I, Otaku Vol. #02 - Mania.com

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: D

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  • Art Rating: D
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Seven Seas Entertainment
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 978-1-933164-91-5
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Faust Anthology

I, Otaku Vol. #02

By Greg Hackmann     September 25, 2008
Release Date: May 27, 2008

I, Otaku Vol.#02
© Seven Seas Entertainment

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist: Jiro Suzuki
Translated by: Nan Rymer
Adapted by: Ed Chavez

What They Say
Will Sota's girlfriend be able to save him from the clutches of Mano Takuro, the owner of the legendary collectibles shop, Otakudo Headquarters? Mano has been training Sota to become a true-blue, two-dimension-only-loving otaku!

The Review
Volume 2 of I, Otaku has the dubious honor of being the worst-written comedies I've read in a long time.  With Suzuki's mixture of a hackneyed script, unlikeable characters, and ugly artwork, she seems to be riding mainly on otaku chic -- just shove the words "yaoi" and "moé" a few times into the script, and the heck with quality!

A big part of the problem has to do with there being a whopping 8 chapters plus a side-story packed into 170 pages of manga.  There's simply not enough space for proper comedic build-up and payoff; here the kooky premises are the jokes, full stop, and the "humor" mostly involves senselessly beating the reader over the head with the same running gags.  Each chapter is essentially "themed" around a single unfortunate situation that the closet-otaku protagonist Sota finds himself trapped in, frequently with his otaku friends/coworkers or his non-otaku girlfriend in tow.

The premises that Suzuki draws these from the darkest circle of fandom, ranging from "Sota visits a maid cafe" to "a lesbian classmate tries to seduce Sota's girlfriend", aren't that funny to begin with.  Then, what little comedic value these jokes have quickly vanishes when Suzuki repeats them over ... and over ... and over.  The fact that one of the recurring characters is a yaoi magazine editor whose name translates as "quite a bit into homos" (Seven Seas's translation, not mine) should give you an idea of the level of comedic sophistication we're talking here.  It's lower than low-brow and painfully unfunny as a whole; I got just a single decent chuckle out of the entire volume.

I have a really hard time finding much appeal in this release, even for readers starved for an otaku-flavored comedy.


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