Crayon Shinchan 6

November 3, 2008

I generally have a rule not to read volumes out of order (a rule I may find myself setting aside soon), but this is a gag series with almost no continuity, so it’s pretty safe to pick up at random.

I’m still a little put off by this, much like the first volume.  My impression was extremely negative at the beginning of the volume, actually, since the first 30-50 pages were a continuous plotline involving Shin and his family being dropped into a parallel universe where his favorite TV superhero exists and the threats of evil are real.  I really liked the initial joke (the bad guy here is something along the lines of “the high cut swimsuit empire”, and everyone who’s been brainwashed suddenly finds themselves wearing swimsuits with a high-cut leg and making a particular strange gesture), but after it had been repeated ad nauseum for the entire length of the plot, I was a little less enamored.  Plus, the strangeness in the series being part of reality just didn’t mix right for me, for some reason.

This is followed by a second continuous plot, which I liked much better and was about Shin and his parents taking a trip to Guam.  There are the expected jokes (Shin on the plane, Shin in a souvenir shop, Shin’s parents not speaking the language, etc), but I still liked them.  I was actually a little disappointed this didn’t go on a little longer.

The rest of the volume was more what I was expecting, the one-shot shorts with maybe two or three strung together with continuity.  I like these one-shots best of all since if a topic isn’t working, the subject gets changed after a few pages.  The flip side is, of course, what really works also doesn’t last very long (there was a really funny story about Shin being entered in a kindergarten sumo contest that I would have loved to see more of).  These are generally really hit and miss, and again, I got a little tired of reading the same jokes over and over.  Reading over my last review, I should probably take my own advice and read this in short doses.  There were plenty of jokes that were funny the first time, so maybe reading a whole volume at once just isn’t a good idea.

My favorite gag didn’t come until the end of the volume.  Shin and his mom run into one of Shin’s friends and her mom at a restaurant.  After various things that drive the friend’s mother batty, she goes into the restroom, takes a comically huge stuffed rabbit out of her purse, and starts punching it.  For whatever reason, this just struck me the right way.  I absolutely died.

In short: more continuity, but read in short doses because it’s pretty repetitive.

This was an ARC provided by CMX.

Crayon Shinchan 1

June 14, 2008

You know, I’ll always remember this as the series that made me really shocked that Comics One folded.  They promoted this series fairly strenuously, to the point that I thought it was really popular, and then they… stopped releasing pretty much everything.  Apparently it just wasn’t as popular as Iron Wok Jan.  Not that I read this back then, I’m just saying.

Anyway.  This is another one of those series like The Gorgeous Life of Strawberry-chan and All Nippon Airline that I bet reads much better as little spacers between chapters of other things.  This series is composed of 4-page stories full of gags, and while the volume is sectioned off (two sections back to back for stories about Shin and his mother, and another section for Shin at school), there is absolutely no continuity whatsoever save for the fact Shin gets a dog at one point.  I read a big chunk at first and really didn’t like it, then I broke the rest up over the course of several days and liked it much better.

I feel a little bad reading this right after Strawberry-chan, because I just like the one with the frog better, and the comparison clung to this one the entire time I was reading it.  While both series repeat jokes, I felt like Shin-chan did it a little more frequently, and I didn’t like the humor as much.  I mean, there’s only so many times that Shin can make his mom mad and still be funny, but that was part of the reason I started reading only a few of the stories at a time.  Notably, only one of the comics finishes with Shin’s mother not angry at him.  Most of the jokes are okay, and there are a few really good ones sprinkled intermittently throughout.  I was fond of the number of ways Shin found to include his penis as part of a picture he drew on his stomach, but your milage may vary.  Most of the jokes are sort of crude humor like that, so if that’s not your thing, then, well… you may want to break out the Jose Saramago or whatever instead.

It is funny, though.  It made me think of the “Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga” strip that’s posted in this entry at the Overlooked Manga Festival.  It’s exactly like the 4-koma comic you should not do, and it’s got sort of the same new joke in every panel flavor.

I like the book itself, which is much shorter than a regular manga volume (around 120 pages) and included several color pages at the beginning.  I don’t think I could read more than 120 pages of this at a stretch, even with it spaced out like I did, so the length of the volume is a wise decision.