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No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular!, Vol. 1 (No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular!, 1) ペーパーバック – イラスト付き, 2013/10/29
- 出版社 : Yen Press; Illustrated版 (2013/10/29)
- 発売日 : 2013/10/29
- 言語 : 英語
- ペーパーバック : 144ページ
- ISBN-10 : 0316243167
- ISBN-13 : 978-0316243162
- 対象読者年齢 : 16歳歳以上
- 寸法 : 13.02 x 1.27 x 19.05 cm
- Amazon 売れ筋ランキング: - 343,506位洋書 (の売れ筋ランキングを見る洋書)
I had to learn how to read it back-to-front first, but once that cultural confusion was cleared, the pages turned themselves.
An extremely good depiction of being a teenager. The main character sits up all night googling "how to be popular" and worrying obsessively that people won't like her, to the point where it becomes self-fulfilling and she trudges through a lonely school life. True to many teens, she's naive and horrifyingly judgmental of everyone but herself. She takes social cues from the absolute worst possible junk culture, with no defense against heavily-sexualized mass media marketed towards teenagers. I found myself cringing a lot in part-recognition of what life was like during that awkward period, and the many social holes she digs for herself are horribly resonant. Yet her comedic misadventures are bathed in pathos, and you can't help but want her to be happy one day.
The fourth volume No Matter How I Look At It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular!, Vol. 4 in particular has a heart-breaking sequence in which our anti-heroine splits from a class outing she's been preparing for quite a while, and in one silent page she visits an arcade, then a bookshop, and then mingles anonymously with the Christmas shopping crowds. That one page captures "all dressed up and nowhere to go" perfectly.
I don't claim to "understand manga" on the back of this one series, but I can see what the fuss is about now, at least. I was expecting something partly exploitative or crassly sexualized, and got a genuinely funny, genuinely touching, genuinely intelligent story instead. Would that Western graphic novels learn from this sort of Japanese storytelling, we've lost our way in the thirty years I've been reading comics, that's for sure.
The manga is very good, love the cover's non-glossy feel (prevents fingerprints from showing); Tomoko's character in the manga is almost identical to the anime's except she's a bit more judgemental here. But this also adds to the realism: her envy and jealousy at her classmates is even more pronounced and really feels like that of a resentful teenager. Don't worry about the plot getting too serious - it's almost always played for laughs. I wholeheartedly recommend it.