Random Manga Theatre 101: Straight Chaser

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

This time: Straight no Chaser, by Shinichi Ishizuka

straightchaster1

Man, it’s always a little bit validating to get something decent on this feature. I wade through so much crap that the occasional gem shines all the brighter, even if it otherwise wouldn’t be particularly exceptional. Such is the case with Straight no Chaser.

Long story short (except this is like a 40 page oneshot, so more like short story even shorter), Straight no Chaser is about a hapless pizza delivery boy named Shuuhei, who has no appreciable skills or goals in life. So I mean, like most contemporary anime protagonists nowadays, but a little more self aware. At least his blandness doesn’t cause the girls to flock to him; in fact, they act like what I would expect normal women to act like, in that they see Shuuhei for the loser that he is. Our little loser is laser focused on dating his high school crush – who wants nothing to do with him – and at her unintended prompting decides to take up a musical instrument to try and seduce her.

Straight no Chaser reminds me of Rock ‘n Roll Ricky in a lot of ways, as they have very similar tones (no music pun intended). Both are about a fairly washed-up guy finally trying to make something of himself, even if the reasons vary. It’s very refreshing to see Shuuhei pick up the trumpet and proceed to completely suck at it, and to watch his journey as he learns about jazz and comes to understand the freedom in doing something simply because you enjoy it, not because you’re trying to impress people. It’s a lesson that I still need to learn, myself.

straightchaser2

Verdict: Jazzy

I normally try to stay away from doing too many oneshots on this feature (except when I’m feeling particularly lazy, which is all the time), but I found this one emotional enough that I just had to highlight it. It’s a very short read, and I recommend it for anybody who feels like they need a little tug on their heartstrings. Thumbs up.

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