Firefighter! Daigo of Fire Company M

Ever since I’ve started reviewing manga, there’s one I’ve been itching to read. Firefi–

Wait. Is this the fourth review this month? Does that mean I’ve broken the curse of twos and threes? Tesoro, Aishiteruze Baby COMPLETED!, Knockout Makers… YEAH! This is the fourth review this month! Wow, okay! Hey, how about another one, make it a nice five? But no time for that now.

“Firefighter! Daigo of Fire Company M” is a clunky and horrible manga title.
“Bro! Bro! They’re releasing the new tankobon of Firefighter! Daigo of Fire Company M!”
“Oh, you mean FDoFCM? Yeah, I’m more into Hospital Assistant! Yomi of Health Corporation W.”

My first discovery of this manga was during a little trip to North Carolina. Amazing manga selection and prices, but that was in 2010, and I’ve heard things have changed since. Anyway, I saw Daigo there, but I already had ten volumes of manga in my cart, so obviously I couldn’t just buy the one more. Obviously. For four dollars.

I tried to buy online, but the prices were steep. Finally, I bought it half a year ago at BookOff for nine bucks. The end.

Oh. Right. Um, I didn’t read it until this past Saturday because I wanted to make it taste all the sweeter when I gave into temptation. I guess temptation lasted until last week.

The plot and review. Right.

Daigo, having been saved from a fire at a young age, is inspired as a teenager to follow his passion. So he makes the grade and is transferred to Fire Company M. Thing is, there’s barely any fires in town, for various reasons. I’d list them, but really, they’re kind of… mundane. Citizens are aware of fire safety? Huh. Small town? Big deal. Preventative measures? Sheesh. And I listed them anyway. Also underwhelmed is Daigo, who can’t stand the quiet lifestyle Company M upholds. Slackers! Loafers! Daigo, of course, reads them wrong, because that’s how this sort of scenario always goes.

There are three missions in the first volume. The first is a gas leak. The second is a fire at Daigo’s old school, where his favorite teacher works. The third is a supposed arsonist setting fires in one spot, with Daigo and his rival from another company fighting over a hydrant.

See, here’s the thing. Once the pretense of the lazy firefighters is dropped, fires come out of the woodwork, maybe pun intended. Fires come out of the woodwork? Eh. So the whole “super-safe from fires town” scenario loses credibility. Granted, they address the sudden change in lifestyle. “Since you showed up, we’re busy as Hell!” Also, only the second mission is both a fire and their jurisdiction. So at least in the first volume, the scenario functions. But twenty? I wonder when more fires take place in town.

Let’s talk characters. There are four. Daigo isn’t boring. High praise? Yes. He has impure intentions for becoming a firefighter, which is glory, but he won’t admit that. Honestly, considering that he’s both a rookie and fresh out of the academy, this is a magnificent trait. So what, it turns out that he has the skills of a smoke-smashing savant, right? No! He chokes up in his first two missions, literally and figuratively!

He stumbles, fumbles, mumbles and grumbles. But he’s great at accidentally saving people. And it does align, as that’s what made him want to become a firefighter to begin with. You know, being saved by a firefighter. And with his constant screw-ups and near-deaths, I bet he goes on to be saved by firefighters for a long, long time.

There are three more characters. I mean, according to Wikipedia. I guess they also only read the first volume. Captain Gomi is short and laid-back, and the only firefighter in Company M to be notable or have individual characteristics. And Daigo hates him!

“You’re nothing like the kind of firefighter I believe in! My firefighter, the one who saved my live as a boy, was warm and gentle, laid-back and roughly your height, with similar facial features and a slightly higher voice! Why can’t you be just like him, fascist?”

Then there’s Daigo’s teacher, Ms. Ochiai.

And finally, Daigo’s rival from another company, Shiro. He’s cool, suave, and looks dirty and handsomely rugged in that way only a firefighter in glasses could pull off. He and Daigo fight over the hydrant, which was an actual thing in New York. Thug groups would fight one another instead of the fires, with thousands of buildings burning to the ground.

