[WIW] Comic Party! Where the hero chases a wild, crazy dream.

yalborap

Well, that’s just Prime.
Validated User
#1


Okay, folks, here we are. The big milestone. Series number 100. And this one we’re doing is…Well, quite frankly, you probably haven’t heard of it. And I don’t mean that in a hipster “look at this obscure anime, I’m a better otaku than you” way. I mean it in that, well, this is an odd little one from 200-fucking-1. Comic Party is an also-ran series based on one of many visual novels, an early-form harem-show with then-popular waifu styles.

So why are we talking about it, especially for such a big milestone?

A few reasons.

Comic Party isn’t the first ever anime I watched. Going off of release dates and what networks I had access to as a child, that was probably Pokemon. It certainly wasn’t my first exposure to anything made in Japan, as Power Rangers was a thing in my life practically from birth.

It wasn’t even the first anime I watched, while aware that it was anime and distinct from merely ‘cartoons’. That was prrrrobably Yu Yu Hakusho’s run on Cartoon Network, or perhaps something from first-wave Adult Swim.

But it has two very key roles.

The first is that it was the first anime I owned. I bought the DVDs when they initially came out, prowling my Best Buy’s then-extensive DVD section, and got them each as they were released. I actually still have the DVDs, but we’ll get back to that.

It was my first anime that showed me Japanese culture, and especially Japanese fan culture, as a distinct thing. The concept of doujinshi, of mangaka, and hell, of fucking screen tones is both common knowledge amongst weebs, and pretty easy to find out about these days. But when you don’t even know to ask the questions…Well, Comic Party showed me those answers.

And…It was the first anything I can think of, that really showed the creative process. For all that Comic Party is about goofy antics with cute nerd girls at comic conventions, it’s also about the struggle to create, and the reasons why we do. Comic Party was my first exposure to seeing someone actually build a thing from nothing, even in its very brief and light showing of such. When I decided I wanted to try and be a professional writer, I actually went back and watched the series again, just to get that connection. There’s a scene…Well, you’ll know it when we get there.

It’s a dumb, silly show…But it’s pretty important to me.

So, here’s the bad news. My DVDs have since succumbed to bit-rot. I still have the feelies, and I have every intention of going through them to some degree with you all, because they’re these god damned amazing walkthroughs of all of the stupid references they snuck into this show, but the actual discs are frisbees.

Here’s the good news! I, A: still have my old rips from the discs, and B: just ordered the 2015 re-release of the DVD box set. Which means we’re a lot less likely to tackle its sequel series, Comic Party Revolution, right in this thread…But I’m gonna be honest with you, it’s not why we’re here. We’re here because of all of the emotional memories.

So, the quality and subs might shift a little in a couple days when I get those DVDs in. But until that point, we’ll work with what we’ve got.

All of that said, let’s get things going. It’s Comic Party, episode 01! Here we GO!

Spoiler: Show


-We begin, with our hero desperately running to school, a high school student barely making it before the last bell…When he hears an impassioned cry? Like, war cry, not the other kind. And rushing past him, sweeping the floors, is a young woman with bright green hair and antenna ears!

-PAUSE

-You might be asking “What”.

-TO THE REFERENCE BOOK.

-My god, I forgot the cover on this one. I think I need to scan this later. I definitely need to scan this later. This girl is from To Heart, a dating sim from the same folks who made Comic Party! To Heart references actually show up a lot. So, our hero gets in, sits down next to Mizuki…Only to find this is not Mizuki!

-Yes, he has fallen into the life of Hiroyuki, the protagonist of To Heart. He’s very confused, as he is one Sendou Kazuki. But alas, poor Kazuki, nobody is listening. In a panic, he flees, only to run into the green-haired girl, and the best friend who keeps saying the same line

-Until finally, he snaps awake! He’s in his room. With a very confused actual Mizuki in front of him, having just arrived to wake him up. And she is very frustrated, because this is the era of comic violence.

-Opening! Just be you, and don’t change. You’re more precious to me than anyone! You have a great, sparkling dream…And you’re my one and only friend.

-Fuck, hearing that theme sends me back, you guys.

-Also, fair warning. This is 2001, and this is the era of big motherfucking eyes. So big. You need to be aware of that now.

-Episode 01! Fateful first experience?!

-So while Kazuki gets ready, Mizuki briefly chats with his mom, and they’ve got one of those vintage “She comes and wakes him up every day because he’s hopeless without her” friendships-slash-relationships going on. Man, when was the last time we saw one of those presented straight and without any subversion, huh?

-So, it’s a desperate run to the train station, as poor Kazuki is woefully out of shape…When, first, we get a solid piece of data. Their high school has a direct ride to a decent college. Not, like, an amazing one, but enough of one that Kazuki does not give two shits about entrance exams. And then, there comes a laugh from the shadows…! Though they are starting their third year, they have no need to fear, to worry!

-A figure! Will you let this opportunity go to waste, when you could spend this year full of passion?! MY BROTHER! And MY SISTER! Even a child knows this guy is weird. Kabuki and Mizuki quietly contemplate just leaving. But no. This is exactly where and when they were intended to be! And there is nowhere else you could possibly go!

-Onto the train. Where are they being dragged off to by Taishi here, so early in the morning?

-Sidenote, we’ll talk more about Taishi as we spend more time with him, but if you knew me from a certain era, there was a long time where he was actually my avatar of choice. I found his bombastic energy downright aspirational.

-Okay, pushing on. They’re going…To the Tokyo convention center! You’re familiar with it. Or at least, they’re going to the end of the line so far away from the convention center. Kazuki and Mizuki are confused…But they are here to be used for the big doujinshi convention!

-Taishi needs grunts to help buy shit.

-And when they get in…It’s CHAOS. Crowds, swarms, masses! Nerds big and small! Cosplay! My god, do you remember a time before we knew anything about cosplay? When that was still a new thing? Also that was definitely a Zaku in that crowd. Good mecha costumes are hard, that had to be impressive.

-So Kazuki and Mizuki finally find each other through the crowds…While Taishi just slots through with ease, even as a huge crowd rushes by to another booth, and poor Mizuki gets practically trampled! And she is done with this shit! She was stuck in line for three hours for this bullshit and it SUCKS and she wants OUT…

-And then she gets swept away in another nerd wave. Abandon her, comrade Kazuki! In this, your only hope is to push on! There are dreams awaiting! COME ON!

-So Kazuki gets dragged into the thick masses of crowds…And oh, to make it worse, he gets separated from Taishi too! He manages to find a gap to breathe, even as he can’t figure out where to even start. The books all look the same. The people all look weird. And he has no hope of finding either of his friends…

-Holy shit his cellphone, you guys. It’s not even a flip phone, it’s a candy bar with an extendable antenna! I haven’t seen one of those in soooo long. IT HAS A MONOCHROME SCREEN

-So as you can imagine, if you’ve ever been to a con, Kazuki is getting next to no signal. It is just impossible in this kind of thick crowd, especially at this time; while a lot less of the people here will have cellphones, that means there’s a lot fewer towers to handle the load.

-And that’s about when someone starts barreling through in a panic! A young woman who’s let her cart get away from her, helpless to stop it…And somehow, in her desperate attempt, she manages to wheel it right into Kazuki, spilling them both and all of the books too! Oh god gotta get these up gotta get them up and they’re UP! Thank you for your help, goodbye…

-And she manages to lose control again inside of four steps. I shudder to think what she’d do with access to anything with a motor.

-But, okay, let’s try getting back out of the convention hall. Kazuki finds a door…Just in time to be informed by another lovely maiden that that’s the emergency exit. She’s part of the staff, and handling everything with ease…But that means Kazuki has to keep moving and figure out one of the actual exits…

-Which takes him past a fateful booth. Where another woman is about to throw down with a pair of otaku. Why, you might ask? Because they want her to start selling her books now, not at her scheduled time. …She will beat you to death with this paper fan if you suggest trying to break her own promise to the people looking forward to these books again, you fucking ingrates.

