Friday, January 30, 2004


Today I'll describe another manga that I haven't read: Chikuro Youchien: Zenbu (Chikuro Kindergarten: Complete) by Saibara Rieko. Is this the Japanese Nancy? It's a four-panel gag strip starring a young girl known as Rie-chan who looks somewhat like Nancy: in fact, a drawing on p. 396 of Rie-chan drawn Bushmiller-style makes it clear that Saibara has seen Nancy. Saibara's art, like Bushmiller's, is simple, though Saibara's art is better. And the humor in Chikoru Kindergarten, like that in Nancy, has an elemental quality to it. But Nancy never drew on a fence with a turd partially extruded from her butt, as does Rie-chan; nor did she ever flush her friend's baby brother down the toilet, or try to cook him alive. (Not that these kinds of strip are in the majority, though they're not rare either.) More fundamentally, unlike Nancy, Rie-chan appears to be a realistically portrayed girl rather than just a vehicle for gags: some of the strips don't even seem to have "gags." Since her full given name, Rieko, is the same as the artists', the strip may be partly autobiographical. At any rate, Chikuro Kindergarten definitely calls for investigation: after I've read it I'll report on my findings. (It may be a while, though.)

Facts: it's 474 pages long, priced at 933 yen, published by Shogakukan, and the ISBN is 4-09-152851. There's a list of manga by Saibara, and a brief description of one of them, here.

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