Manga Dogs Review

9781612629032
It is time to look at a manga trilogy that certainly didn’t last very long. The concept was intriguing, but I’m afraid that the execution left a lot to be desired. It all comes down to the format, which I shall delve into as the review goes on. I hadn’t read a Shojo title that was this down to Earth for a while so that was neat. It may not be the greatest experience or one that will be very memorable, but the series gave us its all!

The series revolves around a Jump author who is named Kanna. She has actually got a manga series in Weekly Shonen Jump, which is impressive. Unfortunately, it is near the bottom of the rankings every week so the series is very close to being cancelled. Balancing out her school life with her manga duties is no easy feat. Things get worse when she stumbles into a manga group where the other 3 members have no idea on how to create a real manga. This is going to be a long year all right!

Again, it’s a superb great good concept, but the format doesn’t work for me. The series is just a lot of really short stories/chapters that are combined into the volumes. While there is continuity, this means that it is practically a 4 koma series. It is different, but not by much and that style is still not my favorite. The heroes can have loads of adventures, but they are all over as soon as they have begun. Normal sized chapters would have really done wonders for the series, but it wouldn’t have saved it.

Another issue with the series is that the jokes are extremely limited. The author reuses the same gags over and over again. It can become very repetitive and I would argue that it wasn’t even funny the first time. Each character has their own quirk, which I’ll get into. Suffice it to say, Kanna may be having troubles with her manga, but the series that she is a part of is in greater trouble of failing. I should still mention some of the gags. A main one is that the three friends will decide that today is the day that they will seriously start to draw manga…and then they’ll give up. Rinse and repeat for just about every chapter. Throw in Kanna insulting them and you’ve got the formula down. Kanna is also constantly shocked by the plans of the three friends even though she should be immune to that by the end.

We’ll start off with Kanna. Her friends embarrass her and whenever she tries to insult them, they take it as a compliment. She also tends to almost fall for them on several occasions and this leads to some stressful situations. The worst trait of hers is probably that she constantly seems to think about romance, but then decides that a “2D guy” who is just right for her will never show up. So, she retreats into anime land, which is an unfortunate stereo type. If Kanna was actually very good at drawing manga things would be a little different, but her series is failing because she listened to her editor too much. Naturally, her author is very effeminate and always gives her advice for what he wants in the manga, even though the readers don’t want this.

The first friend is Fumio. He’s probably called something else by his friends since the name doesn’t strike a bell. I’ll just use his stage name, Prince. Prince wants to be a great manga author or so he claims, but he really just likes to mess around. Actually working on his manga is simply too difficult for the Prince and then he’ll just give up until the next chapter. He’s still better than Fujio though. Fujio has glasses so he is the brainiac of the group, but he’s not actually that smart. He merely acts smart and he’s just as bad at drawing manga as the rest of the characters. He likes to think of elaborate plans, but they’re too elaborate so he can never finish the first page. Even he is better than Shota though. Shota is a small kid who always comes up with devious plans, but they’re all talk. There’s not much too him though and he’s just like the other two friends. Another supporting character joins the crew after the first volume, but he doesn’t contribute all that much to the plot.

As you can see, the characters is one of the big areas that the series could not handle. I didn’t end up liking anyone. The old lady who decided to be the manga group’s mentor was decent as she kept things real. Beyond that, most of the characters are fairly generic or simply unlikable like the main ones. It’s too bad since it should usually be easy to make the main characters likable. That being said, it can be tricky in a comedy like this one, but it is still achievable. I would certainly expect at least one of the big characters to be cool.

The art for the series looks good so that is definitely a positive for the series. This is good as it would have been ironic if the series actually had bad art. Seriously, the series would have never lived this down and I would have been grinning from start to finish! The art is very clear so it is easy to read each page and that makes each volume go by very quickly.

The review likely sounds very negative, but the manga wasn’t terrible. It was under average to be sure and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, but the series had its good moments. We even got a sense of danger for a minute or two as Kanna was kidnapped at one point. The problem is that this still can’t be taken seriously as the kidnapper is pretty cheap. Moreover, Manga Dogs should have simply taken a different route with the plot. Introducing a rival to keep Kanna on her toes would have been a nice start and we should have gotten some drawing competitions. The series may be a comedy, but that doesn’t meant that it shouldn’t have a plot. All good comedies still have some kind of plot going and it makes the series more engaging. It makes you wonder whether the author ever thought that the series would last for very long.

Overall, Manga Dogs didn’t do too well. The main reasons why it lost out were the unlikable characters and the limited gags. If you are going to make a successful comedy series, you need to have charismatic characters or a long list of jokes at the ready. You can’t keep using the same ones over and over again if you want readers to stay interested in the series. It was just hard to really get connected to the plot. The art was good, which gave Manga Dogs a chance to do something with itself. As I mentioned earlier, just adding in a rival or some excitement would have been nice. Maybe seeing more of Shonen Jump and what the other authors think of Kanna. Instead, the author focuses on the friends and their quirks, which didn’t work for me. It got repetitive after the first volume so you can imagine how bad it would have gotten if this had been more of a long running series. Instead of checking this title out, I recommend just reading Bakuman. It is like this one, but executed to perfection. Bakuman is still the most engaging non action manga of all time and it is a series that you should pick up ASAP! Manga Dogs will be a distant memory by the end!

Overall 4/10

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