Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to Actually Tells Profound Themes on Manga and Work Ethic


Who could had thought? Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to, a currently airing anime in the Spring season, is basically those ecchi harem story; the main protagonist being the mangaka, with hordes of assistants under him as his harem. Or at least, one would normally expect something like that from such a setting. However, when scrutinized, the anime actually tells profound themes on ecchi manga and work ethic.


1. Glimpses or full views of panty shots

This may not seem like much from casual viewer, but I feel this is something every ecchi mangaka would struggle to choose. Similarly, Yuuki Aito, the main protagonist of Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to who possessed an odd fetish for panties, the question is of utmost importance. This is where the aesthetics of panty shots play a role in effecting the dynamic of characterizations or perhaps the nature of the manga itself. By having half, subdued panty shots, it just seems to symbolize where the heroine in question is struggling to keep her innocence in check. With full views, it seems to symbolize the opposite. As a byproduct result, this in turn also effect the level of pervertism of the manga, the former subdued, while the latter hardcore. Also, there is also some charm in having no panty shots too, and it’s something the anime even recognized. Most of the charm here would mentally arose using imaginations, to visualize something which isn’t shown. For example, who could forget the infamous Mio’s shimapan from K-ON? Which is something only hinted (and never shown), yet the fandom, especially the illustrators, went wild with it. The concept of “imagination of unseen panties” also work it’s way around the nopan trope, in which our mind mischievously contradicts itself repeatedly, which is a certain charm in itself. But, I digress.
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2. To satisfies your ego or the fans

In episode 2, Miharu tried to introduce a new rival character whose handsome and rich to Aito’s romantic comedy manga, HajiCafe. Aito didn’t want it, since he feel his character wouldn’t be able to win. He also claimed that the manga he drew is for the materialization of his dreams, in other words – wish-fulfillment. While unlike such a specific case, I think similar problem like this is what most mangaka would be forced to face in some form or another. Authors, artists, songwriters, musicians; most creators love using aspects of themselves as a mean of expression in their art or media. When one started getting popular however, you can no longer only think about yourself, but your fans who got into your works. This is why “fame” is such a tricky thing. Without fame, one have the freedom to work in just about any style he wants to. With fame, you need to take the fan’s accounts into consideration – most of the fame and quality of a product, is effected by fans reception. Yet, one would lost his own unique “flair” by following the trends too much, indeed, fame is truly a complex thing.
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3. The balance between fanservices and characterizations

A lot of typical ecchi anime seems to have some level of general complain, in that it’s “mindless fanservice”, and it’s hard to feel anything for the characters. Such characters usually are being criticized as being one-dimensional, without a clear characterization, and only serve as an “eye-candy” role. If we are talking about ecchi, I guess one or two panty shots (or with perhaps other steamy scenes) are unavoidable, but I think striking the balance between fanservice and characterization is what’s important. It’s one of the reason why I adored the Rosario+Vampire manga (but detested the anime), the characters feel solid, and are fleshed out. Furthermore, there’s a gradual character development for the protagonist, despite all the fanservices on the foreground. Indeed, just like what a certain green-haired chief editor in Mangaka-San to Assistant-san says, the more [insert heroine’s name]’s charm grows, so will her panties as well.
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4. A facade of maturity at work

When one enters the workforce at an early age, it’s like a sheep entering a lion’s den – it’s easy to get underestimated by everyone else. The elders would make fun of him, had he shown a single weakness, thinking something along the lines of “Oh, he made a mistake. Well, he’s still just a kid.” Most young, new workers had to remain strong, vigilant, calm, and not to show a single exposition of weakness. This is why Sena’s headstrong altitude is something I can really relate to. And honestly, getting made fun of is even the least of one’s worries. Worst case scenarios include cases like bully (yes, bullying is present even at work, not just at school), manipulations, backstabbing, betrayal and the only way you can retaliate is to work your way up the ranks, to obtain some level of authority.
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5. Balance between keeping a relationship personal or professional

In one episode, we seen a certain flashback regarding Miharu and Aito. The flashback dealt with how Miharu decided to cut her originally long hair short. I will not spoil anything, since it’s actually a pretty good backstory, but in general, the story dealt with the concept of interpersonal relationships between colleagues. I find that finding the balance between being a “friend” and a “coworker” in a workplace is something I can really identify. The bond that you developed “on work”, and “off work”, begun to clash one another. Perhaps you may know a very good, old friend of yours in your workplace, or perhaps some familial relationship, or perhaps even a lover. Even so, one must deal with them professionally, disregarding the bonds they developed off work. Time spent together which would originally had been used to play around with, is suddenly used to talk about business in a serious, and even grim expressions. It’s something I feel every worker would face on a frequent basis.

