WcDonald’s The Manga Chapter 1 cover art
WcDonald's THE MANGA Chapter 01
Illustrations and Art: Acky Bright
Published by McDonalds

Never would I have thought WcDonald’s The Manga would even be a thing that is published by McDonald’s and promoting their food. But this kind of fast food campaign is rare in the United States. The last time I can recall McDonald’s doing something like this is with The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald way back in 1998 to 2003 on VHS tapes you could buy at the restaurant (remember VHS tapes? Oh God, I’m old!). 

Cut to 2024, and McDonald’s began a promotional campaign as an hommage to the name used for decades in manga and anime to refer to McDonald’s: WcDonald’s. They commissioned the Japanese Animation Studio Pierrot (Urusei Yatsura, Bleach, Naruto) to make four anime minisodes of approximately 30 seconds in length as well as Japanese Illustrator Acky Bright to do the illustrations and art for the WcDonald’s Manga. 

As of February 26th, the first chapter of the manga and the first minisode are available on the WcDonald’s site but can only be accessed if you scan the QR code that comes with each limited-time WcDonald’s paper bag at participating McDonald’s restaurants. However, if you do not have the money or time to go to McDonald’s, you can find printed copies of the WcDonald’s manga in select stores across the U.S. 

The first chapter titled The Race to WcDonald’s begins with a short in-story ad from WcDonald’s promoting the new savory Chili WcDonald’s Sauce (spicy!) for use with the Chicken WcNuggets. The chapter then leads into a race between our two characters: Miteru, a man sporting sunglasses and the thickest and spikiest eyebrows I’ve ever seen, and Hashirune, a Champion Driver who I can see some artists on Twitter wishing for her to “step on them.”

Panels from page 6 of WcDonald’s The manga.

The chapter has a nice sense of humor. It throws two characters in locations that would not normally be between a park and a local WcDonald’s. In their desperation to acquire the delicious fried food, they exhibit some very inhuman levels of strength and power from slicing through trees, acrobatics, superspeed, and even super-saiyan-like powerups just to get to WcDonald’s first. Of course, it calls upon tropes from anime and manga to pull it off, but I am impressed by the panel-to-panel comedic timing elevated by Bright’s illustrations, which currently last only 24 pages.

The art is amazing. Bright’s work feels fluid despite the simple line art and is given depth by his use of grayscale tones and blacks to emphasize the clothing and hair, allowing the unique designs of the WcDonald’s characters to stand out panel to panel. The poses are also dynamic and full of energy; you can almost feel these characters moving despite it being just an illustration.

In tandem with the comedic timing, his art also displays a variety of detailed to cartoonish facial expressions to display the thoughts, reactions, and emotions of the characters to the reader. It’s just amazing work on his end. The background art is simple and only detailed when establishing specific locations throughout the chapter while not visually distracting from the characters. 

Panel from page 21 of WcDonald’s The Manga.

I am pleasantly surprised to say I enjoyed this. Had I not known that this is all promotion for and paid for by McDonald’s, I would have taken this on the surface as a fun, energetic parody of McDonald’s, putting various anime and manga tropes to use to bring out the humor from a simple premise such as a “race to get the new chicken WcNugget first.” I do look forward to what the next chapter will be like. Will it directly follow up the story from this first chapter, or will it be more of an anthology story covering different settings and characters surrounding WcDonald’s/McDonald’s as a brand? Find out next week on WcDonald’s The Manga!! 

Into the WcDonald’s-verse!

You can read the first chapter of WcDonald’s the Manga on the WcDonald’s site if you scan a QR code on paper WcDonald’s bags. You can also watch the first minisode on the McDonald’s YouTube channel. Feel free to follow McDonald’s on X/Twitter for more news on the WcDonald’s campaign and the WcDonald’s Universe. 

While you’re at it I also highly recommend giving a follow to the WcDonald’s Manga illustrator, Acky Bright, on X/Twitter as well for his amazing illustrations on display there!