You hear that, Daigo? Despite trying to appease your attractive teacher by escaping the rough exterior shell that only defines you to others as the nothing more than a callous thug, using your childhood ambitions to emulate a man whose occupation not only saved your life but gave you a driven purpose, you’re still a thug.

I have a little soapbox. I found it in the hay. And when my thoughts are ready, I’ll rant and rave all day.

Okay. You really don’t see that many firefighters as the stars in media. Television? Name a show starring a firefighter. Now name twice as many cop or doctor shows.

Video games? You know, I can’t name a firefighter game, but name a cop game either. Doctor is easy. Doctor Mario. That Wii game people like, Surgery something. And hey, the Pokemon anime has Officer Jenny and Nurse Joy, but like, one firefighter.

Movies? There must be, but all that pops in my head is a bajillion Police Academy films and one about a dinosaur cop. I can’t think of any doctor films, at least about licensed doctors.

Bottom line, I think it’s a shame. We need health and law, but no one thinks about firefighters unless they’re being carried by one. Not to say that I think my only connection to firefighting media being Daigo is an issue; I like it. I love it, in fact, and the fact that Viz was once able to release a 20-volume series without giving up at any point is impressive.

It’s just… I want more. I expect more. More firefighting, since it’s pretty untapped in the media. That is, on a public-conscious level. The only film title of 66 on Wikipedia’s “Firefighting film” page I recognized was “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,” and that’s disappointing. I didn’t see the film, so I can’t say if it disappointed me as well.

The only other manga about… I guess fire investigation is close to fighting, maybe? Fire Investigator Nanase. It’s just a detective story with a pretense of fire. I mean, compelling, keeps me guessing, enjoyed it. But for action, I only know Daigo.

If you can get Firefighter! Daigo of Fire Company M, bring at least a twenty. It’s both fun and dramatic, the action is amazing, the lead is surprisingly engaging at times, unsurprisingly engaging at other times, and it doesn’t waste time.

It does have some predictable story elements and I’m a bit incredulous that a town with a minuscule fire record would need Company M’s sizable amount of firefighters on hand, but those can be easily overlooked. If you have got the inclination, give it a go.

The Knockout Makers

After finishing volume one of “The Knockout Makers” years ago, I had dismissed it as glamorizing the external over what lies within. I, as I usually am, was wrong. Knockout Makers emphasizes loving your true essence, while applying your outward appearance to bring out the full glow.

Three hot babelicious dudes run a special salon that turns beauty-deprived ladies into dudelicious babes. The catch? Only one lucky gal can apply for the treatment. At midnight, applying is permitted on their website for ten minutes. I’m getting Hell Girl vibes for some reason. The trio of beauticians keep the women in an underground facility for some time to complete the process of boosting looks, love and life.

The main issue for me is that the manga doesn’t follow its own rules. The KOM only accepts clients at midnight, but they receive a text at 11:23 AM for a client. Sometimes the subject of the chapter doesn’t seem to know who the KOM are. Do they Makers cheat the system sometimes and take on a nearby distressed damsel? One does in one story, but most of the time, the girls are surprised.

One big draw is, as mentioned, the emphasis on loving yourself. This could mean dieting for yourself instead of your boyfriend or, like all of the stories, drawing benefits from the negative attributes. Not to be ignored is the cause of each story. They aren’t all for the “I want a boyfriend” standard, although most are.

However, the trio of Knockout Makers succeed because they never face a real complication of artificial beauty. Fat? Diet. Bad skin? Oils. Weird bone structure? Cover with hair. What if the girl in question had braces, or creepy eyes, or weird mannerisms? Bet they couldn’t fix that.

