Random Manga Theatre 11: Mizukami Satoshi Tanpenshuu

Hit the “Random” button and see what comes up! In this feature, we take a look at whatever manga the Random Number God decides to throw at us and find out if it’s worth your time.

This time: Mizukami Satoshi Tanpenshuu, by Mizukami Satoshi (Who else?)

Readers may know that this particular mangaka has also drawn what is pretty much my favorite manga and perhaps The Best Manga of all time: Lucifer and The Biscuit Hammer (which will be on this feature eventually), but I swear that this definitely came up from the random button and I did not just pick it out of desperation to find something to feature. No sir.

This one is a bit different from what we’re used to on this feature. “Tanpenshuu” means something along the lines of “collection of short stories”, or “anthology” I suppose, and that’s exactly what this manga is: a collection of self-contained vignettes, all pretty much unrelated to each other. And, true to form, they’re all pretty decent little shorts. If you’ve read Biscuit Hammer or any of Mizukami Satoshi’s other manga, you can definitely see some of the same influences and common themes that seem to run through his work, like ESPers, alcohol, and blunt weapons, to name a few, and you can see those threads even in this older stuff.

The artwork isn’t the greatest in the world, but it conveys emotion well – each short story manages to hook you and make you care about the characters even after only a couple pages, and tell a somewhat compelling story to boot. “Reading Time” is probably my favorite of the lot, about a guy who spends his train rides looking over the shoulder of the girl next to him, reading the same thing she is.

Verdict: Quick Diversion
If you’re looking for a long series to keep you occupied, this isn’t it, but stories don’t have to be long to be good. Each story is about the length of your average manga chapter, but unfortunately only around half of them have been translated in total. It’s not going to waste much of your time, so I recommend checking this out if you have a spare few minutes.

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