Ridiculously over-the-top in the best of ways.
City Vol. 1 was a fantastic delight and an incredibly funny manga. It was so good I just had to read Vol. 2, which is out this week from Vertical Comics. In it Midori continues to be a lazy money-stealing friend, and zaniness ensues.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Niikura reflects on how her friendship with Nagumo began. Wako Izumi is intrigued by Nagumo, and gets a totally wrong idea about her relationship with Niikura. Tatewaku Makabe scores a dubious point during a soccer game, and his father tries to game a peculiar restaurant. Meanwhile, super-strong Granny continues to be unbeatable…
Why does this matter?
Creator Keeichi Arawi is very good at capturing the absurd in everyday life. The first volume did this with kung-fu fighting grandmas and ridiculously over-the-top reactions from its characters. This is a manga where song and dance could break out at any moment and it’s delightful.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
While the first volume was all about introducing characters and getting them to interact, the second volume reveals a bit about their personal lives. Makabe’s desire to play soccer, for instance, plays a part and delivers a ridiculous chapter about celebrations after shooting a goal. Heck, even Makabe’s father gets a chapter devoted to him where he thinks he’s clever but fails miserably. Learning more about these characters helps flesh them out and make them more real, which is an important element in such a farcical series such as this.
And boy is it over-the-top. The funniest moments occur when insane things that are totally unrealistic happen. Take for instance the soccer game where Makabe scores a goal. He does a dance. Then another and another. Then the team gets involved. Then all the onlookers. It builds and becomes more ridiculous as it progresses. Would this happen in real life? No way, but that’s part of the manga’s charm.
The visuals are very good at making the humor work. Take for instance a moment where Midori is rushing to get a delivery to the police to make 1,000 yen (an impossible task). She rushes to get on a moped only to fling the food out of her hands. The panels show how she’s slow to get up because truth be told the food is ruined, but she must go on. It’s in these slow comedic beats that the hilarity really ensues. There are many crazy and unrealistic moments like this, and they are sold well by the visuals. The martial artist granny gets another chapter in this volume and she kicks a lot of ass. Arawi captures this with cool moves and impossible jumps, especially for a grandma. The art style is very cute and clean and could easily be printed in a newspaper without losing its humor.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This volume isn’t quite as funny as the first due to some slightly boring chapters focused on photographer Wako Izumi. Truth be told, Midori’s brazen and very selfish character is one of my favorites, and she ends up being less involved in this installment. The volume also fleshes out backstories, but it doesn’t progress any one plot very much. Again, Midori was the center point of the first volume and her need to get a job was resolute all the way through the end. This volume is less focused, which makes it more of an anthology of stories rather than one continuously building story with jokes hanging on for dear life.
Is it good?
This is a good volume that may have suffered due to the high expectations set by the first volume. I liked it and laughed, but it wasn’t a non-stop thrill ride of ridiculousness like the previous installment. Still, I enjoyed it and I like these characters enough to want more.