Doujin Work Vol. #2 - Mania.com



Anime/Manga

Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 and Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 19.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Dojin Work

Doujin Work Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     April 15, 2009
Release Date: March 03, 2009


Doujin Work Vol. #2
© Media Blasters

As Hoshi tries to be true to his feelings to Najimi, someone throws a wrinkle in the plans when she sets him up with Justice instead.

What They Say
Najimi Osana continues full steam ahead on her journey to becoming a successful dojin artist. As she forges on, Justice starts to be overprotective of his childhood friend, particularly when it comes to her number-one fan. Things get heated at the marketplace when the final confrontation takes place, but not in the way one would expect. While there, Najimi is formally introduced to her rival in dojinshi publishing, and their relationship grows competitive over the course of it. Tsuyuri decides to help Najimi's rival with adult-oriented dojinshi, and the two adversaries meet on the battlefield called the comic market.

The Review!
Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
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 four of the characters 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.

Menu:
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.

Extras:
The only extra included in here is the clean version of the ending sequence. The live action segments are not considered extras by Media Blasters.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Though I haven’t read the original four panel manga, I’m wondering how well this one is surviving the translation to anime form. Some have made out very well, notably Azumanga Daioh, but the structure here seems to be a bit too long form for what’s essentially a series of short jokes about doujinshi creators. Dojin Works is fun and cute, and surprisingly naughty at times, but it also feels a bit amateurish as well as if they aren’t quite sure how to make the stories work in the thirteen minute time frame that they have.

Dojin Works continues to progress here in the four half length episodes we get by working through a few different areas. Najimi is still doing her best to become an artist to make money, though there are obviously ulterior motives in there as well when she deals with Justice. Interestingly, she gains a formal rival this time around in the arrival of Kaneru, another doujinshi artist who is trying to figure out what she wants to be. Tsuyuri manages to tweak her in an amusing direction by pointing out the kind of erotic manga that women make for other women. This comes at a time when Kaneru and Najimi are gearing up to go against each other in a battle of sales at the next event since Najimi won the previous battle by selling a single book to Kaneru’s zero books. It’s kind of cute and quirky, especially as Kaneru deals with her virginal status and trying to get some perspective on how to draw something she’s never actually experienced in any form.

The same can be said of Najimi as she’s coming up with a story that involves a love hotel at one point. This leads to the standard comedy of misunderstandings as she has Hoshi go with her to one so she can see what it’s like inside. Apparently you can’t just get a room for one. There’s absolutely nothing going on in this area, but Justice finds out about it and that has him going all paternal of sorts with Najimi and threatening Hoshi in his own particular way. Even more amusing is that later on, Kaneru tries to push Hoshi and Justice together as a male pairing through a different misunderstanding and we get to see it from both sides since Hoshi is really trying to get Justice to back off when it comes to Najimi. The misunderstandings angle is a long and tried tradition for comedy and situations like this and it works well enough here in moving things forward in an obvious but amusing way.

After the first volume, I wondered how I would feel about the second knowing how the disc would be laid out in terms of anime to live action segments. Unfortunately, my patience with the live action pieces here is even shorter this time around. Part of this is that I’m simply too familiar with what they’re doing having had both manga and comic artist friends over the years and being very aware with what’s involved. The two girls are certainly cute in their approach to it all and it’s fun with the Bloomer-kun aspect, but forty minutes of it in this volume on top of the forty minutes we already had in the first volume is simply too much. Too much.

In Summary:

Dojin Works is a release that Media Blasters really should have released in one set for $50. While I know that the live action pieces are a part of the show, I can’t help but feel like they’re a waste. They’ve at least priced the singles right, but the design of the show is one that would be better served as a set rather than singles. And likely would have had a few more people trying it too, I suspect. I like the core show, it’s cute, fun and sexy at times and it dabbles in an area that I rather enjoy seeing stories about. In the end though, each volume is really just too short of the content that I like and it leaves me feeling unsatisfied in a way.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Openings

Review Equipment

Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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