May 13, 2015

ARC Review: Let's Eat Ramen and Other Doujinshi Short Stories by Nagumo and Aji-Ichi

Review of the douijinshi manga Let's Eat Ramen

Title: Let's Eat Ramen and Other Doujinshi Short Stories

Mangaka: Nagumo and Aji-Ichi 

Publisher: Gen Manga Entertainment

Expected Date of Publication: August 18th, 2015

Number of Pages: 120

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review


Summary

Doujinshi, otherwise known as independent manga in Japan, is rarely published in English. In fact, it's considered underground and  quite exclusive in its home country of Japan as well. Let's Eat Ramen and Other Doujinshi Short Stories finally gives western readers an exclusive look at the elusive world of contemporary Japanese doujinshi manga. Let's Eat Ramen is a three-part tale of Saeki, a girl who loves ramen noodles. At last, she thinks that she has finally found the perfect ramen shop, but the problem is the shop is completely full of old regulars and she can't get in. Will the timid Saeki ever summon the willpower to reach out and get the ramen that she desperately wants?

Review

Let's Eat Ramen and Other Doujinshi Short Stories is a rather simple, but enjoyable manga. It includes four stories, the first one Let's Eat Ramen created by Nagumo and the rest Plastic Blue, Urameshiya and You Make Me Dizzy created by Aji-Ichi. All of those stories are slice-of-life, focusing more on the everyday lives of contemporary Japanese teenagers, rather than having a strong story. I find that this kind of narrative works perfectly in short stories, so this edition was a pleasant read for me.

The first story, the one that has lent its name and cover to the whole volume, is really unique. Saeki is obsessed with ramen and really wants to try some from a ramen shop, but she's too shy to go there alone. Besides the place is always full with its usual customers. One day after school, while trying to find the courage to walk into the store, she runs into Hozuki, one of her classmates and persuades him to go together. So they begin to regularly go to various ramen places together and it sort of feels like they are dating. The story doesn't go further from this point, but it was sweet and it really made me hungry. I mean, since I've read it, I really want to try ramen, but not the instant one.

Plastic Blue is the second story and it's in a completely different tone from the first one. But it's only natural since they are created by a different mangaka. Here, the protagonists are two high school girls, who are attracted to one another. I like the fact that this lesbian romance hasn't the erotic element that is often seen in other manga and is also enough naive, as would be any romance during high school. 

In the third story, Urameshiya, I'm not sure if the attraction between those two high school girls is just friendly or something more. Anyway, it was a sweet story, but not very original. Hanako is an anti-social girl, who likes to tend the flowers and meets Shibata-san from the swimming club. Every time they meet, they slowly get closer to one another. Meanwhile, there is a rumor in the school that the ghost of a girl that was drowned in the swimming pool has started appearing. In the end though, everything is resolved and the two girls can finally begin their friendship.

The last story, You Make Me Dizzy, along with the first one, were my favourites from this volume. A yet another high school girl is drawn to another girl, who is hanging out at the school library and reads many difficult books. This dizziness she feels around her, we don't get to understand what it means, but most probably it's not just a friendly feeling. This story too wasn't very original, but both of the characters were really likeable. They way they tried to approach one another even though they were so different, was something that got my attention.

Let's Eat Ramen and Other Doujinshi Short Stories is a welcome read to all those who want something light, pleasant and quick. I don't know if someone who hasn't read a manga before will find it enjoyable since a lot of things might seem a little bit weird. If you are familiar with manga and want to explore something more independent than the well-known titles, this is one volume you should pick up. 

So, my advice is...

     Enjoy a plate of ramen!

4 comments:

  1. Hi!

    I decided to check out your blog (always tend to do that when people comment on my blog :D), and saw this review. This was a book I was looking at on Netgalley but wasn't sure if it would be any good. It is often a hit and miss with the stuff they have on NG, and I couldn't find many reviews about this one.

    But now reading your review, I guess I will see if it is still available on NG and get it. It sounds like a fun manga (and just what I would like to read at the moment, since I am in a mood for short stories and something fun), and I am also happy that you noted that the stories are all different characters/stories. I thought it would be about just one character with just one story about them.

    Thanks for the review, and I will be following your blog. :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for visiting!

      I believe that this is no longer available on NetGalley, which is a shame. Before I started reading it, I searched for reviews, but couldn't find any. From the summary you couldn't really understand that all the stories have different characters, I thought too that it would be with the same ones. Anyway, it was fun and relaxed :)

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  2. I love ramen and short stories! I can't promise I won't drool if ever I read this stories lol

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    Replies
    1. I really felt hungry during the first story, haha! I wish the rest of the short stories had the same theme :)

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