Volume 1 Synopsis
Yeld, an orc sick of life in his dark-fantasy realm, decides to move to Tokyo and become a manga editor. One day, he’s visited by a full-time armored swordswoman, part-time aspiring manga artist—one who gets practically suicidal whenever her work gets rejected! Between her, a tentacle monster summoned as an assistant, and a slime girl with all kinds of “helpful” manga tools, there’s never been a stranger pack of creators! It’s the most realistic(?) depiction of the manga industry yet!
Title: The Knight Cartoonist and Her Orc Editor (Orc Henshuusha to Onna Kishi Mangaka-san)
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Genre: Fantasy, Comedy
Out of all the creatures in the fantasy bestiary, orcs are among the most misunderstood denizens. Known for their grotesque pig-like appearance, brutish behavior, and (in some tales) love of women, they aren’t exactly winning any favor for the most likable of foes. Not letting a few detestable stereotypes or cliche typecasting decide his future, Yeld is an orc with a dream: to become a manga editor. One unexpected “summoning to another world” later and he finds himself in modern day Tokyo ready to make things happen. There is one little problem: his newest project with author Annelise turns out to be his mortal enemy – a knight. Well, not much of problem since she terrible at both and dreams to at least make a successful run as the former as her side gig. Looks like the beginning of a fruitful and farcical partnership between knight and orc?
Being billed as a comedy series, I would be quick to say that it isn’t main draw of The Knight Cartoonist and Her Orc Editor. Or at the very least…not the strongest element it has to offer. Sure, it does have it’s embedded and running gags such as Annelise’s “armor” offering her no protection against Yeld’s criticism and flying off her body quicker than you can blink (and subsequently wanting to off herself for the shame) or Yeld constantly getting called out for his appearance simply by calling too much attention to itself. It is also great at skillfully transitioning from one joke to the next without missing a beat or dropping the mood. However, at the end of the day, I do find that this series works due to the outlandish and charming characters than anything else. Where you could stick Annelise and Yeld into any series of similar scope or replace them all together, seeing them play off each other and the chemistry they create within just a few chapters works all too well and does make it another reason to turn the page to see where this unlikely partnership leads. Of course, where the two main leads provide the series a nice leg to stand on, the supporting characters and the scenario’s presented assist in enhancing the overall atmosphere and experience.
Going to back to the mental wit of the series, where the overall jokes and gags appear to be slapdash in nature, the first volume does make a few great satirical jabs and deep cuts at the manga industry in some capacity. Overall, it is something to appreciate and something fans of manga and authors themselves can relate to . For example: my favorite would have to be when the duo meets a famous artist known for a long-running series that he is considering ending, but takes a complete 180 on the idea after….”stuff” happens. Of course, behind the magical shenanigans, it is a parting shot at mangaka and how they seem to do anything to stretch the longevity out of a successful work or their own fame. With more examples abound that I could pluck from, those seeking the comedic edge in The Knight Cartoonist and Her Orc Editor will not be disappointed, yet nice to see that the series doesn’t have to strain itself too hard to make it work either.
As far as the artwork goes, it is risible to say the least. Far from a stirring drama or action packed series (unless you count Annelise armor exploding off her as such) everything is about to be expected. I was coming into things expecting Yeld to be far more hideous with a heart of gold underneath or the aforementioned clumsy knight to be way more chivalrous and looking regal, yet the designs fit for the effect they are going for. Admittedly, for the page time that you get to see them, the supporting characters looking surprisingly well-done and like they were done by a different artist almost. Compared to most other comedy series, the artist does make very good use of the panels – drawing slightly larger and detailed deceptions of the characters when possible to fill space. If anything, it is a major plus especially when the characters are caught doing something that is ripe for a quick giggle and making it eye-catching.
After finishing up the first volume, I’m confident to say that this series does appear to be one that I will be happy to add to my reading lineup. Sadly, with doing some digging, it appears that 3 volumes seems to be limit making me wonder how much fuel is available for this thing to work with. Nonetheless, having found myself grinning like idiot at a few moments and banter between the hapless knight and capable orc, I don’t think I will be that disappointed when the eventually end will arrive. That being said, someone or something is going to have to explain what all these fantasy creatures and people are doing in Tokyo….
Final Verdict: The first volume of The Knight Cartoonist and Her Orc Editor is a very pleasant read. Where it might lack of some of the comedic grace most other titles innately have, it more than cover itself with affable characters and smart observations tied to the industry. If you are seeking a new series to start and a short one at that, look no further than is one.