Plot Summary
Dramacon focuses on Christie Leroux, a teenage writer who is debuting her manga while attending her first anime convention. Each story arc is a single weekend each year at this convention. The series focuses on Christie and her relationship with Matt, a cosplayer whom she meets at the first con. Eventually the series also includes another character’s dream to become a part of the manga industry in the US. I can’t really describe too much more than that because this series isn’t all that long, and it’s easy to spoil things. But by the end of the series our protagonist is in college.

I like that this story seems like it could actually occur. This series doesn’t pretend about what it is, it’s the story of “real life” love and the pipe dreams of those that wish to make manga someday. Also you can tell the author really is a fellow otaku, her various references amused me. I’ve actually never been to a convention myself but I’ve read enough articles/blogs to know what goes on (ex: I know what GLOMPING is). It seems she has portrayed the convention experience well. Also…yes…Duckie sits at home and reads articles on how her kind socializes rather than socialize herself. Agh! Sounds pathetic but I really hate waiting in lines. MAYBE one of these days I’ll go to a Con, the only problem is the longer I wait the creepier my presence will be (OLD LADY!).

This series is a nice casual read, some light reading for an afternoon. It’s a quick guilty pleasure for shoujo fans (in my opinion). But perhaps for those pre-teens that aspire to be manga artists themselves someday it’s a story that’s a beacon of hope? Or perhaps it’s also a fantasy for those that dream of finding their own “Matt” at an anime convention someday?  I wouldn’t know myself, I can’t draw for beans and as previously mentioned I haven’t done a con.

The art style was fine. Not once during this series did I question the expressions on the characters faces, they all matched the moment well. I felt that when she did a blush on a character’s face she did it particularly well, the moments where I’d see Matt blush made me warm up to him a lot. I can see some of the characteristics on the faces of these characters that remind me of some of the Nightschool ones. It would take someone with a more refined artistic eye than  myself to correctly describe the differences in art between the series. All I know was Nightschool knocked me off my feet more-so than Dramacon in terms of the art.

If you like everything I’ve said you may as well pick up the Ultimate Edition, it’s a good deal. The Retail Price is $19.99 but if you get it from Amazon it’s (currently) under $15 with free shipping.

Why did I read this?
Well quite frankly I would never have dreamed of touching an Original English Language (OEL) manga up until recently. I became very fond of Svetlana’s Nightschool through the Yen Plus Anthology…although I definitely didn’t subscribe to the anthology with the intentions of reading anything but Japanese Manga and Korean Manhwa. But I’m the type that reads a magazine in its entirety so I read her story every week. I became more open minded after I started liking this series, the author herself also really impressed me. She draws cartoons at the end of almost every chapter that really make it so I get to know (and like) her. I liked the series so much I even bought the manga itself officially on top of owning it in the anthology magazine. BUT I still hadn’t really thought of exploring her other works until I saw that Manga Worth Reading named Dramacon a good starter series, and had nothing but pleasant things to say about it. I’d say I’d have to agree that it’s a good beginner series, but only so long as that beginner has begun to show interests in the world of anime/manga. You really need some basic knowledge of manga, anime, and conventions to enjoy this series.

Is it really manga?
Don’t know, don’t care. Arguments on both sides have valid points that I agree with. This issue is actually addressed in the plot of the series itself (some con goer insulted their comic as not being manga…arguments followed). Frankly it’s not worth my time to have an internal debate over such a small matter. Plus it’s just easier for me to call it manga, all the other alternatives don’t feel as natural for me to say. Going out of my way to call it a “graphic novel” (which manga is) is too much of a pain. I’ll honor what the author wants it to be called, if it’s something I like and respect why go against what the originator wants?

Anyway Svetlana hopes to continue more Dramacon someday. If she does that’s great, I’ll read it. Although if things are left as they are I’m satisfied with the ending. Only thing I’m curious about is if she continues drawing this series will the characters reflect her current art style? Or the older one?

This image was the first one I saw (besides the cover of the book). I really liked the Fruits Basket reference.

PS – I’ve purchased and read two Tokyopop series in a row? That’s very odd for me, their series haven’t caught my eye in a long time.