When I started this blog, I told myself that I’d write strictly about anime. No light novels, no manga, just anime. Nothing else; not even video games. Yet, here I am, expanding and writing a list of manga. I hope I don’t end up overwhelming myself with too many topics to keep up with.
In any case, here’s a list of 5 manga about… well, manga! To be precise, they’re all about the creation of manga, to some degree. If you’re interested in learning about the production process of the manga you enjoy, these titles might be a good fit for you!
1. Comic Party
The first on this list is Comic Party, a manga about a boy named Kazuki Sendou who failed to get into art school. Continuing to have a passion for drawing artwork, his friend Taishi invites him to a comic convention known as ComiPa which inspires him to create his own doujinshi.
I actually had a copy of the Comic Party manga in my pre-teens when there wasn’t much manga around in my country. I never really understood the manga, and reading it again now, I can see why. The beginning is a bit weird, and the characters are introduced one after another, clumsily in a fast-paced manner while a bunch of other things are going on. Back when I didn’t know what moe, ecchi, or doujins were, I probably would not have been able to get much enjoyment out of it.
Comic Party is actually based on a dating sim released all the way back in 1999! The manga was released in 2001, but I think the manga artwork is very good and even a bit modern-looking considering the time it was released. It was one of the only parts I remember enjoying as a kid. It was clearly aimed at Japanese otaku, and I did not fit into either of those categories at that age.
2. Doujin Work
Another manga about the creation of doujins, this one is mostly in the 4-koma format, meaning each page has two strips of 4 comic panels. As is normal with 4-koma, Doujin Work is completely a comedy series. It’s more geared towards people who are already interested in doujins and manga, maybe even to the point that they consider making their own. However, unlike other titles on this list, Doujin Work is more focused on the act of selling the manga, rather than the process of creating it. Characters in Doujin Work do make their own doujins, but the process is not shown much. It’s more unrealistically laid out to be amusing.
The story starts off with Tsuyuri, a school girl who enjoys making doujins. She sells her doujins under the name Bloomer Girl at Doujin World, which is a large doujin convention. After some misunderstandings with her friend Osana Najimi, she decides to take her to Doujin World to sell her work. Osana becomes interested in the world of doujins after this, and starts creating her own.
I thought it was pretty funny, but there are some touchy subjects that could be considered offensive. The manga is pretty ecchi. Tsuyuri is a hentai doujin artist, and she specializes in what she calls, “the sadistic kind”. I recommend avoiding it if you have any issues with that. However, if you’re okay with that sort of thing, then Doujin Work is a pretty funny title. Like I said, however, it shows very little of the actual process of creating manga. It was originally written by Hiroyuki in 2004, and was published in English by Media Blasters.
This one is a bit of a stretch – Denki-Gai itself is not about creating manga, but it does contain those elements as the character Sensei is a doujin artist. The manga is actually about employees at a manga store that references the Japanese manga store chain Toranoana. In fact, Sensei often gets help with her doujins from other employees, so several characters technically count towards this.
As I said, the story is not all about the production of manga, but I felt that it had a big enough part of the story that I could list it here. All of the employees of Umanohone (Toranoana reference) enjoy reading manga, naturally. As a result, they also appreciate the creation process of manga, and help Sensei with her doujins. The real story is about how they all get along as manga lovers and employees, and show their appreciation for manga in different ways.
This series is still ongoing. Asato Mizu started writing it in 2011, and there are 12 volumes available so far. In Japan, it’s published by Media Factory, but sadly, there’s no English publisher as of yet.
4. The Comic Artist and His Assistants
The Comic Artist and His Assistants is another ecchi comedy manga. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find in depth stories about creating manga, it seems. Stories like these seem to be aimed at people who already make manga, so that they can get a chuckle out of the bizarre circumstances while somewhat relating to it.
The Comic Artist and His Assistants is about a manga artist (mangaka) named Yuuki Aito. Sahoto Ashisu is his assistant, who awkwardly puts up with Yuuki’s perverted habits, even allowing him to touch her breasts in order for him to be able to draw such a scenario in his manga with more feeling.
As a comedy manga, The Comic Artist and His Assistants goes into little detail about the creation of manga. What detail it does go into is unrealistic for the sake of comedy. It’s a lot like Doujin Work in terms of gags, but I personally found that Doujin Work was more enjoyable. Actually, both works were written by the same person: Hiroyuki. While Doujin Work debuted in 2004, The Comic Artist and His Assistants was first released in 2008. The Comic Artist and His Assistants has not been published in English.
By far the most famous and detailed among all of these titles is Bakuman, which has managed to get three full seasons of anime! Bakuman is a favorite among niche shounen manga in general, not only because of the amount of depth that goes into the description of how to create manga, but also because of the relations between the different characters.
There’s a lot of deep story-telling in Bakuman, and a lot of it has to do with the creation of manga, but there’s also a romantic side to the plot as well. The plot goes that Moritaka Mashiro and Akito Takagi form a partnership in creating manga, while still in middle school. Takagi does the writing while Mashiro does the artwork. Although this deal was initially proposed by Takagi, Mashiro has a much more meaningful reason to succeed: he discovered his crush wants to be a voice actress, and made a shocking promise to her which he has to keep.
Bakuman was written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, the same duo which wrote and illustrated Death Note. The light-hearted yet serious and fluffy romance Bakuman is a big change in pace for the two, in contrast to a dark title such as Death Note. Regardless, they more than pulled it off; reading Bakuman will not only be a treat, but it’ll teach you a lot about the manga industry.
Concluding this post, I’d like to tell you that all of the manga I have listed here have anime adaptions, so even if you don’t enjoy reading, you can watch them all you like! Although you’ll probably be reading either way, assuming you watch anime with subtitles.
I hope you enjoyed reading my post about manga that’s about manga! Are you interested in any of the titles I talked about? Have you read any yourself? Also, would you like to see more list posts like this? Answer in the comments! Thanks for reading!