This entry was posted by Kai.

5 thoughts on “Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to Actually Tells Profound Themes on Manga and Work Ethic

  1. I only watched the first episode.

    First, I’ll fully admit that for media with a strong sexual nature I have a poorly defined, probably drifting, possibly contradictory, line between what I will enjoy and what I won’t. But you have made me curious that you are getting that sort of depth from this show. My impression was that this show was about as deep as a sheet of paper.

    Books, research papers, and careers have been based on/built on the topics you bring up. Sitting aside the ink spilled over such things, here in the US one need only walk into general department stores to see that ‘decorative’ underwear is Big Business. Why spend so much money on something nobody is “supposed” to see?

    But possibly an under-explored topic is workplace and relationships. Assuming you work, you probably spend at least as much time with co-workers as you do family, and certainly more than you spend with friends outside of work. In 30 years as an adult I’ve worked in a wide range of environments and have had a chance to see some interesting developments. Not all of them have turned out well. And then, it seems if a company has any guidelines on the subject at all, it’s to discourage or even forbid relationships. The place I currently work is actually very accommodating for a wide range of personal issues ranging from disabilities to sexual orientation, and I know more than a few couples working there, though it is a VERY large company and easy to move around within. Personally, however, I can’t imagine having a relationship with somebody close to me at work. I’m rather head-strong and opinionated, and I don’t think I could separate work and home. I have always felt so strongly about this that, when several years ago a woman in my department found out I was divorced and she started paying a LOT of attention to me I pushed back really hard, once I figured out what was going on.

    (sigh) and so it goes.

    • I admit I do too, but I just went with a simple mindset – if it can entertain me well, then it’s a good show, despite all the fanservices. The “entertain” part can comes in the form of characters, aesthetics or anything, it just has to be entertaining in some form or another.

      I also can’t comprehend all those fancy underwear designs which isn’t normally shown anyway (Btw, there’s apparently something called “glow in the dark” underwears now). But that being said, I would like to point out that the panties point I added in the post here, is not something I relate to real world underwears at all, but rather, just how the panties aspect effect anime and the fandom’s possible views on it.

      And if you’re curious, I do work, and the two points about work I put up here, are something I had personally seen or experienced too. My company doesn’t really forbid love relationships, but disability and sexual orientation may be another matter altogether, though I don’t know anyone here disabled enough to the point that he isn’t clear to work. About the latter too, Brunei is a small country so I personally hasn’t seen any gays or lesbians (or perhaps they are hiding in the closet, I don’t know), and I’m not really sure how if such people are present, would effect the company in any way. The former company I used to work in was a very small company and ever since I moved to a larger company, I found both pros and cons between both. In the former, it’s more easily manageable, and getting things done is easier since you don’t need to go through too many people for approval. For the latter, it can gets pretty difficult to get things done, sometimes I even detested getting the approvals. And sometimes, the management structure can be in chaos. But being a really large company, like you said, it’s easier to move around within, through the “loopholes” with their poor system, I might add. Shhh, lol.

      I don’t think can either. But honestly, I always find love topics, especially at work, incredibly awkward.

      And lol, that must had felt pretty awkward for you as well.

  2. I would never have thought that there would be such a theme buried deep inside this genre of anime, lol. I admit, I have my dislikes of anime of this genre and generally avoid it as much as I can. There are exceptions, but this title isn’t one of the exception. But still, I’m impressed.

    Well, the last point you have there – in my company, we have a ton of husbands & wives. It’s not wrong and it’ll never be wrong, but personally, I prefer not to date someone I have to work with because it’ll be hard to separate business and pleasure.

    • To the contrary, I actually found these themes easier than normal, probably because the way it is adapted. Each episode is aired at about 10 mins each and shorter arcs (usually really short, comedic ones) will share between the 10 mins, while the more lengthier ones will take one whole episode (like the last one). It’s not too long, and not too short at the same time. And since the story’s slice of life, and there’s nothing complex to focus on, it just seems easier to pick out the themes.

      I don’t think I can too, lol. It just seems awkward, no matter how much I think about it. And it can get a bit hard to discuss stuffs on some work-related problems.

  3. Pingback: Shirobako and How it’s Characters Reflect Different Phases of My Working Life | deluscar

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