Comic Party Vol. #03 (Mania.com)

By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Thursday, January 13, 2005
Release Date: Monday, November 01, 2004



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

What They Say
MANGA IS LIFE...
... for this gang of hardcore artists who slave away to create the very best doujinshi that they can. Which book will be the best-seller? Will the printer deliver the books on time? Could the cosplay costumes be any more revealing?

And what's with those creepy otaku in the corner, anyway?

This hilarious graphic novel was created by manga fans, for manga fans!


The Review
Packaging:
Presented in a tall B6, this CPM title uses some of the original cover art from Ohzora Shuppan. The front cover features a piece from Odawara Hakone with Tsukamoto Chisa doing helping with her family's printing business, on a background that has a large sparkly image of Hasabe Aya. Strange. The opposite cover has a weird piece with Oba Eimi and Inangawa Yuu on a fish patterned background. 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 horrible; it is a few shades too dark. You can hardly notice it on a few chapters where there is very little tone or shading. Where you can really see it are on detail heavy pieces where the poor printing has a aliases the screen tone, charcoal and water coloring. Actually anything that is not ink fads to black, which is a shame as this volume has quite a bit of technical variety.

One omake that I liked from the previous volumes is gone now - the words from the doujinshi artists and their web page addresses. CPM did not replace it with anything; actually, they only ended up adding a couple ads at the end: Duck Prince, Alien Nine and Black Jack.

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 munekichi and Nakashima Hatsuki try to stay faithful to the original designs, but a few artists, like the combo Tokita Monta & Shimo-san, take liberties and show off their own style and techniques with mixed results. Overall, most of the chapters look very nice. Most importantly, having a wide variety of layouts, character designs and art technique is a change of pace and gives readers a taste of the world of doujinshi.

Text/SFX:
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 has improved from the previous volumes, when it had an Engrish feel to it.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
There is a time when every artist questions their work. Maybe it is not selling as well as it once was. Maybe the motivation for creating is no longer there. Maybe the artist realized their was never as good as they thought. In the end, either this is a time where self-evaluation will change the artist for their betterment, or it could destroy their confidence entirely. This is not specific to doujinshi artists; it can happen to cosplayers, printers and potential dictators.

In Comic Party #3, almost every character will have to come to terms with their work. To succeed in this Cat or Fish world, means knowing ones work and knowing how to improve it. Will Subaru be able to create her own style of art in AKD's Unlimited? What about Reiko? Her love for cosplay will be challenged in Sugitaka Aoya's Wish. Being a lady and being an artist can be a conflict of interest for Yuu in Fuji Ao's Passion Bullet Train.

Love, testing the limits of the human body and taking on the world are all vital parts of the Comic Party world and it is all here in volume 3, Last Call.

Comments
Three volumes into this series and we finally are treated to a volume that is consistently fun from start to finish. Unfortunately, we also get to see CPM Press at their worst production wise. Comic Party at its best is a compilation of stories that present the humor behind the struggles of making doujinshi. Life can be full of confusion, desperation and malnutrition when you have deadlines for what could be very little payback. The stories in this volume show those struggles through the cast of Comic Party. In the end, these stories are easy to relate to and generally are hilarious. CPM's job with this series has been questionable from the start and their production for this volume continues the inconsistency. The translation was better but the printing was horrible. The extras that were so appreciated before, especially because it gave info on the artists, are gone. Moreover, volume four has yet to receive a release date (even though CPM has announced through 03/2005.

Comic Party was always a title that needed extra care because of how different it is to the majority of manga translated into English. Viz and Broccoli treated their Di Gi Charat titles well, they put a good amount of detail into these titles to preserve the integrity of the individual works. CPM tried to do that, but their production issues failed this title. If and when the rest of Comic Party is released, recommending this title will not be easy until those problems are addressed.



Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: C-
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: CPM Press
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 164
ISBN: 158664920-5
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left