Manga Review: Manga Dogs Vol. 3

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 3. (For my review of earlier volumes, click here.)

Back cover blurb

Teenage manga artist Kanna Tezuka’s series about a high school for Buddhist statues is facing cancelation! Meanwhile, the manga course that’s given her so much free time to draw at school is under threat from a principal taken with the next big thing: light novels! Their teacher’s solution to this existential crisis is an inspiring field trip, but will it be enough to get these dogs to start drawing at last?!

The Review

The appearance of the new editor-in-chief at the end of Volume 2 made it seem like the story was heading in a new, strong direction. Sadly, it winds up much like the kidnapping arc. The threats breathed by the editor turn out to be nothing at all, and the arc wraps up within the first chapter of Volume 3 without any real consequences for Kanna.

The manga then returns to its usual course of standalone chapters with Kanna’s three dogs blowing all sorts of hot air while avoiding anything remotely connected to drawing. Chapter 30 is unusual in that we see a happy, dressed up Kanna, but for the most part, she’s the same snark and sarcasm she’s always been. As in Volume 2, she doesn’t seem to enjoy being a mangaka, and even turns an invitation to a magazine publisher’s party into something to be depressed about. Toyama-sensei tries to liven things up by making Shota’s sister, Kanna’s editor, and the school principal wackier, but for the most part, it’s the same tired themes we’ve seen over and over.

The final arc feels a bit random. It begins with a kind of manga history lesson and ends with Kanna’s class actually creating manga together. While a Japanese audience might appreciate reading about past mangaka, most references will probably go over the heads of Western readers. The story then awkwardly segues to the impending cancellation of the manga class and the students’ last-ditch effort to prove themselves. Kanna’s heroic leadership over their joint collaboration seems really forced considering the boys are shiftless as they ever were. Perhaps it’s meant to be inspiring, but when the boys start doing their usual whining about work, I’m ready to pull the plug on the class.

Extras include the opening illustration and table of contents printed in color; translation notes; short bonus manga; and author afterword.

In Summary

Manga Dogs reaches its final volume, and to be honest, it’s a relief. Its characters weren’t likable, and the humor never was that clever. I’m actually surprised it lasted three volumes. Considering how pointless the storylines were, Manga Dogs really had to be put out of its misery.

First published at The Fandom Post.

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