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Monday, July 25, 2011

Neko Ramen manga Impression

Tokyopop may be no more but the fun of a ramen making cat can still be enjoyed

Gone bye-bye is Tokyopop but picking up a volume of their manga can still bring joy to the manga fan looking for something new, something a bit more stand alone not needing 5, 10 or 30+ volumes to complete. One such manga is from the creative mind of Kenji Sonishi and it reads more like traditional newspaper comic strips here in the states. Neko Ramen: Hey! Order up! and Neko Ramen: Curry is also delicious! are just the first two volumes of this funny manga and they work great by themselves. So what’s so tasty about this ramen infused treat? Let’s take a gander.

A cat that runs a ramen stand. Yes, Taisho is a cat that makes ramen in his own ramen stand. Repeat customers Tanaka is witness to Taisho’s search for the perfect ramen menu that leads to awkward moments expected when a cat tackles human tasks. Is he a cat? Yes, but he talks and cooks ramen. Is he odd? Yes, he a cat that cooks ramen and dabble sin curry. He has issues with his poster modeling father, dogs, failed business and bad menu choices as well as what to do with his rental space in-store. It’s odd, it’s downright silly, heck it’s a cat that makes ramen.

Not much of a story summary but the reason is simple; Neko Ramen is about a cat that makes ramen and the odd situations that occur. The format keeps it simple with a mostly 4 panel top to bottom strips that will feel very familiar to American newspaper comic reading. Taisho is simple a cat making some ramen and trying to be a success and it’s through Tanaka readers see the funny stuff unfold. Funny stuff is the key here folks as the day-to-day situations he encounters as a ramen making cat are funny. The 2-3 page story segments show a funny history, stuff that just does not make sense. There are cultural story points some readers won’t get due to their basis in and with Japanese food but don’t’ fret, the majority is fun and funny. The art style only adds to the simplicity with a simple style that seems perfect for an Adult Swim run.

Neko Ramen is yet another reason why Tokyopop will be missed. It’s a unique manga that is closer to US comic strips than much of the mainstream manga still being published. Oh well on this front but these books are worth the read if you can find them.

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