Comic Party Vol. #02 (Mania.com)

By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Release Date: Thursday, July 01, 2004



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Various Artists
Translated by:Ikoi Hiroe
Adapted by:

What They Say
The Comic Party is in full swing! Pages are being drawn, scripts are being edited... and cosplay costumes are being sewn together!

The Review
The Comic Party is only days away and there are scripts to write, fliers to be printed and mahjong games to be played!
In CPM's anthology collection Comic Party real doujinshi artists share some of their experiences through the characters from the hit video game by AQUAPLUS©.

Packaging:
Presented in a tall B6, this CPM title uses some of the original cover art from Ohzora Shuppan. The front cover features Minami and Mizuki in front of the building that hosts Comic Market Tokyo. Readers familiar with the series will notice that Mizuki is wearing a volunteer outfit, which is out of character for her. The opposite cover is a CPM original design featuring an image of Mizuki above the very short volume description blurb. CPM's original logo does the job it is supposed to do, but loses comical feel of the original. Maybe a different font or color would spice it up a bit. Inside, 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 profiles, and two pages of notes from each of the doujin artists that worked on this collection (except Nayumi Renzaki). 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.

Artwork:
As this is an anthology with work from thirteen different doujinshi artists, the different designs based on AQUAPLUS's originals vary drastically. A few artists like AYA and Sazaki shonen try to stay faithful to the original designs, but a few artists, like the combo Rusty Soul & Aruto Seneka, take liberties and show off their own style and techniques with mixed results. Overall, most of the chapters look very nice and having the variety of layouts, designs and techniques is cool.

SFX/Text :
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 hyperactive layout full of visuals. The translation on occasion 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.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The Comic Party (better known as Comic Market) is just hours away and there are deadlines to make and preparations to complete. As doujinshi artists they only do so much with their work, they are a part of a larger system of businesses that are behind the scenes at Comic Party. Kazuki, Yuu, Subaru and Eimi have to deal with printers like Chisa to get there work ready for sale on time and looking good to keep sales up. They also have to pray for recognition, so there is a lot of consulting and research done before concepts are made. Finally, once their work is established, it is up to the fans and the publishers to buy these works and get the word out there about how their favorite artists have made their mark on the Party. With every new Party the cycle continues - round and round.

Comments
While the format for this version of Comic Party does not have continuity, a common theme or make much sense at times but it does paint a picture of what it is like to be a doujinshi artist. This anthology is not about the ComiPa characters and their issues. In this anthology collection, real doujinshi artists draw their own experiences of their profession through the lives of the Comic Party video game characters. The results vary as designs change and the shorts are completely up to the individual mangaka but in the end most of the stories tend to keep a feeling of the video games' concepts.

Going into this collection readers show keep in mind that while there is no direction to how volumes are collected, this volume appears to have a common theme - preparations for the comic market. Most of these shorts tend to share insights on the dealings between doujin artists and their printers and the difficulties that both have in a business that is so competitive. Where the previous volume focused on Kazuki and Subaru stressing over what new concepts to draw up, this collection has a lot of Chisa-chan and her struggles as a minor printer and Eimi's secret crush on Kazuki. Occasionally, readers might find themselves a little lost, especially when characters personalities have changed or characters from the games are given more of a spotlight. Overall, most of these stories end up with a sense of hope or complete chaos, which can be accessible by a wide audience. Most importantly the perspective from the doujinshi artists brings readers a bit closer to the process of making doujinshi and manga. Fun and educational.

Fun but not for everyone.



Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: C+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: CPM Press
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 166
ISBN: 1-58334-919-1
Size: Tall B6
Orientation: Right to Left