Illustrated by Takeshi Obata
On her last day before moving across country, Shijima's classmate begs him to tell her something funny so she may smile again. He fails to come up with anything, and decides to devote his life to comedy so he'll be ready if he ever finds her again. Shijima also serves on the Student Council, and he's tasked with getting more information out of classmate Higashikata before the school's festival. Higashikata instead finds out Shijima is one of the most popular teen joke-writers in all of Japan, and he begs him to become his comedy partner! But Shijima is deathly afraid of public speaking. Higashikata, a consummate performer and child movie-star, swears he'll support Shijima and carry the scenes. The two have some mild success at their school's talent show, so they decide to enter a local competition as a way to prove to Shijima's family he is serious about a life in comedy. They must win this competition to be able to advance to the next round, and to gain the support of their family and friends, or else be forced to give up comedy in favor of a sensible life striving to get into a top university.
The storyline of this volume is engaging and what makes me what to keep reading this series. However, the comedy doesn’t work at all, and readers will probably be wondering what they missed out on. Instead of writing new situations or jokes, the translators and localizers decided to stick to the Japanese source material. The problem is, Japanese humor relies heavily on puns that cannot be translated. So then if fidelity is the choice, this really suffered from lack of translation notes often found in works that rely heavily on a knowledge of Japanese language and culture. Despite the humor problems, the two main boys are interesting and have drawn me in, so I might continue reading just to see how things turn out for them. If readers get emotionally invested in Shijima and Higashikata, they might also be inclined pick up the next volume, but this is probably not a series that's going to be widely read.
So far, none of the jokes really rely on bathroom humor or sexual innuendo, so this might be fine for younger audiences. The only thing is, how forgiving will younger audiences be that the jokes aren't funny at all?
Sara's Rating: 6/10
Suitability Level: Grades 7-12
Publisher: VIZ Media
Publication Date: February 7, 2023
ISBN: 9781974736829 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 6/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, Humor, School Life, Family, VIZ Media
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I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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