Monday, 13 April 2015

Let's Eat Ramen and Other Doujinshi Short Stories Review (Nagumo, Aji-Ichi)


Let’s Eat Ramen is the most appropriately titled comic I’ve ever read: the characters talk about eating ramen… and then they eat some! 

I’m being facetious of course but that does happen. These short stories are actually about contemporary teenage love in Japan. The girl character of the title story is shy and wants to eat ramen in a swanky ramen joint but it’s full of intimidating regulars – all men. She cajoles a boy classmate to go with her and they go on several of these ramen-tasting sessions (read: dates) together. Aww! 

The other stories are less subtle and all revolve around lesbian teenage love (but not in any pornographic way). In one, a young girl is wooed by another girl before a predictable twist reveals one of the girls’ true selves; in another, a girl is heartbroken after her girlfriend leaves her for a boy, telling her that their relationship was just confusion on her part; and in the last story, You Make Me Dizzy, a girl is intimidated by the intelligence of another girl she admires (“she reads books without pictures, waah!”).

The art of both Nagumo and Aji-Ichi are very generic – they’re like a thousand other mangas out there. Maybe there’s an industry standard they have to conform to in order to be published? Their writing isn’t spectacular either and their stories just ok, though they’re not terrible comics and quite readable. Nagumo’s Ramen stories in particular are kinda funny in how they’re so simple and innocent: two kids eat ramen, that’s it! I definitely enjoyed those the most, albeit in an ironic way, but Aji-Ichi’s lesbian comics are decent too for their earnestness. 

Doujinshi manga is apparently indie manga rarely translated into English, but I thought that’s what Gen manga was? Are they the same? I don’t know. The labels and sub-genres of manga are way over my head. I’m just a casual reader of these comics than a true-blue fan. 

Let’s Eat Ramen isn’t a must-read manga that doesn’t say or do anything particularly interesting but it’s a quirky little number that’s worth a look if you see it on the library shelf. Like instant ramen, it’s a fine, light snack in the literary sense but nothing too substantial.

Let's Eat Ramen and Other Doujinshi Short Stories

2 comments:

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  2. I hadn't heard anything about this but then again I don't really read much manga (although I'm a huge fan of Neon Genesis Evangelion).

    I was wondering if you would be interested in leaving a comment on my blog. I just wrote about The Courtyard (which you've already reviewed here).

    www.artbyarion.blogspot.com

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