-So, Inagawa Yuu, may forget her own human limits, but she has never forgotten the honor of doing right by her customers as a doujin artist! And that’s when the crowd moves in, trying to get at their chance if she cracks…

-Which pushes Kazuki up into front. And the otaku are about ready to rough him up for trying to steal their first shot at that material. But Yuu spots an opportunity, snaring poor Kazuki to put him to use as backup!

-Which is when the staff woman arrives, and the wild crowd is forced to flee…So Yuu takes her chance to slap up a break sign and bail, dragging Kazuki along with her!

-Commercial break!

-And we’re back! So they’re able to get out, presumably through one of the table-and-staff exits, and Kazuki can finally fucking breathe. He’s finally free…Oh, got everything you wanted that early, huh?

-…No. He got dragged here against his will. Now, can he get a signal…That’s a no. No luck at a con, man! You new at this? New nothing, this is his first time…And it’ll be his last. The crowds, the heat, the odor, and all for what?

-For what? For WHAT?! Fan to the head. Just READ this, you jackass! And she puts one of her own doujinshi, of course about To Heart, in front of Kazuki…Who can’t help but find it funny. Good funny. This is good stuff! Knew you had the core of a fan in you, rookie. Come on!

-So Yuu quickly drags him right back into the thick…Only for them to run into the last person Yuu ever wants to see.

-God, it’s not the eyes that were absurd in this era, it was the fuckin’ mouths. So this latest maiden is on her way home, having finished her sales bright and early, and after lots of insults, she’s off completely empty-handed without a single book left to haul away!

-That, was Ohba Eimi. Yuu would quite like to murder her. Her circle, “Cat or Fish”, is very successful…

-While Yuu’s…It’s not that she’s not, it’s that she’s regional. She earned her stripes back in Kansai, doing small-town cons, and is only now stepping up to the big city game. Also, Kazuki gets stuck behind her table with her, turned into unpaid labor. Which leads to his very first exchange, one copy of Yuu’s doujin for a humble 500 yen. That’s a hell of a lot for one black and white book, compared to paying similar for an entire tome of Weekly Shonen Jump, and the weight of that humble coin sits heavy in Kazuki’s hand…

-And he gets a very quick crash course in the day of a doujin circle. (Fun fact, the circle terminology wasn’t really a thing yet, so the subs just call them ‘groups’.) He’s got to learn sales, mail order info flyers, and passing along sketch requests, all in the first five minutes…As Yuu quickly cooks up a marker sketch for the customer, it sends Kazuki back.

-The school festival. Mizuki was working on painting a big banner, but didn’t have enough artistic skill to fill in the runner on the center of it…So, Kazuki laid down the line work, much to her amazement.

-Back in the now, Yuu explains the appeal of this world. Everyone buys manga now and then, right? You get a Weekly Jump from the convenience store, or maybe something more comedy or serious. But aside from sending in a review card, when do you ever get to communicate with the creator? When do you get to shake their hand, tell them what you loved about their work? When do you ever get to have a moment like this, getting a piece of art just for you?

-You don’t. How could you, when their lives are so busy, and their fans so numerous? But here, things are…Smaller. Simpler. More personal. And she finishes coloring in the sketch, passing the book back to her customer, who’s just awed at it, and looking forward to the summer convention…She promises another issue by then, which has him even more excited.

-As Kazuki takes another look at the crowds…And really parses them, this time. Artists communicating with eager fans. People trading books and opinions, and passion…It’s a world he’s never seen before…

-And eventually, with the sun low in the sky, the Comic Fest is done. Kazuki ends up helping Yuu load up her remaining supplies into the back of a taxi, and if they ever meet again, Kazuki! Safe travels! She’s gone, and now with the crowd thinning out, Kazuki can finally get a signal…

-And then he gets snuck up on by Taishi, who has half a dozen mighty bags full of books! BEHOLD, the fruits of a day’s labor! All preparation for the ambition to come! …Taishi, where the hell is Mizuki? Did you EVER find her?!

-Set against the setting sun, Mizuki emerges from the mists, barely propped up by a walking stick she found somewhere. As Kazuki runs to her, she collapses, and breathes her last, with another reference. This time, specifically, to the 1980 Japanese disaster movie “Fukkatsu no Hi”, sometimes localized just as “Virus”.

-Okay, she’s not dead. She’s sore and tired and mad…And by the time they’re on the train home, she is far too exhausted to do anything except despair…Kazuki is convinced that Taishi just wanted him for grunt work.

-But, after they drop off Mizuki…Taishi reveals his true plans! They’re not just going back to school as normal students! Tell him, what did you feel at the convention today?

-It…It seemed weird at first, but everyone there was so into it, so…passionate…

-YES, passion! A fiery, bold passion, for manga! Manga is Japan’s noblest and proudest export, comrade Kazuki! America has Hollywood’s cinema, and Japan has the manga! Not just manga, but the birthing place of it all, the doujinshi! They are third-year students as of tomorrow, with a free ride to college! They could sleep through their classes and graduate into a mid-level college, which will graduate them into being hired by a mid-level company, to lead a mid-level life…

-Or, OR, Kazuki! They could use this time, this opportunity, to fulfill their passions! To chase a dream, knowing they have nothing to lose! In this bold new world of the 21st century, doujinshi can spread across the world! With the wonders of the internet, the cellphone and the printer, they could be read on every continent! The world will be united, Kazuki, not by the sword but by the pen! JOIN HIM, Kazuki, and unite this world!

-Eventually, Kazuki gets home. And he’s…Got some complicated thoughts, as he looks at his old art supplies in the corner…

-The next morning, it’s into school, and Taishi is right up on Kazuki. And Kazuki’s got a lot of doubts and uncertainties, but, maybe to just try it the one time…Try what the one time, Mizuki would like to know. It’s, it’s nothing, really…

-So they settle into class…Just in time to learn that this class will also be getting a transfer student…

-And it’s Yuu! Who’s quick to reconnect with Kazuki, as Taishi can only laugh. This is fate, Kazuki, FATE! The gods have spoken and drawn them together! The pieces are set, all that is left is to cast the die! To draw, to create, and to chase their dreams!

-The teacher tries to get order…But it’s for naught, as Mizuki finally realizes that Kazuki intends to DRAW DOUJINSHI?!!!

-Credits! The distant sky looked bright…And we began walking, getting our feet caught in the mud, heading for a shapeless city~ The pocket in my heart was full of the grownup things we’d just learned!

Whew, that one took a lot longer than I planned. But it was worth it. Man, this was a wild walk down memory lane. And we haven’t even gotten all the proper pieces in play yet…Though we’ve met quite a few of our characters already.

This is gonna be great. I mean, for me. You’re probably a little confused. But we’ll make it work. Look forward to more of my nonsense next time, with episode TWO of Comic Party! Wait for it!
 

Shay Guy

Registered User
Validated User
#2
And rushing past him, sweeping the floors, is a young woman with bright green hair and antenna ears!

-PAUSE

-You might be asking “What”.

-TO THE REFERENCE BOOK.

-My god, I forgot the cover on this one. I think I need to scan this later. I definitely need to scan this later. This girl is from To Heart, a dating sim from the same folks who made Comic Party! To Heart references actually show up a lot.
*wiki wiki wiki*

Oh yeah, Multi, I've heard of her!

...

Dear God, I'm actually an old enough anime fan to have heard of Multi.

-Holy shit his cellphone, you guys. It’s not even a flip phone, it’s a candy bar with an extendable antenna! I haven’t seen one of those in soooo long. IT HAS A MONOCHROME SCREEN
Trying to remember when I owned one of those... actually, I can't even remember if I had a cell phone before starting college in '06, much less whether I had replaced my first one yet.

-God, it’s not the eyes that were absurd in this era, it was the fuckin’ mouths.
Now I'm wondering what people will find ridiculous about the look of 2010s anime. Excessive postprocessing, maybe?

