Random Manga Theatre 36: Electric Town’s Bookstore

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: Denki-Gai no Honya-san, by Mizu Asato

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Slice of life in a manga shop.

Verdict: …
Wait, you want me to actually write about it? Fine, fine.

The pithy statement above is fully accurate: we follow (relative) main character Umio, a fresh recruit at a manga shop (with the unfortunate name “Horse’s Bone”… yeah…) in the heart of Tokyo’s Akihabara distract, also known as Electric Town. The store is run by a bunch of weirdos all with their own anime quirks. For example, there’s the girl who’s an aspiring mangaka herself, the girl who carries a camera around and takes pictures of everything remotely interesting, and the big, silent guy who happens to have an encyclopedic knowledge of manga.

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This might sound like a harem setup, and while it seems to be leaning that way for the first couple of chapters, it soon veers away from that angle. Most of the girls get subtly (subtly for an anime, anyway, which means not subtly at all) paired up with one of the male employees, and the series focuses itself on slice of life with a romantic undercurrent. Since Horse’s Bone is a manga shop, they have to deal with the craziest of the craziest fans. That means working overtime to prepare for big midnight releases, scouting out rival bookstores, and dealing with the boxes upon boxes of leftovers from Comiket.

Most of the jokes come from lampooning otaku culture and anime cliches, like an entire chapter focusing on how spring is the prime season for panty shots and trying to teach the mangaka employee how to properly draw panties. The humor is… passable, I guess? I didn’t find it that funny, but by the same token I don’t really find most comedy funny. Much of the time, actual jokes take a backseat to the character interaction, which is pretty decent.

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Actual Verdict This Time I Promise: Enjoyably Light-Hearted
This manga probably isn’t something I would actively recommend to people, but I found it enjoyable enough to keep reading it. The writing, while still following the tiresome traditions of anime romance, is miles beyond most shitty harem and romance anime/manga, and the art is fitting to the subject matter. I’m not the biggest slice of life fan, but Denki-Gai no Honya-san is mostly inoffensive. Check it out if it sounds like your kind of thing.

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