Hi everyone~! It’s been a while since I have done any OWLS post (please forgive me ;-; ), but I’m finally writing one! If you aren’t aware, OWLS is a group of otaku bloggers whose goal is to spread acceptance to everyone, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc. using anime as a catalyst. This month, I am going to write about the anime Comic Girls and its main character Kaos.
Every month, the members of OWLS are given a new topic to discuss and July’s topic is “Mentor.”
Throughout our lives, we might have encountered someone that we admired as a role model or has guided us in some life dilemma. This mentor could be a teacher at school, a coach, a boss or team leader at work, or a family friend. Whoever it is that person impacted your life in a positive manner. For this month’s OWLS topic, we will be writing about mentors or mentorships in anime and other pop culture media. Some topics we will be exploring include how a mentorship impacted a main character’s life, the types of mentor relationships a person could have, and/or personal stories about mentors or mentorships.
Say Hello To Kaos: A Struggling Artist
Comic Girls is a cute, funny, and yuri-filled slice of life/cute girls doing cute things show about a group of high school girls who want to be professional manga artists. Among this group of girls is Moeta Kaoruko, otherwise known as Kaos. She dreams of having a serialized mangaka but… she isn’t exactly good at it. She can draw pretty well, but her characters are unrealistic and her plots are, for lack of a better phrase, just plain bad. To make things worse, she is nervous, shy, and very negative.
Normally, when we think of “mentors,” we think of ONE person who is older and wiser than us and has an irreversible influence on us. But sometimes it takes a village to get a job done… or in Kaos’ case, it takes a dorm full of girls that are the same age. In Comic Girls, there isn’t a single mentor who intentionally takes Kaos under their wing. Instead, all of Kaos’ friends mentor her in different ways and their combined help makes her a better mangaka.
Let’s walk through everyone’s role in Kaos’ journey.
Mayu Amisawa The Editor
Because Kaos had already debuted as a manga artist, she had a professional editor at her manga publisher. As part of her job as an editor, Anisawa-san is always giving Kaos advice for her manga. The problem is that Kaos’ storyboards don’t get better, no matter how many times she tries. Amisawa-san makes suggestions, but it’s difficult for Kaos to make realistic characters if she doesn’t have any friends in real life. To make things worse, Kaos doesn’t take criticism well and gets upset whenever her editor rejects her storyboards. Eventually, Amisawa-san sends Kaos to the mangaka dorm, hoping the experience will help her. Even when she goes to the dorm, Amisawa-san still gives Kaos advice in and outside of her role as an editor.
The dorm is where Koas meets other girls who want to be manga artists. These girls are Ruki, Tsubasa, and Koyume.
Ruki The Big Sister and Tsubasa The Stoic
When Kaos arrives at the dorm, two of the girls are already published manga artists. Ruki has a popular hentai romance manga (which I am not even sure is legal considering she is only 15? lol) and Tsubasa writes a successful shonen fantasy series. Although they are the same age as Kaos, they are her senpai in the field of manga. Right away, Kaos looks up to them and asks them for advice. They are more than willing to help, and Kaos is able to gain tons of knowledge. For example, she helps both Tsubasa and Ruki with their manuscripts and gets more experience with creating manga. Kaos also receives other helpful advice, such as drawing tips. What’s more, she sees how hard they work on their manga every day and it inspires her work harder.
But Ruki and Tsubasa take things a step further- they become Kaos’ friends and support system. Kaos is, frankly, very odd. She overreacts to many situations, gets upset and frustrated easily, make weird noises all the time, and does things that are hard to understand. And yet, Ruki and Tsubasa accept her. Because of this, they are able to mentor her in a way that her editor couldn’t. When she gets depressed about her manga being rejected, they are there for her. Ruki is like a big sister Kaos can depend on. Although she doesn’t always express herself, Tsubasa also supports Kaos, such as when she let Kaos stay at her house during winter vacation. Kaos would not have been able to survive emotionally without these two, let alone improve her manga skills.
Koyume The Carefree
Besides the other two girls, there’s Koyume! She is Kaos’ roommate and is actually the first person that Kaos befriends. She is bubbly, friendly, and happy-go-lucky. Her positive demeanor puts Kaos’ social anxiety at ease and the two become friends right away. She is really the perfect roommate for Kaos. Koyume also helps introduce Kaos to the other two girls, whixh Kaos may have been too anxious to do by herself.
In my opinion, her carefree nature helps Kaos calm down. Kaos is always worrying about her manga or other things, and yet Koyume is always going about her business with a smile. In this sense, she is a good role model for Kaos. For example, when she has trouble with her manuscript, Koyume decides to go out and get a change of pace. Kaos, who was also having trouble with her manuscript, decides to tag along. If she hadn’t gone with Koyume, she would have been stuck in her room, falling into more and more despair about her manuscript. Like the other girls, Koyume also comforts Kaos when she is upset, with cuddles and huggles! Again like the other girls, she also accepts Kaos, flaws and all.
Koyume isn’t as experienced with manga as Ruki or Tsubasa; she doesn’t get a serialized manga until halfway through the series. However, she always worked hard on her manga from the beginning, and when she does get serialized, Kaos is inspired to work even harder (after an initial stage of depression).
Other Mentors: Matron and Fuura
Even though those three girls are Kaos’ main mentors, there are some other people who help her along the way. Ririka Hanazono is the dorms’ matron, and she is always acting motherly toward Kaos. She encourages her and goes out of her way to comfort Kaos, such as cooking Kaos’ favorite meals. It also turns out that she also wrote a manga that Kaos really enjoyed, making her even more influential.
Then, there’s… Fuura-senpai. She is an oddball that is obsessed with horror and is always trying to scare the other girls. In a weird way, Fuura helps Kaos overcome some of her anxiety because the two become friends and Kaos eventually gets (kind of) used to Fuura’s scare tactics. Fuura-senpai is also an aspiring manga artist and gives Kaos some advice about drawing.
Kaos Finally Improves!
Throughout the course of the show, Kaos continuously submits manga storyboards and is continuously shot down. However, toward the very end of the series, she is approved for a short guest appearance! It IS only a guest manga, but it is a huge start for Kaos. And why was she able to do this? Because of all the help of her friends. Kaos’ approved manga is about her life at the dorm and all of the fun times she had with her friends. Instead of coming up with any weird gimmicks, Kaos finally just acted like herself and made a manga about stuff she liked. On top of this, her manga incorporated many of the drawing and manga techniques she learned from her friends a.k.a her mentors.
Kaos’ friends helped her with her the first part of the manga, but for the second part, they are unavailable and Kaos is the only one in the dorm. By herself, Kaos needs to take everything she learned over the past year at the dorm and incorporate it into the manga. And she is successful! Her editor and everyone really likes her guest manga. And it’s all thanks to Ruki, Tsubasa, Koyume, and everyone else who helped her. Poor Kaos may not have been to survive the stress of constant rejection without all their support. She also wouldn’t have been able to make her guest manga by herself if her friends didn’t give her (some) confidence. And finally she wouldn’t have been able create a manga with such realistic characters, nor one filled with so much love.
Overall, Comic Girls is a really cute series with an important message: good friends will support and mentor you through anything. It’s kind of like the aniblogger community, where we help and inspire each other. Comic Girls is funny, silly, and filled unique characters. It also has tons of yuri for yuri fans and the animation style is awesome. Go watch it for these reasons – and to see the power of mentorship.