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Manga / GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class

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"After all, G.A. does have a high percentage of crazy students."
Uozomi, on the GA students

Ayanoi High School's G.A. is a class that specializes in the arts. It's at G.A. that a particular five are focused on. Kisaragi Yamaguchi, Miyabi "Professor" Oomichi, Namiko Nozaki, Tomokane and Miki "Nodamiki" Noda. The manga uses its arts class setting well, using this as a chance to teach the audience a few things about color, composition and other things that are usually done at these sort of schools. The yonkoma manga was written by Satoko Kiyuduki, previously known for the artwork of Sting Entertainment's Dept. Heaven games.

Compare with Hidamari Sketch, another series focusing on students in high school art programmes serialized in Manga Time Kirara Carat. While you're in the neighborhood, Sketchbook may also be used to compare and contrast. The series has also been referred to as "Azumanga Daioh, but in art class".

An anime adaptation produced by AIC aired in the summer of 2009. In North America, the manga is licensed by Yen Press. The seventh and final volume of the manga was released in February 2016 in Japan and October 2016 in North America.

This series provides examples of the following:

  • Accidental Art: Despite the fact that the series takes place in an art school, and most of the characters' artistic endeavours are intentional, variations of this trope still manage to occur.
    • Once, Kisaragi loses her spectacles for an entire chapter, and is forced to somehow navigate her classes with pretty much zero eyesight. The chapter ends with the teachers praising the works she's completed during the day, claiming that they're the best she's ever done. Kisaragi herself reels with shock when she gets to see what exactly she made during that Blind Without 'Em period.
    • When the girls are trying to fold origami roses for a bouquet, Tomokane somehow manages to fold a perfect Kawasaki rose from a blue paper with which she was trying to fold a much simpler morning glory. Quite a fitting accident, given that blue roses apparently symbolizes "miracle".
  • All Just a Dream: Chapter 22 features two surreal dreams Kisaragi had; one where she was sent to get art supplies from Noda's locker and ended up in a flooded school, and another where she astral projects.
  • Always in Class One: Enforced by the very premise. The Art Design course is clustered in class A (class B is apparently for music courses).
  • Always with You: After the previous club president, graduated, many of the Art Club members left with her, until only Awara was the only remaining member. Uozumi eventually returns, promising to Awara that he'll stick around with the Art Club until they both graduate.
  • Art Evolution: The first three chapters were drawn for the later closed magazine Comic Gyutto!, and then later picked up by Manga Time Kirara Carat. The break was less than a year, but the change in drawing style between is noticeable. Comparing the covers of volumes 3 and 4 shows the character's eyes have gradually become smaller and their heads have become narrower as well.
  • Art Imitates Art: On a trip to a museum, two of the more famous works are referenced. Noda does "The Thinker", and Professor and Kisaragi duet "La Pieta".
  • Art Reflects Personality: Discussed in one strip where both Kisaragi and Tomokane are tasked to draw a box of tissues. Kisaragi, being a gentle Shrinking Violet, uses soft lines all over that her box looks like sponge. Tomokane the Hot-Blooded Tomboy does the exact opposite, and her tissue looks like an iron plate.
  • Asian Fox Spirit: The end of the summer festival reveals that the Noda they thought they were travelling with was actually one of the fox spirits from a shrine they visited. She swapped out roughly after the real Noda went off with Oomichi, and blessed Kisaragi with better fitting sandals after the latter's wore down. However, like the real Noda, she's plenty tricky.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Downplayed with Marianne van Tienen, a French exchange student from the PSP game who later appears in volume 4. Although Marianne is a proper French given name, her surname is actually Dutch.
  • Athletically Challenged: Kisaragi is clumsy and slow and is always Picked Last when the girls play team sports. When the group are practicing for a sports festival, she's always shown to be lagging behind the others. This is mostly due to her glasses hindering her movements though, and she's a relatively decent swimmer.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • The origins of Awara's "President's House". The way Tono told it in the beginning, she made it seem like the House was made in order to comfort Awara, who at the time was the only Art Club member and consistently attended club activities even though no one else showed up. What really happened was that Tono was so annoyed by her persistence that she made the House so she could leave her alone. Classic Tono.
