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Despair Boy and China Girl

Four-panel manga will forever have an intimate place in my heart, and those unwavering radar waves continue to pick up where the beam of light has brought the love of such brilliant creation to. I apologise (somewhat) for the unapologetically (?) repetitive showers of what seems like a dangerously borderline cross between secretly personal merit and purely sharing of a favourite genre. Well, I suppose that such is still considered digestive and largely acceptable (I hope) despite the cycle. Anyway, back to the subject on four-panel manga. The recent stopovers at Books Kinokuniya have been quite resembling of a roller-coaster ride though a part of me has attributed such drastic drama to my own little procrastination. Nonetheless, the therapeutic aspects of merely being surrounded by titles that could jolly well make their way to the checkout counter at the next millisecond outweigh everything else. One such book is 'Despair Boy and China Girl' by Rio.

Okay, while I don't think that this would amount to a confession or anything that sounds like one, the bottom line of selecting a manga which might happily find a spot on one's shelves differs with each eye-catching moment. Never mind the seemingly complicated explanation that could potentially beat around the bush. Just follow the gut feeling, like I did for this book. The striking title was what drawn me to its existence. Then, the fascination splits into several other considering elements which could easily self-annihilate as some become more crucial. The title was frankly self-sufficient. I knew instantaneously that it would be an awesome read for me. The implied notions flowed naturally. I was sold. The idea of a relationship built on cross-cultural foundations never gets old, yet how it blossoms across the pages is pivotal as the probability of success is dependent on that. The obi states that the web comic has received more than 1.8 million views on pixiv. Pure awesomeness.

The manga opens with a morbid, reflective self-introduction by the protagonist Neko Tarou, who is a hikikomori (please wiki this if anybody is unsure) contented with the way he is, despite the negative vibes and a serious communication barrier. Surprisingly though, the communication barrier only applies to verbal expressions. Tarou's eloquence runs far and deep once he connects with his gadgets. A trivial matter like buying dinner from the convenience store proves mind-boggling for Tarou as he even finds responding to a question of having his bento reheated or not out of his wavelength. However, all of that would change with an incident that brings a girl into his life.

Meet Ron Ron, a Chinese girl whose innocent charm shoots several arrows into Tarou's heart. Her childlike wonder radiates through her interactions with Tarou, often sending shivers and deep shades of red down the latter. The depiction of Ron Ron's speech patterns is characterised by the inclusion of katakana at the end of every sentence. Tarou becomes more 'outgoing' in the presence of Ron Ron, which forms a substantial catalyst for comic relief especially during situations where he unexpectedly has to jump out of his comfort zone. Both quickly become closer yet Tarou isn't certain if they are actually dating since nothing explicit has been mentioned. Nonetheless, his awkwardness seems to work in his favour as their relationship progresses.

'Despair Boy and China Girl' has its first tankoubon out as of now, and what I find pleasurable apart from the episodes is the ease of reading. The layout is slightly more spread out for a four-panel, and the print is catchy with its blend of fonts and such. Each chapter consists of about fifteen strips detailing a single event or so. Initially, I was a little confused as it seems awfully apparent that Tarou and Ron Ron have been donning the same clothing across several episodes. Well, that is just a minor thing which shouldn't be a bother. I'm so lapping up this cute, amazing series by Rio! Highly recommended.

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep

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2 comments to ''Despair Boy and China Girl"

  1. Oh my gosh! I've seen this manga in Zing two months ago and forgot to subscribe. Thanks for sharing! And yeah, it is a good read :)