Thursday, August 25, 2011

Comic Review: The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: the last career guide you'll ever need

I feel like some people just face palmed at seeing the title for this review and I honestly should have when I saw it in the library, complete with "in manga form!" advertising. Honestly I checked it out to see just how bad it could be with the vain hope that it might be halfway decent. I wasn't expecting it to be a good book, I was expecting it to be pretty awful (since, as a general rule of thumb, anything that's advertised as having a "manga art style!" isn't very good) but this ended up being more boring than anything else.

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need by Daniel H. Pink
Summary: Johnny Bunko is not happy with his job nor is he any good at it. Thankfully he got some magic chopsticks from a local ramen shop and every time he snaps them apart a fairy like girl appears and gives him advice for how he can make his life better. 

The Good: I can't think of any other "what should I do with my life?" self-help book that uses a fictional story to do it so it gets points for originality. This medium also probably allows it to reach a bigger audience than a regular career guide would and it's a quick read as well. The pacing and organization of the book was logical and it moves at a quick pace so it's not a big time investment either.

The Bad: While the advice didn't seem bad (or good to be honest but those are opinions) the plot felt incredibly forced/clunky in order to get to those bits of advice. Johnny felt more like a high school kid than a post-college adult, his lack of maturity in some situations left me going "well of COURSE he's having trouble!" and it was just hard to take this book seriously. It could be because I'm not the target audience but I've enjoyed plenty of other works where I wasn't the target audience.

The Art: When the back cover advertised this story as having "manga style artwork" they meant "generic looking cartoon artwork that looks kinda Japanese-ish" since, as everyone here knows, manga has just as wide a range of art styles as any other art medium. The art is really dull, there are no special quirks, attention to details or anything that would give personality to the art style, practically anyone could imitate it. This book wouldn't have worked the way it did if it wasn't in comic book form, this did give it the freedom to be a piece of fiction talking about a non-fiction topic, but it does hit home just how strange of an idea it was. 

Sorry that tonight's review is a little short but there isn't really much to elaborate on. I thought the book was rather meh, didn't make me want to recommend it to anyone or give me a different outlook on life. Yet it didn't do anything wrong enough to make it bad, it simply exists at my public library and I hope that the next person who picks it up gets more out of it than me. Also, you can't really call it "manga style" if the book reads Western style, just saying. 

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