Comic Girls
Episode 10

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 10 of
Comic Girls ?

Just in time for the start of summer, the residents of the Bunhousha Dormitory celebrate Christmas and ring in the New Year. In the first of this week's three segments, the girls help Ruki cope with the anxiety of not having a boyfriend to celebrate the holidays with. Even though all of her friends are comfortably single, Ruki believes that celebrating Christmas solo makes her a societal outsider. Eventually, she becomes so caught up in herself that she completely forgets about her birthday, which just happens to fall on Christmas Eve. The second story finds Kaos accompanying Tsubasa home for the holidays and discovering that her most successful dormmate is also the refined daughter of an obscenely wealthy family. For obvious reasons, Tsubasa insists that Kaos not breathe a word of what she's seen to Koyume. Next, the episode closes on the dorm residents roasting sweet potatoes on New Year's Day. In the absence of leaves, the girls use their old storyboards as kindling for the fire, but watching her friends destroy such works of art proves to be too much for Kaos to stomach.

Ruki's annoyance at not having a love life brings forth her recurring lack of self-confidence, but the resolution—her friends distracting her with a birthday party—makes the story peter out. This is probably another message about the importance of close friendships, but the show is starting to fall back on this conceit too often. Still, it's realistic that a young woman obsessed with romance would falter a bit around one of the most romantic holidays of the year, so Ruki's attitude in this story is reflective of her established character.

The end/beginning of the year holidays are a great unifying theme for this week's installment, though the episode meanders from Ruki's romantic insecurities to the surprising revelation about Tsubasa's home life to the girls vowing to redouble their creative efforts in the new year. Tsubasa's cartoonishly rich family and walk-on-eggshells relationship with her parents seem like they could form the basis of an entire episode on their own, as much is implied but left unsaid—like exactly what kind of school her parents think she's attending, what kinds of demands they've made on her, and how Tsubasa has continually managed to keep them in the dark about her true nature. Considering how much her parents dote on her, it's strange that they haven't seen her in a year—financial constraints obviously didn't prevent them from paying her a visit, though their lack of support for her manga (and her busy schedule) is likely why she never bothered visiting them. Since her mother seems aware of her interest in manga, does she know about The Dark Hero, too? Stories like this largely operate on cartoon logic, so the lack of clear answers isn't a mark against it. That being said, however, it'd be great if the show revisted Tsubasa's origins in future installments, though they're running out of time to do so.

The New Year's story contains a number of solid jokes in spite of its frequent reliance on the “Kaos has terrible luck” trope. In addition to creating some big laughs, Kaos's panicked reaction to seeing her more successful peers turn their storyboards into kindling seems like a perfectly realistic response to watching an artist you admire destroy their work. The highlight of the story, however, is Kaos letting all of her rejected manuscripts go, perhaps setting her up to make bigger strides in the year ahead. (The other girls passing judgment on these doomed manuscripts might be the episode's funniest moment.)

Tied together by a holiday theme, all three of this week's stories start strong but end on an inconclusive note. Although Comic Girls prefers to tell multiple stories per episode, it's easy to see any one of these tales being better served by a longer runtime. That being said, episode 10 also features some of series' best comic timing to date, so each story's short length may be a mixed blessing.

Rating: B

Comic Girls is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.

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