What's “Cruising the Crunchy-Catalog?”
Anime is art, and art is explosive. Just like being exposed to too many explosions, having too many anime to choose from can rattle your brain. Think of “Cruising the Crunchy-Catalog” as the blast-padding between you an unknown series: each week we provide additional information and cultural context in order to help fans choose new anime series to watch without risking a mind-explosion.
What's GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class?
According to Crunchyroll's description:
“GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class is a Japanese seinen yonkoma manga series by Satoko Kiyuzuki. The series was serialized in Heiwa Shuppan's moe four-panel manga magazine Comic Gyutto!”
That's not a lot of information to go on, is it? The Comic Gyutto! seinen manga publication folded after only three issues, so GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class moved over to Houbunsha's Manga Time Kirara Carat, where it ran until December of 2015. The 2009 TV anime version is directed by Hiroaki Sakurai and features animation by AIC.
GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class is a high school comedy, one that examines the daily lives of several students and teachers as they struggle through the difficult, messy process of a fine arts education. It's high culture mixed with moe, with a liberal dose of slapstick humor thrown in for good measure.
The series also serves as primer to many important concepts in the worlds of fine art, visual design, and fashion design. Where else can you learn about color theory while witnessing the imaginary antics of a chromatically-correct super sentai team?
High School is Hard Work.
Hundreds of anime are set in high school, but often this setting is only a convenient framework for a story with youthful protagonists. Not so with GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class, where an education in the arts is serious business, albeit expressed in a not-so-serious manner. Even the brute labor of preparing materials, cleaning-up afterwards, and maintaining adequate supplies can be the subject of gags.
The main characters are constantly jockeying to complete an avalanche of practical projects, art exams, and hands-on homework assignments, and much of the humor of the series results from their sometimes lop-sided efforts. The lessons also introduce the audience to various art and design concepts, so the series can be educational as well as entertaining.
Art Imitates Art.
In GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class, form mirrors function. Not only does the series demonstrate art and design concepts through the lessons that the girls study, but these ideas are also reinforced visually within the show itself. For example, when the girls learn about photography and the “Rule of Thirds”, the composition of the surrounding scenes reflects this concept, and the philosophy of surrealism is introduced with an extended dream sequence through wild, hallucinatory spaces.
Heaps of Haniwa.
Western viewers may not be terribly familiar with haniwa. These statues of people, animals, and objects are made from terracotta, and they primarily served as funerary offerings during the Kofun Period (250 – 538 AD).
In modern Japan, haniwa are considered priceless works of art. In GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class, haniwa are a recurring visual gag that litter the campus. To go to a Japanese school with so many haniwa would be like attending a Western school overflowing with Byzantine icons and frescoes.
Crunchyroll currently streams GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class in the United States, Canada, Greenland, the Netherland Antilles, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Brazil, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, the United Kingdom, American Samoa, Australia, Guam, and New Zealand. The series is available in the original Japanese with English subtitles.
If that's not enough art in your life, an English language version of the original GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class is published by Yen Press in both print and digital formats. The 7th and final volume of this release was published on December 20, 2016.
GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class is sweet, funny, and cute, but it's also a surprisingly realistic and relatable show, especially if you've ever taken a fine arts class. The closest comparison I can make is to Azumanga Daioh, another TV anime based on a 4-panel comic from a seinen manga anthology. If you're in the mood for moe, why not give GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class a try?
Is there a series in Crunchyroll's catalog that you think needs some more love and attention? Please send in your suggestions via e-mail to [email protected] or post a Tweet to @gooberzilla. Your pick could inspire the next installment of “Cruising the Crunchy-Catalog”!
Paul Chapman is the host of The Greatest Movie EVER! Podcast and GME! Anime Fun Time.