Soutennenshoku-iro Otome-gumi Manga, Volume 1

December 10th, 2008

Let’s talk 4-koma.

They are all basically the same.

Regardless of the setup, the punchlines all start to feel repetitive after a while. Every once in a blue moon you get something a little standout, but mostly 4-koma are about average protagonist girl, ambiguously gay girl and relaxed (or slow) girl reacting to hyper/crazy girl’s antics. In some cases the *only* thing that distinguishes the oh-so-average protagonist girl is that she is the protagonist. If she dropped out of the story altogether, it wouldn’t change much.

Soutennenshoku-iro Otome-gumi (Completely Naturally-colored Girl Group) is notable for having no notable characters whatsoever. The only thing that distinguishes them at all is that all of them (indeed, almost all the named characters) are named after a color. In no other way does any of the story differ from any other 4-koma. This manga is so generic that you could use it as a blank template upon which to dub your own ideas. Name them after fruit and make the setting an agricultural school; name the characters after well-known voice actresses and actors and pretend it’s at a voice acting school. Ignore the clothes and write a story that takes place anywhere, anytime, with anyone. Trust me, it’ll work.

(As an aside, I also noticed yesterday that the words for “O Fortuna” work perfectly well if you sing it about your wireless connection. “Oh, wireless connection, changeable as the moon, ever increasing and deteriorating.” It’s been that kind of week. ^_^)

Oh, so, yeah, Soutennenshoku-iro Otome-gumi. There’s this girl with red hair named Akane who gets lost trying to find her way around the huge school and runs into two other girls – green-haired Midori and ambiguously gay, blue-haired Aoi. Aoi is very otokoyaku-like and naturally wows all the girls with her masculine charm. But she’s not *trying* to, honest and always seems puzzled and annoyed by her skills at picking up girls. Evil ojou-sama Beniko (look it up, and you’ll be able to tell what color her hair is) hates how close Akane gets to Aoi, because she is nose-bleedingly desirous of her.

Add in the typical school scenarios, and give Akane a really fabulous, sensitive, nice older brother we only ever see in bear and magician costumes for his part-time jobs, and there you have it. The most unoriginal 4-koma ever. On the other hand, it’s not hurting anyone either. It’s pleasant, has Yuri-inspired nosebleeds and an older brother that, despite his sartorial choices, doesn’t suck and is not an object of incestuous desire.

If you are a fan of 4-koma, I say, go for it~! Read it, yay! In fact, I’ll lend you my copy. Feel free to forget to return it. ^_^


Art – 7
Story – 5
Character – 6
Yuri – 3
Service – 1

Overall – 6

Thematically named characters does not a great manga make.

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6 Responses

  1. JazzCat says:

    of course there are still nice 4-komas around. Sketchbook comes to mind. Sure, it also takes place at a high school, but the characters are off-kilter enough to be interesting throughout. It’s also refreshing that there is no genki girl around. Unfortunately there is no Yuri at all in Sketchbook, not even the faux kind.

  2. Most 4-koma are nice. They are all just very similar.

  3. DezoPenguin says:

    …But I’ll probably buy it anyway if Yen Press or somebody releases it. If nothing else, the great Carmina Burana shout-out in the review will stick in my head and remind me of it!

  4. grace says:

    Fruit. i love fruit! LOL …i smell strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.

  5. punistation says:

    S.S. ASTRO remains awesome.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Your comment on O Fortuna just made my day. “Oh, wireless connection…”

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