Kate and I were just talking about the fact that Crunchyroll manga site is probably the greatest boon for the Manga of the Month that has ever existed. It has a wide selection of lesser known manga that you can easily recommended with minimal financial cost while talking about titles that are getting legitimate release. Theoretically you can also do that with Weekly Shonen Jump but Jump titles are almost universally (with a few exceptions) the series that need the least amount of hype. Plus with titles like Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches (which you should be reading) there is a lot to recommend. So I should start with Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru.
Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru is plucky fighter who keeps getting knocked down but gets up again in the English manga scene. It has always been a series that has been a long shot. Quirky comedies are never the best-selling genre for manga in the United States outside of a very select few exceptions. So when JManga picked up the manga for the site it was just a part of the off-kilter nature of their lineup. But sadly JManga shut down it was unfortunate but not that unexpected. While Soredemo was one of the most popular titles on the site it seems as if destined to be one of those series that got a brief time in the sun but little more than that. Then almost out of nowhere it seems that Soredemo has risen from the ashes like a phoenix. It is available legitimately once again on Crunchyroll manga and is even being simulpubed.
That is a comeback kid story.
Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru takes place in small town where Hotori Arashiyama works as a waitress in a place that is a maid cafe in name only. While not being the most successful cafe it is a nexus of stories from people around the shopping district including Hotori’s busty coworker, the poor saps who frequent the cafe, the tomboyish rocker, and many more. Oh! There are also aliens, ghosts, angels, and time travel. Just not most of the time.
Hotori Arashiyama is a huge mystery fan and wannabe detective and therefore is immediately someone worth talking about on this blog. Her love of mystery and being a detective is just sort of infectious. She is CLEARLY not the next Sherlock Holmes or even the next Miss Marple but you want to root for her anyhow. I think that makes her a bit of a kindred spirit. Beyond that she is just such a quirky lady that you can’t help but be captivated by her unusual thought process.
The rest of the cast is equally odd. The regulars of the cafe tend to get into some rather dry comedic situations. The the most frequent patron of the cafe, Hiroyuki Sanada, is madly in love with Hotori but she obviously is not a love detective. At the same time Hotori’s coworker Toshiko Tatsuno is constantly flirting with Hiroyuki but he only has eyes for Hotori. There are other people like Hotori’s exasperated math teacher as well as local cop who has made the detective maid his arch nemesis. There is also Futaba Kon who I absolutely love. She is slightly sarcastic tomboy who quickly becomes Hotori’s friend. She just adds an element of laid back cool to the cast.
Most of the time the humor surrounding this is very mundane this. Mundane romantic comedy, unusual misunderstandings, and your standard slice of life situations. But much like Here is Greenwood there is the occasional venture into the utterly bizarre. Those chapters mainly seem every self-contained and what little over plot there is tends to ignore this larks into fancy. There are also ghosts. The cafe’s owner’s husband is the most commonly seen one. If the crew of the Maid Seaside Cafe meets time traveling robots in one chapter no mention is ever made of it again. They mostly seem like little side stories that are not supposed to be taken seriously. They are more a spicy hors d’oeuvre in what is otherwise a more mundane story. Once again much like Here is Greenwood. But if your going to copy from anyone Here is Greenwood is always an excellent choice.
And Yet the Town Moves is a strange little comedy. In many ways a slice of life show but with distinctly more pep and surrealness than your average tale of the ordinary. But that is precisely the sort of workplace comedy I enjoy. I’m glad to see this series come back despite all odds. If you’re debating a subscription to Crunchyroll manga it is definitely a title in the services’ favor. If you already have a subscription there is no reason not to check it out. A trip to the Maid Seaside Cafe is not for everyone but those who enjoy the trip just might become regulars.