Manga is Japan’s noblest and proudest export, comrade Kazuki! America has Hollywood’s cinema, and Japan has the manga!
"Japan is the Hollywood of comics, and I mean that in both the good and bad senses of the word." -Rachel Thorn

They are third-year students as of tomorrow, with a free ride to college! They could sleep through their classes and graduate into a mid-level college, which will graduate them into being hired by a mid-level company, to lead a mid-level life…

-Or, OR, Kazuki! They could use this time, this opportunity, to fulfill their passions! To chase a dream, knowing they have nothing to lose! In this bold new world of the 21st century, doujinshi can spread across the world! With the wonders of the internet, the cellphone and the printer, they could be read on every continent! The world will be united, Kazuki, not by the sword but by the pen! JOIN HIM, Kazuki, and unite this world!
Ah. So they have the option of being among the Inferior People, or the Superior People? Or if that's too strong, then the option of living in the Inferior way or the Superior way?

I mean, I'm getting this secondhand, but that does sound like Taichi's implication.

Well, anyway, here's the index, with that lovely 100 at the end. Ad me'ah v'esrim... which at this rate will probably be around spring 2020. :)
Spoiler: Show

  1. 08-05-2011 to 09-03-2011: [WIW] Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z Hen(2009 Mazinger Z series)
  2. 09-05-2011 to 01-05-2012: [WIW] The Slayers! Where the heroine wields black magic, and the hero's an idiot.
  3. 01-06-2012 to 01-30-2012: [WIW] Tiger & Bunny! Where the Hero's hot-blooded, and the other is a bishie.
  4. 02-02-2012 to 02-15-2012: [WIW] Getter Robo: Armageddon! Where the hero's the most hotblooded motherfucker ever
  5. 02-18-2012 to 03-14-2012: [WIW] Cutey Honey, the original series! Where the heroine's a ROBOT
  6. 03-15-2012 to 05-13-2012: [Where I Watch] Godannar! Where the hero and heroine are married and HOT BLOODED!
  7. 05-14-2012 to 09-28-2012: [Where I Watch] Totally Spies! Where the heroines are vectors of kink.
  8. 09-30-2012 to 10-25-2012: [WIW] Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka?/Is That Really A Zombie? Where the hero's a zombie
  9. 10-25-2012 to 12-10-2012: [WIW] Sonic Underground. Where the hero's a prince? With two siblings? What the HELL?
  10. 12-20-2012 to 03-01-2013: [WIW] Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger! Where the heroes are pirates, with AWESOME COATS.
  11. 03-03-2013 to 04-06-2013: [WIW] Black Lagoon. Where the hero's a salaryman and the heroine terrifies me.
  12. 04-07-2013 to 07-25-2013: [WIW] Futari Wa Pretty Cure! Where the heroines punch evil with friendship.
  13. 07-26-2013 to 09-30-2013: [WiW] Kamen Rider Fourze. Where the hero's going to be your friend.
  14. 10-01-2013 to 10-16-2013: [WIW] Girls und Panzer! Where the heroine practices the traditional art of the tank
  15. 10-17-2013 to 11-11-2013: [WIW] Robotics;Notes! Where the hero just doesn't care, and the heroine's enthusiastic to a fault.
  16. 11-12-2013 to 11-25-2013: [WIW] Gatchaman Crowds! Where the heroine fucking LOVES notebooks, you have no idea.
  17. 11-26-2013 to 12-09-2013: [WIW] Vividred Operation! Where the heroine can't afford real pants.
  18. 12-10-2013 to 12-24-2013: [WIW] Stella Women's Academy, High School Division Class C3! Where the heroine's a real freak.
  19. 12-26-2013 to 02-28-2014: [WIW] Kamen Rider Wizard! Where the hero will be your hope and put a ring on your finger.
  20. 03-02-2014 to 03-14-2014: [WIW] WataMote! Where the heroine's dated over one hundred fictional men.
  21. 03-16-2014 to 03-30-2014: [WIW] The Devil is a Part-Timer! Where the...Uh...Well...Dammit.
  22. 03-31-2014 to 04-28-2014: [WIW] The Pet Girl of Sakurasou. Where the hero takes in strays, and the heroine is...different.
  23. 04-29-2014 to 05-09-2014: [WIW] Blood Lad! Where the hero's a vampire otaku. Wait, no, flip that.
  24. 05-11-2014 to 05-25-2014: [WIW] Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet! Where the hero's from spaaaaace.
  25. 05-26-2014 to 06-08-2014: [WIW] Maoyu: Archenemy & Hero! Where the Hero's married to a busty lady Demon King
  26. 06-09-2014 to 07-09-2014: [WIW] Senki Zesshou Symphogear! Where the heroines sing and dance.
  27. 07-10-2014 to 09-10-2014: [WIW] Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters! Where IT'S MORPHIN' TIME for the heroes.
  28. 09-11-2014 to 04-01-2015: [WIW] Gundam Build Fighters! Where the hero's mom has got it goin' on. (original finished at 10-10; Try watched while airing)
  29. 10-13-2014 to 11-10-2014: [WIW] Kill la Kill! Where the heroine cares about her fashion choices.
  30. 11-11-2014 to 12-16-2014: [WiW] Love, Chunibyou & Other Delusions! Where the hero wants to escape his dark past.
  31. 12-17-2014 to 01-12-2015: [WIW] Samurai Flamenco! Where the hero believes in JUSTICE!
  32. 01-13-2015 to 03-17-2015: [WIW] Zyuden Sentai, KyoRyuger! Where the heroes are BRAVE!
  33. 03-19-2015 to 04-01-2015: [WIW] Barakamon! Where the hero does calligraphy.
  34. 04-02-2015 to 04-15-2015: [WIW] 10. Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!! 20. Where the hero's GOTO 10
  35. 04-16-2015 to 04-30-2015: [WIW] Meganebu! Where the hero wants x-ray glasses to go over his regular ones.
  36. 05-01-2015 to 05-14-2015: [WIW] Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun! Where the heroine kind of looks like Paras if you squint?
  37. 05-15-2015 to 07-21-2015: [WIW] Kamen Rider Gaim! Where the hero might be orange, but at least he's not annoying.
  38. 07-26-2015 to 08-24-2015: [WIW] Shirobako! Where the heroine struggles under the capitalistic machine.
  39. 08-25-2015 to 09-07-2015: [WIW] The Rolling Girls! Where the heroine disguises herself as tea.
  40. 09-08-2015 to 11-06-2015: [WIW] Express Sentai ToQger! Where the heroes advocate for mass-transit and creative expression
  41. 11-08-2015 to 11-20-2015: [WIW] Love Bullet => Yuri Kuma Arashi! Where the bears are actually lesbians. And also bears.
  42. 11-22-2015 to 12-04-2015: [WIW] Yatterman Night! Where the heroes are villains.
  43. 12-06-2015 to 12-18-2015: [WIW] Monster Musume: Everyday Life With Monster Girls! Where the hero's just darling.
  44. 12-20-2015 to 03-03-2016: [WIW] Kamen Rider Drive! Where the hero has some sweet wheels.
  45. 03-04-2016 to 03-18-2016: [WIW] Symphogear GX! Where the heroine believes in justice, and holds a determination to fist.
  46. 03-20-2016 to 04-04-2016: [WIW] Seiyu's Life! Where the heroine's behind a mic.
  47. 04-05-2016 to 04-19-2016: [WIW] One Punch Man! Where the hero's just being one for fun.
  48. 04-19-2016 to 05-03-2016: [WIW] Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? Where the hero wants to know that very thing.
  49. 05-04-2016 to 05-18-2016: [WIW] Shimoneta: A Boring World Where The Concept Of Dirty Jokes Doesn't Exist. Where the hero becomes a domestic terrorist??
  50. 05-19-2016 to 06-16-2016: [WIW] My Love Story!! Where the hero doesn't realizes how good he really is.
  51. 06-17-2016 to 08-15-2016: [WIW] Shuriken Sentai Ninninger! Where the heroes are ninja, but they don't hide!
  52. 08-16-2016 to 09-01-2016: [WIW] Gatchaman Crowds Insight! Where the heroine continues to be super energetic seriously where does she get it?
  53. 09-02-2016 to 09-14-2016: [WIW] High School Fleet! Where the heroine is...in high school. And in a fleet. Who'da thunk.
  54. 09-15-2016 to 09-29-2016: [WIW] Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto. Where the hero is an unparalleled display of humanity's raw infinite potential.
  55. 09-30-2016 to 10-15-2016: [WIW] FLAG. Where the heroine sees the weight of the world from behind her lens.
  56. 10-16-2016 to 12-20-2016: [WIW] Kamen Rider Ghost! Where the hero is already dead.
  57. 12-21-2016 to 01-04-2017: [WIW Mob Psycho 100! Where the hero kind of blends into the crowd.
  58. 01-05-2017 to 01-17-2017: [WIW] New Game! Where the heroine faces an unrelenting grind in pursuit of the dream.
  59. 01-18-2017 to 01-29-2017: [WIW] Konosuba - God's Blessing On This Wonderful World! Where the hero probably should've picked another cheat item honestly
  60. 01-30-2017 to 02-13-2017: [WIW] My Hero Academia! Where the hero wants to be one more than anything.
  61. 02-14-2017 to 03-01-2017: [WIW] Thunderbolt Fantasy! Where the hero has kung-fu grip and lots of articulation.
  62. 03-02-2017 to 03-15-2017: [WIW] Long Riders! Where the heroine discovers the raw, palpable freedom of the bicycle.
  63. 03-16-2017 to 03-29-2017: [WIW] Keijo!!!!!!!! Where the heroine wants to make it big by shaking her booty.
  64. 03-30-2017 to 04-12-2017: [WIW] Sweetness & Lightning! Where the hero is just trying to do right by his daughter.
  65. 04-13-2017 to 04-27-2017: [WIW] Kamen Rider Amazons! Where there are no heroes here, only the broken and the fallen.
  66. 04-28-2017 to 05-12-2017: [WIW] Space Patrol Luluco! Where the heroine is a completely normal everyday middle school student.
  67. 05-14-2017 to 05-26-2017: [WIW] Girlish Number! Where the heroine's...actually kind of an asshole.
  68. 05-28-2017 to 06-09-2017: [WIW] Kiss Him, Not Me! Where the heroine likes to watch.
  69. 06-11-2017 to 07-07-2017: [WIW] Cute High Earth Defense Club Love! Where the heroes are lovely princes, and experts in the art of Love Making.
  70. 07-09-2017 to 07-21-2017: [WIW] Kemono Friends! Where the heroine is a bag.
  71. 07-23-2017 to 08-04-2017: [WIW] Gabriel Dropout! Where the heroine is...really, really bad at this.
  72. 08-06-2017 to 08-21-2017: [WIW] Interviews With Monster Girls! Where the hero has some questions he would like to ask.
  73. 08-22-2017 to 09-04-2017: [WIW] Konosuba 2! Where the hero's comrades are (almost) all, quite possibly, worse than useless.
  74. 09-05-2017 to 09-19-2017: [WIW] Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid! Where the heroine likes two things: beer and maids.
  75. 09-20-2017 to 10-03-2017: [WIW] The Good Place! Where the heroine, really, doesn't, belong here...
  76. 10-04-2017 to 12-06-2017: [WIW] Kamen Rider Ex-Aid! Where the hero's got to do some debugging.
  77. 12-08-2017 to 12-23-2017: [WIW] Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine! Where the heroine is always one step ahead...but is one step enough?
  78. 12-24-2017 to 01-07-2018: [WIW] Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club! Where the heroine forgot how to ride a bike.
  79. 01-08-2018 to 02-02-2018: [WIW] Re:CREATORS! Where heroes are something we create, so that we can believe in something greater than ourselves.
  80. 02-04-2018 to 02-16-2018: [WIW] New Game!! Where the heroine has to keep chasing her dreams.
  81. 02-18-2018 to 03-14-2018: [WIW] Silver Spoon! Where the hero discovers the true horrors of the cloaca.
  82. 03-15-2018 to 04-12-2018: [WIW] Sakura Quest! Where the heroine is crowned Queen.
  83. 04-13-2018 to 04-26-2018: [WIW] GAMERS! Where the hero might, in fact, be the dumbest one I’ve ever seen.
  84. 04-27-2018 to 05-11-2018: [WIW] Wanna be the Strongest in the World! Where the heroine takes it to the mat.
  85. 05-13-2018 to 05-25-2018: [WIW] Laid-Back Camp! Where the hero, Rin, just wants to relax in nature.
  86. 05-27-2018 to 06-25-2018: [WIW] My Hero Academia, season 2! Where the hero’s still striving to become one.
  87. 06-26-2018 to 07-09-2018: [WIW] Comic Girls! Where the heroine wants to share her story.
  88. 07-10-2018 to 07-24-2018: [WIW] I Couldn’t Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job. Where the...yeah, that.
  89. 07-25-2018 to 09-24-2018: [WIW] Animal Sentai Zyuohger! Where the heroes have to follow their instincts.
  90. 09-25-2018 to 10-08-2018: [WIW] Aho-Girl! Where the hero has clearly been cursed by a vindictive god.
  91. 10-09-2018 to 10-22-2018: [WIW] Magical Girl Ore! Where the heroine is a true hero of love.
  92. 10-23-2018 to 11-07-2018: [WIW] Megalobox! Where the hero’s rising up, back on the street.
  93. 11-08-2018 to 11-22-2018: [WIW] The Good Place, season 2! Where the heroine is not having a good time.
  94. 11-23-2018 to 12-07-2018: [WIW] Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online! Where the heroine’s gotta go fast.
  95. 12-09-2018 to 12-23-2018: [WIW] Cells At Work! Where the heroine has to make her deliveries or everyone dies.
  96. 12-24-2018 to 01-06-2019: [WIW] The Saga of Tanya the Evil! Where, look, they are not kidding with that title.
  97. 01-07-2019 to 02-06-2019: [WIW] The Zeta Project! Where the hero wants to be more than what he was made to be.
  98. 02-07-2019 to 02-22-2019: [WIW] Record Of Lodoss War! Where the heroes explore ancient places and fight big lizards. It’s like some kinda...Wastelands & Wyverns!
  99. 02-23-2019 to 03-08-2019: [WIW] SSSS.Gridman. Where the hero must remember his calling.
  100. 03-10-2019 to present: [WIW] Comic Party! Where the hero chases a wild, crazy dream.
 
