Manga of the Month: Go For It, Nakamura!

Go For It, Nakamura! (ガンバレ! 中村くん!! ) by Syundei

Go For It, Nakamura! tells a story of retro-style, teen romantic hijinx in a single volume. This all-ages story titular Nakamura who has a somewhat gloomy disposition and is prone to elaborate fantasies of how today he is really-probably-definitely going to become friends with his crush Hirose. Cue the wacky vignettes!

Nakamura is a charmingly relatable teen as he struggles with being the worst at starting a conversation, feeling weird about letting people know his hobbies, believing romance comics must have all the answers, and with a dozen other ways over the course of these stories.

Hirose is a friendly guy with an easy smile. There’s a recurring cast of classmates beyond Hirose, too. One of my favorites had to be the head of the occult club who tries to recruit Nakamura in a really silly one-off chapter.

I wasn’t expecting this to have as sweet an ending as it did. I think that’s what actually pushed it over the edge for me on whether or not to recommend it.

I’m curious to know if those who don’t have nostalgia for the comedy and aesthetics of 90s manga appreciate Go For It, Nakamura! It really captures the style perfectly. I got wonderful Here is Greenwood vibes.

Go For It, Nakamura! is a one volume manga that I wish there was more of.

~kate

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Manga of the Month: Tokyo Tarareba Girls

Tokyo Tarareba Girls by Akiko Higashimura

Are you in the Olympic spirit like me? Then enjoy Tokyo Tarareba Girls! I’m sure a dramedy about single 30-somethings discussing their lives and loves isn’t the first series that seems relevant to an international athletic competition, but these women have a plan: get married before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

From the creator of Princess Jellyfish comes a hilarious and searing look into the concepts of youth, beauty, love, sex, and society’s expectations on women, especially as they age. Successful screenwriter Rinko and her friends meet-up to commiserate their “old age” and play the what-if game of continuously rehashing their past decisions and speculating on how things could have turned out differently. Their feelings about their failed relationships and their desires to find love are complex. They embrace society’s demands of them while also trying to reject those demands; it’s a tough and true place they find themselves in.

Funny, heartbreaking, a little too on the nose at times, and over the top at the right points, Tokyo Tarareba Girls speaks with authenticity about the actual experience of your 30s VS what you thought it would be like in your 20s. Just because life didn’t turn out the way you planned doesn’t make it wrong, but will Rinko learn this herself by the end?

~kate

The Garden of Words: Let Us All Avoid the Anime Foot Fetishist Rabbit Hole

hisui_icon_4040_round I would have normally titled this Only Happy When It Rains but you can’t understand the deep dark journey we went on for a bit after this movie. I needed to use the title to provide a warning for those who might otherwise inadvertently follow in our footsteps after reading this post. Just know that the Internet is rich with veins of content for those who wish to mix their love of Japanese cartoons and tootsies. Unless that is your preference merely know that it exists and then move on.

As I was writing the Your Name review I realized that The Garden of Words was still a major oversight the filmography of Makoto Shinkai. It is in an interesting position in his repertoire. It is shorter than his full-length films but longer than his short works. It is distinctly longer than his Voices of a Distant Star debut short film but also far shorter than 5 Centimeters Per Second which is his shortest full-length film. It does seem to be in an unusual position between short and full-length film. I discovered that Shinkai did not originally plan to have this play in theaters. It was originally just supposed to be distributed on the Internet but then got upgraded to run in theaters. That explains its more unusual 46 minutes run time.

That made me wonder if The Garden of Words would feel more like a short that got fluffed up to its current run time, a theatrical piece that was cut to 46 minutes, or would it be written to fit that time frame.

narutaki_icon_4040_round I always enjoy Makoto Shinkai’s stories, so when Al brought to my attention that we still hadn’t watched The Garden of Words I was shocked by the oversight. I was excited to return to Mr. Shinkai’s short stories with a loving attention to detail.

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