Alright, that’s a gimme. That’s another thing, though. Excluding the dieting story, it’s always a simple fix. “Here’s oils for your oily skin!” “Your hair looks like Bach’s? We’ll cut and form it!” “Here’s a cute outfit!”

Yes, there’s confidence and the drama and realization. But, like Sue/Eden, it’s never an issue because they don’t have any permanent damage. They look awkward, like teens are expected.  Eden Sher’s Sue Heck, America Ferrera’s Ugly Betty, Katy Perry’s Kathy Beth Terry. They made a manga about the ending of 80’s movies. It’s a great manga, but I wouldn’t have requested it.

Sometimes the art changes to accommodate a made-over client. A girl with small eyes has big eyes without explanation. For the most part, the art doesn’t manipulate, as a flat girl is still flat.

Let’s talk about the boys, the titular “Knockout Makers.” They jes’ fine. We have three boys, each with a specialty, maybe. I think the tall brunette, Nobuo, specializes in hair treatment. He restores a Bach-girl to hair extraordinaire. He also dyes a girl’s hair to look like her teen idol, who, in a great and quiet twist, had her hair treated by him before she was famous. Also, huge flirt, because that’s mandatory.

Toshi, short, 16 and fresh off the stove, works with the makeup and whatever paints may apply. He has an origin story, I guess, where he replaces the previous makeup specialist. Apparently, if you fall in love, you need to have a ready apprentice. He’s unusually uninterested in women, his age or otherwise.

Finally, Ryouhei wheels and deals in skin and treatments such as baths and exercise. He’s cold, but phases in and out, unlike Toshi. Anyway, they all seem to fit the three hottie dynamic necessary for a manga like this. Nobuo the Id, Ryouhei the Ego, and Toshi the Superego. What do you expect from a manga about love and the inner self? Freud’s all over this.

I was disappointed to discover that I didn’t hate The Knockout Makers like last time. Disappointed in myself, I mean. Maybe I was knee-jerking or just making an excuse, but I never gave it a proper chance. Definitely buy this one. It has a good balance of humor, heartbreak, and mascara. Heck, I think I might buy the other two.

Although there’s one thing I can’t understand. Why don’t the KOM want the girls to tell anyone where they are? Hanging out with three hot single guys underground for days on end doesn’t seem like a now I get it.

COMPLETED! Aishiteruze Baby

This review follows my review of the first volume of Aishiteruze Baby. You can read it here.

Ah, here we are, four years later, back to A Shitty Ruse Baby. Yep, just swore. Couldn’t keep that one in forever. But it’s not an unfair name for it. I reviewed, or “reviewed” Aishiteruze Baby back in 2011 and adored it. I certainly had untrained eyes and the focus of a ceiling decoration, but I knew quality.

Ish. This manga has seven volumes and I’d read three prior to this week. I read four volumes until midnight. I laughed, I gasped and tossled, I got a few triggers from certain scenarios (will not be mentioned here which ones). Then I spat. I did not care for the ending.

Let’s go for the recap. Kippei has TOO MANY GIRL– it’s no fun when they say it as the first line of the series. Kippei’s a slacker and a Lothario, but he has a good heart. Icky. When Yuzuyu is dropped off at his family’s house, he’s been given the task of watching her. They learn and grow from one another, and it’s all adorable.

This manga is so not adorable. I’m going to list off a few of the plots. Attempted rape. Stalking (both genders). Kidnapping. Attempted suicide. Bullying. Child abuse. Teen pregnancy. Flashers. That one’s a bonus chapter, btdubs. Aishitezoorooo Bibby has cute moments and laughs, but it’s not “fun”. It’s more depressive than manic. Which is fine, if you like well-written drama over cheap laughs.