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Aikireikinu

Tsundere Cat
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#4
I watched this show! It was on the free Anime Video on Demand channel on Comcast cable years ago! I remember really liking Taishi's insane enthusiasm.
 

yalborap

Well, that’s just Prime.
Validated User
#5
Okay, so! Actual next episode coming later today when I get home, but I scanned in the first DVD’s booklet, and wanted to share it with you all! We’re going to cover the innards later, but right out the gate, just, just look at this cover.



This so beautifully dates the show to a specific time and place in Western anime fandom, and I kind of adore it. (Though I also need to go back and re-scan this, as the auto-correct on my scanner kind of took out a lot of the deeper purples. Will need to experiment with that, since I might be the only motherfucker on the internet documenting this show)

The actual content is going to be more interesting, of course. It goes deep, and while the first episode covers the bulk of the content for obvious reasons of density, it’s super fascinating to look into all of the research done by the localizers.

But right here, right now? Just enjoy this cover, and the simple fact of what it says about the people making these extras, and the people buying them, at the time.

(Hell, have I even talked about the fact that the covers are printed in reverse, “manga style”, so you open the case with the opening on the left? It’s wild.)
 

yalborap

Well, that’s just Prime.
Validated User
#6


Whew, long day. But here we are. Let’s get into this. It’s Comic Party, episode 02! Here we GO!

Spoiler: Show


-We begin at night, the night before Golden Week begins to be precise. Kazuki fell asleep listening to the radio on his stereo, which is still the CD-cassette-radio boombox era. God I miss those. A bluetooth speaker that looks like a giant pill just isn’t the same, man. Anyways, he stirs right before the end of the broadcast, his desk covered in sketches…He’s almost at the deadline.

-The deadline for what? Another doujin con.

