While most manga are written in chapter format, that does not mean the comic strip is unknown to Japanese artists. Known as 4-Koma manga, four-panel comic strips aren’t nearly as widespread as their long-format counterparts, but they are no less entertaining.
One of the few 4-Koma titles translated to English is GA: Geijutsuka Art Design, a lighthearted series centered around five art students. Yen Press has recently released Volume 5 and you can read on for the review.
Back Cover Blurb
C’mon, GA students-sketchbooks at the ready! Kisaragi and friends are all set for some fun in the sun! “Inspired” by their summer housework assignments, the friends enjoy their vacation by going to a baseball game, the beach, and a summer festival. But as their time off draws to a close, will the gang be able to adjust once again to school life?!
As you can guess from the cover, this is the GA summer volume. We only get one art lesson type arc on animal caricatures, and then the girls are off on their first high school summer vacation. While art assignments show up as part of the girls’ homework, most stories center around generic Japanese summer events and activities. So we see the girls attending a Koshien baseball playoff game, having fun with fireworks, making summer greeting cards, capturing beetles, and going to a festival dressed in yukatas. Kiyuduki-sensei inserts a little of the fantastic with Noda’s mischievous foxy look-alike at the festival and the Professor getting super intense right before a hurricane, but mostly it’s the antics of kids enjoying school vacation.
In the midst of their summer play are some interesting character building episodes. The funniest is Noda’s bad luck day. The little prankster is always causing trouble for others so it’s fun to see all her tricks backfire on her. Big sister and former Art Club president Fujiko Nozaki is a larger-than-life character, and her visit home from college shows both the Art Club members and Namiko in a different light. And though brief, the closet episode provides an unexpected glimpse into the Professor’s personality. There’s also an encounter Noda and Kisaragi have with a girl under a bridge that attempts to be a character building arc, but it comes off as more weird than anything else.
In keeping with the summer theme, this volume includes four sets of color pages focusing on the different seasons. They include commentary from the GA characters, lists of season-themed works, and design and art image words.
It’s the GA summer edition! While the students do some drawing here and there, they’re mostly having fun and goofing off. So there aren’t too many lessons on art history or techniques, but we get to see the girls in summer clothes, enjoying the treats, activities, and scenery of the season.
First published at the Fandom Post.