by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 9 of
Comic Girls ?
After two consecutive Kaos-centric episodes, Koyume and Tsubasa take center stage in this week's three-story Comic Girls. The first segment finds Tsubasa attempting to channel her girly side in an effort to make a story told from The Dark Hero's heroine's POV seem more genuine. Although all three of her friends try to help in this endeavor, it's ultimately Koyume who contributes the most. The episode's second (and least inspired) story revolves around Koyume's efforts to shed some extra pounds. Though she initially runs herself ragged, Koyume is eventually able to find the right balance between indulgence and hard work and return to her original weight. In the third and final story, an exhausted Tsubasa misplaces her latest manuscript at school, kicking off a day-long search. However, just when all seems lost, Fuura (who looks starkly different in her school garb) locates the manuscript in the science lab and delivers it to the group.
Koyume and Tsubasa's shared time in the spotlight builds off their pseudo-date from several episodes back. Since both parties remain as oblivious as ever, Ruki and Kaos' observations make for some of this week's comedic highlights. As they observe their friends awkwardly interacting, all they're missing is popcorn. However, as sweet and endearing as these interactions can be, the episode squanders some of this good will by falling back on a low-key sexual assault trope when Koyume proceeds to unzip Tsubasa's fly without permission to check her pants size. (Ruki feeling Koyume's boobs as an aroused Kaos listens intently later in the episode is equally forced and unfunny.) Not only are these particular tropes overdone to the point of being eyeroll-inducing, they feel out of place in this series and have put a damper on a number of otherwise strong episodes. Fortunately, Comic Girls' forays into blatant fanservice are typically brief.
Ruki bluntly telling her friend that she's gotten “rounder” seems uncharacteristically callous, as is her reason for wanting her to lose weight—i.e., to maintain sexy proportions as her manga model. Either the artwork fails to properly convey her weight gain (other than her clothes being too tight) or Ruki is overreacting, seeing as Koyume doesn't actually look any different than usual. While the message that Koyume needs to be true to herself in order to produce her best work (and thus treat herself to sweets) is a good one, the fact that “working hard on manga” causes her to lose the weight despite the continued snacking feels like a rushed and unsatisfying conclusion.
The third segment is the kind of story that succeeds or fails based on its ending, and fortunately, the twist is reasonably clever. The girls being unable to recognize their own dormmate with combed hair and a different outfit is definite cartoon logic, but Fuura actually does a convincing job of looking and acting differently, even to the audience. In the same story, the group inadvertently finding Nijino's manuscript from her high school days presents a potentially interesting development. Unfortunately, the show doesn't really do anything with this or explain what the manuscript was doing in such a weird spot.
After taking a backseat in recent weeks, Koyume and Tsubasa both shine in this week's Comic Girls. Though the show tries to tie them all together, the stories don't do a great job of segueing into each other, but each one is able to entertain in spite of this.
Comic Girls is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.
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