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Densha Otoko Vol. 1

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Densha Otoko Vol. 1


On the internet there is a legend.

The legend of Densha Otoko- Japanese for "train man" - a tale of how an average anime otaku, whilst stopping a drunk on a train meets and, through the online help of the people of 4chan[ the No. 1 Japanese chatroom server] falls in love and dates "hermes - san", the [in his eyes] perfect girl and the heroine of this story.

Long the subject of discussion (with many questions as to wether "Densha" even existed) nonetheless the story of how even an Otaku (long considered in japanese culture the eqivelant of "billy no mates") can get the girl in the end has spawned a deluge of novels, radio plays, a live action TV series and even multiple manga series.

To date two manga adaptations have been released in the west - one by VIZ comics and another by manga newcomer CMX - the latter of which is the subject of this review.

This manga adaptation, written by Hitori Nakano with artwork by Wataru Watanabe, as with all the adaptations, has had to expand more on the story (remember that all we know about it is based on the original 4chan chatroom transcript), adding faces and back stories to the other anonymous chatroom users, giving some background to "Densha's" (his real name, along with Hermess', is never revealed) life, and generally interpreting the transcripts into an enjoyable read - they've even included the little cat-like characters common to Japanese chatrooms to represent the characters online persona's - why can't we have something like them on our forums?.

The story moves at a cracking and believable pace - with our hero muddling through the ins and outs of how to get the girl - and how to keep hold of her - and along the way finding the courage to grow and mature into something more than when he started...

Well, only so far - once an anime fan, always the anime fan! [Laughs]

Finally Wataru Watanabe's artwork, although rough looking, still conveys the script with comedy and compassion at the right times, helping to make this first volume an amusing and enjoyable read.

With this being the first volume of an ongoing series it still remains to see whether they can maintain the pace and entertainment in their following volumes, but I for one cant wait to find out.

A good start and an interesting interpretation of a popular legend - wether it can keep this pace up remains to be seen....
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