-Flashback, to lunch at Marvel cafe with Kazuki and Taishi. Who informed him of another doujin con…And signed them up for a table! Once, there was nothing, and then there was light! This shall be carved into history like the creation myths of old, comrade Kazuki! …Kazuki would like to know what the fuck and why a convention in May has to be signed up for by March you fuck. IT WAS ALREADY PAST MARCH WHEN YOU DRAGGED THEM TO THAT CON. You planned this from the start!

-Fate’s hands reach deep into the past, far enough for him to see what was still to come! He saw your eyes would open to the world of doujinshi, and he made a calculated decision! And look at how it has come together, comrade Kazuki!!!

-Oh god people are staring oh god shut up.

-Opening! It just doesn’t get across…It’s not working right at all! But even I and everyone else, have times like that. Those things that don’t return to your heart…But even those words and feelings, will come back in time someday, before you know it!

-Episode 02! Put your HEART into it!

-So, Kazuki looked for answers about where to even begin. Yuu to the rescue. Wherever! The whole point of doujinshi is you can do whatever you want! Wanna write a story with someone else’s characters? Do it! Wanna play with your own concept? Go for it! Wanna do some porn! Hell yeah, my dude! Wait when did Yuu get here?!

-She invited herself along! She doesn’t have any doujinshi friends around here. …What about Eimi? She just said she has no friends. A BITTER ENEMY DOES NOT COUNT.

-Also speaking of, Eimi is here too, griping about them not being in somewhere fancier and she just stole Kazuki’s burger. Wait, Yuu stole his soda. Also, Yuu is done. Taishi, Kazuki, you coming or not? So she ends up dragging them off…And distracting Eimi with a classic LOOK A DISTRACTION ploy. She’s having a bad day.

-So, to the store! Where Yuu gathers a mighty feast of snacks…And before he knows it, Kazuki finds they’ve convened at his place. You…You all could’ve just said you wanted to do that…

-So, Taishi gets out a MIGHTY tome of a dictionary, as they must begin research! First, the decision has to be made of what genre you’re writing in! What’s a genre?

-Taishi just pours the To Heart works onto Kazuki. First and foremost, PARODY! The most popular category! Like what Yuu does? SHE DOES A DAMN SIGHT BETTER THAN CHEAP PARODIES!

-Indeed, Taishi would categorize her under homage, work done more out of a deep personal passion than just quickly riffing on something for easy recognizability. Very important distinction. Also, it’s been a while since this came up as a super relevant thing, but Yuu makes a point of firmly putting Kazuki and her on a first-name basis.

-So, there’s the other broadest category…ORIGINAL works! With your own characters and designs! Well, Kazuki thinks original sounds like the best bet, since he doesn’t know too many of the latest and greatest anime of the present year 2000…

-ARE YOU INSANE?!

-Original works carry no brand recognition, no reason for anyone to pick them up except the sheer writing and linework of the creator(s)! They’re dangerous waters, Kazuki! Incredibly difficult to sell for a first time!

-Taishi busts out one of the quick-and-easy parodies of To Heart, and look, just start here! Start with a parody. Keep it simple. This is your first time, so just poking fun at a property you can quickly get up to speed with is the simplest way to make a decent name for your first outing! Yeah, but all he knows about this is that whole “Oh, Hiroyuki” thing he saw in his dreams…

-Yuu quietly questions how he could possibly dream about an anime he’s never watched, based on a game he’s never played. …That’s a very good question, now that we’re actually presenting it as a question…

-MWAHAHAHAHA! GENTLEMAN(AND LADY), BEHOLD! Taishi whips up the futon mattress on Kazuki’s bedfrae…Revealing that under the frame, he’s stashed an old timey reel to reel, loaded with the audio of To Heart! For maximum efficiency, he’s been feeding Kazuki the data for a proper parody using sleep-learning techniques!!!

-Why aren’t you impressed.

-Across town, Mizuki’s furious, because Kazuki’s meeting meant he got forced to cancel their concert date. One he’d promised to go to so long ago, when the concert had been announced…But wait…What could have come up so suddenly? …Oh no. It couldn’t be. But yet…

-Back at Kazuki’s place, and look, Taishi gets that you want to do your own thing. Fine. But it has to be EXCITING, bold, brash! Like…Hot blooded?

-Like something to excite an otaku’s senses! CUTE GIRLS, comrade Kazuki! CUTE GIRLS OF DIFFERENT ARCHETYPES TO EXCITE THE SENSES AND DRAW THE EYE! OBSERVE, the enticing power of THIS BODY PILLOW! Does it not draw you in, as a siren draws sailors to the rocks?!

-Join him, comrade Kazuki!!!

-And Mizuki gets to his place, in time to hear Kazuki scream. Oh no! Taishi’s doing something weird to Kazuki! She sprints in, and…

-…And…

-Wow, I’d forgotten this scene exists.

-So, let me paint you a word picture.

-Yuu and Taishi have on antenna-ear headbands. Taishi is rocking out on the…Well I guess it’s a standee, not a body pillow, it turns out, but he’s definitely using it like a guitar. They’ve not only forced a headband onto Kazuki, but also Yuu is in the middle of forcing him into a cosplay sailor fuku.

-So. Mizuki is confused. And horrified. And furious. Sidenote, man, I’d forgotten just how high of a pitch anime girls used to get. I think Mizuki shouting is causing problems with this old computer speaker, and I’m not even joking.

-So, back to the Now. Kazuki wonders what kind of ridiculous bullshit he’s gotten himself into, and starts to wonder if he should even be doing this…Aaaand when he leans back, he tips himself right over. Owwww.

-Commercial break!

-And we’re back! Kazuki is full of doubt…And the next day at school, Mizuki comes up to Kazuki at lunch time, with a lot of…confliction. First, she reads quite easily that he totally forgot lunch, so focused on all of this drawing…And while she’s always admired his more, well, normal work, this whole doujinshi thing is…Are you really serious about this?

-…Well…Yeah. If only for the one time, to try it. It seems interesting. Fun, even.

-Mizuki can’t see a single scrap of fun in what they went through in that con…And Yuu promptly calls all the bullshit. Mizuki finds herself suddenly under verbal attack from behind, and Yuu does not worry much about decorum as she pushes hard against Mizuki, actively pushing her several steps back, until Mizuki just goes into classic ‘bakabakabaka’ panic flailing and flees the room.

-Kazuki tries to go after her, but Taishi stops him with a serious hand on his shoulder. Kazuki…

-While you’re out, could you buy him a yakisoba bread and a curry bread? Here, bring back his change.

-So, Kazuki ends up doing a lunch run…Only to find a MASSIVE box coming at him! He desperately catches it, and atop the box is… It’s the delivery girl from the con! It seems she, too, is a new student, though considering she’s a first-year I’d bet she just, you know, was a middle schooler when they met. But, he helps her get the box to her class, and she introduces herself as Tsukamoto Chisa! Yeah, she’s totally got a crush on the man who saved her twice.

-By the time class is wrapping, Mizuki is still pissed as she goes to leave…And before Kazuki can even talk to her, Taishi is on him in a flash! They need to go look at the local print shop! …Wait, you’ve got to get doujinshi printed?

-Yuu’s eager to join in, and yeah, what were you going to do, draw every copy by hand? …Well honestly he was assuming photo copies…

-No! Photocopying is flexible, yes, but it can’t scale! They need proper offset printing!

-So it’s downtown, where Yuu puts something out there; Mizuki’s probably got some personal reasons for being so mad about doujinshi. But then they arrive, at the local…Tsukamoto Printers! Dun dun DUN!

-It’s a small, quiet, humble place…And kind of messy. But not in, like, a disorganized way. Rather, the way that an actual busy place is gonna get ink stains and extra wear and have some stuff just out to put into play quickly. This is a small place, but it’s no pristine untouched display piece. They work their asses off here. Now…Where’s the staff?

-One’s coming out right now! Yeah it’s Chisa, welcome to her family’s print shop. So, soon they’re sitting down across from her with some tea, and some rates for their modest print run, and Taishi confirms it’s a good rate…When they spot a fresh book right off the press. (Also, it’s another To Heart doujinshi. This is kind of like when you watch a card game anime and matters of international security are settled with children’s games.)