    • One chapter has Mizubuchi turn Homura around because she was going to change clothes in the club room. What she neglected to mention was that she was changing Sanae, which works just as well since she treats the mannequin as a girl.
    • When the girls go to the school's Equestrian Club, they first encounter an elegant-looking girl who seems wise and attuned with horses. Then a girl comes in, explains that the girl's thevice president, and that she herself is. Well seasoned readers will pick out this twist early, as she makes an appearance with other club leaders in Volume 5.
  • Baseball Episode: In Volume 4, the girls go off to see a baseball game for their school's team, under the pretense of drawing the figures of the players. The game was a qualifying match for Koshien, but they lost.
  • Bland-Name Product: When Noda wanted to refer to the marks of Louis Vuitton and Cartier in Episode 1, it was blurred over.
  • Blank White Eyes: Nodamiki has them by default.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: In one chapter. Sasamoto says that without her glasses, she'd be a very beautiful and popular woman. An English translation instead turned this line into saying women won't stop climbing on her whenever she takes her glasses off.
  • Blue Is Calm: Discussed in one strip. Namiko complained she has been tired lately, probably due to the stress of being the Only Sane Man of the cast. Ms. Exposition Miyabi suggests the colour blue is effective in cases like that. In the next frame, we see Namiko sitting under a blue sky, and certainly, she is able to calm down and relax with the colour. Sadly the moment is killed by Tomokane and Nodamiki squeeing at the blue sea.
  • Book Ends: Chapter 19 opens and closes with Awara and Uozumi hitting each other on the head. In the beginning, Uozumi smacks Awara for being so slow getting inside school, while at the end Awara returns the favor due to Uozumi fretting about going home in the rain without an umbrella.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The Dream Sequence in the lost-and-found box chapter is this
  • Brick Joke: On chapter has Tomokane excuse her unfinished and missing summer homework with the excuse that "it blew away in the wind". When she actually completes her makeup work by the end of the chapter, she still doesn't turn it in because this homework really did blow away in the wind and was destroyed in rain water.
  • Book Dumb: There's Kisaragi, but then there was one strip that the college-prep stream student Uozumi observed GA's non-art curriculum is far less rigorous than his, indirectly implying all students in GA (at least Awara) are this.
  • The Cameo: Kuro, the protagonist of Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro, one of Kiyuduki's other works, can be seen checking out the school and walking off in the background in episode two. Kuro's two child assistants Nijuku and Sanjuu show up in the first credits as spirits hovering around a young Professor.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: In the very first chapter, Namiko mentions she decided to go to Ayanoi on the footsteps of her sister, who graduated. Her sister is Fujiko Nozaki, the previous president of the Art Club.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Noda, who's clearly a few crayons short of a box.
    • Kisaragi tends to live in outer space too, if not more.
    • And Awara. Actually all students in the GA class are more or less like this to a degree. See how often Uozomi and Homura snark them...
  • Club Stub: The Art Club and its many predecessors. Due to a mishap when the Cloud Cuckoo Lander president promoted the club the previous year, the club now only has three members. Downplayed in that while the club was eventually saved by merging with Campus Environment Club, and the other club only have one member—that other club can't be disbanded because it provided volunteers to clean the school campus, and Sasamoto-sensei exploited this to use it as a "shell" to acquire other clubs so that she can have a smoking room.
  • Companion Cube: The Fine Arts Club's mannequin, Sanae. Also, Professor seems fond of the black poster paint that Noda gave a personality to. Though she likes anything black.
  • Cute Kitten: Tomokane's misreading of 素描 (sobyou, rough sketch) into 素猫 (Suneko, plain cat) leads to Kisaragi filling her sketchbook with a certain kitten. This kitten would go on to become the series' mascot.
