs and with most titles this is a great compromise for those who want to see the original FX and those who cannot read kana. There was a drawback to this technique, though. With the different mangaka working on this title there were times where I would have liked to see the translations in gutters or with overlays, as some mangaka were going for a very hyper active layout full of visuals.

The translation on occassion sounded a little strange. At times it almost had an Engrish feel and at times I think there were issues with grammar. Translating can be a tough gig as there are times when it can be a little too literal and this title suffers from that here and there.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
There really is not much to spoil here as these are all individual shorts about a bunch of doujinshi artists drawn by doujinshi artists. Each chapter is drawn by a different mangaka so there is no continuity or direction, but there are a few common themes underneath the random storylines. Similar to the animated show the original concept is simple - the tough life of a doujinshi artist, struggling from event to event to meet deadlines for little money, little sleep, little notoriety but quite often for a lot of fun. The results vary, but in the end most of these shorts present some of the more amusing (and often depressing) moments of working on a doujinshi. Knowing that some of these are based on the experiences of these mangaka makes some of the shorts even more amusing (and depressing).

Highlights include: Oba Eimi taking Tsukamoto Chisa as an apprentice in Kawachi Izumi's Soul Art; manga otaku battles in Triludan's Imagine; Subaru finally breaking down to draw a yaoi manga featuring friends Kazuki and Taishi in AYA's Let's Draw Doujinshi; Chisa trying her hardest to draw a comic with Kazuki in Nekono Othello's Trying to Do Our Best. Cute, funny and quite often twisted it is pretty hard to find a short that does not entertain.

Without a prior introduction to the Comic Party world most readers would possibly be a little lost at the start of this anthology. As this collection does not have much direction or continuity readers are expected to jump right into the world's of these characters and quickly understand the ins and outs of doujinshi (indie comics). What is a doujinshi? What is yaoi manga? Why do these indie artist have deadlines? None of these concepts are explained very well, yet readers are supposed to know why these ideas can be so amusing. Even the character intro leaves me feeling disappointed as CPM only presents info on four of the cast members (Yuu, Subaru, Mizuki and Kazuki).

As someone who has been familiar with this title since it's first SEGA Dreamcast games were released, I found this collection entertaining but inconsistent. I really could not expect much more in an anthology. With so much variety seeing the differing perspectives and dominant traits that seem to appear over and over again I almost felt caught up in a huge inside joke. Every doujin artist feels they should draw yaoi, many of them would draw works that could be considered obscene, and procrastination runs rampant in that business but all of that is all right if you can get your stuff on the floor of the next Comic Market. It is a culture I have been a part of, as a fan, for a while so I may be biased, but being able to relate to the characters I found myself rolling at times and crying at times. Now how well that would translate to someone who has only seen a few episodes of Comic Party I am not sure, but I think as they progress with the show (and both manga titles) they should find themselves wanting to get lost in a crowd of thousands at the next Comic Market (will I be able to make it later this year?)

In the end CPM's Comic Party may not be the best introduction to this series, but with a little manga experience or if read as a complement to the anime readers should be pretty entertained. And as an anthology its the format hurts it a bit, so its definitely not for everyone, though.


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