Saturday, December 9, 2017

REVIEW: Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto (manga, vol. 2) by Nami Sano, translated by Adrienne Beck

This is another post-vacation review.

Sakamoto tutors Yoshinobu (the bullied kid from volume 1) while deftly avoiding and finally defusing Yoshinobu's amorous mother. Then Sakamoto outwits a teacher bent on believing he's trouble, even managing to add the teacher to his list of admirers due to a kind act he performs. Then there are a few shorter episodes: dealing with a slug in cooking class, drawing a classmate in a way that manages to be both flattering and insulting, and saving a classmate during a fire drill (?). The volume ends with a group of delinquents pursuing Sakamoto and always just missing him. As they try to find him, they hear about his past mysterious exploits. Then there's an incident involving a delinquent trying to pick a fight with Sakamoto and ending up in a bizarre push fight against him.

I don't know why I requested this. I shouldn't have. I disliked the first volume, which I felt had too much an "uncanny valley" feeling to it to truly be funny. I mean, this series is supposed to be a comedy right? I'm not misunderstanding?

I had similar issues while reading this volume. I'm sorry, but Sakamoto makes my skin crawl, and I can't bring myself to laugh at the situations he deals with. I wonder if a different artist would change things. Technically, Sakamoto and the things he does aren't that different from the occasional humorous bits in Black Butler, where Sebastian accomplishes seemingly impossible feats in order to properly serve his master. I love that stuff in Black Butler, but it doesn't work for me at all here.

The first part of this volume was particularly awful. Yoshinobu's mother struck me as a pitiful woman, and I disliked that the volume seemed to be asking readers to laugh at her and her efforts to corner Sakamoto. Not only that, she was attempting to molest a teenage boy - not something I'd consider good comedy material.

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