Saturday, April 21, 2012

Anime Review No. 29, "S.S. Astro"

Yo, I’m the Eclectic Dude and I review it for the lolz.

Well, this is my first review of a manga and the last review for this season. I figure that since I review OVAs and other short series (for the most part), I’d do a review on a manga oneshot, that being titled “S.S. Astro”. The literal title is “Teach-Warship Astro”, though ASTRO is an anagram for Asahigo Sogo Teachers’ Room. 

Cover page with Izumi Maki (nice pose there) 
This manga oneshot, written by Negi Banno and released in 2007 (Japan) and 2008 (USA), deals with the lives of four teachers at Asahigo Sogo High school. It is essentially a school slice of life 4-koma series, much like Lucky Star and K-On!. I came across this title on Amazon for a cheap price.

Now, there are four main characters, all of them teachers at Asahigo Sogo High. First there’s Izumi Maki, a new PE teacher at the school which she went to herself years ago. She is dealing with the typical problems that came with being a new teacher. Second there’s Setsuna Arai, the Nursing Teacher (not an actual nurse as it turns out) who is a bit too enthused with her job of treating students (she gets dismayed when she doesn’t get to do that or when students come in feigning illness).  Third there’s Yuko Nagumo, the Japanese teacher who is rather a Yamamoto Nadeshiko (traditional, nice, genteel woman). Finally there’s Kaname Karasuma, the Foreign Language teacher who is Izumi’s advisor, willing to assist the new teacher as much as she can. She is also clearly a lesbian for Izumi, since a lot of their scenes involve Kaname nosebleeding/blushing a lot. Nice slice of yuri there eh? LOL. There are other characters, but they only show up in a few parts so not much to say on them.

Now, the positives are a few when it comes to SS Astro. Being a 4-koma, one would expect not much plot or character development (like Lucky Star or K-On!) due to the format. Quite to the contrary, there is a bit of plot and character development as individual 4-panel stories are rather linked by the main characters involved. Banno-san seems to have a good idea of how to write a 4-koma that is quick, snappy, and quite humorous at times as reading this did have me chuckling a lot. The author seems to have done his homework when it came to high school as this is a rather realistic look at Japanese High School. It is rather down-to-earth as it deals with real characters dealing with real problems, even if it’s a piece of fiction. That factor in of itself makes me relate to the characters more.  

Now, there is one downside: There is only one volume of this title. Granted, it is hinted at that there were plans for another volume but given how old this title is, I highly doubt it. Negi Banno only worked on this manga title, so not sure if he gave up or something else. I don’t know the details, but it is a somewhat of a shame as the first and only volume shows some promise. I recommend this, if only to take a look at it. It is short, sweet and to the point. It’s my favorite oneshot manga.  

Well, taking a break for the next 2 weeks. I will also go back to doing Sunday reviews starting May 6th
Laterz ^_^ 

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