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Kotoura-San, Vol. 1

Kotoura-San, Vol. 1Kotoura-San, Vol. 1
By Enokids
DMP/Emanga, 146 pp
Rating: Teens (13 +)

Japanese comedy series tend to be rather hit or miss with me. There’s just something about the type of humor that makes its way into them that falls flat on its face for me. Kotoura-San, Vol. 1 by Enokids isn’t that different, but at least it’s not offensively bad like certain strains of Japanese humor that often turn up in manga and anime. Originally published on a website, Koutura-San tells the story a young psychic girl who tends to keep to herself due to her mind reading powers, and how her life changes when she transfers to a new school and finds herself caught up in their small ESP club.

There’s really not much to say about Koutura-San because not much happens in it. The lead, Koutura, is a tiny girl with psychic powers who’s kept to herself throughout most of her life. Her powers have generally caused her problems and driven away nearly everyone who’s ever been close to her. So naturally after transferring into a new school her world slowly begins to open up as she acquires friends and develops a relationship, much to her surprise and pleasure. The characters all tend to be a bit goofy, even when they’re given a tragic backstory, and each one tends to have some unique trait which serves to set them apart from the others. Koutura’s the psychic, Manabe’s a good hearted perv, Mifune’s the club leader, etc. The problem with Koutura-San is that it’s just so… passive and easy going. There’s virtually no tension or conflict present in the book, and even when there is it has all the intensity of a warm bath. It comes off as a cute little 4-koma strip situational comedy, full of the typical misunderstandings and social awkwardness you’d expect to inhabit a teenage school comedy series. While there is a bit of pervy humor to it I was glad to see that Enokids avoided the temptation of making it too puerile or smutty. Page from Kotoura-San, Vol. 1

Enokids artwork is incredibly simply and plain, which reinforces the warm, cozy feeling the book exudes. It’s very stripped down and minimalist, even for a manga. The backgrounds are basic and simple, most of the story is depicted in a very straightforward manner, consisting of talking heads or shots of the cast from the waist up. The character designs are simplistic and their emotions are clearly conveyed through the surprisingly expressive faces and eyes. The repetitive nature of the 4 panel column is only occasionally broken up by a side story or chapter break, but even then Enokids seems to favor a fairly simple panel layout.

Koutura-San, Vol. 1 feels like something you’d keep by your bed for when you’re feeling upset or down in the dumps. It’s so plain and simple, so warm and low energy that it felt like comfort food in manga form. It’s like turning to reruns of an old sitcom at night, it’s not something that’s going to challenge you or present you with material that will make you think or feel too strongly one way or another. As a result it has an odd charm too it and reading Koutura-San is not unlike being wrapped up in a warm blanket. It’s comfortable, safe, and at times may cause you to doze off.

Kotoura-San, Vol. 1 is available now from Digital Manga Publishing and Emanga.com. Digital review copy provided by the publisher.

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