High schooler Akiko has big plans to become a popular mangaka before she even graduates, but she needs to get much better at drawing if she ever wants to reach her goal. Looking for an easy fix, she signs up for an art class, thinking all her problems will soon be solved. She’s in for a surprise: her new instructor is a sword-wielding taskmaster who doesn’t care about manga one bit. But maybe this unconventional art teacher is just what she needs to realize her dreams!
I have never read a autobiographical manga before, especially one by a manga artist, so this was quite interesting for me. This volume is about the author during her high school years, as she defiantly hopes to follow her dreams of becoming a celebrated manga artist. The tone is very much like – she is naive and learning things as she goes along, whether it be about the reality of art school admissions criteria or technical know-how of the system. To improve her amateur skills, she starts taking art classes at this sadistic teacher’s place, where the students are practically scared all the time. Initially rebellious and resentful of the teacher, she starts to see his gruff kindness in little amounts as she goes along. It is still written very much in the style of looking back with an adult’s insight, so the actual events always have a subtext of ‘oh, how silly I was!’ and the range of her commitment to the class varies. Firstly, she isn’t in it to be a classical artist, so she feels the class is overly harsh while she just wants to get her skills good enough to enter an art university. Besides the classes, there are also anecdotes about her actual entrance examinations, and how she fared in them. It also comes across as a sort of letter to her teacher, as she apologizes for how much she misunderstood or resented him. The artwork style is a mix – while the characters are done in a manga style, there is much more detail in backgrounds and, yes, the art pieces themselves. Overall, though, it is illuminating, hilarious and interesting.
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Seven Seas, via Edelweiss.
Also by Akiko Higashimura
Released on May 21, 2019