Quick Manga Reviews

One of the interesting things about working at Amazon Japan on the 14th floor is the shelf of free books you can peruse. There are lots of manga, so I started randomly grabbing volumes here and there. Here are some random reviews (click the links on the left to go to the product pages on the Japanese website – fair warning, if you buy something I will get like, 2 or 3 yen or something.)

So I thought I would write some very quick, very basic reviews. The first manga I read was けんぷファー (Kenu fau? Supposed to be some sort of German word) volume 1. It is completely awful, and totally cliché. The story starts with our hero, whose name escapes me, wakes up and is a girl. A high school girl (well, he was a high school boy so that makes some sense.) He has a stuffed animal that talks to him (some sort of tiger) and tells him that he was chosen to be a Kenpu fau who fights other Kenpu fau, who are all apparently high school kids. The reason they fight was never explained, but clearly that is supposed to be the interesting mystery to the story that draws people in. It just annoyed me because the fictional world makes no sense. Also, there are many gratuitous panty shots and the like. Why does the guy get a high school girl’s uniform when he transforms for no reason? Yet in the middle of the story, he says he has to go shopping for clothes because he doesn’t have any women’s clothes (except for the magic schoolgirl outfit?)

It rates half a star. Out of however many stars you want (at least 5 though probably.)

Next up is よつばと! (Yotsubato) which is apparently written by a well-known author, Kiyohiko Azuma who also wrote another well-known series Azumanga Daioh. The reason I ordered this manga is because in one of the chapters, the main character Yotsuba creates a robot out of a cardboard box. The author designed a toy for Amazon that uses Amazon boxes, which I wanted, and then when I tried to order it Amazon recommended the first volume of the manga. So I bought it.

What is the story? It is a cute look at Yotsuba, a young (naive or stupid?) girl who has everyday adventures. It is very easy to read, with full furigana, and simple enough that anyone can understand it. I think it is very accessible to foreigners because the humor is based on this young girl not knowing about her surroundings – a somewhat familiar situation for a foreigner in Japan. I read the first volume fairly quickly, and ordered the second volume. I haven’t started in on it yet, but plan to read it on the subway.

My wife told me that I shouldn’t read it on the subway though because people would think I am a nerd. Since I am a nerd, I didn’t take her advice, and plan to read it on the subway.



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5 responses to “Quick Manga Reviews”

  1. zon Avatar

    good for you. Maybe i should looking for job at amazon too. Buying from amazon just like digging a bottomless pit hole in my pocket. lol

  2. Kyra Avatar

    Sometimes my hubby and I will go to a net cafe when we’re bored. I wish they had English manga though, because while he will go through maybe 6 volumes in a 2 hour period, I usually have read about 1/2 of one.
    I read Yotsuba-to there (because I’m a Azumanga Daiyo fan) and liked it, although not as much as Azumanga.
    I don’t read nearly as much manga as I used to, but I’ve gotten pretty hooked on one called ‘Nodame Cantabile’.. it’s about kids that go to a music college and are all talented. Its very cute, and not the average cliche story.

    And go ahead , read your comic on the subway! everyone else does 🙂

  3. Fugu Avatar

    Yeah, I’ve heard of Nodame Cantabile, but haven’t read it. I haven’t been reading (or translating!) much manga at all lately. One of my favorites, Miwa Shirow’s Dogs: Bullets and Carnage, just got picked up for an anime version, which is cool. I have another site (MangaTranslation.com) where I actually translate some stuff, but life has been so busy I’m at least a month behind on stuff I usually translate for that.

    But since it is a hobby… I’m not going to worry about it!

  4. Kyra Avatar

    I’ve always meant to try my hand at manga translation, if only for a chance to practice my japanese… I’m nearly done with my own comic I’ve been drawing for fun, and I keep getting requests to translate it *into* japanese, which seems much harder.(shameless plug: Gemini)
    Of course this is one of the reasons I keep hubby around 😉
    Hey btw, are you planning to do anything for thanksgiving? where on earth do you get turkeys around here?

  5. fugu Avatar

    No Thanksgiving plans, and I do not know where one would look for a turkey. My guess is that they are a bit tough to find. The higher-end grocery stores (Kinokunia in particular – the one near Jiyugaoka (but far for a walk) seemed to have lots of import stuff, and I get the feeling they would have turkeys) should have them.

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