WcDonald's THE MANGA #4
WcDonald’s THE MANGA chapter 4 cover art
WcDonald's THE MANGA Chapter 04
Illustrations and Art: Acky Bright
Published by McDonalds

This is it—the end. And what a run it’s been, as WcDonald’s THE MANGA concludes its short anthology series with the fourth and final chapter, “The Wisdom of The Sauce.”

The premise of this chapter was revealed very briefly at the end of the previous chapter, “WcNuggets Space Force 3000,” as WcDonald’s one and only preview for upcoming chapters. So it is no surprise coming into this that “The Widsom of The Sauce” is set in a fantasy world, and my first thought was maybe it would draw upon Isekai tropes like being teleported into another world, which is done here. 

“The Widsom of The Sauce”

Chapter 4 starts in a distant land, which is more of another world or dimension than the previous three chapters of WcDonald’s have been set in. Here, we are introduced to three girls: Shiori, a girl with distinct glasses, a beauty mark on her cheek, and long hair with even bangs over her eyebrows; Demi, a pink-haired girl with a bowl cut that ends in a slender ponytail in the back; and lastly, there’s Mei, a girl with orange hair whose style reminds me a bit of Haru Okumura’s from the video game Persona 5. The three girls enjoy their time in WcDonald’s as they savor the WcDonald’s Sauce, knowing this will be the last week before it is gone for good (just like the Szechuan sauce!). Suddenly, before they know it, they are altogether teleported to another mysterious fantasy world as three prophesized heroes set out on a quest to determine the fate of the WcDonald’s sauce in that world, which is also the source of magical power there.

Shiori, Demi, and Mei already missing the WcDonald's sauce.
How I feel knowing there are no more manga chapters.

The story acts as a farewell to both WcDonald’s THE MANGA as a whole—and as a farewell to the real-life WcDonald’s campaign, which will most likely, after writing this review, end with no more ads or a chance to try out the savory WcDonald’s sauce (editor’s note: and, that’s damn good sauce). Marking the end of this era in McDonald’s history. 

Thoughts on Chapter 04

The tone in Chapter 4 is way different compared to the previous three chapters. The first three had a variety of moments and emotions and were relatively fun and upbeat tone-wise. However, this chapter is quite simply bittersweet.

In this chapter, our three heroes are sent to this fantasy world to save the WcDonald’s sauce but learn that maybe all good things must end. The WcDonald’s sauce in that world is fated to run out, too, just like the sauce in the WcDonald’s world from which the girls are. In a way, I suppose this chapter serves as a reflection on the entire series as the girls’ adventure can be interpreted as a metaphor for us, the readers, who have been going on this bizarre adventure to other worlds, seeing what the WcDonald’s-Verse has to offer. 

What I do wish, however, is that I had more time to get to know the other characters in the fantasy world of this chapter. As the site shows, we are introduced to seven additional characters: Mayor Williams, his brother Kenja, Mr. Bev, Quart. Sr, Cinnamon, Gyogetsu, and Princess Shizuka—all characters get very little time in the comic and the anime minisode, so it makes me wonder why there was effort in their designs and creation if they are barely even present. The story would work the same had it just been the Mayor and Kenja along with Shiroi, Demi, and Mei, as nothing would have been lost plotwise had those extra characters been cut and replaced with generic, unnamed fantasy background characters.

If they plan to go that extra mile in making these unique characters, then there should be more purpose and reason for their existence, which is why I hoped there would be more time dedicated to exploring the world. However, maybe due to time, it feels like the writers’ only option was to relegate these characters to a more background role, which makes me feel as if there was another story there that was possibly cut down, who knows?

I also noticed that, while reading this chapter, it seems as if the illustrator, Acky Bright, was struggling in some aspects to finish this chapter. In the first three chapters, while the line isn’t super clean, the overall images and art are easy to read, and most of the characters are on model save for when Acky exaggerates their expressions. In Chapter 4, this is way more noticeable when you see how Shiori, Demi, and Mei are drawn. There is this sketchiness to the lineart surrounding them, and certain features seem off depending on the panels and angles in which they are drawn. Examples include the spacing in their eyes and nose being slightly off or the lines that define their facial shapes as rushed and uneven, making their faces seem slightly disfigured and unusual.

Illustration of Demi, Shiori, and Mei by Acky Bright.

It’s not that noticeable compared to the previous chapters, but it is there. It could be due to difficulty translating the designs of the three main girls, which are done by the talented artist Ilya Kuvshinov (Ghost in the Shell: SAC 2045, Cyberpunk Edgerunners), or, most likely, it could be due to an issue of meeting deadlines to have all four chapters completed before the WcDonald’s campaign began. These are all assumptions, and I could be wrong, but as a fellow artist, it was noticeable as I read this chapter and took the time to appreciate and review the art. 

Illustration of Shiori by Illya Kuvshinov

Aside from what can be seen as me nitpicking the art, Acky’s illustrations will always be the star of this series, as the art feels lively with character poses that always give off a sense of motion and energy. Compared to previous chapters, this chapter showcases a variety of scenery and backgrounds, which was no doubt a challenge to illustrate and get to look right with the characters. Throughout, it’s obvious that despite the story not being written by him and mostly meant to promote a product, he put a lot of love and effort into the art, making each stroke of the pen count by using screentone to add depth and adding some variety and slight comedy into the work by turning the characters into chibis or overexaggerating their faces and emotions. All of these artistic choices are deliberate by the illustrator, probably with some oversight and approval by his editor, if there is one.

