Monday, March 16, 2009
*** (out of 5)
Looking for a new manga and lamenting the FLOOD tide of titles seemingly all based on some combination of high school girls and undead or demons I kept seeing this in the bokstore. Despite some reservations I decided to try reading the first volume and see if I liked it.
Akihabara@deep is a 196 page b&w manga from Anime Works. The story revolves around Shinji Kojima as a reformed hacker just finishing probation (for computer cracking) and visiting the Akibahara electric town district of Tokyo for the first time in years. Shinji is a complete nobody who represents one of the aspects of otaku's personalities, social awkwardness and shyness. Shijnji immediately gets swept up with a group of fellow otaku and they form the Akihabara@deep company. A@deep and Shinji get sucked into many adventures (told at a lightning quick pace) revolving around the world of otakus and computers.
The manga focuses on two aspects of the otaku world. Otaku culture itself and the region of Akihabara which otakus have adopted as their home. The clash between the big companies and the small operations which gave Akiba its reputation and start gets a lot of focus and this echoes the real world in which Akiba's small retailers have gotten pushed out by the big megastores.
I liked the characters although they start out as cardboard thin stereotypes. Later volumes should give them more depth and take them out of the cliche mold.
Akihabara@deep is recommended if you like stories focusing around modern times and the 'net/technology world. Some of it may come across as cliche but I like it enough to give it time to suceed.