Mania Grade: NA
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- Art Rating: N/A
- Packaging Rating: N/A
- Text/Translatin Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Released By: Go! Comi
- MSRP: 16.99
- Pages: 180
- ISBN: 978-1933617831
- Size: A5
- Orientation: Left to Right
- Series: Faust Anthology
Japan Ai Vol. #01 - A Tall Girl's Adventures in Japan
By Danielle Van Gorder
December 03, 2007
Release Date: November 21, 2007
Japan Ai Vol.#01 - A Tall Girl's Adventures in Japan
© Go! Comi
Writer/Artist:Aimee Major Steinberger
Adapted by:What They Say
Join Aimee Major Steinberger on the ultimate fangirl vacation in Japan! This rapid-fire adventure is full of everything fans dream of seeing: cosplay on the infamous Harajuku Street, fantasy restaurants, maid cafes, Tokyo's largest doll store, beautiful shrines, bookstores full of manga, outrageous all-female Takarazuka musicals, cherry festivals, hot springs, special ceremonies, and so much more!The Review
Japan Ai is a cute little book, a pictorial diary of sorts of one girl's trip to Japan and her adventures there. The entire thing is illustrated and hand written, making it feel like you're getting a peek into Aimee's personal diary-sketchbook, which in a way it really is. The topics range from lolita fashion to hand-drawn maps of Tokyo's otaku-focused shopping districts, with just about everything in between. Aimee's observations are quirky, amusing, and full of the sorts of detail that Japanophiles - especially female ones - should absolutely adore, including the differences between a geisha and a maiko, and exactly what Lolita shops look like inside.
The art is deceptively simple at times, especially the people, but the amount of detail that is packed in when required shows this to be a purely stylistic choice, and the amount of expression she is able to convey with such simple art is really impressive. The book is primarily black and white, but there are a large number of colored pages spread throughout the book.
The content, as mentioned, covers a wide range of topics, and gives almost as much insight into the author's mindset as it does into the topics themselves. Traditional Japanese subjects such as onsen and shrines are covered, both the traditional details (such as shrine maidens) and slightly less traditional details like the sorts of toilets you're likely to find. More otaku-focused elements such as where to shop in Tokyo and maid cafes are covered as well. The pages on themed cafes were probably one of my favorite parts of the books, as I was familiar with the standard maid/butler cafes, but not the more unusual types. There are anime and manga references sprinkled throughout the book that fans should get a kick out of, especially long-time anime fans.
Even readers familiar with Japanese customs and pop culture - or especially readers familiar with Japanese customs and pop culture - are likely to find something new here. Aimee's adventures, misadventures, missing luggage, and wry observations give even the familiar a new and delightful spin. Beyond that, there are some chapters that were entirely new to me, such as the one on the Takarazuka Revue.
Overall, I'd recommend this book highly, although it's definitely more focused towards female readers than male ones. Fans of Japanese culture, lolita fashion, Asian ball-jointed dolls, and general Japanese geekery should all be sure to check this out.