I can’t wait to see what other projects—and possibly even more original manga stories—Acky himself will create. I will definitely be there to read them. 

WcDonald’s THE MANGA: Final thoughts

Alas, this is the end of the WcDonald’s-verse. Reviewing and reading the chapters each week, watching the minisodes, and gathering some additional lore and information from the character cards on the official site was fun. I doubt McDonald’s will continue to expand the world they created for WcDonald’s THE MANGA through additional stories and expanded media, and it will exist in a vacuum. This is a shame; some neat concepts and ideas could be explored further. 

Another reason why I feel like McDonald’s will not return to the WcDonald’s-verse is simply due to what seems to be a marketing failure. Not many people were even aware there is an official McDonald’s manga available to read because McDonald’s has put more effort into promoting the Savory WcDonald’s sauce in their ads with barely any mention that you can read the manga. You would only know if you have read these reviews or received the limited-time WcDonald’s paper bags with the QR code to access these chapters (editor’s note: anecdotally, some locations never handed out the bags or had very limited quantities). Plus, despite condensing and adapting the events from those manga chapters each week, not even the anime minisodes produced by Studio Pierrot marketed or mentioned the manga.

You’d be surprised by the reactions I got when I was with friends, family members, or other artists at conventions and brought up WcDonald’s THE MANGA. They were shocked to be informed that it exists, which shows how badly the company has fumbled in marketing this to a set of consumers who would be interested in this specialty product. It makes me really appreciate Acky Bright and his team of assistants, if he has any, who dedicated the time and energy to bring to life these stories and characters every week either knowing or not knowing that they would even get readers at all. 

Another factor in this marketing issue is the current political climate, which is also out of the artist’s control. With the Israel-Gaza conflict ongoing and with it being public knowledge that McDonald’s gave out free meals to Israeli citizens impacted by the conflict, it has led to boycotts against the fast food corporation, causing them to lose billions of dollars as a result. This has caused the WcDonald’s campaign to go relatively unnoticed by the general public compared to previous campaigns such as the Grimace Birthday campaign, which took on a life of its own through memes all over social media and on various platforms. 

Grimace balances a tray on his head
Happy Birthday, Grimace…

With those factors in mind, I am pleased to say I thoroughly enjoy WcDonald’s THE MANGA. Is it a masterpiece? Definitely not, but on its own, with the obvious product placement aside, the stories are short, sweet, and easy to digest and enjoy. There is potential there, and McDonald’s should revisit it.

However, the artists involved, specifically the illustrator Acky, stand out more. Despite how bizarre the stories are, they brought this world and its characters to life. It makes me look forward to whatever original manga, webcomics, and stories he will work on in the future, divorced from the involvement of corporations. His art was just a joy to indulge in and admire while reading the manga, and I will miss the emotions I had enjoying these chapters for the first time and looking forward to the next. 


I’ve been saving this for last, but I give WcDonald’s THE MANGA 3/5 stars with all four chapters combined. Although the stories are fairly average, as expected, for something created by a fast food corporation to promote a single product, what prevents them from having a much lower rating is the execution and delivery of the story through Bright. These illustrations add charm and make you admire the art to the point that you often forget you’re reading a manga meant to promote just the WcDonald’s sauce and nuggets. That is, until the writing shoves that detail back into your face, which is when it gets kind of annoying. (Yes, I get it: Buy the WcDonald’s sauce!).

The art just does all of the heavy lifting and salvages what would have been a sub-par marketing gimmick. It now has me wanting more in the hands of a team of competent and passionate writers with a bit more creative freedom to flesh out and explore this universe McDonald’s has created, should that ever happen. 

Stay tuned for an Acky Bright exclusive!

This might be the end of WcDonald’s THE MANGA, but we have one more surprise for fans: an interview with the illustrator behind the WcDonald’s Manga—the man himself, Acky Bright. So stay tuned to THE BEAT if you’d like to learn more about what it’s like to work on this Manga. 

 Until Next Time… 

For another week, all four chapters of WcDonald’s THE MANGA can be read by scanning the QR code on WcDonald’s-themed paper bags from participating McDonald’s near you. If you can’t get a WcDonald’s bag, you can find copies of WcDonald’s THE MANGA at select comic book and manga stores throughout the U.S. 

Be sure to check out the WcDonald’s website for cards of the various characters, which contains additional lore that slightly fleshes out the WcDonald’s-Verse. In addition, you can watch the fourth and final Minisode of the official WcDonald’s Anime by Studio Pierrot, on the McDonald’s YouTube account. This Minisode really showcases Ilya Kuvshinov’s character designs and art style and I recommend giving it a watch. McDonald’s also released a 1 minute Animated Music Video to the official song by artist Reol titled “Want U Luv It.” 

Follow McDonald’s on Twitter for more news on the WcDonald’s-verse. 

Shout out to the MVP of WcDonald’s The Manga, the illustrator Acky Bright, whom you can follow on Twitter. You can also follow the legendary artist Ilya Kuvshinov, who designed Shiori, Demi, and Mei in this chapter on Twitter, too.