Title: Dojin Work
Alternate Title: Doujin Work / ドージンワーク
Published by: Media Blasters (North America)
Based on: The 4koma series under the same name by Hiroyuki
Audio: Japanese Dubs
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.76:1)
Runtime: 300 Minutes – Split ~50:50 Animation: Live Action
Classification: 13 and Older
Cost: Varies Between Release
Special Thanks: Purchased out of own pocket. While Complete Series are available on the market, individual volumatic releases were purchased “Pencil & Paper”, “Quill & Ink” and “Publish or Perish”. The content of the episodes should not differ between releases.
One fateful day, Najimi Osana goes out to help her friend Tsuyuri at an event where self-published comics called dojinshi are displayed and sold by amateur clubs or doujin circles. There, they bump into her childhood friend Justice, who currently represents a major doujinshi author as it turns out. Moved to action by their words (and just a tad influenced by the thought of raking in the cash), Najimi decides to self-publish some comics of her own. She dives fulls team ahead into an often questionable world, but with no illustration experience, it seems her dream of riches is far away.
While I was not intending on doing a second review tonight, I randomly grabbed this off my shelf and thought that it would be good to return to another series that I reviewed back in the early days of this site. Back when The Otaku’s Study was referred to as Sam’s Anime Study, I can’t say I was actually that dedicated to finishing series – but Dojin Work was interestingly one I more or less finished covering and late last year ordered from North America with the expectation it would never be released in Australia. Dojin Work is a series originally aired in 2007 and focuses on the trials faced by doujinshi artists of different artistic skills – more prominantly someone who has never had any experience with manga or eroge in the past.
The storyline follows Najimi Osana, who is bribed to help her friend Tsuyuri at a Comiket event. Lured by the slim chance of making it big and amassing a fortune through the creation of doujin works, she decides to give up on her job hunting and become a fully fledged artist….. now if only she had any experience with the genre or art in itself. The whole premise of this show is to be comedic over focusing on the emotional trials faced by Najimi – and it does succeed in doing this to a point if you go into it expecting a casual anime. Some examples of episode premises include Najimi purchasing “reference material” (Pictured above) and trying to
enjoy peruse it without being caught by her friends, parents or the police (Not as bad as it sounds) and earning a job at a cosplay restaurant. It is overall simple, light-hearted watching that provided you actually have delved into something more than mainsteam anime (To the English market) in the past, you should at least get a few laughs out of it.
Asides from Najimi, the secondary cast is small but each contributes a different element to the series: You have Tsuyuri (A normal college student who enjoys writing “Rape” and “Bondage” manga and has taken to enjoying Najimi’s decision through friendly teasing and misunderstandings), Justice (The childhood friend of Najimi, who is both very successful with his work and willing to use it to protect Najimi) and Sora (Your generic cosplaying loli character who has some mystery infatuation with Justice which is kept reasonably tame in the anime series at least). Added to the mix later on is Kaneru, an office lady who like Najimi aspires to be a doujin artist despite a lack of skill and Junichiro, a love interest for Najimi so you are not left short of characters and considering the context of this series are developed suitably.
While it sort of remained in the context of the series, the one thing that perhaps kept this series from being better was the inclusion of a live action segment at the end of each and every episode. This involves voice actresses Momoko Saito (Tsuyuri) and Kimiko Koyama (Sora) developing their own doujinshi’s within the time span of twelve episodes else they would be forced to go to the selling session in embarassing costumes. For someone who is legitimately interested in the production of manga titles within Japan then this might be an interesting watch – but for those like myself who were watching this release for comedy or any other reason will most probably prefer to just skip to the next disc and feel like they are missing half the episode – as quite a bit more could have been put into the 10-15 minutes.
Overall, this is not a series to necessarily be taken seriously and while silly and cliche at times, it actually proved not bad.
In terms of design quality, there isn’t that much to say on it as it was average at best with a few exceptions. Most of the characters with the exception of Sora were limited to one or two sets of clothes throughout the series and even then the character designs were nothing spectacular. To keep with the doujin theme the characters will sometimes flip around as if they are on paper which was an interesting design choice. The world designs were bright and colorful and tried to bring in some real-life doujin titles to appear on shelves (I think). Music shares the same fate as the design quality, it is upbeat but unremarkable and lacks the diversity it could have had. Fortunately the Japanese voice acting isn’t half bad and voice cast members such as Momoko Saitou and Hiroki Yasumoto (Tsuyuri and Justice) provided a strong performance although not the best they have given in the past.
While there is nothing remarkable about the music in this series, the opening and ending sequences fare a little bit better. Both the opening sequence I~jan! Yuujou by MAKI and the ending sequence Yumemiru Otome by Mai Mizuhashi are upbeat J-Pop songs that suit the theme of the series quite well. The opening sequence has very random animation which focuses on manga cliches and style while also slightly focusing on some elements of the storyline (Slightly). The ending…. well it has the female cast dancing to the music in bloomers…. what more can be said?
Unfortunately there is nothing much in terms of extra content unless you were to count the live action segments as “extras”. Over the three discs I have, the following was the only additional content available on disc:
- Clean Opening Sequence (Volume 1)
- Clean Ending Sequence (Volume 2)
- Preview of the Dojin Work Vol. 1 Manga (Volume 3) – Both through the menu and through a PDF File on the disc. I actually received the first four volumes of the manga with my purchase of the series as a bundle, so it proved less value to me, but still a nice addition.
- Trailers of Media Blasters titles – Quite interesting as a fair few of them have not been released over here in Australia.
Overlooking the fact there was no solid conclusion to this release, it was what I expected it to be when I initially began rewatching it – a simple comedy that will provide a laugh for which it did successfully do that. I would have liked to see what they could have done with an extra hour and a half of anime instead of live action however. If you have at least a basic understanding of the doujin market of Japan and like to see someone freaked out and getting aquainted with the 18+ doujin-creation lifestyle…. this might be a series to consider otherwise jokes may be lost and may not be of as much value to you as a viewer.
Storyline / Character Development: C
Music/Voice Acting: C+
Personal Preference: C+
Extra Content: C
Overall Score: C