I meant to post a review of this manga last August but never got around to it. The title translates to “Penguin girl”. This is the first volume in the second set for this series. So it’s actually the fourth volume from a story perspective. Since the first three titles covered the storyline that I had already watched in the anime version I just started from this one. It’s also interesting to note that stylistically the author has progressed massively, to the extent that compared to the first volume, this volume looks like it was written by a different person.
The story revolves around a 14 year old girl called “Nankyoku Sakura” (Sakura being her first name) that is the eldest daughter of a Zaibatsu family. Zaibatsu is the term used to refer to the pre-war conglomerates in Japan. In the post war period the intra group relations have become less tightly bound and they are now referred to as Keiretsu. Anyway, Sakura is basically an extreme Otaku who frequently gets overwhelmed by the cuteness or moeness of someone/something and ends up doing something outrageous. The whole thing is riddled with fanservice based gags.
The above is her “normal clothes.”
The rival Zaibatsu’s eldest daughter (Mari) is also in Sakura’s class. Sakura just wants to be her friend but previously Sakura also somewhat inadvertently bankrupted them so not only does Mari hate her, she also doesn’t have enough money to buy a school uniform so has to come wearing the school swimming apparel. The moeness of this sends Sakura into an uncontrollable frenzy:
Sakura and Etorofu go the their friend Nene’s shrine to help out. But Sakura makes herself a custom Miko outfit with appropriate mini-skirt, knee socks and gigantic ribbon. This is the type of modern reinvention of beautiful old culture that all countries should be aiming for!
Sakura is frequenly scolded by her younger sister (Kaede) for squandering her pocket money on figures of anime characters. Sakura tried to get a job doing a paper round so she can buy the figures out of her own money, but she gets caught when her sister gets up early for a school trip. After that she goes to work in a clothes shop (as usual dragging along Etorofu) but invariably gets caught up in various disasters.
But for all the scolding and constant giving out to her older sister for embarrassing the Zaibatsu, Kaede still comes looking for advice after a guy in her class asks her out. I found this quite moving, at least until Sakura screws it up by giving “advice” that is just direct quotes from the anime she watches.
As for the difficulty of this manga, it is certainly much tougher than Tsukiyo no Furomaaju. On a chapter per chapter basis there was probably three times as much vocabulary that I didn’t know. If one was just starting out trying to learn Japanese through reading manga, I would strongly suggest looking elsewhere for beginners material. There’s also the issue that alot of people learning Japanese aren’t so interested in “this kind of thing”!
Anyway I must say this left me thoroughly entertained. I’ve already gone through the second volume and have the third and fourth bought and ready. Will post up reviews when I get the time.