Monday, October 11, 2010

Manga Monday: Of course a cat can't be a sushi chef, his hands would be too warm

Neko Ramen is a great example of the success of an online comic strip.  Started in 2006, it’s now been turned into a web video series, as well as the manga published by Tokyopop.  It’s certainly the dream of every team of author and artist on the web to gain so much acclaim as to be picked up by one of the big publishers, and Neko Ramen Volume 1: Hey!  Order Up! shows why they’ve been noticed.

The star of the show, of course, is Taisho.  The son of a cat model, Taisho rebelled against his family’s expectations and left the house to make a name for himself.  He drifted from job to job, and eventually became a ramen chef.  Unfortunately, being a cat, he doesn’t seem to quite understand what humans want in a good bowl of ramen.  Or that it’s special to have a cat making ramen.

Of course, hijinks ensue.

Every good funnyman needs an even better straight man.  Enter poor Koichi Tanaka.  He stopped in the first day that Neko Ramen was open, and now he goes there out of a sense of obligation.  He’s never really gotten a good meal there, but at least he always has a story when he leaves.

Because Neko Ramen started as an online comic, if you’ve followed it since the beginning, you’ve seen the majority of these strips before.  There are, however, a few long-form comic stories, filling in some of Taisho’s back story.  Personally, I also like to have comics in paper form, rather than as an ebook or on a website.

This is the kind of comic that would probably get me to read newspapers more.  Perhaps the papers might want to target a younger audience, with a younger sense of humor, to get them in the newspaper habit.

Highs:  Cute storyline with an absurd sense of humor

Lows:  A little skimpy on the new material

Verdict:  Check out first, but if you like it, go for it

Further Reading:  
Chi’s Sweet Home Vol. 1, Shin Chan Vol. 1

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