When Yuri Network Correspondent Sean G. drew my attention to this manga, he did it in the least appealing way, much as he might have introduced me to a creepy relative. “This is Aunt Claudia. We have to invite her.” ^_^ So, while it wasn’t high on my list of manga to read, it went onto the list and eventually, onto the pile of things to review.
Ichiroh, Volume 1, follows the life of Nanako, a girl who fails to get into college, her friend Akane who shares her fate and friend Shiino who makes it in. These three are surrounded by other one or two joke characters that fill out the cast of this completely typical wackiness-filled 4-koma manga.
As with most 4-panel strips, the comedy relies on goofy, abnormally extreme behaviors, puns, and exasperation on the part of the non-comic characters. If you’ve read any other 4-panel, you’ve read this one. In fact, other than the translation being in actual fluent English, it’s not that different from Lucky Star.
There was one thing that bothered me. Nanako is a serious, level-headed studious girl. Who, for no apparent reason, doesn’t make it into college. Everyone around her is driven by an Id-obsession. Greed, Lust, Power, Sloth all make frequent appearances. And yet, the other people seem to do fine. While Nanako, who only wants peace and quiet and a decent grade is forced to suffer for their sins. When she nearly fails a mock exam after studying diligently, I almost gave up on the manga. Shades of Azumanga Daioh‘s Yomi, who is one of the smartest in the class suddenly, for *no* reason fails to pass the exam, while hyperactive and not all that bright Tomo gets in. Thankfully, the near-failure turns out to be a computer grading glitch. In reality, she did very well. So, I continued reading.
The Yuri is confined to the meaningless bleating of Nanako’s friend Shiino who, as Sean says, “lusts pointlessly” after Nanako. She is joined in her repesentative of a popular fetish act by Nanako’s older brother who also bleats after his sister.
I didn’t dislike it nearly as much as I expected to. If anything, I found it surprisingly not terrible, only a little exhausting. If the world of 4-koma manga are the cast of Peanuts, Ichiroh would be Frieda.
Art – 7
Story – 7
Characters – 7
Yuri – 4
Service – 4
Overall – 7
Completely coincidentally, today’s sponsor is once again Okazu Superhero Dan P. It’s not on purpose, really. He sent me a lot (that’s how one gets to be Superhero, after all) and I happened to have been picking his off the pile quite randomly. No favoritism meant or implied, I assure you. (Check’s in the mail, right Dan?)