-Yuu flips through, and can confirm this is really good quality printing. Screen tones are well maintained, multiple shades of grey are well used, and the black points are bold without smearing or spreading. So is that a premium job?

-Chisa actually gets downright mad there, because no, they don’t charge for quality, they charge for materials. Quality is their pride and their honor! Even their basic print job is still fulfilling the impassioned dreams of an artist, and she does right by them in turn…Aaaand that’s when she realizes she smells something off. …That doesn’t smell like the right ink mixture in the print…room…oh god it’s not the right print mixture. OH GOD SHE’LL BE RIGHT BACK

-Chisa panics, in time to find things going all kinds of wrong. Which is not in time at all. …Well.

-Eventually, Kazuki’s back home, just past midnight…And he’s really running short on time…When he gets a call. It’s Mizuki, who knows he’s drawing more still…And she’s still upset about not getting to go to the concert. So she wants him to take her to this fancy tea shop tomorrow! …Tomorrow, tomorrow’s just…He needs to finish this manuscript…

-And so she goes off on a furious rant on him, before hanging up furiously, and trying to beat her phone to death with her pillow. Kazuki is left alone, in the silence…And after her telling him how much she hates his art now…He remembers what kind of art she knows him from.

-Flashback to the school festival. To his finished poster. It was a realistic, painterly style, similar to old Hollywood movie posters…And that was when Mizuki fell in love with Kazuki’s art, and Taishi first saw an opportunity to chase a dream.

-And Kazuki realizes…He’s being a damned idiot! He let Taishi get into his head in the wrong way…Yuu told him the point of doujinshi is to do what you want. Hell, even Taishi said that the entire appeal is an artist pouring their heart onto the page! Fuck, why is he trying to imitate flash-in-the-pan anime?! He grabs a fresh sketchbook, and starts pouring a rapid-fire near-future thriller together, working not in a grind, but in that feverish passion when everything just starts clicking.

-Morning arrives, and Yuu swings on by…Running into Taishi. Both of them concerned…But as they slip up to Kazuki’s room, they see him still at his desk, working intensely…Yeah, he’s gonna be just fine. Come on, Taishi. Come ON. They’re not gonna bug him.

-And Kazuki works and works, as salarymen go off to work and baseball boys go off to play…From morning to night, pouring his passion into strong sketches that can hold up without a ton of refinement…

-Until, eventually, he dozes off somewhere late in the night…But when morning arrives, with Kazuki asleep at his desk, he’s got something he can be damn proud of, inked, collated and ready to get to the shop…

-Credits! Having taken off our uniforms, the wind was just a little too cold…Who in the world am I? I think about that, every so often. In the world outside the school building, it’s like everyone is a pawn in a game of chess…

Aaaah yeah. There’s the good stuff. It’s not about the big splashy comedy, as much as I love that stuff. It’s about these moments, where Kazuki finds that passion. This is why I keep coming back to this show. This is why I ordered replacement DVDs, because having a hard copy of this is that important to me. …Oh man, I forgot we still have another maiden to meet! Look forward to that next time, in episode THREE of Comic Party! Wait for it!
 

yalborap

Well, that’s just Prime.
Validated User
#7


Whew, I always forget how much going to see a movie just totally bisects my day. Anyways, it’s Comic Party, episode 03! Here we GO!

Spoiler: Show


-A new day, and Kazuki is stuck waiting at the train station…When Taishi finally arrives, oh so dramatically. Together, they are now BROTHER 2! Is your flame burning, Kazuki?! Does your blood boil with artistic justice?! Taishi is so excited, he gets the incredibly rare, highly sought after male genki fang.

-Look, forward, comrade Kazuki! Brother 2 will arise in that building, at that convention! They will face the war of capitalism! Now prepare yourself, for entry is from 8-9 AM! …It’s almost 9. RUN, comrade Kazuki! Run with your life on the line, MY BROTHER!

-Opening! There’s only one thing you can do right now. Just accept it, and go with it…Just be you, and stay true to yourself! Take a little break~

-Episode 03! Buyers, Sellers, Exhibition and Spot Sale

-Meanwhile, Mizuki meets up with a friend of hers. Since Kazuki bailed on her, she will just find camaraderie elsewhere in her life!

-As Kazuki tries to figure out where to get set up…Only to find Taishi missing. It is as the lioness casts her child out to the hunt. Taishi has abandoned him to help Kazuki to grow as a warrior of the doujin arts, to force him to climb under his own will…!

-And after a fair bit of hunting, Kazuki finally finds himself at a half-empty table, with a young lady sitting there nervously behind her own work, a black and white cover manga selling for a mere 200 yen. Meet Hasebe Aya, as Kazuki gets settled in and sees just how…

-Well…How do I put this…On the one hand, there’s a certain brewing chaos as all of the circles desperately try to get their stuff ready and figure out the order of things. But on the other…Well, Aya’s receiving zero attention. Also, when he gets talking, is when he learns that his stuff isn’t coming to his table, it’s still at the loading dock. …Oh fuck OH FUCK RUN RUN RUN

-Chisa’s there with his modest order, and trips right into his arms. If she didn’t have a crush on him before, she sure as hell does now. And it doesn’t hurt that she loved his manuscript, and the passion behind it made it an absolute joy to print for him.

-As Taishi lays out the rules of life in this world. You’ve got to get there early, get your stuff, and now? Get a copy to the administration so they can make sure you’re not selling pornographic lolicon Nazi propaganda. Because if you do, you’ll be barred from selling any further copies.

-But Kazuki finally gets back to his half of the table, and gets to see his own manuscript for the first time in printed form…And it’s, wow. It literally brings tears to his eyes. And then, the doors open for the public, as the most enthusiastic otaku come racing in!

-Meanwhile, Mizuki is soothing her soul with retail therapy and all the things that she hasn’t been able to do with Kazuki in a while.

-Back at the con, Kazuki is struggling to get any attention at all, when he sees just what he’s working against…At a busy table across the aisle, the guy there is selling…Busty fetish nurse with off-brand Pikachu, and it’s working. With no other attention, he ends up in a panic flailing attempt to talk with Aya without putting his foot in his mouth around the nervous girl…

-When one of the Bad Otaku drops his condensation-coated soda right onto her books, not even parsing her table as an active sales table. Aya’s too nervous to say anything about it, as the two talk about the latest coming and going trends in the most flash-in-the-pan otaku-bait stuff of the day. When they get going, Kazuki tries to tell them off, only for them to figure he’s about to give a sales pitch. They think so highly of themselves as they come right over, flip through his book, and immediately decide it’s trash. The market right now demands romantic comedies, and this is no romantic comedy!

-…You’re both assholes. You’re both such assholes. And when Kazuki rises up to challenge them both, the table gets bumped, that soda spills, and it gets all over poor Aya. The two Bad Otaku promptly split in the confusion before any blame can land on them, leaving Kazuki to just have to apologize for his part in making things worse, and give Aya a chance to go clean herself up. Which leaves him to man the table alone.

-And try to hold his emotions under more control. He escalated the situation, and in the end, just created more of a problem for the very woman he was trying to defend. Can’t let a couple of jackasses like that get under his skin…

-Speaking of jackasses. Guess who’s stalking the halls, but Ohba Eimi. Out of the fan-works wing and in the original space, where she so graciously offers a trade of her latest issue for one of his! This is a rare opportunity, you know!

-…Kazuki’s not that interested, and would rather it go to someone who wants it more. Which really pushes Eimi’s buttons, as we see that she operates on a purely capitalist level. She’s turned her worth into her sales numbers, and her sales numbers into her worth. A good book is a book that sells. A book that doesn’t sell is a bad book. An artist making a bad book is a bad artist. Considering Kazuki’s here entirely out of trying to draw something from the heart, it doesn’t go over well with him.

-And it goes over even less well with Yuu, who steps in to tell Eimi off and maybe hit her with that paper fan a few times.

-Well, okay, originally she came to drop off snacks and moral support for Kazuki…As well as not so subtly imply that Eimi’s only slumming it here in the world of doujinshi because she doesn’t have the core skill to go pro with anything that has lasting power on it. And when Eimi tries to confront her…She shoves a yakisoba bread into Eimi’s face, and it actually freaks Eimi out enough for her to bail.

