Mitsukazu Mihara – Tokyopop – 2006 – 1 volume
I had almost forgotten about the beginning of October! October means horror manga and maybe a little extra coverage of older series. I suppose Rin-ne was an appropriate way to start the month, even if I didn’t plan it that way, since it’s got the ghosts and shinigami and whatnot, but an even more appropriate entry is this, a Mitsukazu Mihara one-shot that is both forgotten/worthwhile and horror-themed.
The cover put me off initially, as did the fact that I did not like Doll (after having read nearly everything else by her released in English, however, I suspect I would like Doll a lot more if I re-read it). The cover is appropriate, but admittedly won’t get the series any new readers, though the “I <3 Jesus” shirt is a nice touch.
The book is full of one-shot stories that are just variations on the same theme. Sabato falls in love with a girl, his family chases her off. Normally I would not care for so many one-shot chapters without any plot, but they all managed to be pretty funny. For instance, one was about Sabato bringing home his uptight Student Council President so she could see the “abuse” he took at home, but she thought all his family’s eccentricities were normal. His mother reads poetry (called “Seasons in Hell”), she notices they are Christians (though the cross is flipped upside down), and she likes that his sisters take an interest in crafts and doll-making (voodoo dolls). The clincher is when his father offers the girl a part-time position at the bank he (actually) works at.
The jokes are all kind of like that. Pretty obvious, but still very funny in context. Very few series can pull that off. There is minimal plot development, like the fact that Sabato graduates high school and begins bouncing around jobs he can’t keep because of his family, and in the end he figures out the real reason he can’t keep a girlfriend, but otherwise… yeah, lots of chapters about things like his family showing up at work to ruin his chances with his hot boss, girls not bothered by his family turning out to be goth-loli girls, divinations from his sisters going wrong/right, et cetera.
It was very much up my alley, and it got me to laugh out loud a number of times, but I can admit it was an acquired taste. I especially enjoyed the fact that the volume had a conclusion, something I was not expecting.
The nicest touch is that his family has such a good time tormenting him. Their childish pranks and the complete lack of malice in their actions are really what made the series so funny for me. Sabato’s dad, in particular, who was sort of normal and offered occasionally fatherly advice, but also showed up around Sabato in public with a burlap sack over his head.
Do you like the Addams Family? You’ll probably like this, then. I certainly did.