Comedy Manga to Read with Lunch

First posted on February 26

As per my previous post, I am making a small step to improve my life: comics on my lunch break. Mostly I am reading comedy, romance, and slice-of-life manga. I don’t really want to be reading short stories that end like this:

Not at work, anyway - I have no shame about reading smut, as I mention some later on. The above panel is not from something I found erotic but as horror. I like works labeled ‘erotic grotesque nonsense’ but not for sexual gratification. There is half an essay in my drafts about the allure of such things.

It’s been going well! Way more relaxing than twitter. More enjoyable, too. Here are my #opinions on the comedy manga I’ve read. There aren’t really hidden gems on the list, half of them have had well received anime adaptations in the past few years.

Note: Everything is read right-to-left.

That good stuff

Chi’s Sweet Home – Kanata Konami

Look at this kitty cat. I love it. I’ve read Chi before and I can’t fault it. It’s cute fluff about a family who adopt a stray kitten. It does cute kitten things and needs to be hidden from their landlord.

It’s not a comic to read all at once. While cute and engaging for 15 minutes, too much Chi can get stale. Read Chi regularly and in moderation for heart warming cuteness.

Chi’s sweet home and the next entry are the only manga I have read before on this list. After these I tried to branch out into new experiences. Cromartie High School is very funny but I needed to find new favourites.

Junji Ito’s Cat Diary – Junji Ito

Horror legend Junji Ito turns his hand to comedy. Though part of the joke is his sinister art style making cute cats unnerving you can enjoy it as domestic comedy about his wife’s cats.

There is a rivalry between the couple. They fight for the cats affection, without acknowledging the competition. In the panels below he had recently pranked his wife with a plastic poop.

He conveys the shock and disgust of touching poop with ease. If both horror and comedy come from a subversion of expectation and the build and release of tension then that explains how well Ito adapts his style.

As the comic goes on he grows to love the cats. His drawings of Yon become less sinister and he learns how to care for his home invaders.

I don’t know how enjoyable this will be to those not familiar with Ito’s work. I suppose would be nice but not special.

Gokushufudo: Way of the House Husband – Kousuke Oono

Former undefeated Yakuza gangster the Immortal Tatsu turns his iron will and determination to being the best house-spouse he can be. It’s so charming and funny with a dry delivery.

When is wife brings in a roomba to help him with chores he treats it like a fellow gang member that only got the job because the boss (wife) liked him. When a visiting child breaks a figurine belonging to his missus, they bury the body in an empty garden with solemnity. A young gang member asks for his help and Tatsu teaches him laundry or instagram or woodwork.

There is not that much in character growth so far but the story moves forwards as he does more house spouse things like joining cooking and fitness classes.

There are some jokes I’m missing about Yakuza customs and the like. He gets his wife a DVD she already has for her birthday and tries to cut a finger off in penance. The series has heart that stops it getting old. Tatsu loves his wife. I’d really like to find out more about her and how they got together. I mean… I can’t remember her name…

Saint Young Men – Hikaru Nakamura

I started reading it after seeing an episode of The British Museum’s Curators Corner on the manga. I love curators corner. My fave genre of youtube video is super fan of a niche thing talking about that. Jesus and Buddha take some time out from heaven to share a flat in Tokyo.

Cue silly misunderstandings and untranslatable puns carefully explained in margins. The translators notes are invaluable, especially with Buddha. I’ve read very little about his life and teachings. Does Tezuka’s Life of the Buddha count as negative knowledge? There was a comic relief dog in it...

There is a clear progression of time from summer holidays to Jesus being upset he is not involved in a Japanese Christmas. They try hobbies then complain about a flat cluttered with unused things.

Both of them can have problems hiding their identity. Halos appear and when Jesus is scared to swim he ends up walking on the water.

I don’t understand why they are on earth but I am glad they are.

Haven’t you heard I’m Sakamoto – Nami Sano

It’s tough to make a flawless protagonist compelling. The joke of Sakamoto is the author finding super cool ways for the flawless protagonist to do mundane things. A bee in the classroom? He uses the point of his compass to sword fight against it’s stinger then catches (and releases) it.

Sakamoto doesn’t seem to have any clear motivations. He just moves through the world, being cool in it. There are two issues depicting a break from school he does things for others or for fun. Sakamoto defends his friend from bullies, after an obtuse lesson in self respect, and helps him study.

Helping your friends be their best and fixing bridges to be more accessible to disabled people is cool. Sakamoto will do them in the most stylish way but never let’s the cool get in the way of the good. Small important acts.

It is another comic to be read in moderation. There is character progression but not enough to engage me during a binge.

Skull-face book seller Honda-san – Honda

I’ve never worked a proper retail job but when Honda-san talks about being understaffed and overworked… I feel for him. Not having enough time to do everything needed was not that relaxing an experience but it was nice to then go back to my new and improved customer facing job. I’d seen an episode of the anime before but find I prefer to read a comic than a stretched out animated show.

Honda-san is a good dude. He tries his best to help the excited and confused foreigners in his department find the right manga. For a skeleton he is very expressive, as are the other masked coworkers. The manga moves much faster than the anime as it does not need to fill time and I wished there was more of it.

It’s not that accessable to people new to manga as it needs a bit of knowledge of genre and culture and meduim. The first few chapters are about fujoshi – women interested in manga about young men in love – and how their needs/tastes differ from gay men.

For a skeleton: cute guy.

Other things also exist

There have been a fair few things I didn’t like.

Anatomically-worrying monster-girl titty-comedy I’m not a Succubus failed to make me laugh even when trying to ignore the teenagers in sexualised mishaps. Just made me want to catch up on Monster Musume. Miia is best girl. I am a tactile person and can do the cooking. Papi is irritating and simple and I skim her sections. Is she a child?

Actually, there has been more than one echii (sexy but not full porn but sexual nudity) that’s been off-putting. Too much schoolgirls and predatory people played for laughs.

I’m enjoying the start of Skeleton Soldier cannot escape the Dungeon. Will be reading more of that. I found Delicious in Dungeon to be too fantastical. I want to read food comics where I learn something about real food.

I might read FAKE again. Just to marvel at how much the author doesn’t care about accuracy with foreign police regulations. I remember one authors note saying ‘This is the wrong uniform but it looks nicer’ and trying to keep that spirit in mind.

I also want more soft slice-of-life reads. Domestic romances. This is a good project.

Look at these cats: