Anime Review: The Comic Artist and His Assistants

The Comic Artist and His Assistants
Directed by Takeshi Furuta
Produced by Zexcs, Showgate
Voice cast: Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Saori Hayami, Arisa Noto, Yuka Iguchi
Air dates: Streaming Mondays at 12:05 p.m. CDT on Crunchyroll

Ah, the venerable harem anime. How many ways can you write about one lucky guy and the bevy of beautiful women who eventually come to either his rescue or ruin? I’ve been seeing one version or another of this genre played out since Rumiko Takahashi‘s Lum: Urusei Yatsura and the original Tenchi: Muyou and El Hazard OVA series.

But I digress with this mini history lesson: The point I’m making is that the harem anime is a genre with long legs, usually deliberately portrayed in one revealing manner or another. How then does an old-school otaku like me address new titles in this genre without a jaded eye? It’s not easy, but I’ll try.

The Comic Artist and His Assistants (Mangaka-san to Assistant-san, in Japanese) is a new series directed by Takeshi Furuta, whose previous works include Tiger & Bunny, Case Closed, and Devil Survivor 2. Based on the four-panel manga by artist Hiroyuki and serialized in Square Enix’s manga magazine Young Gangan from 2008 to 2012, the anime follows the exploits of manga artist and inveterate pervert Yuki Aito and his growing “harem” of long-suffering assistants, including Sahoto Ashisu and his even longer-suffering editor, Mihari Otosuna, who is played very convincingly by voice actress Arisa Noto.

The first episode opens with Yuki and his first assistant, Sahoto Ashisu, working diligently on his manga, “Haji Café,” which it seems at times is nothing more than a vehicle for Yuki to draw girls in various stages of undress. In this episode, we are given the opportunity to ponder the finer points of realistically illustrating an accidental breast grope, whether a girl who willingly shows her panties (Pant-su) is grounded in any reality or not, and whether it’s better to render a partial or full-frontal showing of panties, or not show them at all.

The story, as predictable as it seems, is entertaining and fun, due in no small part to the 13-minute format that each episode is limited to. This makes it possible for the plot to move along without giving the viewer a chance to get bored. The first episode closes with Yuki’s editor, Mihari, on her day off, doing some shopping, and finding Yuki out shopping for – you guessed it – pantsu. This segment is particularly funny, as we discover that Yuki has a terrible super power. Apparently, he can tell what size bra a girl wears just by looking at her. The consequences are painful and uproarious.

The Comic Artist and His Assistants is a wholly predictable anime, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying it. It’s well-written enough to make it a worthy diversion for anime and manga fans who can laugh at their own foibles, although casual viewers are warned not to let the kids watch, as the themes in this series are wholly adult in nature. Yeah, the harem anime is an oft-times forgettable genre, depending on the quality of production and writing, but it can also be a wonderful little guilty pleasure.

It’s currently streaming on Crunchyroll on Mondays at 12:05 p.m. CDT. Recommended, but remember, it’s not exactly Attack on Titan we’re watching here.

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