Show-ha Shoten! Vol. 1

Viz. (Show-ha Shoten). Feb. 2023. 192p. tr. from Japanese by Stephen Paul . pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781974736829.
Gr 9 Up–Azemichi wants to become funny as a way to prove to his former crush, whose family has resettled somewhere unbeknownst to him, that he’s more than just an ordinary, nice guy. Higashikata is looking for a comedy partner in order to create laughter so loud, it reaches his former partner (who passed away) way up in the heavens. When these high school boys join forces, they’ll let nothing stand in their way as they pursue their comedy goals at full tilt. This manga title is edutainment excellence when it comes to comedy. Not only will readers learn about the Japanese comedy scene but they’ll also learn about the fundamentals of creating the art form from scratch. Fans of “Bakuman” and “Carole & Tuesday” will appreciate the protagonists here, as the dissimilarities in their talents mean they end up complementing each other quite well. Obata returns with his familiar art style, lending a light yet detailed quality on every page. Certain jokes, particularly ones by Azemichi, may go over readers’ heads due to their not being unconditionally translatable from their original Japanese into English. Regardless, this shonen story about two dark horses in the world of comedy is sure to delight teens.
VERDICT One of the best manga series debuts of 2023 so far, and one teens will be able to rally behind as they pursue dreams of their own.

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