Invalid characterset or character set not supported The Comic Artist & His Assistants (anime review)

The Comic Artist & His Assistants (anime review)
February 12, 2016

Sentai Filmworks does a great job of making "The Comic Artist & His Assistants" sound like an over-the-top anime packed full of fan service and big laughs. And really, would that be so bad? There are audiences for that sort of thing.

Check out this description, which is presented in bold, colorful lettering on the back of the case: "The Term NSFW Was Invented... To Describe This Guy!"

There also are promises of "lechery" and "perversion," along with "a lack of respect for the feelings of others." These are all character traits that are attributed to Yuki Aito, a manga artist who produces a comic in a (fictional?) publication that sounds a bit like Shonen Jump.

If you're looking for something rude and crude, the animated version of "American Pie," I should warn you that you're in for a disappointment. Aito has his moments, like when he asks his coworkers to let him grope their breasts, and when he struggles to come up with plots that aren't focused almost entirely on the underwear of his dreams. However, that's only a small part of the underwhelming story the series tells.

Early as I am in my anime watching career, I haven't yet viewed dozens and dozens of shows the way I know some folks have. However, I have noticed that a lot of anime seasons tend to be about 12 episodes long and last around 300 minutes or so, all told. "The Comic Artist & His Assistants," in contrast, lasts a mere 205 minutes. That number includes all 12 full episodes and 6 OVAs. If you watch everything from start to finish, you'll spend only a tiny bit more time than you might on one of Hollywood's epic movies. This is a full series?

I might not mind the brevity if the writers accomplished anything with their limited time, but they didn't. I haven't researched anything on Wikipedia, but my guess is that this series is based on a series of light novels or on a manga, and perhaps is admirably faithful to those stories. In animated form, though, there's just not enough stuff happening. A story just barely is offered and then the credits roll, right around the time you might expect a commercial break and then more scenes that build on the setup.

The surprisingly small cast of characters is introduced over the course of the first four episodes or so, which is how long it takes the series to properly establish its very basic premise. Then you get to see some background on the three principle characters and their not especially complex history and then there's some general silliness--including the expected visit to some hot springs--before it's basically a wrap. Very few scenes have any narrative ambition and the character development could easily be summed up in a sentence or two.

Risque content is surprisingly limited, especially given the professed focus of the story. Outfits are for the most part modest, and even when one of the characters loses her swimsuit top, you don't really see anything. Which is fine, of course, but it's bound to leave some viewers disappointed given the debauchery that was promised.

I'm not sure who the series is meant to satisfy, honestly. With stories too brief to explore the relationships between the characters on more than a surface level, and with a sexually charged premise that isn't actually exploited, not to mention a total run time that's quite low even when factoring in a half-dozen mostly nonsensical OVAs, I'm stuck regarding "The Comic Artist & His Assistants" as a harmless, mostly forgettable dud. It's a sure sign of trouble when my favorite part of the show is the song that accompanies the closing credits...

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dementedhut dementedhut - February 14, 2016 (02:17 AM)
I was going to say this sounds like the most boring "harem" anime in existence, but then again, the genre seems to have them in spades.
honestgamer honestgamer - February 14, 2016 (09:29 AM)
I generally enjoy what you might call "slice-of-life" anime, and I'm just fine with harem anime when it's interesting. I actually find the subject matter here interesting, but you've read my review and already know my thoughts on the execution. ;-)

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