Some of the funniest humor in life is the nonsensical. To take a serious moment and reduce it into a ridiculous situation can calm the soul and help add a little perspective on life. That is what City by Keiichi Arawi is all about. The characters may be in debt, or seriously lack a social life, but they can still find joy in extreme silliness.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Niikura wakes up to find Nagumo and Wako camping out in her apartment, and the lure of buried treasure brings out everyone’s competitive side. The Adatara family has a boisterous breakfast routine that Mom handles like an orchestra conductor. Tanabe is on a mission to reward the Man Who Is Too Nice. Ecchan and Matsuri invent their own two-person club, and the City South Eleven vow to protect their MVP. And so the days roll by in the City…
Why does this matter?
This is a light read with vignette-style stories following a select few characters. Every few chapters you get a different character who must accomplish something either made up by themselves or something in the world directly affecting them. It’s an easy read to just pick up and get a few chuckles from.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This volume opens with two longer stories taking up about half the volume. The first involves a race to get treasure after finding a treasure map and the second involves persons of interest posted at the police department. These stories always mix up the physical comedy with the absurd, giving the characters plenty to react to in big ways even though they live relatively basic lives. This manga is very good at reminding you that life doesn’t have to be riddled with incredible events to be spectacular.
If you’ve ever had a dramatic friend, or if you are a dramatic person, you’ll relate to the big ways characters react here. Drama is everywhere and City is very good at reminding readers that life doesn’t have to be boring. Take one vignette in this volume for instance, where a character orders omelette rice but asks the chef to hold the omelette. He flips out in dramatic fashion and the character who ordered is triumphant. It’s silly, but their reactions are so over the top that it forces you to laugh.
Other great moments include a scene with Nagumo, who finds money on the ground. The devil on her shoulder shows up to convince her to take it. Then another devil. And another. It gets to the point where Nagumo is offended that she has no angel to speak for her. Eventually there’s a twist that ends the short nicely. In another, there’s a tantrum contest. You can imagine how that goes.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Not every story is a winner. For example, there’s the story about two school kids who want to play god. It has a twist that is silly, but it never quite gets so out of hand that it’s funny. The opening treasure map story is a little long too, and the payoff isn’t quite there considering how much setup there is.
Is it good?
If you enjoy the absurd or like being reminded that life can be entertaining even when it seems boring, this is the manga for you. It continues to be the easiest pick-up-and-read comedy I’ve ever encountered.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!