Tuesday, 25 January 2011


4koma comics are a personal highlight for me. Simple and straightforward 4-panel strips which are basically laid out as:

1 - The scene
2 - The twist
3 - Development
4 - Result

4koma these days are generally susceptable to being moe-driven comedy manga and released in thinner volumes than your standard manga. I'll probably want to check a few different 4koma series out, but Ichiroh! is a pretty good place to start as it fills a lot of this criteria and makes them work well to its needs.

The title refers to the main characters' position of having failed their college entrance exams, and having to take a year out as ronin to study and re-enter the following year, which is a basic enough premise for a bunch of girls to hang out and do stuff. The archtypes of characters are fairly typical for harem-type humour (the stalker, the penny-pincher, the gamer etc.), but without the series-killing need of a male lead to drag the all-female cast around.

It's not a world changer, but as it doesn't try to be there's no reason to expect that from it. It's stupid fun and maintains its sense of humour as the volumes go on. For me Ichiroh is the yardstick to whch other modern 4koma should be compared. Many such titles tread the same ground, but this one has just the right mix of irony, idiots, sarcasm and proper character-based humour that stand in defiance of the usual stilted archetypes. I recommend. :-)

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