Thursday, April 7, 2016

Manga Review: Joshi Kausei

This review originally appeared on Organization of Anti-Social Geniuses

Title: Joushi Kausei
Genre: Slice of Life
Publisher: Futabasha (JP), Crunchyroll (US)
Story/Artist: Ken Wakai
Serialized in: Manga Action
Reviewed: 15 out of 26 chapters
Review copy provided by Crunchyroll.

These days savvy anime and manga fans will be fairly familiar with the slice of life genre and the various subgenres in it. Everyday school stories, cute girls doing cute things, and workplace comedies, among others, all fall into the category along with another where the name isn’t as familiar but the premise is, iyashikei or “healing” stories. While they don’t possess any medicinal value, these stories are sweet, simple tales where you simply feel uplifted and happier after reading one and that is precisely the point of Joshi Kausei. This simple, wordless manga (although it does include text and sound effects) follows Momoko through various scenes in her everyday life and these stories aren’t connected by either plot or even character development. The idea is for the reader to relax, smile, and enjoy it.

Or so the manga starts anyway, this purposeless story meanders around a bit into the “cute girls doing cute things” area although more often than not it’s “cute girls doing strange things” such as the chapter where Momoko becomes obsessed with filling in holes. If that doesn’t sound odd or lewd enough, another chapter features Momoko accidentally groping a stranger’s knee on the subway in her obliviousness and the series has quite a few panty shots too. It seems as if Wakai is trying to portray these events as “oh look at these funny things high school girls get up to!” but as a retired high school girl I can vouch that these scenes are rarely as casually sexy as his art makes them out to be.

While Momoko is almost always the instigator, she does also have two close (also wordless) friends who both reject some of her sillier ideas and enable others. Her friends are welcome additions to the story since you can build up a much more elaborate gag with a full group of characters, no matter how strange Momoko is on her own. Many of the jokes, from crazy ways to tie a school tie to ever more elaborate (and strange) origami made out of restaurant napkins seemed like they would be right at home in either the My Neighbor Seki-kun or GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class four panel manga, although it does lack something that made those anime so laugh out loud funny for me. I feel that it’s because, even though each of Joshi Kausei‘s skits are told in regular, full chapter chunks, these other manga just managed to build upon their jokes better and take them to the absurd places that Joshi Kausei still hasn’t reached yet.

It’s not a bad little manga however, if you don’t mind the fanservice and want something somewhat sweet and silly then this is an easily digestible and cute series.  

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