Comic Picks By The Glick

Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-san vol. 1

September 23, 2019

As far as titles go, this is probably the most straightforward one you’ll see this year.  It’s about Honda-san. She’s a bookseller. She’s got a human skull for a face. That’s not as strange as it sounds when you consider that her co-workers have paper bags, gas masks, and knight helmets for faces themselves.  It’s a bit of artistic license on the part of mangaka Honda (this is autobiographical, I think) to add some character to this story of what it’s like to work in the manga section of a Japanese bookstore. There, you get to see Honda-san deal with randos asking for recommendations, fangirls looking for Boy’s Love comics, and all kinds of foreigners looking for all kinds of things (but mostly BL).

 

I’d heard good things about this and the anime adaptation of it which ran earlier this year.  Mostly along the lines that Honda-san’s many tribulations will ring true to anyone who has had to work in retail.  Reading this first volume, I have no problem believing that everything which happens here actually happened to its protagonist in real life.  Most of it is kind of cute and got me to smile on a regular basis.

 

No laughter, though.  That’s because while “Honda-san” may be true-to-life, it has the overall feeling of a friend who begins a conversation with, “*Ooof* Now let me tell you about my day…”  It’s basically a bunch of anecdotes about a fairly niche job that are just amusing and nothing more. I guess I was hoping for more of a workplace comedy vibe to this series than what I wound up getting.  This first volume is diverting enough, yet it also leaves me feeling that I’ve seen everything this series has to offer already.

 

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