Eat for Your Life vol. 1


Eat for Your Life Volume 1 by Shigeru Tsuchiyama

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I do enjoy food manga now and then, and since unfortunately this is a genre that we only get a small sampling of here I’m always interested in a new title. While there are plenty of manga that I’ve read devoted to particular dishes or types of food, eating with friends, or in the case of Toriko eating incredibly weird things, this is the first eating competition manga that I’ve read. I found the combination of sports manga plot structure and endless drawings of bowls of katsudon compelling.

Ohara is a salaryman with a reputation as a gourmet. Perpetually broke due to his habit of going on food tours, he stumbles across an eating competition and decides to try his luck. Ohara fails, but he catches the eye of a professional food competitor named George. I could tell at a glance that George was going to be Ohara’s eccentric mentor because he was wearing a fringed leather jacket, sunglasses, and a ponytail. George appreciates Ohara’s ability to savor what he is eating as well as his rudimentary but sound eating technique.

Ohara begins to be pulled into the world of competative eating, but with some informal coaching from George, he might be ready to take his love of eating to the next level. The situations and characters in Eat For Your Life follow the “try your best” theme of most sports manga, except here one tries to conquer insane serving amounts of food as opposed to facing an opponent on the sports field. Eat For Your Life was amusing. The art was well executed, but not particularly distinctive, and there wwas a decent amount of humor as Ohara reacts with a rookie’s amazement to the world of competitive eating. I recommended this title for foodie manga fans.

Electronic access provided by the publisher.

Don’t Tell My Husband, Vol. 1

Don’t Tell My Husband, Vol. 1 by Kei Kousaki

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I have to admit that one of my main criteria for buying romance manga is often the title. So when I saw that Don’t Tell My Husband was josei manga, I decided to give it a whirl on my kindle paperwhite. This is a fairly hilarious housewife escape fantasy title that reminded me a little bit of Lady, Lady and the movie The Heroic Trio, just because the main character’s appearance is completely at odds with her inner resources and actions.

Minano spends her days as a sheltered housewife, practicing traditional Japanese skills like flower arranging. The first story features her going out to shop for dinner, over her husband’s objections. She goes to a bank where she’s taken hostage. Instead of panicking, she coolly manages the situation, giving first aid to a shooting victim and talking about the situation with the bank robbers. When one of the robbers slaps a bank clerk, Minano bashes his skull in with a pipe while commenting that she can’t stand men who hit women. Minano comments to her fellow hostage with a small smile that she’s “Just gotten a little angry.” She then proceeds to execute a divide and conquer strategy on the bank robbers, splitting them up and confiscating their weapons. The police detective on the scene is an old boyfriend who comments that “I bet you surprised everyone with your fragile housewife persona.”

The other chapters in this book follow the same general outline of Minano using her amazing abilities to perform sophisticated cat burglary and rescues a woman injured in the mountains with some impressive impromptu snowboarding skills. Minano’s antics are superhuman and the contrast between her meek persona and her actual abilities is pretty funny. This is definitely a manga to read for story and characters over the art. Kousaki has basically only two character types, and since almost everyone in the manga is blond it is sometimes really tricky to keep track of who is speaking. Minano’s husband basically looks identical to all the other men she encounters, so when he actually has a conversation with another man I was a bit confused as to who was saying what. There’s some slight weirdness about the noses of the characters in full face views that looked a bit odd. Overall, I enjoyed the story and the situations very much. The $7.99 price tag on this is a bit of a stretch given the quality of the art, although I realize that it costs just as much to translate manga with not-so-great art as it does a much more elaborately drawn title. If the first and second volumes were priced at the under $4.00 range of much of the digitally available Harlequin manga, I probably would have picked up both volumes and enjoyed them as a fun, disposable summer read.

Two from Yuriko Matsukawa: Not for a Student and Hush A Bye Baby

I previously reviewed Matsukawa’s two volume series Late Advent, so I was interested in checking out some of her one-shot works that are now available on Not for a Student and Hush a Bye Baby are both collections of stories, with one long anchor story for each volume followed by a few shorter stories.

Not For A Studentavailable on

Miki is a photographer who abruptly decides to become a teacher when losing a competition scuttles her chances of a professional career. Before her student teaching stint she has an odd encounter with a waiter at a nightclub who is so compelling that she has to photograph him. Imagine her surprise when she finds out that he’s Takase Misaki, one of the worst students in the class she’s been assigned to student teach. Takase is constantly skipping school, only showing up when he feels like it, and the rest of the students in the class seem to be in a bit of a conspiracy to help him get away with whatever he wants to do. Miki has the desire to prove what a great teacher she can be by trying to help him, but her efforts are met with a surprising degree of intimidation and blackmail from Takase. As she discovers the secret he’s protecting, she begins to act in a very un-teacher-like manner.

This volume was an enjoyable collection of shojo short stories. In addition to Not for a Teacher, it included a story “Aim for Acclaim My Beautiful Hostess!” about the trials and tribulations of a traditional inn owner in Tokyo and her unexpected romance and another story, “Put Your Right Foot Forward” about a girl pursuing her passion for dance only to get caught up in a rivalry between to potential partners. Matsukawa’s art still has that old-school style that I enjoy, and this collection was a pleasant diversion. Not For A Student‘s more dramatic story was balanced out by the slice-of-life stories in the rest of the volume.

Hush A Bye Babyavailable on

I found Hush A Bye Baby: Midnight’s Rebel Army a bit more entertaining than Not For A Student, just because the premise for the main story was more crazy, as convenience store worker Sakaya finds herself accidentally handcuffed to cute, yet tragically haunted biker Reiji (just like the 39 Steps, but not!) who has a mysterious past. Don’t all tragically haunted bikers have mysterious pasts!? Sakaya ends up helping Reiji investigate the truth of an accident he was framed for, and they grow closer in the process even though they have to endure being shackled together for a couple days. My only complaint with the art for this story is that the chain connecting the handcuffs seemed to randomly expand and contract at various points of the story, but on the whole it was still very entertaining. I always enjoy linked short stories and restaurant settings, so the other half of the volume was a treat. “No Saint of Soupe” deals with a French Restaurant in Japan, and a romance between the owner’s daughter and a gifted chef named Rene who only specializes in soups much to his brother’s dismay. “Professional Passion” turns the focus on Rene’s older brother as he deals with an inexperienced reporter who is assigned to cover him for her first big professional story.

If I had to pick between these volumes and only recommend one, I’d go with “Hush A Bye Baby” since the combination of manacled bikers and foodie manga is pretty irresistible. Both volumes were entertaining though and would provide a quick entertaining read for any shojo fans looking for single volumes of manga.