SHORT SUNZEN! • Susugi Sakurai • TOKYOPOP • 16+
Satsuki Kurokawa is the toughest girl at Tamazuka High School, the most notorious school in Japan’s Kansai region. Sendo, Tamazuka’s #2 arm-wrestling champ, is her male best friend who has a crush on her…but Satsuki, who doesn’t quite know her own feelings, just thinks “I always have fun when I’m with him. I wonder why.” Unlike Love Attack, Short Sunzen! is less about yelling and brawling and more about being “from the wrong side of the tracks”; middle-class Japanese people are scared by Satsuki and Kurokawa just because of where they’re from, and there are lots of notes on Osaka and Kansai culture which would otherwise be lost on American readers. It’s restrained and character-driven, but with only two real characters and not much ongoing plot between chapters, the book is a fairly thin read in graphic novel format. A nice side story, “Lights Out! Sunzen,” depicts Satsuki and Sendo visiting the artist of the manga and helping her produce the story. The art is done in an old-fashioned, lanky ‘90 style. (Review by Jason Thompson – originally printed in Otaku USA magazine.)
** 1/2 (two and a half stars)
Today’s winner (I’m playing catchup, so two winners today) is Kelly H. of Tennessee. Congratulations!