Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Moyasimon, vol. 1

By Masayuki Ishikawa
Published in the US by Del Rey

Slugline: Who knew that E. coli were so cute?

Tadayasu and Kei are childhood friends that grew up on farms and have decided to go to an agricultural college. Tadayasu has a mysterious talent to literally see microbes and identify them that the agricultural college can enhance. Since both of theirfamilies rely on fermentation in their agricultural products, Tadayasu's ability means that both could thrive. An old friend of Tadayasu's grandfather teaches at the college and has heard of Tadayasu's ability. The professor hopes to use it further his own research while some of the upperclassmen think that Tadayasu could be useful in their get rich quick schemes. Despite all of the confusing attention Tadayasu and Kei just want to get through and enjoy college.

The major problem with this manga is that is filled with major info-dumps making it read as something between a love letter to Japanese agriculture and a microbial science textbook. Despite that concern the info-dumps are handled well, reminding one of the technical asides that are found on CSI or Numb3rs. The manga can be really disgusting as it show faux food products that people are willing to eat once they have been fermented or pickled, but it isn't too gory. In spite of these concerns the manga was still enjoyable. The characters were fun, the manga managed to give microbes a sense of personality and none of the plots were overwhelming silly. I'm not sure over how manga episodes that this premise could be stretched, but here at least it works.

Moyasimon, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Ferdinand

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