Sporadic Sequential
Friday, May 23, 2008
My New Favorite Manga That I Didn't Know Existed Until Today

Over at the Studio Cutie Bleargh, Susie Lee reacts to Dark Horse's big showing on MangaCast's discontinued manga list, teasing that one of the series on that list may be coming back soon. In the comments, I plead for that series to be Club 9. Susie's reply kind of crushes that hope ("I think Club 9 wasn't a huge seller because Kobayashi's art is so different from most popular manga") but she also mentions another Kobayashi work I'd never heard of before, Chichonmanchi.

Ah, the wonders of Google. Here's a description (with commentary) from a French blogger named Mahousu:
Chiya Minakami is a famous doctor who devoted her life to saving that of others. When she dies at age 92, she finds herself before the judge Enma, sort of the Saint Peter of Buddhism who, when informed of all the good deeds she had done during her existence on Earth, invites her to climb the stairs that lead to Paradise. But as soon as Chiya mounts the first step, an alarm sounds: she can't be accepted into Paradise because she's still a virgin! [Yeah, I heard Jeanne D'Arc ran into that too. Man, you never heard such a ruckus! And no, cynic, Mary had her own private entrance, so the matter never came up.] Too preoccupied with giving love, she never had the time to receive it... To expiate this sin, Judge Enma sends her to Chichon Manchi where, her body completely rejuvenated, she must lose her virginity to be able to go to Paradise. Chiya discovers soon enough that this hell of pleasure is peopled with very affectionate creatures which would resemble normal animals, if they were not gifted with [human] masculine sexual attributes...
[A bit like What's Michael? with penises taking the place of cats, hybridized with a profane rehash of Dante's Inferno (well, maybe Purgatorio). Yes, I agree, Kobayashi-san has been working too hard of late and needs a break. Still, you have to admit it is something unique. Kobayashi constantly comes up with new variants on the weird-world-full-of-phalluses theme in order to keep things amusing.
[Yes, astute observers will note that he tends to change Hell's rules as he goes along to suit his own purposes, but then of course exactly the same thing was true of Dante, and his version had a lot less sex. I will say, though, that this ranks as the least erotic work I have ever seen where essentially all the characters are completely naked all the time. Kobayashi seems to be channeling Renoir, or perhaps the prehistoric sculptor of the Venus of Willendorf, in the fleshiness of his figures, but their sheer goofiness is his alone.
[The Pika edition is decent, so to speak. The high price is based on the thickness of the volumes, nearly double the usual tankoubon length. Quite a contrast from the relatively thin What's Michael? volumes; in an afterword, the author says it's because "erotic" manga is just so much more fun to draw that he got carried away!
[Difficulty: varies from quite easy to moderate; it approaches Gon in its sparsity of dialogue at some points, while can be quite chatty at others. Recommended for those with a taste for the odd, but this is not one to be caught reading in public, at least outside of a Japanese subway.]
A sex comedy from the creator of What's Michael and Club 9? Sign me up!! Although as Susie points out, this isn't something one should expect to see picked up by a U.S. publisher anytime soon. (Although who knows? Perhaps we could convince Simon Jones to publish this. What do you say, Simon?) Heck, I can't even find scanlations of this series anywhere, and I thought every manga known to man had been scanlated. (This is another one of those times where I wish that I knew French so I could order a French version of the series.)

Anyway, while googling around, I found a bunch of images from the manga but I didn't want to post them directly on the blog. So I uploaded them to Flick so I'd have them all in one convenient location. Click here to see them all, but be warned that these are definitely NSFW!

(Images from multiple sites, but mainly here, here, here, and here. My apologies if I forgot to credit any site where I found them.)

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