  • Death Is a Sad Thing: The baby chick chapter.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: In the penultimate chapter, Uozumi tries cheering up an upset Awara and confesses to her underneath the box she was hiding her face in. While it's not clear if he just stopped at the confession rather than kissing her, we never get to see, and the aftermath regardless leaves her flustered.
  • Dream Within a Dream: Kisaragi's continued trips into a surreal art world after a lecture on surrealism. Highlights include Noda appearing as a mermaid and finding her way back to her classroom (sort of) by the Wile E. Coyote method of passageway creation.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Awara and Tomokane's brother are seen among the Faceless Masses in the first scene of the first episode. Homura also appears to sliding down a hill.
    • The whole Art Club cast appears in episode 2, which is one episode before their proper introduction.
    • Natsuki, the little girl Kisaragi talks to and who we eventually learn is part of Ayanoi's junior school, is first formally introduced in Volume 5 before becoming a semi-recurring cast member in the last volume of the manga.
  • Edutainment Show: All those explanations about graphic techniques make the series comes pretty close at times.
  • Elevator School: Ayanoi Gakuen is a more realistic example. It has a junior high, a high school and technological university in adjacent campuses, and they share a lot of common facilities — the main characters often go to the university campus to have computer graphics classes and sometimes even for vending machines. It's also worth noting that because of the university's background, the high school has a relatively large technical/vocational division, on top of general ed and arts divisions — and it's not an Elaborate University High at all, as Kiyuduki was merely recalling her high school, Fukui Senior High School of the Fukui University of Technology.note 
  • Evolving Credits: The ending, besides the episodic variations depending on who's singing, has steadily changed over the course of the series with the girls getting older and their activities changing.
  • Excited Kids' Show Host: One of the recurring elements of GA is Let's Draw and Play!, a kids' show starring "Kisaragi-onee-chan" as the lovable host and a "Suneko" hand puppet friend (voiced and controlled by Noda). Kisaragi is in love with this idea.
  • The Faceless: The viewer/reader never gets to see the face of Nodamiki's older sister. Lampshaded in the final volume of the manga.
  • Fictional Accent: Chikako Awara speaks Chubu-ben, a fictitious dialect based on Nagoya accent and Kansai grammar. The story happens in Fukui, which is economically associated with the former.
  • Footnote Fever: This work's art edutainment tendencies plus the heavy use of puns means every manga volume by Yen Press has at least 4 pages of translator's notes.
  • Foreshadowing: In the Festival Episode chapter, Noda picks up a fox mask to hide her face because she had her own face drawn all over. This sets up for the end, when a real fox spirit took her place; other indications of this include her change of speech and her suddenly pulling out tools from her head to fix Kisaragi's shoes (both things everyone waves off because Noda's always like that).
  • Forced Perspective: The Art Club's school festival exhibit in Volume 6 is a room filled with forced perspective art pieces. Classics such as the perspective room were present.
  • Gag Series: This, with the bulk of artistic terms, caused Yen Press' translation of the first manga volume to have 5 pages of translator's notes.
  • Generation Xerox: One volume 6 chapter covers Sanae's origins in the 1970s. The girls who began to dress her up are pretty much time shifted versions of the primary cast, save for their slightly different names.
  • Graduate from the Story: The penultimate chapter centers around the Art Club seniors (Awara, Mizubuchi and Uozumi) finally completing their third year and graduating.
  • Hammerspace: While having a comb and a sewing set in her blazer is not surprising, but when Professor pulled out a bag of dye fixative from her blazer...
    Tomokane: Are you always prepared for a trip or something?
    Professor: *Pulls out an oral care set*
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Discussed. Kisaragi is probably the most hard-working in her group, but she lacks Masa's and Noda's natural talent, and angsts about the fact that her work didn't get selected for a museum display.
    Professor: As far as I know, Kisaragi-dono spent the most time creating her work.
