From Bakuman to School Rumble, the manga/anime industry has been a popular subject of manga and anime in recent years. Now joining their ranks is Kodansha’s manga series Manga Dogs, and you can read on for my review of Volume 2! (For my review of Volume 1, click here.)
Back cover blurb
Kanna had just gotten used to balancing her two lives as a high school student and a professional manga artist when three starry-eyed bozos intruded on her well-ordered life! But as she faces down a rival, a kidnapper, and her dismal popularity rankings, her dim-witted disciples have her back. Maybe having pets isn’t so bad after all?
Volume 1 ended with Kanna and her manga pages kidnapped by a “manga artist hating guy.” Since she’s literally tied up, her three dogs must save her, especially considering there aren’t any other characters to do the job. While they do manage to step up to the challenge, Toyama-sensei takes every opportunity to make the rescue as weird as possible.
Speaking of weird, Toyama-sensei seems to be trying too hard to make her characters unique, and they just wind up weird. In Chapter 18, she goes out of her way to point out that Kanna’s ditzy homeroom teacher is a guy. Volume 1 never specifically stated that Okamoto-sensei wasn’t female, and going by looks, I assumed the teacher was a woman. To have the narrative point out Okamoto’s true gender so specifically this late in the game comes across as very odd and somewhat pointless. We also have the return of Ms. Chiba. I had pegged her as a one-time character, but she is apparently part of the regular cast, serving as a delusional fujoshi dinosaur.
As for our main character Kanna, she remains as unlikeable as ever. Once the kidnapping arc concludes, Manga Dogs reverts to its usual pattern of very short, standalone chapters, and roughly half of them deal with some aspect of Kanna’s manga career. The release of a graphic novel, a signing event, and a rise in series ratings are usually positive developments for a mangaka, but Kanna has such a pessimistic attitude toward them all that I wonder why she bothers drawing manga. Toward the close of the volume, Kanna’s series is threatened with cancellation, and I find myself hoping the editor-in-chief will can the series and put her out of her misery.
Extras include the opening illustration and table of contents printed in color; translation notes; chapter 1 of Teach Me Buddha!; and short bonus manga.
After concluding the Kanna-gets-kidnapped arc, Manga Dogs resumes delivering its usual standalone chapters. Some of these brief arcs deal with the boys’ continued cluelessness about manga production, but the rest focus on Kanna’s progress as a mangaka. Unfortunately, she’s no more lovable than she was in Volume 1, and after reading the awfulness that is Teach Me Buddha! (the first chapter is included as an extra), I can’t get myself to cheer for her at all.
First published at The Fandom Post.