As a Kickstarter backer, I received a copy of 1.5th Graduation ahead of its public release, and I finished it this weekend.
It’s about 2 hours long and follows Arue as she prepares to take her manga to a doujin event for the first time. An encounter with an arrogant manga artist leads to him betting that Arue, due to her lack of a seal, won’t be able to sell even a single copy.
This not only brings him and Arue into conflict with each other, but also sets her dreams and passion against a belief that profit is all that matters. A new character named Monami is also introduced, and Arue gets to know her across the course of the plot.
I really enjoyed it, and I definitely recommend it if you liked the first Chuusotsu. However, if you haven’t gone through the original, I wouldn’t recommend starting here. Not only is it a short side story, but it doesn’t really explain its world like the original does.
But if you have, it’s great!
There are a lot of funny moments, but many heartwarming parts as well. Just like the original, it takes a premise that could just be a silly story and turns it into something meaningful.
It especially resonated with me since I’m a writer. While I write prose and video game scripts, not manga, I really connected with Arue’s love of creating stories and her general feelings at the doujin event. Talking to someone about your inspirations, the anxiety of sharing your work with people for the first time, the fear of no one wanting to read it… this is all conveyed in a way I connected with quite well.
Chuusotsu! 1.5th Graduation: The Moving Castle does a wonderful job of capturing the sense of being a new writer/artist, and it’s a funny, heartwarming side story in the Chuusotsu universe. It ended with a hint that there might be another “graduation,” so I hope we see a full Chuusotsu sequel in the future.---
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