    Namiko: She's the complete opposite of Noda. Noda's got talent, but she's moody.
    Professor: You (Kisaragi) are not envious of other people's success. When you did your best but weren't selected, you were frustrated with yourself.
    Yoshikawa: I see. Yamaguchi-san... really loves painting.
  • Her Boyfriend's Jacket: Played with. Awara is shown to borrow Uozumi's shoes quite frequently, but while they have a fair bit of Ship Tease, they aren't actually dating.
  • Implausible Hair Color: Nodamiki and Namiko are known in-universe to have pink and light brown hair, respectively; they've submitted their kids' photos to show that they do not dye their hair.
  • Improbable Chopsticks Skill: Tomokane is able to catch a fly with a pair of chopsticks. Eating rice by just holding them in the middle is another matter however...
  • Lemony Narrator: The narrator complained about the main ensemble breaking color mood of the cast, so they shout back at the narrator.
  • Loophole Abuse: In one scene, Tomokane and Noda have prepared a game to play during lunch: Everyone blindly selects a slip of paper, and must spend lunch obeying the rule selected, e.g. "Exchange your favorite dish with someone else", or "Don't use sauce". Tomokane's was "Don't use chopsticks", so she decides to interpret "hashi" as "the ends" instead of "chopsticks", based on a different kanji.
  • Love Bubbles: Appearing during a strangely intimate moment between Noda and Kisaragi.
  • Magic Feather: A pencil Kisaragi got from an old lady at the stationery store turns out to be not special in the slightest. She was conned into buying it to get rid of the stock.
  • Medium Awareness: When the GA-1 students were talking about typography, one strips actually have the characters discuss the sound effect typeface on that strip. These moments are generally restricted to the bonus strips between chapters. The lost-and-found box chapter's Dream Sequence shows this.
  • Medium Blending: The OVA ending recreates several pieces of art from the series in live action, and ends with a claymation shot of the main five.
  • Mistaken Identity: One chapter has Tomokane make a cardboard costume of Namiko, which Oomichi, Kisaragi, and Noda also participate in. When time comes to dispose of them all, Noda and Tomokane's brother are mistaken for Awara in the costume (since Awara is well known for weird stunts), and Kisaragi mistakes the brother for Namiko (since she saw all of her friends but her at that point).
  • My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: One of the elder Tomokane's episodes has him collapse near school, with nobody around to see him fall. While he's blacking out, he starts remembering his childhood with his sister while he's under the full impression he may die.
  • Mythology Gag: The anime opening include scenes (such as the badminton game) that were pretty much hot off the press.
  • Non-Uniform Uniform: The last scene of the OP shows them all.
  • "No Peeking!" Request: One scene involves Homura walking in on Mizubuchi, who is apparently trying to change her clothes, and immediately asks him to turn away. Homura obliges, and it turns out that Mizubuchi is only trying to change the club mannequin's outfit.
  • Not Named in Opening Credits: Strange anime example. Tomokane's brother had a single line in an episode before he was introduced, and in the ending credits that was only listed as "Grade 11 Student — M.S."
  • Not So Above It All: Namiko is usually the most reality-bound of the main five. Some of her design ideas however...
    Namiko: I heard that invention-type stuff was popular. *Presenting a writing desk with a top that can flip into an built-in garbage bin*
    Sotoma-sensei: If you're gonna file a patent, go to the Tokyo Approval Office instead of the faculty room.
  • Ojou Ringlets: The vice president of the Equestrian Club sports a Regal Ringlets hairstyle, with two prominent curls framing her face. When our main characters meet her, they immediately recognize an almost noble air from her, and even the other club members call her "lady".
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Most of the Art Club, Same-chan-sensei, and Tono-sensei, especially in the manga.
  • Passing the Torch: The third year students—Mizubuchi, Awara and Uozumi—eventually graduate, so the Art Club is passed over to their underclassmen. While at first the most likely candidate for Awara is Tomokane's elder brother, who is a second-year GA student, the position is eventually taken by Kisaragi, who joins the club just before the third years leave.
