Between “Delicious in Dungeon,” “Kaguya-sama,” “Silver Spoon,” and now this, just about all of the manga I’ve been reading in scanlated form have now received proper English releases. (I’ll keep holding out hope for “Dagashi Kashi,” but if it hasn’t been picked up following the two anime series that it’s received…) “Tomo-chan” is the least of them because it’s a romantic comedy with a fairly conventional hook. You see, Tomo Aizawa is such a tomboy that her best friend Jun didn’t realize it until they started going to middle school and he finally saw her in a girl’s uniform. Then when she confessed to him at the start of high school his response was, “I love you too, bro.” While Tomo really wants to take her relationship with Jun to the next level, her lack of anything resembling femininity or even a basic understanding of romance is a major stumbling block. What’s an adorable tomboy to do?
If you think that the answers to Tomo’s problems will play out in a series of wacky coincidences, misunderstandings, and (bone-crunching) slapstick common to the genre, then you’re not wrong. Fortunately the cast is charming enough to overcome the inherent predictability of the situations they find themselves in. From Tomo’s abundant energy, to Jun’s well-meaning cluelessness, we also have their mutual friend/fiend Misaki’s no-nonsense sarcasm balanced by her steadfast friendship, and the adorable guilelessness of Carol (or “Blonde Osaka” as I like to call her). Even the bit characters like average high school loudmouth Tanabe and the two girls who make the mistake of picking on Tomo have some appeal to them, and that really goes a long way to holding your attention with each storyline. It’s also worth mentioning that “Tomo-chan” is a 4-panel comic that was serialized on a daily basis (with breaks between arcs) on Twitter, so each page is a self-contained story beat in and of itself. Though it may not be up to the comic heights of similar series like “Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun,” this series is still diverting fun for what it is.