Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Release Date: November 2009
Synopsis: “Nanako has been pouring all her effort into her exam prep class, however she still isn’t meeting her high expectations. But never say die! With the help of her friends, Nanako struggles through procrastination and distraction, determined to reach her goal. Unfortunately, that goal comes with a hefty price tag, and as the cost of study guides, enrollment, and dorm fees climbs, the penny-pinching Nanako jumps on the chance to make some extra cash with a part-time job… at a maid café?! Now with even more work on her plate, will Nanako ever be able to pull up her grades and make it into the college of her dreams?”
The penny pinching Nanako is still at it, out to get the best deal on everything without realizing she’s shorting herself on life’s little pleasures. Best friend and roommate, Akane is still on hand but the madly in love (with Nanako) Shino is too busy with college life to hang around as much as she used to. Like in all cute, fluffy and girly manga, crazy hijinks ensue on this adventure through life as the all discover more about themselves and each other.
It appears that Nanako doesn’t suffer from love-at-first-sight disease, since she’s managed to meet three or four new characters without them falling head over heels for her. Thankfully along with not suffering from one of the worst main character diseases known to manga, her obliviousness is also wearing off. That’s right – Nanako is not only able to function as a normal human being with other characters who aren’t secretly trying to get her naked, she’s also becoming (partially) aware of the not-so-innocent antics of her good friend Shino. Fantastic! You can do it, Nanako – shake off those perverts!
Ichiroh! feels like it’s supposed to be a quirky harem manga but the reactions from the other characters are more awkward than lustful, or maybe they’re just awkwardly lustful. The novelty of hiding in the bushes to get that picture up her skirt is wearing off as their lives become busier with school, friends, and part time jobs. With so much going on the Nanako-ogling has become out of place and somewhat annoying. Akane’s poking fun at Shino by bragging about living with precious Nanako is still very amusing though. I’m starting to think I may just dislike Shino.
I find the story in this series is limited by its 4-koma style. Due to the short four-panel gag strip layout, it’s best read in the bathroom or while waiting for the bus. 4-koma rarely make for good marathon reads since the strips are mostly stand-alone with few call-backs to previous events and this series is no exception. The characters are begging to bust out of their four sided confines and really let the world know who they are, but we can’t forget that this story is about Nanako and not all the far more interesting people who hang around her.
Each chapter contains a specific event as well as the repercussions of that event, keeping them all self contained stories and adding to the quick-read charm of Ichiroh!. It’s very well organized and you can tell artist/writer Mikage spent some serious time planning each chapter out so they don’t get convoluted into a messy pile of nonsensical craziness.
I’m very appreciative of the full colour pages at the beginning of this issue, and the extensive translation notes that are always, present on the last page. I personally love that Yen Press knows I don’t live in Japan and takes the time to explain to me some of the cultural references and Japanese words used throughout the series. This issue was just as entertaining as the first and I’m looking forward to learning more about Nanako and the world she lives in.