  • Pseudo-Romantic Friendship: Awara and Mizubuchi has been jokingly referred to as husband and wife due to their closeness, despite the fact that they are romantically involved with other people (Awara has a lot of Ship Tease with Uozumi, while Mizubuchi is said to be dating or have dated an unseen neighbor of hers).
  • Puni Plush: Word of God said this is in puni-moe, after all. Later volumes downplay this trope.
  • Real-Place Background: Ayanoi High School's exterior is near-directly based on the previously mentioned Fukui Senior High School of the Fukui University of Technology, minus the chickens and Haniwas.
  • Rearrange the Song: "Coloring Palettes", the ending theme, has five versions, one for each of the girls. Because the lyrics and music genre change to match their personality, they double as an Image Song for each character.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The Sunekos and, to a certain extent, the Lord Chickens.
  • Running Gag: Every episode begins with the appearance of the word "hajimaru" (はじまる - "it's starting") in one way or the other.
  • School Festival: Sports Day and the School Festival are covered in volume 6, with the girls spending time preparing for the events and participating in the events themselves.
  • Schoolgirl Series: The series includes mainly focuses on the group of five girls (Tomokane, Namiko, Noda, Oomichi, and Kisaragi).
  • Self-Deprecation: In one of the bonus strips in volume 3, Noda and Tomokane are seen looking at GA volume 1 and saying they don't feel like reading it because they don't like the art.
  • Sentai: Irodorunger! Tomokane is Red, Namiko is Yellow, Noda is Magenta, Kisaragi is Cyan and Professor is Monochrome. More Sentai elements are added in episode nine, including a full roll call and a makeshift Humongous Mecha.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Awara's kamishibai project for a preschool ends up as this. The story's development process, thanks to the efforts of the GA crew, evolved into a somewhat passable story of a sprite gathering her rainbow colored friends to take the color back from a witch. Despite all of the work they put into it, the children only paid attention to Homura's crude drawings and excitable explanations for them.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Numerous times between Uozumi and Awara. They're the longest members of the Art Club who have been around since before Awara became Club President, and they often share intimate moments when reminiscing about their shared history in the club. In fact, there was a time where the two were the only remaining members of the club, and Uozumi promised to Awara that he'll stay with her to the very end. They never outright state it, but it's implied that they end up together after graduation.
    • There are hints floating around for Sotoma and Usami, but they never really act upon it. In the final chapter, however, Sotoma is taken aback when he sees that Usami cut her hair short, and continues being distracted by it.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • The GA as a whole likes to assume that Usami-sensei and Sotoma-sensei are a couple, even insisting that he go look after her when he had to temporarily fill in for her class due to her being sick.
    • Most of the art club is under the firm belief that Awara and Uozumi are close to becoming a couple.
  • Shout-Out:
    • For GA-1's home appliance design assignment, one of Tomokane's designs is a rather blatant Shout-Out to Doraemon.
    • Pooh Pooh Be Doo.
    • Masa and Kisaragi have cosplayed as young Roswell and Rosary in one of the manga's color explanations.
    • During the costumed drawing session in Volume 4, a student dressed up as Mario.
    • A museum the girls visit features an exhibit celebrating the works of Dick Bruna parody Deep Brunya. the main visual is of an off-brand Miffy.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: While the case of Bokukko versus Non-Action Guy didn't seem too out of ordinary, their parents thought her older brother was too ill for her to make a physical response—as a result, while she kept being pwned at home, she gets more gratification outdoors and is much more aggressive.
  • Sick Episode: The last episode of the anime, when Namiko was sick. She just has the uncanny ability to predict exactly what's going to happen...
  • Snake Oil Salesman: One chapter has Kisaragi talk about how she got her pencil stash from a stationary store. She was tricked into buying an old, unsold box of pencils by an otherwise kindly old woman, under the impression that it was a brand used by famous historical figures and that it would bring her luck. When she later talks to the old woman's adult son, he mentions that other customers have also been tricked by her.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Kisaragi at first tells Noda to stop narrating a conversation between two people she sees out the window. Then Professor, normally one of the serious ones, is doing the exact same thing. However, given that it's a pair of chickens, hints at various points indicate that Professor actually ''does'' know what they're saying.
  • Stern Teacher: Fashion design teacher Koshino Yoshino is notorious for her harsh criticisms of homework. Her class itself averts this, as she lets the students read up on any materials they need to finish their assignments at their own pace—but that time to themselves is the reason she expects them to have come up with something rather than slacking off.
  • Storybook Episode: After a fashion. One episode features the Fine Arts Club creating a storybook that features a protagonist which looks oddly like Kisaragi, who's quickly joined by an adventuring party resembling the other four.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: The Tomokane siblings not only look alike — Nodamiki one said the older Tomokane as a "bleached Tomokane-kun" in episode 12, while the Art Club says at the end of Volume 4 in the manga about the younger Tomokane looking like him "toasted over a fire". — but both were voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro.
  • Super-Deformed: The ending. Note that this is for a series that's already in Puni Plush territory. Although the girls are not as much super deformed, but rather depicted as really young.
  • Talking with Signs:
    • A variation is used by Noda. She turns her sketchbook into sign language for other people, holding it over them like a Speech Bubble.
    • Another example was when Sotoma-sensei was reprimanded for his reprimanding Tomokane's and Namiko's work, Tomokane and Namiko discreetly wrote their response (to the effect of "You'll regret it!!") on the top of their sketchbooks and put them over their heads. Of course, Tomokane got the kanji wrong.
  • Tempting Fate: Being as bad at sports as she is, Kisaragi makes a teru teru bozu and hangs it upside down, jokingly praying for bad weather so she won't have to participate in the Sports Festival. While it got taken down in three minutes, the very next day outdoor festivities were cancelled due to heavy rain. This doesn't put a stop to Sports Day though, as events continued in the gymnasium.
  • Terrible Artist: Homura's attempt to help out in the Storybook Episode ends up ruining the other illustrations, as his drawings look like something a kindergartener would draw.
  • Too Long; Didn't Dub:
    • Yen Press' translation has the tendency to do this, including the title. The Japanese side already made a fully acceptable English title GA: Art Department Art Design Class; but Geijutsuka is kept untranslated in the English release. While it makes the work easier to search for, it doesn't really roll off the tongue.
    • In volumes 1-5 Yen Press added notes in between panels to translate signs, covers, written words, and other miscellaneous text that's part of the art instead of the print. Unfortunately they dropped this practice in volume 6.
  • 12-Episode Anime: Followed up by an OVA in the DVD-releases.
  • Twin Switch: The Tomokanes end up using their extreme similarities to their advantage sometimes. During the Sports Festival, the elder Tomokane has the younger pose as him for the club relay race, which boosts his team to second place.
  • Two-Teacher School: Averted. GA-1 has homeroom Satoma and co-homeroom Usami, and GA-3 has Sasamoto as their homeroom—who also supervises the Art Club. GA-2's homeroom Morita also shown up in one scene and so have the principal and the school nurse. The manga averts this even further by adding a music teacher, Harue.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: One chapter was devoted to Uozumi recounting how he told Awara about his red-green colorblindness.
  • World of Technicolor Hair: Lampshaded. The girls discussed why so many Western Animation works have an Amazing Technicolor Population while anime would rather have this — and to break the Fourth Wall, the shot showed their hair colours in a more vivid saturation than usual: Kisaragi is dark brown, Professor is black, Tomokane is green, Noda is pink, and Namiko is dirty yellow. By the way, Awara is reddish brown, Mizubuchi is black, Uozomi is blueish black, and Homura is blond. Yoshikawa is blond and Mitsui is blue.