Pop Culture Gadabout
Monday, September 27, 2010
      ( 9/27/2010 06:30:00 AM ) Bill S.  

“TOGETHER WE’LL AIM FOR THE ULTIMATE CURRY!” The second volume of Kenji Sonishi’s collected absurdo manga strip, Neko Ramen (Tokyopop), is subtitled “Curry Is Also Delicious” -- a comically inapt title since we know that would-be ramen chef Taisho’s attempts to master curry will prove just as inedible as his ramen noodle making.

“It appears Japanese people eat four times more curry than ramen!” the feline chef tells Tanaka, his most loyal customer, so naturally he wants to cash in on it. With his never-ending attempts at repackaging a product that only his hapless friend returns to eat, Taisha is the quintessential 21st century entrepreneur. In one memorable sequence, the cat tries to add “international” ramen to his menu: the German ramen is made by pouring beer into the bowl. “It’s all foamy!” Tanaka complains. “That’s what makes the German stuff so tasty!” Taisha explains.

Elsewhere, we’re provided a glimpse into the show biz life of Taisha’s father, a successful cat model; meet Tanaka’s dad, who improbably dreams of opening his own ramen shop; and get two engagingly moral-free reminiscences from Taisha’s checkered past. All agreeably silly, though not without the occasional head-scratcher “punchline” for those of us unacquainted with all the niceties of ramen and/or curry. As in the first volume, Sanishi alternates four-panel strips with longer “Short Comic Specials.” The first are laid out vertically, two to a page; the specials are presented like regular comics pages, with larger panels. I personally find the smaller strips more visually appealing, better suited to the artist’s simple cartooning style.

The key to the strips’ humor lies in the character of Taisha, who’s both blithely self-confident despite his kitchen incompetence and wilfully oblivious about his place in the animal kingdom. In this, he works as a parody of the traditional shonen theme of mastery, but let’s not take that too far. At heart, what we’ve got here is a genially surreal gag strip set in an establishment as familiar to its core readership as a family run deli would be to most New Yorkers -- minus the cat hair on the serving bowls, of course.

(First published on Blogcritics.)


# |

Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

On Sale Now!
Measure by Measure:

A Romantic Romp with the Fat and Fabulous
By Rebecca Fox & William Sherman

(Available through Amazon)

Measure by Measure Web Page

Ask for These Fine Cultural Blogs & Journals by Name!

aaronneathery.com News
Aaron Neathery

American Sideshow Blow-Off
Marc Hartzman

Arf Lovers
Craig Yoe

Sean T. Collins

Barbers Blog
Wilson Barbers

The Bastard Machine
Tim Goodman

The Beat
Heidi MacDonald

Kevin Church

Big Fat Blog
Paul McAleer

Big Mouth Types Again
Evan Dorkin

Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Blog This, Pal!
Gordon Dymowski

Rod Lott

Cartoon Brew
Amid Amidi & Jerry Beck

Cartoon Web Log!
Daryl Cagle

Clea's Cave
Juana Moore-Overmyer

Collected Editions

The Comics Curmudgeon
Josh Fruhlinger

The Comics Reporter
Tom Spurgeon

Christopher Butcher

Comics Waiting Room
Marc Mason

Comics Worth Reading
Johanna Draper Carlson

a dragon dancing with the Buddha
Ben Varkentine


Electromatic Radio
Matt Appleyard Aaron Neathery


Eye of the Goof
Mr. Bali Hai

Fred Sez
Fred Hembeck

Greenbriar Picture Shows
John McElwee

The Groovy Age of Horror
Curt Purcell

The Hooded Utilitarian
Noah Berlatsky

Hooray for Captain Spaulding
Daniel Frank

The Horn Section

The House Next Door
Matt Zoller Seitz

Howling Curmudgeons
Greg Morrow & Friends

The Hurting
Tim O'Neil

I Am A Child of Television
Brent McKee

I Am NOT the Beastmaster
Marc Singer

In Sequence
Teresa Ortega

Innocent Bystander
Gary Sassaman

Irresponsible Pictures

Jog - The Blog
Joe McCulloch

The Johnny Bacardi Show
David Allen Jones

Dirk Deppey

King's Chronicles
Paul Dini

Let's You And Him Fight
One of the Jones Boys

Mah Two Cents
Tony Collett


Michael's Movie Palace

Nat's TV
Nat Gertler

Ned Sonntag


News from ME
Mark Evanier

No Rock&Roll Fun
Simon B

Omega Channel
Matt Bradshaw

Pen-Elayne on the Web
Elayne Riggs

Peter David

Dorian White

Progressive Ruin
Mike Sterling

Punk Rock Graffiti
Cindy Johnson & Autumn Meredith

Revoltin' Developments
Ken Cuperus

Marc Bernardin

Matt Hinrichs

Self-Styled Siren

Spatula Forum
Nik Dirga

Tales from the Longbox
Chris Mosby


The Third Banana
Aaron Neathery & Friends

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.

Toner Mishap
B2 et al

Trusty Plinko Stick
Bill Doughty

TV Barn
Aaron Barnhart et al

Unqualified Offerings
Jim Henley

Various And Sundry
Augie De Blieck

Video WatchBlog
Tim Lucas

When Fangirls Attack
Kalinara & Ragnell

X-Ray Spex
Will Pfeifer

Yet Another Comics Blog
Dave Carter

A Brief Political Disclaimer:

If this blog does not discuss a specific political issue or event, it is not because this writer finds said event politically inconvenient to acknowledge - it's simply because he's scatterbrained and irresponsible.

My Token List of Poli-Blogs:

Roy Edroso


Jane Hamsher

James Wolcott

Lance Mannion

The Moderate Voice
Joe Gandelman


Amanda Marcotte & Friends

The Sideshow
Avedon Carol

Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo

Talking Points Memo
Joshua Micah Marshall

This Modern World
Tom Tomorrow

Welcome to Shakesville
Melissa McEwan & Friends

Blogcritics: news and reviews
Site Feed

Powered by Blogger

    follow me on Twitter