Comic Girls
Episode 11

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 11 of
Comic Girls ?

With only one episode left to go, there's an unmistakable air of finality in this week's Comic Girls. In addition to filling out school-assigned career surveys, the girls are preparing for the looming closure of the Bunhousha Dormitory. While cleaning out the dorm's storage room, Kaos comes across a number of inspirational scribblings from former residents that help her put her rejections into perspective and prompt her to pour even more energy into her manuscripts. This pays off during her next meeting with Amisawa, when the discerning editor expresses praise for her latest offering—a four-panel manga entitled “Comic Girls” that draws heavy inspiration from Kaoruko's daily life. After running it by her bosses, Amisawa informs Kaos that Comic Girls will receive a spread in her magazine's next issue, and if reader feedback is positive, a serialization could follow.

This week's Comic Girls displays so many hallmarks of a final episode, with the dorm's impending closure being the only real indication that the show has a little more to say before curtain call. Although the career survey prompts nearly every character to examine her goals, it's naturally Kaos who's hardest on herself. Not only can't she picture herself being anything other than a mangka, she's not even sure she has what it takes to succeed in her chosen field. Tsubasa's stubborn decision to choose no career other than manga creation is perfectly in line with her character, though it's worth noting she always has her obscenely wealthy family to fall back on. Ruki turns out to be the only one of the main four who doesn't have a family business to inherit, and in a predictably mature fashion, she already has a sustainable career choice in mind (daycare instructor) should she ever stop pursuing manga.

Dorm matron Ririka's admission that she's had manga published in the past but couldn't see herself adapting her art to an editor's whims is interesting and helps drive home the idea that you can be creatively fulfilled without being widely recognized. However, it's also odd, considering her friend is one such editor—and no one brings up the prospect of self-publishing if she wants to stick to her own vision for her work, especially since her job seems to allow her enough time to pursue manga “as a hobby.” Still, it's true that not every artist who sets out to make a career in it winds up doing so—as evidenced by both Ririka and Nijino—and it's nice to see the show explore that idea in light of the main characters' varying levels of professional success.

However, the highlight of the episode is Kaos finally having one of her ideas deemed worthy of publication, albeit immediately after having three (potentially interesting in a comical way) storyboards rejected by Amisawa. In true Little Women fashion, simply drawing the story of her life with her friends—gussied up to fit the four-panel manga format—is what ultimately wins over her editor. When she stops pushing herself too hard, Kaos finds that what comes natural is best.

Though this week's episode leaves a few loose ends to be tied up, it still works as an enjoyable and thematically effective denouement to the series as a whole. While often comically inflated and routinely over-the-top, Comic Girls is always grounded in a dash of realism and anchored by relatable character emotions.

Rating: A-

Comic Girls is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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

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