When her friends introduce her to the world of creating and selling your own doujinshi, Osana Najimi is immediately entranced- think of all the money she could make! With this in mind, Najimi prepares to enter the world of ‘doujin work’, but can any amount of practise and research compensate for the fact that her drawings are just plain awful?
Back when it first began, I described Doujin Work as a “more perverted Genshiken”, and I was rightly criticised by Hidoshi for doing so. Indeed, ultimately the series proved to be far inferior to the highly enjoyable Genshiken, but that isn’t to say that it isn’t mildly entertaining in its own right.
What is unique about Doujin Work is that unlike many other series which aim for light and unoriginal comedy, it somehow manages to be amusing. From Najimi’s failed attempts to research erotic material without her ‘normal’ friends finding out to a continuing theme of crossed wires and misunderstandings (some accidental, some intentionally fuelled), these are jokes that have been done a hundred times before, but solid pacing and delivery alongside a mere fourteen minute runtime per episode make them funny once again. There’s nothing exceptional here, but there are certainly worse ways to spend a quarter of an hour.
As far as characters go, Doujin Work’s cast is a mix of the textbook and the bizarre- there’s the determined yet barely competent lead, her equally hopeless rival, the calm and manipulative best friend, the overprotective childhood friend and the love interest that never really goes anywhere. Overall it’s a group that’s just barely memorable, let alone likable, but they play off each other well with regards to the humour. If you’re wondering where the bizarre comes into it, however, then look no further than aforementioned childhood friend ‘Justice’, an older man who is continually accompanied by his own personal loli, the underage Sora, in a move which is far more creepy and disturbing than it is humorous.
Visually, Doujin Work sticks with a clean and simple style, often opting for basic backgrounds and ‘flipping’ the characters from one position to another as if they were a cardboard cut-out as opposed to proper movement. Due to their supposedly erotic content, the doujins themselves are never seen on screen, which unfortunately means that we cannot see for ourselves how bad the standard of drawing is; instead, the series for dropping in random and often unnecessary glimpses of fanservice, HARD GAY and quirky elements such as what appears to be a navy pair of pants with arms and legs that flits around in the background for no apparent reason. Background music, meanwhile, is equally simple and largely forgettable, although the OP and ED are energetic and catchy.
Although it is certainly nothing special and not even particularly memorable, Doujin Work is exactly what light entertainment is meant to be- simple fare that actually manages to be funny. Although by no means a must-see, if you aren’t too bothered by the fanservice elements, these fourteen-minute episodes make for a quick and easy way to relax and unwind after a hard day’s work.
The judges’ verdict
Beige: To be honest, it was woefully lacking in originality, but a commendable effort nonetheless.
Pink: Effort is right, but I want to be wowed by what I see, and this left me stone cold.
Blue: There was a good amount of basic content, and I’d put it on if I wanted to relax with a cup of tea and a digestive biscuit.
Orange: Yes, well this is really the comedy that plays it safe, isn’t it? It amused me but I wasn’t blown away.