Manga Dogs Volume 3
And so the series ends, with more of the same. For me, Manga Dogs volume 3 demonstrates that the gag — of a school-age manga author bedeviled by three pretty boys who want to make manga but are woefully misinformed about what it takes — has run its course.
As expected, the cliffhanger threat from volume 2, that Kanna’s series will get canceled under the new magazine editor, is addressed, but briefly — it was all a misunderstanding. Many of the short chapters in this series turn on that kind of premise, since it’s the easiest way to get something going in such a small space.
I’m glad this is the last book, since I found getting through it a bit tiring. My attention is waning. I still like the random bits of industry information, but they seem increasingly disconnected from what the characters are doing. For instance, when Kanna gives the three guys gifts, they’re useful tools for artists, but the guys misinterpret them, and the story moves on, leaving the gifts as just a one-page joke.
It’s a tricky situation. If the characters become more realistic, as we learn more about their real hopes and dreams, then it’s tough to continue on with stupid gags. If they don’t, then it’s wearying to keep reading joke after joke without it going anywhere. That kind of setup is better suited for serialization, where the chapters are parceled out, instead of collected up in one volume. Plus, many of the basic elements of being a manga artist were covered in volume 2, so the events here have become less universal to the career and thus less funny to me.
In one chapter, Kanna lists out the aches and pains she suffers as an artist, topping it off with tendonitis from all her hours drawing. This was a topic I wanted to hear more about, but it’s all resolved within four pages, as it must be. In my case, I know that illustrators can really risk back and neck injuries, eye strain, and the like, so it was hard for me to think it was funny.
Other chapters include suffering a slump, freaking out over being asked to draw the magazine cover, attending a manga publisher party, and a new student considering joining the class. Of course, the book ends with the threat of the course being canceled. There’s also a bonus short crossover with Ema Toyama’s other series, Missions of Love.
Summing up, I think my interests and the point of Manga Dogs have diverged. What I liked about the series in volume 2 now disappoints me in volume 3. I also thought the first book of Missions of Love was much better than the later ones, so maybe Toyama is just better at setups than continuing work.