What They Say:
Lechery, perversion, and a lack of respect for the feelings of others are all qualities that would normally look really bad on one’s resume. For manga artist Yuki Aito, however, they’re the fundamentals of his art. And that art is good enough that managing editor Mihari will put up with the panicked panty runs, barrages of breast jokes, and other even lower-brow forms of self-amusement that Yuki wallows in.
But when the continuing cavalcade of carnal crudity causes Yuki to get off his work schedule, Mihari’s last straw breaks and she’s forced to bring in a team of assistants. Young, attractive, female assistants. Needless to say, it’s not the schedule that Yuki will be trying to get on top of now, and getting a four-panel strip out on time may involve stripping AND drawing and quartering.
The only language track available was Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0, so I listened to that with English subtitles enabled. No other subtitles are available, so if you don’t speak Japanese or read English, then you’re out of luck. As far as the quality goes, the series sounded fine, but as is often the case with sub-only titles, I tend to not pay as much attention to what I’m hearing since I’m concentrating on what I’m reading.
Each episode is presented in 480i in 16×9 Anamorphic aspect ratio, and it’s a good-looking show with no discernable issues that I could see.
The Comic Artist & His Assistants comes in a standard DVD case. The twelve episodes and six OVAs come spread across two discs—one housed in a center inset and one in the inside of the back cover. The front of the DVD features Yuki Aito (the eponymous comic artist) in a bubble at the bottom right-hand corner. The rest of the space is taken up by his editor, Mihari Otosuna, and his three assistants, Sahoto Ashisu, Rinna Fuwa, and Sena Kuroi, all wearing bathing suits and positioned in various sexy poses. The spine features a picture of Ashisu at the top in a bubble, and a different picture of Aito on the bottom in a bubble. The two pictures flank the show’s title. The back cover follows the same basic design as most animes. The show’s summary takes up the majority of space and is surrounded by various screenshots and pictures of the various characters. Beneath that lies the show credits and DVD specifications. Overall, the packaging is solid and does a good job of selling what the show tries to offer—fanservice and plenty of it.
The menus follow the same basic design. The episode listing takes up the majority of screen space, set against a backdrop that looks almost like the green and white striped paper from dot matrix printers. One of the characters from the series sits on the bottom right-hand corner, and the main theme plays in full in the background. It’s a good, functional design with a strong aesthetic design that differs from typical menus, which delegate roughly equal screen space to the art and the menu, or favor the art over the menu.
There’s nothing much to write home about in terms of extras on this DVD. You get some Japanese promos (which I always enjoy watching), Clean Op/Ed, and a karaoke version of the Episode 12 closing song, which is also kind of cool, but still isn’t much in the way of solid DVD extras.
There are some images I could have gone my entire life without seeing, and pert near the top of that list is a grown man dressed as a woman, trying to breastfeed a young girl. I feel like I need an emergency eye wash station for my brain now that I’ve seen that.
That image is pretty indicative of what you’re going to get with The Comic Artist & His Assistants. As one can plainly see from the cover and show summary, this is a fanservice title, but I’m not sure what fans the show is servicing. With the exception of a few scenes of the girls in their bikinis, there really isn’t that much going on, unless you like to see panties by themselves and not on anyone (and if you do—no judgment. You like what you like). Although Aito runs around like he’s fueled by perversion, there’s actually very little in the way of sexy girls in sexy outfits doing sexy girl things—which I thought was the entire point of the show.
To make matters worse, the show sometimes veers off in weird, somewhat disturbing ways, such as the aforementioned breastfeeding scene, or the scene where Aito and Sena are trapped in an elevator, and she almost has to pee in a bottle with him holding her. That’s another image I never wanted to have in my head.
Backtracking just a little bit, the show centers around the manga artist, Yuki Aito, and his series “Hajiratte Café Latte,” a fanservice-y title that features lots and lots of panties. Aito perpetually runs behind on his work, so his editor hires three assistants to help him meet his deadline. These assistants happen to all be young, attractive women, and Aito spends just as much time trying to seduce them as he does working on his comic.
To be fair to Aito, he does display positive qualities underneath his hentai exterior. He does seem to genuinely care about his friends, he throws himself into any situation full-throttle, and he displays a sweetness that can be disarming. If he could temper his overly-romantic notions and not run around like a hentai chicken with its head cut off, he would be a pretty good guy.
It’s those nobler qualities that keep his assistants and his editor from washing their hands of him outright, and most of them seem to have a bit of a crush on Aito. The irony of the series is that if Aito didn’t try so hard, he probably would have a girlfriend.
The show doesn’t have any clear narrative arc. In structure, it resembles Azumanga Daioh in that it tells three or four different short stories within an episode. There are some threads, though, that do run through the show, such as Ashisu’s desire to be a manga artist in her own right, Mihari’s fretting over her small cup size, or Sena’s anger over being so small and childlike. None of these threads truly come to fruition, but they do create a sense of continuity.
As is probably obvious by now, The Comic Artist & His Assistants didn’t really do it for me. The characters were more annoying than charming, the fanservice was inconsistent and downright not my flavor, and the humor just didn’t work for me. The only aspect that I did enjoy was the way it depicted the moments when the women became annoyed with Aito. When this occurs, the aesthetic design changes completely from the standard anime style to something much more comic book-y, using Ben-Day dots and vivid, abstract color to effectively stop the scene and let the emotion come through. Seriously, some of the images look like a Roy Lichtenstein painting, and if the show had been a little more inventive like that, I might have enjoyed it more.
I thought I knew what I was getting into with The Comic Artist & His Assisstants, but, man, it just did not hit the mark for me. Despite the inventive use of Ben-Day dots and comic book style, the show has one note, and it’s not a very good one. The characters annoyed me, the fanservice was not my flavor, and the humor just didn’t work. No judgement if you liked it, but Dr. Josh gives this a…
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean opening, Clean Closing
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: September 15th, 2015
Running Time: 205 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Panasonic Viera TH42PX50U 42” Plasma HDTV, Sony BPD-S3050 BluRay Player w/HDMI Connection