But that’s not how Oy, Shaidel Raizel Bubby works. The comedy is quirky as it is excellent, which both are accurate attributes here. The drama works well, so it’s used over and over. Trust me, I’m not the first to point this out. The drama mostly derives from this scenario:

Kippei: “Hey, today’s a fun day. What say I get us some ice cream / boysenberry pie / Cuban cigars?”
Yuzuyu: “I am but a five year wanderer of the long plain we all thrive upon, yet I shall trust your judgement as the fairer of us, my guardian. / ‘Kay!”
Evil stranger appears / scenario takes place representative of a large factor missing from Yuzuyu’s life.
Kippei returns. Yuzuyu is a hollow shell and won’t open up / has been kidnapped / ran away.

There’s other conflicts, but since the series is centered on drama, it’s flawed from the onset.

One recurring theme I noticed is absentee, neglectful, pushover, bad or whatever dads. Yeah, I said in Tesoro that there are a lot of dad-centered stories. Maybe I have a hangup. Yuzuyu’s father died prior. Kippei’s dad, oddly enough, is always around; he never touches the plot, has a bonus story, has a notable quote, or anything. It’s… weird. Kippei’s grandpares are there, but they’re less notable. Kippei’s eventual defrosting girlfriend, Kokoro, is shoved off by her dad to live with his new wife. Yuzuyu’s cousin (this is a SpOiLeR manga blog, folks!) Miki, has an emotionally distant and physically abusive father. And Kippei is “Big Brother Kippei,” not “Papa Kippei.” Why the distance from fathers?

I prefer the drama surrounding Kippei, specifically using the Kororo angle. They don’t have great chemistry (although the manga acts as though they do), but they do understand each other, how Kippei can’t make time for his girlfriend when he devotes his time to raising a child. This is what makes it worse; Kororo is unable to compete with a toddler or his father’s new wife. The key term of the series’ best drama is “loneliness.” A lot of characters have it and it’s better than drinking alone.

Let’s talk about Kippei. How do I describe an annoying Mary Sue? Aside from being a terrible guardian, he also gets away with everything. I love that the manga actually has Kippei and Kokoro consummate their relationship, I really do. It’s just… the teacher who jokingly picks on him gives them a light punishment for hanky-panky on a school trip. That should have been, suspension. Or, expelled. Not, write an essay.

But more than that, he’s the worst kind of MS:

Miki: “I have nothing left to live for!”
Kippei:“Yes you do!”
Miki: “I’m better now!”

Stalker: “You are out of my league, but I’ve been stalking you and bullying your kid.”
Kippei: “Don’t do that and my heart belongs to another.”
Stalker: “I’ll actually leave you alone now.”

Kippei: “My girlfriend is moving in with us.”
Family: “Yeah, okay, we have no problem with that.”
Kippei: “Wow, that was easy.”

Kippei has large, complicated issues. He resolves them by speaking briefly. The end. This is not a series of complex drama, but of a bunch of angsty teens who needed a good lecture. So I find it hard to buy into Kippei’s competence when he restores a girl’s will to live and reunites her with her emotionally-distant family. Plus, he constantly abandons Yuzuyu for a few minutes, yet people praise his parenting skills.

Also, this manga is a product of the Japanese mindset; that it’s okay for a five-year-old to walk around town unsupervised. It’s jarring, but I’ve seen it elsewhere. Yuzuyu isn’t trusted given the number of times she’s run off, but they supervise her. Plus, she always asks if someone she talks to is a stranger. Foolproof.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s more biting drama: One of the climatic stories has Yuzuyu block out her mommy, which seems a bit too on-the-nose, not to mention a cliche. Worstly, it’s resolved swiftly and without an impact on the plot. That’s really the only way to describe the bad drama, “it has no impact on the plot.” Neither stalker receives actual punishment for their actions. Nevermind that the male tried to rape Kokoro; all Kippei did was threaten to kill him. After an uncomfortable (for the reader) exchange with his friend, supposed to be humorous, we never see the stalker again. Or the female stalker. Yuzuyu falls in love with a boy who is beaten by his mother, she wants a fresh start and takes her son and husband to the countryside. Never seen again.

