Warratte! Sotomura-san (笑って!外村さん) Manga, Volume 1

January 5th, 2012

I jokingly refer to a certain set of magazines as “Manga Time Kirara (and all its little wizards)” around my house. When, mere hours ago, I stood in a store and faced down the many, many Manga Time magazines, I was reminded why. There are a truckload of these, ever so slightly dissimilar magazines that, when looked at as a whole are all pretty much identical.

And because Yuri is on the list of acceptable fetishes for this particular set of just-slightly-dissimilar 4-koma manga, many of the series found in the pages of these many magazines have some Yuri. For instance, Morita-san ha Mukuchi, which effectively has one joke (Mayu doesn’t talk) and two possible Yuri characters.

I picked up Warratte! Sotomura-san (笑って!外村さん) by Minamori Minamo, expecting one joke and no Yuri, and was right about one of those things.

Sotomura Natsuki is a very nice girl, who likes typical girly things but, has a very unfortunate smile. Unfortunate in the sense that when she “smiles,” she’s likely to terrify people and make them think she’s about to punch their lights out. This, combined with a natural shyness that is expressed in terse sentences…and the fact that she wears her school skirt long, makes Natsuki look like, well, a gang boss. Everyone in her class is convinced that she bosses her poor younger brother around, beats up children and animals and gets into fights before school. In reality, her brother and she get along perfectly well, she likes children and animals and is likely to ruin her uniform climbing up a tree to rescue a balloon or a kitten.

This is the one joke in the manga. Natsuki smiles like wolf grins and talks like a gang boss. That’s it.

Haruno, a girl from another class, befriends Natsuki after she realizes that that leer *is* Natsuki’s smile. So now Natsuki has a friend. This made the difference between this being a very sad manga and a totally tolerable one. Natsuki also has an admirer.

Early on in the manga Natsuki saves a girl from being bullied and later in the manga, the girl reappears, ready to become a good gang member, dedicated to protecting her boss. But, of course, Natsuki is missing this completely, as she inappropriately replies to the girl’s request to call her Onee-san, by telling her to call her Anego (gang patois for “Big Sis.”)

Her admirer takes up bokutou to better be able to protect the boss and shadows Natsuki, (much like the glasses girl stalks Mayu) and possibly admires her more. And that’s about that for that.


Art – 6
Story – 6 (It skirts being too full of pathos for my taste)
Characters – 6
Yuri – 2
Service – 1

Overall – 6

As I say, there’s only one joke, so reading too much of it at once can be too much. I suggest reading manga like this in small chunks over a few days for maximum fun.

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4 Responses

  1. Felix says:

    I wonder: Are series like this meant to be read a chapter at a time as apposed to the natural inclination to read the volume in one continuous go? Considering if you were following along in the magazine, the publication schedule would force you to one chapter or so a month.

    By the way, speaking of Manga Time Kirara, I can not remember off hand if you mentioned that there is a new Manga Time Kirara spin-off, Manga Time Kirara Carino, starting on 27 January. The lead series is a new manga by Aoki Ume.

  2. @Felix – Yes, I have mentioned many times that the chapters run a few pages at a time in magazines, so any joke exhaustion is limited. This is why I suggest one reads volumes like this in small chunks.

    Apparently you missed the point of the first line here, that I consider all of the Manga Time magazines to be essentially the same magazine, and so no, I didn’t not consider it newsworthy that the lineup when from 13 to 14 almost-identical magazines. This isn’t a “new” magazine, just another iteration of the same magazine, with similar one-joke comic strips, all endlessly generated by artists with apparently limited art and story-telling skills. IMHO.

  3. Felix says:

    @Erica – Yes I know you basically have the same suggestion for all 4koma series you review, read it in chunks. What I was wondering was that the original intended method of reading it as apposed to most manga which seems to lend themselves to being read in one continuous flow.

    As for how newsworthy is Carino? I guess it comes down to the differnces in what we both consider newsworthly. I simply assumed that it might have a slight interest to you since you have reviewed a number of Manga Time Kirara series. Personaly my main interest is that an author I love is starting a new series.

    I wonder if the reason why there is multiple Kirara’s a month is meant to attract people who don’t want to buy a weekly magazine and those who do. If you enjoy most or all the series in the Kiraras, hey, new magazine each week. If not, you can buy less issues a month an not miss series you like.

  4. @Felix – I don’t know what you mean. In the magazine, they are only published a few pages at a time, so there is no other way to read them. In the volume, there’s no “intended method” of reading. How could there be? Would it make any sense at all to have a “stop here for sanity’s sake” marker?

    People are going to read the thing as they want.

    I understand that you may be excited at another Aoki story.I did mention she had a new series coming up, a few weeks ago, in the YNN report, but no details at the time there were none.

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