Ichiroh! Manga, Volume 2 (English)

May 10th, 2010

Ichiroh!, Vol. 2On the cusp of writing this review, I went back to my review of Ichiroh! Volume 1 and find I damned it with faint praise. Volume 2 also was not terrible.

Nanako still spends her days studying for her eventual re-take of the college entrance exams. Akane still spends more of her time and energy on gaming than on studying, Anko is still…annoying. Shino is still in pointless lust after Nanako and Mai is still a studious serious girl with no hang ups at all, who somehow wandered into this 4-koma and got stuck.

In this volume, we start off obsessing about studying, but when that fails to be hysterical, we turn our attention to Nanako’s perpetual shortage of money. This is entirely so the author can find a reason to make Nanako take a job at a Maid Cafe – something that is always treated as if it were vaguely scandalous, the 4-koma equivalent of being a hostess at a hostess bar. (It’s a pretty apt analogy, if you think about it.) In reality, all Maid Cafes have very strict “do not touch” policies and of course every woman is using a fake name and bio.
Nanako is *shocked* to find Mai has a job at that same cafe, but with the same teacher making the referral, maybe it’s not so shocking.

This allows us to be introduced to a new character, Mayura, Nanako’s sempai at that Maid Cafe. Although the job is dropped quickly, Mayura sticks around. And, at the very end of the book, a new teacher is introduced as well. It feels very much as if the author was running out of ideas and had characters in whom he had no confidence, so the only thing he could do was add more characters.

Yuri continues in the person of Shino, who continues to “lust pointlessly” after Nanako. What is slightly more interesting is the moment when Nanako is contemplating buying a cell phone for the first time. Not just Shino, but also Akane and Mai want her to share their phone plan (they all have different plans.) It was a surprisingly harem moment for two characters who, up to this point, didn’t seem to be too interested. After this, there’s a noticeable uptick in the Yuri-ishness of Akane’s relationship with Nanako – even a moment or two when it seems like Akane really is interested in her.

There is, as I said in my review of the first volume, nothing really wrong with Ichiroh!. It’s an amusing enough comic strip if you like comic strips. It has the same bwah~wah~waaah~ humor we’ve come to expect from a 4-koma, the same gamer in-jokes. Like moe, I’m starting to think that 4-koma are really a sub-gamer genre at this point because, outside magazines that target that crowd, I don’t see much of it.

There’s an art to reading 4-koma, as Ed Sizemore mentions in his podcast on the format. A few pages at a time, then stop.Read too many at once, and you’ll find the jokes wearing. Don’t try and read it is as a narrative – it isn’t. It’s a series of gags centered around a thin plot idea.  Remember, these are only published in chapters of a few pages at a time, once a month. Stick to that format when you’re reading and it works.

Read in the appropriate manner, Ichiroh! is not terrible, with a few chuckles.


Art – 7
Story – 6
Characters – 6
Yuri – 3
Service- 4

Overall – 6

Happily, today we welcome a new Okazu Hero, Laurel K, for sponsorship of today’s review. Thank you Laurel for the pleasure of a few chuckles! :-) Email me at anilesbocon01 at hotmail dot com to receive your Okazu Hero badge!

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