Koro Koro Cosplay Koromo-chan Vol. #01 (Mania.com)

By:Mike Dungan
Review Date: Friday, December 16, 2005
Release Date: Friday, April 01, 2005

Creative Talent
Translated by:Angela Liu
Adapted by:

What They Say
At last a manga about cos-players, for cos-players! Ever since the school president established a casual dress code for the student body, Koromo has been wearing her cos-play outfits at her high school (although she claims they are her casual clothes).

Follow the daily life of Koromo and her costume-designing best friend. Watch as she graduates high school, attends college and ventures into the real world all in one fun filled volume!

The Review
Take the characters from Di Gi Charat and have them attend the high school from Azumanga Daioh, and you’ll have something close to Cosplay Koromo-Chan.

The cover features Koromo-chan in her maid outfit, surrounded by pale images of her in the same pose but in different costumes. The logo is splashed across the front of Koromo-chan. The pale pink and yellow of the logo doesn’t stand out at all against all the other faded colors and the white background, giving the book a rather insubstantial presence. The back cover is a 9-panel comic that has Koromo-chan hawking her own book. It’s a lot funnier once you’ve read the book and understand the characters. It looks good with much stronger colors than the front, and does a reasonable job of preparing the prospective reader for what’s inside.

Mook’s simple artwork is pleasantly appealing, with simple lines and expressive faces. I’m reminded a bit of Hitoshi Okuda’s work in the Tenchi Muyo manga, if he drew four-panel Di Gi Charat comics, that is. Considering this is a four-panel style comic, clean and simple works best. Backgrounds are nearly non-existent, leaving the characters to carry the load of telling the story. Considering this is Mook’s professional debut, his artwork is surprisingly confident. The art reproduction is fine, with the screentones looking quite good in the few instances where it’s used.

Sound effects are either translated next to the Japanese characters, or replaced with English. When the Japanese dialogue is written over the artwork, it’s rather inexpertly removed, leaving white spaces where it used to be. The English text is then written over the artwork, leaving a somewhat messy appearance. There were a couple of typos, but nothing glaring. Small gag strips run the bottom of most pages. The tiny text needed for them is still readable; however, on page 30, the text is missing, ruining the joke that began on the previous page and runs on for a couple more pages.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Koromo has just entered her first year of high school. She’s a cosplay fanatic, so when the school announces that they’re dropping the dress code to foster student individuality, she takes it as a sign from god that she can cosplay to her heart’s content. Fortunately for her, she’s got a friend in Haoru, a mostly quiet girl with glasses and a mousy appearance who loves to make clothes for Koromo. Haoru is as fanatical about Koromo’s cosplay as Koromo is herself. Surprisingly, despite her mousy appearance, she has quite the mature figure under those frumpy clothes. We only discover this once everyone goes to the beach for the summer. The class president is Mikoto, often called Miko Miko. She’s a beautiful young woman who works part time in her family’s shrine, meaning she wears a shrine maiden’s outfit quite a bit. Koromo views this as a challenge, and when people see Mikoto with Koromo, they assume she’s cosplaying as well, much to Mikoto’s displeasure. The relationship between these two is a lot of fun, for the way Koromo always seems to know which of Mikoto’s buttons to push, and the way Mikoto always descends to Koromo’s level. Nami is another classmate, a pleasant, pretty girl for whom all this plays out like a fun little play put on for her benefit. Rumi is a cute grade schooler who starts hanging around Koromo and friends, learning the secrets of cosplay. A late addition to the cast is Kameko, a girl who loves to photograph Koromo’s cosplay exploits. Outside of this little group is the school rebel, Ai, and her flunky, Rio. Ai is a bad girl, a yanki with her own sense of justice. Surprisingly, she is the power behind the school, keeping it clean and insuring order. She has a younger brother, Kouji, who falls in love with various members of Koromo’s group, even as they abuse him.

The story is told in four-panel fashion and follows them all the way through high school, and even into college and afterwards in the last chapter. Each chapter takes a single event, like sports day or New Year’s Day, and wrings every joke out of it. If that sounds like Azumanga Daioh, you’re getting the point. There isn’t any great story arc here other than watching Koromo and friends as they navigate through their high school days.

I found myself enjoying Cosplay Koromo-Chan a lot more than I thought I would. It looks at first glance like an Azumanga Daioh wannabe, but the characters are all quite unique and fun to follow. The relationship between the hyper-active Koromo and the sophisticated Kimoto is a lot of fun, providing most of the conflict for this story. The final chapter that let’s us see where they’ve gone with their lives is especially welcome, proving that the more things change, the more they stay the same. There’s even a fair amount of fanservice with Koromo wearing fishnet-stockinged bunny suits in the winter, and Haoru and Mikoto showing off their impressively endowed figures at the beach. If you like the slice of life style of Azumanga Daioh and the insanity of Di Gi Charat, you’ll enjoy Cosplay Koromo-Chan.

Mania Grade: B-
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: C+
Text/Translatin Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: ADV Manga
MSRP: 9.95
Pages: 196
ISBN: 1-58899-248-9
Size: A5
Orientation: Right to Left