Cafe Kichijouji de Vol. #02 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 144
  • ISBN: 1-56970-948-3
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Cafe Kichijouji de Vol. #02

By Sakura Eries     May 12, 2006
Release Date: January 31, 2006

Cafe Kichijouji de Vol.#02
© Digital Manga Publishing

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yuji Miyamoto / Kyoko Negishi
Translated by:Sachiko Sato
Adapted by:

What They Say
The young staff at the Cafe Kichijouji are a colurful bunch. They're the source of continual headache for the poor cafe master who oversees them all. In this volume, however, the cafe staff is beset by troublesome children. From the lost little girl Reina to the gang of bratty thugs who seem to have a grudge against Maki and Toku, the guys have their hands full, even when they're just planning an outing to view cherry blossoms!

The Review
DMP gets another gold star for their packaging job! Again, they use the original cover design on the manga's dust cover. The front cover features the five Café Kichijouji de staff members standing together in their white and brown uniforms. Toku looks ready to serve with his tray, Taro has his trusty broom in hand, Minagawa stands with a suspicious looking book, Jun holds Sukekiyo the cat in his arms, and just posing. A lavender polka dot bar (similar to Volume 1's) with the manga title is placed vertically to the left, and a narrow purple bar with the publisher's logo runs along the bottom. The back cover features the lavender polka dot bar with the title placed horizontally along the top; the story summary is in rose font to the left; and a cute Reina holding (torturing) Sukekiyo against a background of more lavender polka dots is to the right. The front inside flap has the lavender polka dot horizontal title bar along the top with paw prints and a mini-character guide below. The character guide is cute and a clever use of color and dust cover space. The back cover flap sports the purple and aqua publisher's logo.

The actual cover beneath the dust cover is done in lavender and white. The front cover is exactly the same as the front dust cover except it's all in lavender, and the back cover has the horizontal polka dot title bar along the top with paw prints beneath.

Extras include lots and lots of COLOR! The first eight pages are printed in full-color. It is especially nice for the sakura picture on page 8. There are also a table of contents, four "tiny" chapters that follow each of the main chapters, and postscript notes from the artist. Again, the copy quality and paper quality are excellent.

Another thumbs up for Negishi's character designs! Our waitstaff is still a feast for the eyes, with the exception of Minagawa, who seems to get creepier with each chapter. Lots of kids in this volume, and they're adorable looking even when they're being absolute terrors. And, as in Volume 1, the chibi drawings for the "tiny" chapters are darling!

Panels are well paced, and the action/mayhem scenes are nicely executed. There's one panel in particular of Toku's house shaking from the craziness happening inside that I find very impressive (if you stare at it too long, you'll get a headache). However, except for the cherry blossom viewing chapter, Negishi does scrimp a bit on the backgrounds. They seem to be less detailed than in the first volume, and again, she connects the bubbles of different speakers, which I dislike.

Sound effects are translated side-by-side the originals. I like how DMP has imitated the style of the original SFX. DMP also does a good job of varying dialogue font styles to match speakers' moods.

Japanese terms are translated in footnotes or in parentheses. However, several Japanese terms were left unexplained, and there are a number of cultural references that I think that the DMP should have explained, particularly the relationship between Teruteru dolls and the weather. Signs are translated in side panels or overlays.

All Japanese honorifics have been removed, and replaced with English equivalents, which in some cases sounds stiff. In Chapter 9,Airi's younger brother calls her "big sister" and "sister" instead of calling her by name, and, as in Volume 1, the two part time staff refer to their older staff members as "Mr. Maki," "Mr. Taro," and "Mr. Minagawa." Otherwise, the dialogue translation is decent.

Here in Volume 2, we have a year in the life of the Café Kichijouji staff. We start off with a colored mini-chapter for New Year's where it becomes apparent that Mitaka's zany employees are disturbing him even in his dreams. Next is cherry blossom season, a delightful time of year. The staff decides to go on an outing to take in this phenomenon, but, with Minagawa around, it turns into a phenomenon of an entirely different sort.

From trouble outdoors, we return to trouble back inside the Café. A cute preschooler follows Taro back to the Café--and goes on a rampage! It's the five waitstaff versus the little girl with a vendetta!

Coming into summer, Toku is dreaming of "all-you-can-each-barbecue" but barely have enough to feed his hamsters. Find out exactly why our hapless college part-timer is working for ¥1.5 an hour.

Our year with the Café staff wraps up with more disgruntled kids with a grudge. Relatively minor pranks escalate into Toku's kidnapping! But will any of his coworkers care enough to bail him out?

Props again to DMP for its wonderful packaging job! Volume 2 is yet another collection of frenetic silliness from the Café although it is a bit shorter than I expected. It only has four full chapters. Again, the chapters are episodic, and the events of one chapter don't really tie into the next. Chapter 6 is like Halloween meets sakura season (think "Nightmare before Cherry Blossom Viewing), and Chapter 7 and 9 capitalize on humor involving kids where the cute tykes behave like little punks. Most of the laughs come at Toku and Maki's expense, and I do wish the punishment was spread out a little more evenly. Minagawa especially seems immune to the woes that befall his coworkers. Not to mention he's gotten much weirder in this volume, especially in the scene where he's telling Toku of a proposition of questionable legality to make money. I'd just really like to wipe that all-knowing smirk off of his face.

This manga is rated 13+ for some cussing, accusations (unfounded "thank goodness!) of pedophilia, Minagawa's general creepiness, and comic violence.


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