It’s off to the beach for a training session that leads to Najimi’s chance at becoming a professional.
What They Say
The gang is on their way to the beach for some much needed unwinding, but Tsuyuri and Justice have other plans in mind for Najimi and Kaneru. Sun, swimsuits, and dojinshi are on the itinerary for the two dojin artists, whether they like it or not. The working vacation ends up being quite eventful too, and beach bums on the prowl, a little man-on-man CPR action, and Hoshi's brother showing up help give the girls a break from the heavy workload. Refreshed from the summer fun, the gang head on back to Big Site for... You guessed it, another Comic Festival!
Dojin Works is given only its original Japanese language for this release as no English language adaptation was created. The series sports a pretty standard stereo mix encoded at 192kbps which doesn’t really get a whole lot of use. It’s very much a dialogue driven piece outside of the incidental music and basic sound effects so it doesn’t require much. The track is solid throughout but it obviously doesn’t have any real place to shine or show off. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2007, the transfer for this twelve episode TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The series is a bit of an odd piece as it’s made up of 13 minute episodes, so we do get four episodes on each volume but they’re only fifty-two minutes total. Each episode looks good with solid looking colors, a generally high bitrate and no serious issues such as cross coloration or line noise. There’s a bit of background noise here and there, but it’s rather small and unnoticeable for the most part. To compensate for the smaller episode count per volume, the live action segments play directly after the anime segments and these four segments run for ten minutes each. They’re basic shot on video footage pieces and look about as you’d expect. The interior pieces look better than the exterior ones, but they’re generally clean and problem free.
The cover art for this is really nice as it has a background done in pencil with the standard approach vanishing point to it while the foreground has Tsuyuri looming lage and the rest of the cast just behind her in full color. The logo looks really nice and appeals to that artistic side as it’s done as a rough while the character artwork stands out really well against the gray and white background. The back cover has several sheets of paper laying around which has the summary on it and various stills from the show. The discs extras are clearly listed and the production information is nicely contained. The technical grid is quite good a well though I’m still uncertain about the inclusion of the live action segments in the shows running time. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design for Dojin Works is simple but effective as it uses the cover art from the front with a bit of the additional paper designs on the back to tie it all together. The character artwork looks good and the sketch design has an even stronger feel here, especially on a large screen. The navigation is kept to the lower left corner with the section of art paper that was used on the back cover and it all fits very nicely and sets the mood just right. Submenus load quickly and access times are nice and fast. And with only one language on here, player presets are obviously a non-issue.
The only extra included on this volume is a look at the manga, which is done in full color for the DVD-Video portion. There’s also a 24 page preview available via the DVD-ROM side. I can’t remember the last time I saw a DVD-ROM extra. The live action segments are not considered extras by Media Blasters.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Dojin Work draws to a somewhat predictable close with a nice sense of warmth and friendliness about it that has populated it from the start. There’s quite a lot a show like this can actually do, but when they are made they tend to focus on the familiar areas. Someday we’ll get a show that really travels the whole path of an artist from start to finish with an air of seriousness about it. Dojin Work is a fun little light series though that doesn’t make out quite so good because of the amount of time given over to the live action sequences.
The final installment of Dojin Work has the gang heading to the beach for a few days so they can undergo a training session from Justice. Nido and Najimi both want to get better but they also want a trip to the beach so it all works in their favor. Unfortunately, Justice has them sticking to the training side more as he’s set up a doujinshi sale to take place where they’re staying in just a few days. So that puts the pressure on to actually work and make something to sell. They work hard at it and there’s the usual fun to it all as well, especially as Najimi and Nido compete with each other over what they’re doing, but with the half length episode runtime they don’t go all that far with what’s happening.
The twist that enters this final run of episodes is the arrival of Jun’s older brother Ryu who happens to work at a manga publishing magazine. He’s an odd duck of sorts who finds any kind of familiarity from strangers to seem like they’re coming on to him. So when Najimi shakes his hand, he’s surprised at how forthright she is in her interest in him. Which of course isn’t part of reality at all. But when the girls learn he works for a magazine, they’re all interested in him in general and do their best to get to know him better. With them working on the upcoming sale at the time as well, he’s able to sample their works and ends up barely containing himself over how bad Najimi’s work is. And that’s what makes the final half of these episodes so lackluster.
As it turns out, his trip to the beach cost him a manuscript he had with him and now he’s in a pinch as he needs a fill-in story for the magazine. He doesn’t want to ask Najimi since he doesn’t like her work (and he’s scared of what Nido has done for her stuff), but Jun forces the issue into a competition of sorts and has Najimi trying to sell a hundred books in three days. If she can do that at the local store she’s working at then Jun will hire her as a professional so she can do the fill in story. It’s fun watching Najimi going through the trials and seeing everyone support her, but I liked the interplay between Jun and Ryu more since it actually gave Jun something of a purpose and he felt more involved in the show for a bit in comparison to, well, the bulk of the series so far. And as expected, the series ends on positive notes of happiness and friendship in a way that keeps it open to doing more. Which is good since I believe the manga was still ongoing at the time.
The final four segments of the live action aspect of the series hits this volume as well and it was a bit more enjoyable this time around to some extent. The first one was fun as the two women went to an artists studio and got to see one of them work, drawing a picture of Justice in a bloomer with his suit top on. The process of drawing, scanning and coloring as well as a printout was done and it was one of the more enjoyable pieces of the live action segments. It was followed up with an equally interesting one when the women head to a small printing press company and follow the process through. It was neat to see this aspect of it as it directly impact manga as opposed to general printing as well as seeing a small press operation. The remaining two episodes are given over to the actual printing/receipt part and how their deal went with getting it all done and the actual sale with a small group of fans. It’s cute but definitely weaker than the first two and more akin to the first eight segments we’ve seen.
Dojin Work is a cute series, one I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing expanded further both in length and episode count. I liked the slightly perverted nature of it with all the mild attention given to the yaoi side, especially in this volume with the late night beach scene with the two guys that tried to pick up the girls. But in the end, Dojin Work is a light and fluffy title that wants to have a spot of fun, which is all well and good. It’s a pleasant diversion but one that would have been far better suited to a complete set up front and a shift of the live action segments to their own disc within that, or listed as extras. This is a hard sell in a single disc format, especially for people that realize that they’re getting only two full length regular sized episodes per volume. I liked it, but it’s bound to be unmemorable in the long run.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles