Given the fact that anime is... well, animated... it's hardly surprising that there are plenty of series out there that base themselves around the world of art students in some shape or form, and it's even less surprising that many of these series take the slice of life comedy route to boot - Hidamari Sketch and Sketchbook ~full color'S~ spring to mind as the major proponents of the genre.
Fresh to television screens for this summer anime season, and based upon a four-panel manga series much like Hidamari Sketch, comes GA - Geijutsuka Art Design Class, which only really differs in its focus on account of being based at an art and design school, with ergo has a slightly different outlook to a more traditional art education establishment. Nonetheless, as a former A-Level Art and Art History student myself, I'm a sucker for this kind of series so I couldn't help but check it out.
Perhaps it's because this is only the first episode, but the first thing I noticed about compared to its contemporaries is its relative lack of focus on characters - Sure, the various characters all have their own personalities and tick most of the usual boxes, but there isn't a huge amount of weight placed upon those personalities. This feeling perhaps comes about because of the incredibly quick-fire nature of GA - While Hidamari Sketch in anime form tended to take its time and build up to punchlines in a gentle kind of way, and Sketchbook valued character-building over all else, GA looks to pack as many jokes (and a big chunk of education about art, by the look of it) into a single episode as possible.
In a way this is to the show's benefit - There aren't that many quality gags in this first episode, but much like buses if you're willing to wait a couple of minutes a few will suddenly crop up all at once. Thus, there were some amusing jokes and uses of pictograms, a generally smirk-worthy send-off of Power Rangers, and a few plays on words which always grab my attention. Overall, this made for just about enough genuinely funny humour to win me over... for this episode at least. Whether GA - Geijutsuka Art Design Class can hold that interest without the appeal of its characters like other series of its ilk remains to be seen.