Posted on January 23, 2013 AT 09:00am
It’s surely a coincidence when two four-panel manga-based anime series of almost the exact same premise and run at the same length of time arrive in the same season, yet it has happened here this winter of 2013 with the release of Choboraunyopomi’s Ai Mai Mi and Kagari Tamaoka’s Mangirl! Does one series fare better than the other, or do both show have their highs and lows?
Starting out here is Ai Mai Mi, which follows three high school manga enthusiasts (Ai, Mai, Mi) who wish to create their own series. Sadly they’re too lazy to do so, and they find themselves spending the majority of the episode wasting time doing nothing. The short three-minute episodes consisted of mostly visual gags and puns, many of which left this reviewer with a blank stare throughout the three episodes I watched.
Ai Mai Mi is an example of an anime series that gets easily lost in translation outside of Japan. I only really laughed once during my viewing, and interestingly enough it was the very first gag in the series involving the accidental death of a kappa. Everything else in Ai Mai Mi just went over my head. This anime could be funny over in Japan for all I know, but here in America the “jokes” in the show are less humorous than Eddie Murphy’s last few forays into film. The animation is subpar at best, and with the show lasting under five minutes there’s little room to complain; the same can be said about its seiyuu cast.
Mangirl!, on the other hand, has somewhat of a consistent storyline. The series follows four girls who launch a manga magazine, with the issue being that everyone has zero experience editing manga. In its first three episodes we see the ladies trying their best to gather prosperous authors, storyboarding the works of others, and helping out at a photo shoot for their first issue.
There are screw-ups and flubs happening between the four main characters, and I did find myself chuckling a few times watching the series. However Mangirl! suffers from having to squeeze in too many scenarios in under four minutes, a shame because if they were able to make each episode at least two minutes longer it wouldn’t feel so all over the place. If it had taken a cue from other short anime series like Chi’s Sweet Home and Hetalia, Mangirl! could’ve been a good show instead of another so-so one. Here the animation is a lot better drawn out, with good attention to detail in the character’s faces and the backgrounds. The voice actresses sound livelier than their Ai Mai Mi counterparts, as if the former had a distinctive idea of what they were reading off compared to what the latter had to deal with.
In the end, Mangirl! finds itself to be the better show, but not by much. You won’t find yourself feeling like you’ve waste your time with Mangirl!, but I unfortunately can’t say the same for Ai Mai Mi. However if you wish to watch an entertaining anime series that follows the process of making a manga series, your best bet is either the likes of Bakuman and Dojin Work.
Ai Mai Mi Scores:
Seiyuu (voice actors/actresses): 6.5
Final Grade: 4.5 (out of ten)
Seiyuu (voice actors/actresses): 7.5
Final Grade: 6 (out of ten)
Mangirl! and Ai Mai Mi can be viewed on Crunchyroll.
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