-Because, you see, back when Eimi was just getting big, one year she ate some sandwich or rice ball or something that had nori on it, and it got stuck in her teeth. She had a big piece right there at her first ever real spot of attention, and the trauma’s stuck with her ever since. Which, like, Yuu would feel more bad about using that against her…But when Eimi’s being like that, well, she kind of deserves it.

-Anyways, that said, you really should avoid anything with nori when working a table, because it totally will get stuck in your teeth. And nothing that’ll go bad if it sits by your feet for like five hours. Think ahead a little. And that’s when Aya gets back.

-Back to Mizuki, who’s venting to her friend. Who knows Mizuki’s pattern. She only acts like this when something’s wrong. So what happened? NOTHING HAPPENED. …Right. Well, her friend has to tap out about now, thus leaving Mizuki on her own…

-To the con! Where Yuu thinks the single biggest problem is your table has literally no decoration. You look like you already left! And there’s no separation of the two groups, either. And price? What’s the price of this book, Kazuki? Or hell, why should she buy it? Simple question. What’s the number one appeal of this book, right now?

-…Kazuki has no idea.

-These things happen. You’re new at the game. But, Yuu planned ahead. Lift the books! And she slaps on a decorative tablecloth, busts out a sign where she quickly scrawls in fat marker that Brother 2 is in an active feud with the legendary Ohba Eimi, and lays out a solid bit of decoration! Now they just need to draw some eyes! COME ON, people, come one come all! You really don’t need to go so far…

-Well, if you insist. But, Kazuki, mistakes or not…You’ve got the core right. This gig isn’t about sales. It’s about passion. We’re all here because we love this stuff. Your book’s a good book. And hell, even before the question of good or not…It deserves to be here, by the simple virtue that you put in the time and energy to create it. Whether it sells every copy you printed, or ten, or five, or one, you deserve to sit at this table and to be in this world. And then Yuu’s off to go be a consumer for a bit and find her some quality doujinshi.

-Leaving Kazuki to take a deep breath, and try to draw in a crowd!

-Meanwhile, Mizuki went to go see the only movie she wanted to see, a romantic story. Alone. OOF.

-Back at the table, Kazuki’s gotten a bit of a crowd…And a little girl is asking him the price. You’re really interested? …So how much is it? Um, well, you see…As the first interested, you can have it.

-Nope, that won’t do. It’s worth money. Is 500 yen okay? 500 yen is okay. Here you go! And thus his first customer is off…And Kazuki has a single, shining 500 yen piece in his hand. A coin. She’s gone before he can even properly thank her…

-But he’s also getting a bit more interest, after that. He even gets a young lady asking him to sign it, and promising to follow his work in the future. And this, this right here, is the single greatest part of this world. It’s not about the sales numbers. It’s not about the splashy art, the premium color, or the sales pitch.

-It’s about this, simple, single moment. When you get to give someone a bit of joy in their lives, and they get to give you the immense feeling of validation that comes from knowing someone saw through to the passion and energy behind your creation. Never forget how that feels, and never forget your gratitude towards those who would lift you up like this. The moment you come to think you’re owed your fans, you’re done.

-Eventually, the day comes to an end. Kazuki is down eight copies of his first work, of which one went to the con for approval. Seven people. Seven people saw something he made, and decided they wanted it more than the cash in their pocket. That’s…Wow.

-Aya loads up her stuff…And would like to give him a copy of her work, as thanks for all his help. He in turn gives her a copy of his, and they both leave happy.

-With the sun low in the sky, Kazuki eventually sits down for a bit, and notices that this is about when Taishi would normally show up…But, no Taishi. Okay. So he takes a moment to look over Aya’s work…It’s, it’s good, real good, as he ends up going from a quick flip to reading it intensely, to the point where the sun is low in the sky. It’s a powerful romance piece, and one full of a raw and true passion…

-His mind goes back to what Eimi said. And there is, perhaps, a sadness to a poor selling work…But it’s not a sadness of the work not being good enough. It’s a sadness that so few people will get to see what’s really, truly there.

-Seeing this…Kazuki can see the real gap between him and Aya. But it also just makes him want to push himself that much harder! He wants to push himself, to learn the craft, to be able to be worthy of sitting next to someone this good

-BRAVO, MY BROTHER! Taishi arrives with an applause. You’ve seen the true heart of doujinshi. It’s not merely about creating. It’s about the sharing of that creation, the receiving of others, and the learning of yourself in the works you create! The doujinshi con does not end until you’re home, and the heart of doujinshi does not leave you once it’s in! All that awaits, now, is to chase that passion, wherever it may lead!

-And though both are so distant, Kazuki and Mizuki see the same shooting star, under the same sky…

-Credits! I’m here for you…And you, for me!

Mmmm yes. I said it before, but these moments are why I keep coming back to this show. Any show of the era can do big broad fun comedy of this style. But not just any show can have the little moments, the spots where a real and true earnest passion spills out.

I can’t wait to share more with you, especially when my new DVDs supposedly arrive tomorrow. Come back and continue this journey with me, in episode FOUR of Comic Party! Wait for it!
 

yalborap

Well, that’s just Prime.
Validated User
#9
So while I work on the next episode, and on getting this DVD drive to work, let’s chew on the rest of our first booklet!
Spoiler: Show



Here you can see the method they used for these books, complete with print swatches. I’m not sure if that was done for style reasons, or because they did not have the cash and capacity to print and then trim. Possibly both. But we’re covrring a lot of details here. I’m guessing since this is DVD era, they had the ability to do actual screenshots, so we’re not in old game magazines photographing TVs territory here, but we’re not much past it.

One thing I love is how many little bits of information they think to cover. It’s not just the off-brand heroes for copyright reasons, it’s also things like bothering to talk about Tokyo Big Sight, a place far fewer among us were familiar with back in 2001. It creates a context for the story, one that we wouldn’t always(or even often) get in these sorts of things.



In episode two, we start getting some more of that subtle stuff. We’ve got references to pop culture, but also just straight explanations of puns, and laying out the significance of certain visual language elements. Again, where the fuck were you going to find anything about that green tea thing in 2001?



I think my single favorite detail is how every episode has a reference in the previews, and they lay out every single one of them here. Hell, I actually tried to do similar with my very first WIW! I wonder if I got it from here...

Oh, and lastly, the back cover!



Complete with drink stain. I think it’s cola, since I never drank coffee, and it’s real. But, yes, it’s Eimi’s highly sought after circle’s logo! I’ll double check but I think every back cover is the same, so we won’t be covering those any further unless I’m wrong, but I’ll go through the remaining books as we pass through each original DVD’s contents!
 

yalborap

Well, that’s just Prime.
Validated User
#10


Okay, we are back! New discs! They’re a lot less shiny and slick compared to my old ones, but they, you know, work, so…Yeah…

Anyways, it’s Comic Party, episode 04! Here we GO!

Spoiler: Show


-We begin at Kazuki’s place. He’s got the remaining copies of Not Hundred, as he sits there across from Taishi…Who’s contemplative. Very, very contemplative. Because they have a problem, comrade Kazuki. They’re broke. Broke? Yes! They have no money, no dough, no dinero, no coin, zero, zilch, NOTHING! And they didn’t make enough money to pay back their debts at the con! Oh god, Taishi’s got a tab with Chisa, even, having her family wait for him to get the money…

-Opening! Take your impatience and your hardships, and turn them into your strengths! Just be you, and don’t change…You’re more precious to me than anyone! You have a great, sparkling dream, and you’re my one and only friend…

-Episode 04! WE REALLY HAVE NO MONEY!

