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All-Purpose Chemistry Club, Vol. 2

Welcome the latest midweek manga review! This week I’ll be looking at All-Purpose Chemistry Club, Vol. 2 from DMP, but first up a few news items.

And now onto this weeks review of All-Purpose Chemistry Club, Vol. 2!

All-Purpose Chemistry Club, Vol. 2All-Purpose Chemistry Club, Vol. 2
by Sho Hidaka
DMP/Emanga.com, 212 pp
Rating: Teen (13 +)

The wild hijinks of Ipponsugi and friends continues in Sho Hidaka’s All-Purpose Chemistry Club, Vol. 2! More obstacles are thrown into Ipponsugi’s road to romance with his fellow classmate, Momiji as a rival club emerges to challenge the All Purpose Chemistry Club’s right to exist! If that wasn’t enough, camping trips gone horribly wrong, a mysterious and magical Christmas tree and more all provide plenty of challenges for Ipponsugi and the club to overcome.

Much like the first volume this one consists of several short stories full of insane and off the wall comedy. The humor ranges the gamut from slapstick, visual gags, word play puns and everything in between. It all comes out in a rapid fire style that makes it feel like Sho Hidaka created it by throwing everything he’s got at the wall and hoping that something would stick. Surprisingly, or perhaps because of his “everything and the kitchen sink” style there are definitely some moments that work, where the humor’s on target or simply so bizarre that it got a chuckle from me. A few visual gags pop up repeatedly, such as the ever shrinking panels, characters becoming stick figures as they flee into the distance, or dramatic exaggerated perspective on thumbs up gestures. The characters really don’t matter and if possible they even less personality here than they did in the first volume. They’re simply vehicles for Sho Hidaka’s never ending bag of gags and comedy routines. Page from All-Purpose Chemistry Club, Vol. 2

If you didn’t like the first volume’s visuals than you probably won’t be thrilled with this volume. It looks almost exactly the same with each page being a clutter of bleeding panels, toning, speed lines, dialogue boxes, fourth wall breaking editorial comments and more. On several occasions I found myself searching the page to try and figure out what the exact panel order was supposed to be. Things aren’t helped by the fact that several of the characters look a lot alike and lack a distinct personality, meaning that everyone outside of “Boss” kind of blurs together in the reading. “Boss” really stands out thanks to his large black hood, something unique to him in the series, making it almost impossible to mistake him for anyone else.

All-Purpose Chemistry Club, Vol. 2 delivers more of the same, so if you were turned off by the first volume don’t come into this one expecting to have your mind changed. It’s lack of a central narrative, strong characters makes for a light and forgettable read, while Sho Hidaka’s all or nothing approach to the humor means that there’s bound to be a gag or joke for almost anyone. I’d be curious to see what he’s capable of producing if he’s reined in a bit.

All Purpose Chemistry Club, Vol. 1 is available now from Digital Manga Publishing and Emanga.com. Digital review copy provided by the publisher.

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