Hana Sasayama is the editor-in-chief of Monthly Comic Earth Staff, a new manga magazine. Her friend/assistant editor-in-chief Aki Torii soon joins her, followed by a plushie-wielding girl named Ringo Nishijima and sweets lover Tsugumi Haraki. Together the four will work to start up their magazine.
Remember when you were in school, and you had that one overly perky substitute teacher that tried too hard to make learning fun and entertaining, but really didn't teach you much when they were your teacher? That's Mangirl! in a nutshell.
Mangirl! is a comedic take on the world of manga editing, and it does tackle things that happen in the field - the many hours of editing work, publishing, gathering up manga artists, assisting of said assistants, proof-reading, manga fonts, visiting places for inspiration. But it also seems like the writers were afraid to pause their humor for more than 10 seconds for much of anything else. As a result, you end up with lots of "cute" scenes of our heroines being cute for the sake of cute. It's little more than cuteness pandering, and it hurts the series a lot.
Still, the comedy and manga editing information in Mangirl! probably would have worked if not for the fact that its episodes are only three and a half minutes long. Considering the series is only 13 episodes long, and that each episode has a 30 second opening theme, that leaves only 39 minutes for Mangirl! to tell a story of amateur manga editors into capable ones. A hard enough task to do with good, clever writing, but impossible for a show with so much fluff and mediocre characters.
And then there's the cast. There are four main characters, but darn if I remembered two of them. Eccentric bubbly girl lead Hana eats up so much of each episode, barely anyone else but her friend Aki (the only capable girl of the quartet, and basically the Yomi to her Tomo) gets to say or do much of anything. Ringo's only traits are that she carries around a teddy bear everywhere and dresses up a lot in costumes, and Tsugumi's only trait is that she likes sweets. The only other girl shown often is manga artist Shinobu, a slightly ditzy girl who looks elegant and pretty, but at home is a lazy slob. A running joke is that her house is filled with tons of garbage and can't cook without her assistant, who always seems out.
Mangirl! was directed by Nobuaki Nakanishi, a name that might ring a bell for Koihime Musou fans since he was the series director of all three seasons, and even animated by the same studio. Coupled with K-On! veteran writer Reiko Yoshida, and one can possibly see why Dogakobo had high hopes for this series. But Mangirl's end result is just too short, rushed, and reliant on tired comedic bits to be much fun. On the rare occasion Mangirl! will insert some manga editing humor (like manga fonts and proofreading in episodes 5 and 6 respectively), but it's rare. Episode 11, which deals with the girls interviewing a young girl who wants to publish her own manga - a crudely drawn but dark manga story about heroes and demons - is one of the series' more amusing moments. It got my sole laugh in the series' entire run, at least. Every other episode suffers from the series' short running time, making it quite obvious that this series' origin was a 4-panel gag comic.
At the end I can't really recommend Mangirl!, even if you have a free hour to spare. The characters are completely forgettable, and the episodes are too short and rushed to let you learn much of anything, manga editing or its own characters. Not to mention the series' weak fourth wall breaking in the final episode, which hits you so hard in the head it will make you wonder if Mangirl! wasn't made for kids. The more adult/black comedy anime Doujin Work deals with a similar topic (albeit with adult manga). And since their episodes run for 11 minutes and have more fleshed out characters, it's far superior to Mangirl!. If you just want to watch cute girls do things for three and a half minutes, watch the far better Encouragement of Climb instead.
An anime whose title is funnier than the actual show itself, Mangirl! tries to do so much in 45.5 minutes, it does nothing. A few cute jokes are all that save it from the perishable pile. — Tim Jones
Recommended Audience: The material in this series is mostly harmless except for the very rare fan service, and a few adult jokes.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream from Crunchyroll, Japanese with English subtitles.
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Mangirl! © 2013 Earth Star Entertainment
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