Drama is supposed to… hold on, I want to compare this review with the one of the first volume.

-Jokes about title spelling
-Plot
-Misunderstanding about series’ function
-Understatement about not learning parenting from manga
-Misinformed about Cute:Drama ratio
-Past and still current favorite series quote
-“Overall Opinion;” basically repeating previous jokes
-Confusing rating system. If I loved it, why did I give it two middling grades?

Yeah, I feel pretty good about my writing and critiquing progress.

Drama is supposed to surprise and change the way the series functions. Have a brief period where Kororo dumps Kippei. Maybe we find out Kippei’s dad’s perspective. He’s ignored; how does he react? Maybe a character dies. No, let’s play it safe. Well… there is one thing. Yuzuyu acts bratty about her pajamas, which ticks off Yuzuyu’s sister. When Kippei is alone with his overbearing sister, she reveals something only their mother knows: She is unable to have kids.

It’s a vulnerable moment for a previously comic-relief character, and there’s power in the drama. It’s well-written. It doesn’t amount to much, but for the remainder of the series, it follows the character. It has an impact. It’s good.

There are funny bits, mind you. There’s a bonus story about Kippei’s brother’s birth, with an ending that needs to be seen to be believed. Also, anything to do with Kippei’s sister’s mysterious life. Her bedroom looks like India (as is the view from her window), not to mention the general acceptance that she runs the family. And I chuckled a few times at a scene where she freaks out at a roach. OOH! Kippei’s goofiness can be endearing occasionally! It is funny, so give it a shot for that.

Now, Our big spoiler section: The Ending.

It’s rushed, a contrived resolution, unfair to the cast and the readers. The sister, annoyed having Yuzuyu around because of her inability to produce children, tries to find the mother. Apparently she was getting her life together after hitting Yuzuyu, and didn’t feel ready to take her daughter back. After the “forget mama drama,” her mother decides to take her back. After a wonderful mama bear moment from Kippei’s mother (slapping her own sister), the family forbids the mother and daughter from reuniting. But Messianic Kippei is all, “No. Let her go.” Then a flash-forward. Kokoro and Kippei appear to be married, while a teenage Yuzuyu (a skillful artist now) writes to her “Big Brother Kippei,” thanking him for raising her those many years gone by. Oh, and she’s probably dating Shota, the abused boy she had a crush on.

Alright, definitely rushed. I feel a manga should have two “final chapters” or it stops dead, although this only applies to future endings. Contrived? I didn’t know what to expect, whether they would keep Yuzuyu or she’d return home. The point is “your family’s still your family, and if they try to change, give them a chance.” Fine, but she didn’t change much. She didn’t write to her daughter much. She just dropped her child off with practical strangers. Kippei didn’t recognize Yuzuyu when they met. Yuzuyu knew her father’s niece. I’m a bit incredulous that Yuzuyu turned out well-balanced. Also, we have no proof that the mother changed. On the other hand, Yuzuyu was only abandoned by her mother once and Kippei umpteen times, so maybe it’s for the best. And to only focus on the fact that Kippei has a job and that Yuzuyu is an artist with a boyfriend? Oh, I can;t say Kippei’s with Kokoro; only her hair is shown. All the plots and characters? Nothing.

I think Aishiteruze Baby had potential, but rigid writing broke the drama. It’s all very samey, not worth your time in that regard. The comedy and slice-of-life moments, though less prominent, mean more because they feel genuine, while the drama is nothing more than a means to a readership.

By the way, the reason the header image is of a sandwich is that Yuzuyu receives a doughnut from Kippei and says, “Yuzu loves enchiladas!” I thought I’d draw a cracker just for the reoccurring motif of love through clam chowder.

Tesoro

Hello, 2015! Boy, we’re up to year five, huh? Almost up to. Man, nice to know some things never change. Like the blog layout!

