Manken Manga, Volume 1

May 21st, 2009

The Manga Kenkyuukakai (Manga Research Society, “Manken” for short) is composed of three people. The president, Shiina, the vice president, Reiko, and the lone member, Saki. Unlike the Manga Club, they do not create doujinshi, nor do they have an awesome output of academic research to their name. Mostly, in fact, what the Manken does, in Volume 1 of Manken (まん研) is sit around and make Saki try on cosplay outfits. Ostensibly for research, but mostly because Shiina’s got a thing for Saki in cosplay.

Oh, sure, sometimes they think really hard about doing a thing. Like, maybe one day actually drawing something. But it always seems to get subsumed into Saki putting on a full-body stocking and doing extreme poses (for research on life drawing, naturally) or wearing cat ears or something else that caught Shiina’s fancy.

When they run into the school’s “other” manga club at a comic event, the atmosphere is tense. The manga club has drawn many a doujinshi, and is there to see what’s hot, while the man-ken is mostly there to buy porn and show Saki’s character costume off.

The format is 4-koma, the four-panel strips which rely so heavily on manzai-style comedy. (Like my friend Kelli and I yesterday. She’s the boke and I’m the tsukkomi. She acts dumb and I slap her.) So in most situations funny faces and raised voices accompany the punchline. Which often involves either Reiko or Saki in cosplay.

There is some Yuri. Shiina convinces herself that her interest in Saki is all in the name of research but, as the book goes on, her interest in Saki shifts. She finds herself thinking about her more more, and less and less as a club member. Does Shiina like Saki? Like, “like” her? I think she does. As this is a comedy 4-koma series, I’m not convinced that anything will come of it. But Shiina does have a pretty interesting imagination, I’ll give her that. And at the end, Saki is darn surprised to find Reiko and Shiina “researching” some heavy kissing, mostly to shock the the Manga Club’s president.

Like most 4-koma, reading this is more “heh” than “bwahahahah,” and the basic premise is a little beaten to death by the end of the first volume but it’s not bad at all. Certainly better than some paper-thin 4-koma I’ve read. In general, this would do better as a weekly/monthly installment, rather than reading it all at once. But in pieces, it’s amusing enough to justify buying it. Here’s hoping that the Yuri becomes a little more developed in the next volume. However, I wouldn’t count on it. ^_^


Art – 7
Story – 7
Characters – 7
Yuri – 3
Series – 3

Overall – 7

Another 4-koma with some Yuri from Manga Time KR Comics? Who’d’ve thunk it?


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