-So, into town. Where Kazuki is following a tip from Taishi, for a place where he can do some temp work and quickly earn back enough cash to be back into the black. A tip that Taishi gave him, instead of helping with the labor, because of a belief that the entire path of “make doujinshi, sell doujinshi, work to cover gap in expenses” is an experience that Kazuki needs deeply. He’s deep into Akihabara, otaku ville, and his path finally takes him to…

-Oh shit. A cosplay cafe. That bastard sent him to a cosplay cafe! Complete with the girls who are very eager to get him in the door and buying expensive things. And when he tries to flee…He ends up running right into a girl’s bosom. And she is more amused than anything else…Not least because Reiko here brought back a small army of customers with her sheer enthusiasm. Kazuki tries to slip away…

-When Reiko finds the map he dropped, and realizes, you’re Taishi’s guy! The rookie here for some temp work! In a flash, the girls go from just trying to sell him on the place to snatching him up, because now he’s not a customer, he’s a plaything.

-Hard cut to Kazuki in a costume of a character he’s never seen before. But the boss thinks he’s got the right look, so, two weeks as a fill-in! And then he’s off to, I presume, count his money like Mr. Krabs. I just assume that’s what bosses do. Anyways, he’s left in the eager care of the girls here: We’ve got Haga Reiko, and then Miho, Mayu, and Yuka are the other three, but only Reiko is an actual waifu.

-The next day at class, Kazuki is furious at Taishi, but Taishi is furious right back, because think it through, man! Where else are you going to be able to earn money AND learn about the trends and interests of your very own customers, huh?! Besides…They’re going to need plenty of cash. This summer is one of the big cons. The biggest. Yes. It could even be said to rival the Big Bang, the birth of all that is!

-They shall climb Mount Olympus, and stand besides the gods, at this, COMIC PARTY! Yuu even has a poster. It’s so huge you can’t even compare it to the others you’ve seen!

-And that’s why, Kazuki-kuuuunnnn, they need a lot of cash in time to pay for your last print run and your next print run and learn what the current trends are so you can put out a splashy book worthy of such a splashy location, to say nothing of registration and table fees! DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!

-And that’s when Kazuki gets sent to his desk because he’s been standing there for a while…As opposed to Taishi and Yuu, who used otaku powers to teleport to their desks off-frame while the teacher had his hands full with Kazuki. Oh, and Mizuki hears about the part time job , and is intrigued…

-So, to Kazuki’s first day! It’s pretty classic cafe work. He’s not cooking and the orders are simple, but they also keep coming, as today he’s dressed as a long-haired blonde…Let’s crack open booklet 2! Because the new DVDs have no such extras. It’s Wedding Peach theme today, and Kazuki is dressed as Angel Limone. I’ve never seen that, so I’m not even sure if he’s cosplaying or cross playing. But the girls are doing their best work, putting on a show for all of these otaku, and the energy’s kind of infectious. Kazuki might not get the reference, but he sure gets the enthusiasm.

-Meanwhile, Mizuki’s found the place. And when she sees that Kazuki is working in some sort of, some sort of den of otaku depravity, she falls into despair.

-Commercial break!

-And we’re back! Mizuki ends up pacing, and contemplating, and trying to decide if she’s going to go in or not, as she watches Reiko out front casually work the crowd…

-Until she takes a break, and finds Kazuki also on his. How you holding up, rookie? He is exhausted. And keeping up all this energy is…Jeez. Wait, is that costume matching with his? Nope! She’s debuting a new one, from the new Supreme Fight King! It’s your classic Chinese martial arts outfit, for the warrior maiden Chaichai.

-So Reiko and Kazuki get sent back into the thick of the restaurant proper, as Kazuki contemplates the whole cosplay…Thing. And he’s still kind of mystified by it and its appeal, but, hey, he’s here and he’s getting paid, he’ll wear whatever uniform they tell him to. Oh, hey, someone’s coming in. Welco—

-Oh shit it’s Mizuki. Oh shit Mizuki’s here. Whhhyyyy is Mizuki here?!

-And Mizuki’s not having a great time. There’s a lot of pretty strongly nerdy otaku here, being pretty open about their shit. Mizuki doesn’t know what to do, and then there’s a Reiko suddenly in her face! She gets a table…And then Kazuki gets the mission to go get her order. God dammit…

-So.

-Kazuki.

-In a strong moment of entirely rational action.

-Decides to hide his face and put on his girliest voice to pretend to just be another scantly clad waitress.

-She catches him in two seconds, and is deeply cross with him. And wants to know what the hell has gotten into him! Cue Reiko…But oh, then to make it worse, the Bad Otaku are here. Trying to get naughty pictures of one of the girls. And she’s caught like a deer in headlights, not sure what to do…Especially when they start acting like they might be able to get her into a magazine. Which starts kicking off a lot of temptation.

-Kazuki spots it, and…Hey, Reiko, they’ve got a strict no photos, policy, right? That’s right. Mizuki wants to continue the argument, but Kazuki’s not even listening now. Hold up a minute. So while they put on the charm to try and get her to expose her bosom and panties, Kazuki and Reiko step up!

-They try and rope Reiko in, but she is pissed that they would defile an honest love of these characters…While Kazuki steps up and puts down a firm declaration that their activity won’t be allowed here. Oh, and you’re 200 yen short on your bill, assholes.

-They pull a dine and dash, leaving Kazuki and Reiko to take the poor girl to the break room and get everything calmed down. Reiko can understand why she succumbed to the confusion and temptations of the moment, but that’s why you’ve got to keep your head about you in this world…

-Oh, and Kazuki notices that Mizuki’s already gone off, full of despair, leaving him unable to finish talking to her…But he also can’t just abandon his post to chase her down. So instead, it’s back to work, until eventually he heads out at the end of the long day. The bustling otaku world is near silent now, the bright shops dark and closed for the night…

-When Reiko comes up on him, full of boisterous energy. So, what’s on your mind, rookie? And what’s on his mind, is the whole cosplay thing. And hearing her talk about it to those assholes, defending it as a love for the characters…It helped him make sense of it.

-It’s not that dissimilar from his doujinshi, in that way, huh? Just…Everyone expressing their love, the joy that something brings them, in their own way. …Hey Kazuki, you take the train, yeah? Come on, they’ll go together.

-So they end up talking on the train…Reiko tells him about how there’s been a splash of people who were doing big, problem-causing cosplay outfits, and some photogs causing problems…It’s enough that over the last couple years, some cons have even stopped allowing cosplay altogether. Even though so many people are just acting out of a love of the work and the characters, wanting to embody that thing they love so much…

-…She can’t help but envy you, you know, Kazuki. The cons are never going to ban the artists. And she, well, she’s no artist. All she can do is the cosplay…

-But, they end up talking about the big upcoming Comic Party. Which hasn’t banned cosplay. In fact, they’re doing their own cosplay events and contests. Reiko’s looking forward to it more than life itself…And then it’s the spot where she’s got to change trains. She hops off, leaving Kazuki with a reminder to patch things up with his cute girlfriend. S-She’s not his…And then the doors shut.

-Kazuki gets home, to find a letter waiting for him…? It’s, it’s…IT’S A FAN LETTER! He had his mailing address on his back cover, and someone actually WROTE HIM to tell him what they thought, and tell him to keep pushing hard! The feeling that wells up in him, this giddy joy, it’s…Oh, it’s indescribable! He’s more fired up than ever to keep working hard, to push for the cash to make Comic Party an even bigger splash, to keep pushing to new heights!

-And then Mizuki calls him. He apologizes for how things happened at the cafe, and Mizuki admits…Even in the weird costume…It was kind of cool to see him step up and defend that girl. That’s all bye!

-Credits! When you think about that…Everyone is needed by someone~

Mmm. There’s lots of good meat here. Reiko is just a great character, and is an important element of the show. While she doesn’t get as much time as the core cast, or some of the other waifus, she shows us another side of the world of fandom.

I talked briefly about how this is an era before cosplay was really super common in the West, and certainly before it was a commonly understood thing out of the deeper cuts of nerd culture, and Reiko is a great example of the medium to look to. Her earnest love of the characters, and desire to embody them, is potent, and her passion is just fantastic.

And hey, I’m a sucker for the genki girl. (But I kind of think Yuu is best girl, shhhhh don’t tell anybody.)

So we’ll just have to keep the train rolling next time, in episode FIVE of Comic Party! Wait for it!
 
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