Hiroyuki, author and creator of Doujin Work, is not exactly a common name among anime fans. In some cases, I’d suspect that mentioning it would get more people thinking about To Heart than anything else. No, Hiryoyuki is probably better known around the internet for his comic involving a bespectacled teenager with a troubled past trying to get it on with a feline familiar. In other words, “A Cat is Fine Too.”
So here we have a man firmly rooted in the doujinshi “industry” making a comic about creating doujinshi. The story centers around a girl named Osana Najimi and her quest to create doujinshi. However, unlike Kazuki of Comic Party, who draws because he finds it incredibly fun, or Ogiue of Genshiken, who draws because she can’t help it, Najimi dives into the world of doujinshi for one reason and one reason only: profit. Her friends Justice and Tsuyuri are able to sell well at doujinshi events, so with a little practice the money-loving Najimi feels that she too can rake it in.
The only problem is that she sucks at drawing. Najimi has no natural talent, and effort does not seem to reward her much either. The work she creates sells mainly for the so-bad-it’s-good factor.
Hiroyuki’s style, born out of drawing doujinshi, makes much sense for a comic revolving around doujinshi. Overall, the manga (which is presented in 4-panel-style) is well-drawn and entertaining. The same cannot be said of the anime.
The anime adaptation of Doujin Work suffers from poor animation, though much of it is forgiven when taking into account the (presumably) low budget and fairly simple designs of the characters. There were also rumors floating around 2ch and the internet in general that working on the animation with Hiroyuki was a bit of a nightmare, and not in the good way. Even if this is just a rumor, the result is still a show that could have looked better and been better.
But that’s what makes it so interesting.
Here you have someone drawing a comic about a person who tries to get into the world of doujinshi with lackluster results. This comic is then adapted into an anime…with lackluster results. In a sense, the mediocre showing of the Doujin Work anime adaptation is the best possible outcome for it.
“Oh, but that wasn’t intended by the creator!” you might be saying. Well, not everything intended by the creator defines a work. Kind of like when an anime becomes a cult classic in spite of its quality and not because of it.
PS: I know the anime adaptation has a section which shows the voice actors of the anime trying to make and sell doujinshi, but for some reason no one ever bothered to include those parts in the available episodes. A sad loss.