Yep. I got sick of using a pre-made layout and here’s thing ol’ thing. Look, if you can. We have Ranma and Ryoga hoppin’ on alligators. Freddie Mercury chillin’ out max with his pals, Oolong sleazin’ it up, Yuko from Xxxholic sleazin’ it down, and Noodle Boss. Note: Lousy in mobile devices. I’m working on that. Things will be updated periodically. Any complaints must be directed in the form of a backhanded compliment.

If you look at the banner and the favicon (the symbol on the page’s tab), we have Kanasaki-sempai. She is the mascot. I will probably draw a black-and-white image of me and put it on the banner to avoid confusion. Or cause it.

Man, things really are changing! I mean, I have all my credits for college and I’m ready for the full-time! If only I had a manga to tie into this theme of changing times. Oh, but I don’t. Here’s Tesoro.

I’ve wanted to review Tesoro since 20-umpteen, but was too unmotivated to reread it. So to finally put it on a stable shelf, we’ll be looking at the fourteen stories from Tesoro by Natsume Ono.

The inside flap describes the word “Tesoro” as “Treasure, a treasured thing. Something or someone precious.” Google and Wikipedia describe “Tesoro” as “a Fortune 100 and a Fortune Global 500 company headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, with 2013 annual revenues of $37 billion, and over 5,700 employees.” So… I guess that’s technically a treasure, something precious.

Una glornata fredda: This is my personal favorite. Three pages, the bear on the cover goes out in a cold windy morning to buy donuts. He gets one mint chocolate and one cinnamon. The end. It’s published in “color,” which is splashed in certain areas. It’s silent and not deep. I love it. The thing is, this is the only story with the bear. The rest are about humans. I felt gypped by this, but the other stories were great, so I couldn’t get mad. Although I do feel using this minimalist story to introduce the succeeding ones sets the stage well.

Inside Out: A guy goes to work with his shirt accidentally inside out. He’s informed that it’s a sign of good luck in Italy, which is fortunate for the plot because he’s learning Italian while his wife is in Milan. Huh.  It’s Seinfeldian, or the “about nothing” form of narrative direction. Most of the stories are like this, but I find this the most grievous. I’m fine with the “didn’t really learn, didn’t really explore” stories, but I prefer them served in small increments.

Moyashi Couple: Ah, this one I like. An old, skinny couple, concerned with how their neighbors view them, decide to walk around in public and eat fatty foods. This story you might start to notice a pattern. There are only two types of male protagonists in the collection. Most common is grumpy or sullen but kind. The less common is the pushover, whose wife is dead or whose daughters bully him. Come to think of it, not a lot of spouse-stuff in here either; mostly fathers and sons. Even without that this story does show that it’s not always too late to change.

Three Short Stories About Bento: Ah, a three-in-one deal. The first is about a guy who’s tired of eating the lunches provided by a client’s company. His wife brings him his lunch when he decides to bring his own and forgets. Forgettable. Two is about a widower who, upon his son’s request, makes him a Bento that looks like the boy’s mother. The son won’t eat the Bento because it looks like her, but the father tells him about pregnancy, so he eats it. When the son gets home, he pulls up his shirt and declares that since Mommy’s inside of him, his father should talk at his stomach to talk to her. LOVE LOVE LOVE this one. Great tone and the right kind of weirdness. Three is a continuation of the Moyashi Couple. The wife goes out and makes a Bento for her husband to eat. He eats it happily sitting in the backyard. A nice addition to the source.

Eva’s Memory: This is another great one. An orphan girl constantly makes up who her parents were, but she could be on the right track when she claims her father is running for Prime Minister. In fact, she takes her semi-brother to the candidate’s speech and yells out “DAD!” Everyone is shocked, but the politician handles it well, and the semi-brother learns that not all politicians are bad. I feel that this story was the most complex. It was from the vantage point of the brother, but Eva, the orphan girl, is used so well that she almost comes off as the voice. Plus, it’s left just enough a mystery of whether they’re related or not without going overboard. One of the best.

