As a bookseller it is my sworn duty to from time-to-time inform you of some of the lesser-known marvels/oddities in the world of books...
In that tradition and as a bit of fun following on from last week's Art School related post, I found an old copy of a manga set in an Art School in Japan. Yes it seems that there really is a manga for almost everything making it in some ways unsurprising to find one set around the highs and lows of studying art (because who wants to read about monsters, martial arts or robots when you can go to art school?!)
None-the-less it is still pretty weird in its extremely kitsch, exaggerated and humorous take on what ordinarily should be a fairly mundane topic (although anyone who has studied art will tell you in reality it is anything but mundane or uneventful). Manga, Anime and Japanese culture has an amazing ability to take almost any profession, lifestyle or activity and make it cute, quirky or interesting (think 'Harvest Moon' for farming). You only need to look at the amount of time/detail given to everyday activities such as preparing food in virtually any anime to realise this. The more mundane it seems the better and a refreshing difference to the attention grabbing pace of a majority of Western animation.
G.A is sublimely silly, don't expect anything deeply revealing in what is more a comedy of relationships and mannerisms that happens to be set in an art school. Peppered with tips and facts on paints, colour mixing and drawing materials younger readers would probably learn something too, its the sort of book I would have loved as a kid (and in many ways still do!). The whole thing is far sweeter, cuter and innocent than the real thing but that doesn't take away from the occasional amusing, true-to-life observation that makes reading it worthwhile.
And if you really enjoy it there's a whole series!