Enmusu

This is one of the bad ones. Who knew maid fighting could be so dull? Well, by this point it’s hard to surprise me. This is “Enmusu”.

Plot: Gisuke is such a loser! He even gets hit by a car and simply shrugs it off! One day, a maid comes in claiming she needs Gisuke, and they end up living together! Oh, also they need to gather 14 scrolls or something to make him an heir or something. Wowee!

It’s bad. First, one of Gisuke’s bullies likes Eiken. You know it’s a bad sign when our frame of reference for good manga is the WORST MANGA. Seriously, read volume one of Eiken, then STOP.

The maid introduces herself as Sofia, but says “Just call me Sonya”. …Why? Is it somehow easier? Is Sonya a nickname for Sofia? I mean, if Jack can be a nickname for John, then maybe it’s not so farfetched. This is that unimportant guy from that bad cat woman manga all over again.

Sonya is… ugh. She’s supposed to be likeable, but just comes off as irritating. She says she can’t count higher than five. REALLY? I bet I can find an error to that statement if I cared enough to look. Count Von Count must be spinning in his coffin. Because, you know, he’s a vampire.

Anyway, yeah, Sonya. She’s really sweet, but I must admit that sweet is not equal to interesting or smart. Well, in terms of number of letters, “sweet” and “smart” are equal, but apart from that… they also begin with “s” and end with “t”. Okay, I’m sidetracked. Sonya’s not endearing, and I find myself agreeing with a rival maid (under someone else’s ownership, that is) when she wants to see Sonya fall to pieces. That’s another bad sign right there.

Gisuke… what can be said that I haven’t always said? He’s a loser. He has a good heart. He’s lucky to have an adventure happen to him. Also, HE HAS NO NOSE. Sometimes, it disappears, which makes him look like a child. It works for Krillin, not here. I don’t care that Gisuke has a good heart, it comes off as foolish. When a classmate bribes him to hand over his scroll, he refuses the money. I found myself thinking, “Take the money! Take the money!” Of course he didn’t. But guess what? His classmate doesn’t take it either! After dumping a pile of yen onto his desk and getting refused, he just walks away! Does Gisuke grab wads of cash? NO. Does the rich classmate gather his yen? NO. Do the classmates, who have already been established as heretics, take the money? NO. WHY WON’T ANYONE TAKE THE MONEY?

I did like Shizuku, the smart girl Gisuke has a crush on. She was down to earth, but not boring. Well, a little, but her harsh nature was endearing to me. When she warms up to Gisuke, I still find her pleasant. I was hoping that she’d wind up with Gisuke, but then I realized he didn’t deserve her, so I hoped for her to win a Porsche instead. I have odd standards.

There’s a female teacher who appears like, once, but Gisuke makes a note of. He says, “She’d be so cool if she were a guy…”

WHY. Isn’t she already “cool” without it? Besides, don’t boys tend to fantasize about women being women? Is he closeted? He seems to take pain in stride.

Oh, that’s another thing. Sonya claims that Gisuke cares for others, but honestly, I call it being bullied. He should have taken the money, not a silly maid contest! Or… test battle, or something. Yeah, the only action in this single released volume is the beginning of a test. ACTION! No wonder it was canned.

Overall Opinion: Ugh. Bad, stupid, dull, all in one. Skip, dearies.

Rating: A Grain of Salt out of a Hay Stack.

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Sgt Frog

Let me tell you, you’re going to be disappointed. And it’s not because of the manga, not by a longshot. No, the disappointment comes from how good this is. REALLY GOOD. This is “Sgt Frog’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. Except that’s wrong, it’s only the first two words.

Plot: ALIENS! They visit us! The try to conquer Earth, or “Pekopon” as I keep telling people makes much more sense. Why? Because WE call it Earth, but how would aliens know what we call it? It’s not even called Japan in Japan, it’s Nippon. So the Pekopon is 100% legitimate. Anyhoodle, Sergeant Keroro gets held hostage by two Pekopons and their AWESOME MOM. Seriously, I am love this mom. Only five members of Keroro’s platoon remain on Earth. Can this ragtag crew of frogs succeed in controlling Earth? Well… if they actually focused, surprisingly, yes, yes they could.

But they don’t focus. Keroro’s obsessed with Pekopon life, like his website and Goddamn models. Or is it Gundam? Nah, the first one sounds right. Anyway, they have no focus. The other army frogs include Tamama, who’s adorable aside from his split personality, Giroro, who has fallen for the AWESOME MOM’s daughter, who is in turn also awesome, and Kururu, who I kind of hate. I only read three volumes so far, so I can’t give an opinion on the fifth member, Dororo.

The problem with Kururu is he’s WAY TOO POWERFUL. He’s not as unfocused as the others, so he tends to make things like an age ray or give a Pekoponian magic drawing abilities, which I thing is squandered. I also think it’s squandered. My point is, he can easily take over Pekopon all on his own. Why do they need anyone but this guy? Just get a bunch of him and you can rule Pekopon! Bah.

The Pekoponians themselves range. Most are pleasant to read, like Natsumi, who can fight her way through the aliens, or the AWESOME MOM, who’s kind, helpful, supportive, insightful, gorgeous, scary, hilarious, and, oh yeah, does manga. INTRIGUING! Tamama’s Pekoponian friend, Momoka, annoyed me at first, mostly because she’s also split personality, but more of a jerk, but over time it became endearing. She’s in love with the supposed main Pekoponian, Fuyuki, but he’s fairly bland. He’s one of the few wrinkles in my side, but whatever. I also don’t like 623, the aforementioned magic drawing human, because he does nothing. DO SOMETHING! Bah.

The frogs are all fun, aside from Kururu, which the manga itself admits seems unlikable. Keroro is HILARIOUS. Tamama is adorable at times, and his freakouts are great. Giroro, I gotta say, scared to like him at first, but he grew on me as well. He’s so tough, but not really! But you’ll mostly be coming back for Keroro in the end. And AWESOME MOM. Keroro has a niece of sorts, but she just sits around most of the time. You’ll barely notice her when she’s not the focus.

So this is a hilarious, well-drawn, well-told manga. Why the disappointment? Well… Tokyopop. Yeah, you heard me. This thing is still running in Japan, but with Tokyopop having had held the reins, good luck reading the whole series, aside from online scans. That’s what I’d do.

One last thing: This seems to appeal to not only to the young and young at heart, but the proverbial pervert, given all the weapons Kururu wields. One story turns AWESOME MOM into AWESOME TEEN, who looks just like her son. Yeah. Another does the opposite with Natsumi, who gets turned into an adult. I must admit, she looks even better than her mom as an adult. Maybe it’s the hair. I dunno. Another I’m aware of has Momoka grow giant. So yeah, I imagine there’s plenty for the easily excitable.

Why do I bother to mention this? Doesn’t most manga do this sort of thing? Well, if I’m being honest here… I don’t think any other manga from a storytelling point has ever done this sort of thing as well as this has. I’m very impressed.

Overall Opinion: Pick up what volumes you can. You won’t regret it until you can’t buy anymore.

Rating: Five Platoon Members out of Five. I’ve decided to do a new rating system for each review.