Choco Mimi 3

January 6, 2010

Konami Sonoda – Viz – 2010 – 4 volumes

At some point, I’m going to have to break down and admit I really like this, even as an adult.  Again, there’s no story, and not much substance to the 4-panel gag strips that loosely go through a year in the life of junior high characters, but they’re adorable and completely addictive.  Even my roommate reads this series now.  It started out as joking about it, since it really is just jokes junior high school kids would appreciate, but at some point we crossed the line and are both just reading it now.

Not in one sitting, mind you.  I read this over the course of three or four days, which is perfect.  The entire book in one sitting is too much, but this really is the perfect thing to read in small doses.

There are strips centered around going to the beach, the rainy season, Christmas, New Year, birthdays, love woes, studying/doing homework, and just being friends.  I love the way all the characters just… hang out.  And there’s never any seriously bad stuff or even anything remotely approaching drama between them.  They’re just best friends that enjoy hanging out.  All the new characters that have been added since the first volume (Choco’s younger brother, his girlfriend, Bambi the stylish girl and sort-of rival for Ando), also work well together.  My favorites are still just Choco, Mimi, and Mumu, though.  There’s some adorable stuff between Mimi and Mumu in this volume, which really sold it for me.

Again, I like it now, but I would have been nuts for it in grade school, especially with all the cute fashion tips scattered throughout.  I like the styles, too.  Some of the items are a bit esoteric (tall buckled boots appeared in one), but a lot of it is sort of junk store accessories like hairbands and weird little girl purses, or stuff you can make yourself.  The dress style is also layered and modest, even for beach and summer attire, which is something I appreciate too.  I’d be the first to warn adults away from this series, as there isn’t much substance to it, but I wouldn’t hesitate giving it to a little girl.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

Choco Mimi 2

August 29, 2009

Konami Sonoda – Viz – 2009 – 4+ volumes

This is still very, very cute and very, very little girl-y.  Again, it’s a collection of 4-panel and short comics surrounding two junior high girls named Choco and Mimi.  They like clothes and hanging out with their friends.  The art is super-cutesy and goes over the top when it comes to flowers, sparkles, and clothes.  It’s not terrible, I chuckled a few times, and I would have loved it if I had read it as a little girl.

I kept a closer eye on it this time to gauge it for possible negative influences.  There really wasn’t anything I could disagree with.  There were a few jokes about Mimi’s bad grades in the last volume, but it doesn’t mention Mimi’s lack of interest in studying at all in this volume, and does mention a few times how Choco is a good student.  The clothes, for as much focus as they get, aren’t inappropriate, and frequently the girls are dressing in layers with lots of those cute/cheap accessories that young girls have in abundance.  About the worst thing they wear are shorts, or halter tops overtop of a tank top, and I can’t really fault it for that.  It’s possible a materialistic message can be inferred from that… but I couldn’t find it in my heart to fault it, since the girls aren’t actually going out and shopping all the time, or commenting on how the clothes make them look pretty or anything like that.  There are several strips that lay out outfits in varying degrees of simple and complex in a way that I would have appreciated when I was young.

There is more focus on their adorable relationships with the boys they hang around with.  Choco and Ando have a mutual crush on one another that neither want to aknowledge, and an annoying boy named Mumu has what is most likely a crush on Mimi.  Both girls also adore one of Ando’s friends, a smart but spacey and strange boy that both Choco and Mimi see as a prince.  There’s no actual dating, or segments on how to pick up boys or look pretty or anything.  The boys are already friends with Choco and Mimi, and most of the comics are just about them hanging out and being friends, doing things like having birthday parties, going to the beach, spending New Year’s Day together, stuff like that.

I would have no problems giving this to a young girl, really.  It’s just cute and absolutely made for little girls.  Sugar and spice and everything nice, and all that.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

Choco Mimi 1

June 15, 2009

This was some seriously cute stuff.  The cute artwork overload reminded me a lot of Junko Mizuno in a way, except this was way more flowery where Junko Mizuno is usually disturbing.  Strangely, the girls in this series are in 8th grade, but it seems like a much younger girl is probably the target audience (which is appropriate enough given that this was a VizKids title).  The format for the story was 4-panel gag strips mixed with 1-2 page comics.  The jokes center around Choco and Mimi, two best friends, one is serious and cute, one is ditzy and cute.  Choco also has a crush on a “cool” boy nicknamed Andrew, and later, a cute boy named Mumu is introduced that seems like a rival/romantic interest for Mimi, but kind of isn’t.  All four are friends.  There’s also a teacher that hounds Mimi.  There are also various pets.

Interspersed throughout the book are character profiles, side stories, and copious fashion tips for every occasion based on the individual styles of Choco and Mimi.  There’s also a sticker sheet.  All of these are pretty nice extras for a book aimed at little girls.

The jokes are a strange mix of kind of funny, no joke at all, and an occasional awesome joke.  I was laughing sometimes, and I kind of liked the book for what it was, a collection of gag strips for little girls about two girls being friends.  Their friendship is never on shaky ground, and the overall mood is a very positive one.  I wasn’t all that interested in fashion, but it’s probably something I would have liked in grade scale based on the cuteness factor alone.  I wouldn’t have LOVED it, but I probably would have liked it all the same.

And with no overarching plot or direction, gag strips and fashion tips are about all I can comment on.  If the intended recipient likes cute, fashion, pets, friends, and gags, they’ll probably like this.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.