Denki-gai no Honya-san - 01 -00131

「Visual Collection/Series Premiere」Denki-gai no Honya-san #01. 「ラブ&エロス フォー オール / ナイトメア ビフォア カルナバル」

デンキ街の本屋さん 第1話 「ラブ&エロス フォー オール / ナイトメア ビフォア カルナバル」
Denki-gai no Honya-san #01. 「Love & Eros For All / Nightmare Before Karnaval」

Source Material: Manga series by Mizu Asato (水 あさと)
Studio(s): Shin-Ei Animation
Director(s): Sato Masafumi (佐藤まさふみ)
Script: Fudeyasu Kazuyuki (筆安 一幸)
Sound Director(s): Hiramitsu Takuya (平光 琢也)

Background Information:

Denkigai no Honya-san is a Japanese slice-of-life manga series written and illustrated by Mizu Asato serialized in Media Factory‘s Comic Flapper magazine since July 2011. A drama CD entitled Denkigai no Honya-san Drama CD: Umanohone no Hitobito (デンキ街の本屋さんドラマCD~うまのほねの人々~) scripted by Mizu and Higurashi Chabou and produced by Hobirecords was released in August 2013.

Synopsis:

「Love & Eros For All」

While the employees of Umanohone are applying shrink wraps to new shipments of comics and taking care of other casual duties, they get a surprise visit from an “erotic books government man”, a government worker who makes unannounced visits to bookstores to certify that all adult-themed books are thoroughly separated from the rest of the store’s collection and cannot be openly read within the store. She discovers numerous erotic comics that are unsealed, but the situation is quickly resolved with the cooperation of the employees. Later on, the Umanohone employee known as Sommelier holds his routine Sommelier event, where he makes perfect comic recommendations to attendees. The erotic books government man, or “erobon G-man” for short, who is actually a woman, appears at the event and is recommended a slew of boys love comics by Sommelier; she then proceeds to publicly announce her and mankind’s eternal need for erotic manga to much crowd cheer.

「Nightmare Before Karnaval」

At another day of work, Umio discovers from Director that his favorite mangaka, Jonataro, is actually fellow employee, Sensei. Sensei then in turn finds out that Umio is quite experienced with illustration and the ins and out of manga production, so she beseeches that he help her with her manuscript that due the next morning. Umio and Hio go home with Sensei after work and the three of them spend the night arduously working on her manuscript. Umio and Hio depart before the last train runs; but Umio realizes that he had forgotten his phone at Sensei’s house, and this slight interference of fate is enough to compel Umio to head back to her house and help Sensei until the early hours of the morning, right when her manuscript is due to her printers. Umio is happy to be apart of his favorite mangaka’s comic-making process and the entirety of the Umanohone employee group attend the yearly Comket where Umio assists Sensei again, in selling printed copies of her work.

Review:

I’ve probably said this at least a dozen times before, but I feel it necessary to re-iterate once more: anime is one meta-ass medium. Come one, come all to the bookstore located in the electric town of Akihabara, Umanohone, where you might just find yourself, whether it’s through the large collection of manga series with beautifully captivating stories or through the group of employees themselves, each of whom represent a particular essence of the comic readership. Sensei is a girl who strives to surpass her favorite artist and become a renowned mangaka herself; Sommelier, is a well-read  individual who can recommend to anyone their perfect comic book match made in heaven; Erobon G-man is a die-hard fan of pornographic books who isn’t afraid to announce her passion to the public despite being occupied as a government worker who does quite the opposite for a living;  and the rest are sure to be just as …interesting as the episodes roll on! For the most part, Denki-gai no Honya-san‘s comedic gags are nothing new; the fujoshi fandom has definitely received its fair share of jabs from countless series before now and there’s already been a series this year devoted to the life-style of a mangakaDenki-gai no Honya-san‘s charm comes from the congregation of those kinds of self-parodying and playful jokes into one thematic playground with a forthright motif of comic literature: the bookstore . So for someone like me, while the humor may not be outrageously hysterical, there’s still a lot of elements to imbibe in. Because it is an honest portrayal of a living, breathing culture, as the episode goes on, I find my eyes perusing the scenes with comic-filled shelves in the background, trying to determine if any of the volumes’ cover-art resembles that of actual series. Equally so, the depictions of the manuscript-making process and the mentions of Paint Tool SAI, Photoshop, and Clip Studio do not go unappreciated. An exertion to portray the cosplay and photography scene, independent artist entrepreneurship, and the general sociology of Comiket is also a treat. Relatively inactive production studio Shin-Ei Animation does a good job bringing the art-style that suits the series’s tone so much to the animated screen; and if the subtly presented illustrations of manga covers and other illustrations isn’t enough to prove to you that they are readily capable of a much more dynamic aesthetic, I don’t know what quite to tell you. The series art is fitting, and the animation, music, voice work, and other production aspects hold up just as well. Sometimes with shows, you can tell just how toned-down the entirety of it will be from the very start. For Denki-gai no Honya-san, the actual even ratio of genders in its main cast was enough of an indication of how devoid this series would be of romance, sequential story-telling, or any other hard-hitting narrative structure. In that regard, what we can expect from now on is what we’ve just seen: a sprightly, comical, and relatable caricature of a pretty ordinary people in a pretty ordinary setting, sprinkled with a a pinch of fiction for that extra measure of giggles.

Rating: 8.2/10

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