Senza titolo #1-6: Six stories, so let’s break it up.

#1: An Italian woman goes for a walk with an older man. He’s worried about his son’s terminal illness, how no father should watch his son die. When they get to his house, they find the son looking healthier, and apologizes for borrowing his father’s reading glasses. The woman is found by her chauffeur, and she gazes out the window, dreaming of reading glasses. I enjoyed it, but it doesn’t really stick for me.

#2: A woman who works at a bookstore develops a crush on an older professor. The story ends with the single man in a relationship with a woman his age, while the employee smiles and tells her coworker how crushed she is, which is clearly not at all. That’s it.

#3: A father explains to his son in a diner how they’ll get back into the grandfather’s good graces so they can move in. Bits and pieces of father-son dynamics to form a bigger picture, We never see the execution of the plan, but it’s a good story nonetheless. I don’t mind the father-son stories, but it just gets a bit repetitive. I don’t know, I’d like to pick up more of Ono’s works. Maybe I could do a “Stuck in a Rut” with anthologies.

#4: Ah, this makes me chuckle. A mob boss wants a certain chef for his anniversary meal, but the chef has a prior engagement. When the boss sics his boys on him, the chef explains that he’s going to see a film in a theater that only shows old movies. Which one? The Sting. “Let him go. If it’s The Sting, then I can’t blame him.”

#5: A man is leaving prison and his various loved ones each grab a car to pick him up, which makes it hard for him to choose which ride to take, and even harder to feel unloved. It’s a nice story, but I feel it should have been fleshed out a few pages longer. There’s more story unsaid, like why his mother hates his sister because her boyfriend ran into her car with her motorcycle. This is one of the stories to take place in America, with the rest being in Japan or Italy. I recommend it.

#6: This story isn’t with the other five, but put into a different part of the book later on. A woman who had just broke up with her boyfriend returns home, as she always does in this scenario. Her brother is cold to her, but her father comforts her. I really don’t get it. Why all the dad stuff? I mean, there’s stuff about moms, but they’re almost always dead. Aren’t mothers precious? I guess it’s nice to know that no matter how lousy life can get, there’s always a place to call home.

Froom Family: A boy is bullied by his sisters, so his father, a pushover himself, fakes being sick to spend time with him. Father-son dynamic, mostly founded on the son’s name, “Nils,” which was a result of his sisters. The mother, alive, is nowhere to be seen. I seriously think there’s a theme for Ono.

Christmas Morning: Or “Froom Family 2,” if you prefer. A younger Nils wants a present from Santa, but a small one so his sisters won’t bully him. Pushover Dad buys him a big gift to give to Nils when his sisters won’t see, but Nils cries because he only wanted to see a gift under the tree. The mom’s there, but practically invisible. If you liked Froom Family, you’ll probably like this, but all I see is a dad who can’t keep things under control. For me, it’s only making things worse. But I think this one was better for the “child thoughts” occasional motif.

Padre: Horizontal strips. A father and son hate certain foods. The next one is of the father as a boy hating broccoli. The last is of a boy forcing his chef father to make a giant cake, but he forgives his father for making a smaller cake. Good stuff.

Then galleries and Ono explaining that these stories are her treasures (I swooned) and one in particular that may require explanation. Oh, I’m so curious and not trustworthy enough to keep a secret! She calls them clumsy, so I’m justified but I feel bad anyway. The art is sketchy as anything, but it does tell the stories visually as much as is necessary. I love the tone, but despite there being important to her, I think I would have liked more dad stuff. Why not? There’s no single theme. I thought it was food, then Italy, and dads, probably the most common across the board. So why not go all out if you go so far? Hey, I’d pick up another Ono; I’d wait for the non-Manthology.

2015 sees a lot of changes, but with you by my side and a stack of manga waiting to be reviewed after the other five stacks, maybe changing things won’t be seen as such a bad thing. Here’s to next time.