Pita-Ten Official Fan Book
ぴたテン公式コミックファンブック (Pita-Ten Koushiki Comic Fan Book)
Koge-Donbo et al
Shounen – Comedy, romance, drama
3 Volumes (complete)
Pita-Ten returns in this anthology. Featuring stories written and drawn by different authors, explore strange alternate realities, weird dreams, comedic hijinks, and poignant reflections with Kotarou, Misha, and all the rest of the gang.
Unless you really, really love doujinshi or if you’re a die-hard Pita-Ten fan, Pita-Ten Official Fan Book can safely be skipped. You won’t be missing out on anything.
“Fan book” has kind of different connotations in Japanese and English. When I as an American think of the phrase, I tend to picture detailed profiles, histories and background information, behind-the-scenes secrets, and nice pictures. Japanese folks tend to call their doujin works “fan books” because, well, it’s a book done by a fan. Hence the title of this series.
While Koge-Donbo is listed as the (primary) author, she only contributes one very short four-page story at the beginning of each of the three volumes. Quite frankly, they aren’t good. It is clear from the outset that she stepped aside to let the other artists take center stage. Her three contributions are all humor-based and are probably not canon to the main story. It’s very disappointing if you picked this up and are looking for side-stories or a prologue or epilogue let alone some supplemental information like character profiles.
As for the individual stories themselves, the books certainly feature a variety. Humor, drama, alternate realities, weird dreams, and subtle romance are all featured. Comedic contributions range from the slightly offbeat to full-out lampshading. All the main cast and supporting members are included, and it is nice to see more of Kaoru and Nya. Hiroshi is pretty much the idiot or buttmonkey in all the stories he’s in, but that’s not really a surprise.
As you would expect, the stories differ not only in genre but in quality. Some plots would fit beautifully in the canon storyline, but others are nothing but parodies or strange “what if” stories. One of the lamer “funny” contributions features Kotarou and Takashi doing a manzai routine about the title. On the other hand, I laughed at a story about Koboshi discovering Kaoru’s big secret. But no matter if you liked a chapter or not, you’ll soon be moving on to the next one: most of the works are about 10 pages long. Of course, since this is a fan book, readers are expected to be very familiar with the characters, but with so many manga choices not (or even back when the series was published), it’s hard to justify spending money on something like this, especially when you can get an actual full three volume series for the same price.
The art ranges in style and ability. Some artists try harder than others to mimic Koge-Donbo’s style, and others choose to draw the cast in their own personal artstyle. The art also varies depending on the type of story; the more serious ones tend to have beautiful pictures while comedic plots tend to be more simplified. I really do not have much to add because the art is so varied. No matter if you like an author’s style or not, the chapters are short and you’ll quickly move on to a new author.
The same people who worked on the original series worked on this one. Other than a misstep or two (like Misha calling Kotarou “Kotarou-chan”), it’s basically the same.
I guess if you’re bored on a rainy day and manage to borrow it from someone because this series is all they have, then the manga is an okay quick read. For everyone else, there are better manga to track down. And if you really want to see more of Kotarou, Misha, and the others, put the money toward Right Stuf’s upcoming DVD release of the anime instead or even the art book.