A workplace comedy for the otakus in all of us.
In a certain “electronic district” of Tokyo there exists a bookstore that caters to otaku by providing fuel for their passion. It is known as “Horse’s Bone,” a multistory complex filled to the brim with not only manga but magazines, books, and other artwork merchandise. At this store we follow a rag tag group of employees as they share their interests, conflicts, fetishes, and outright unique lives with one another. Presenting Denki-Gai no Honya-san:
Watch it because I know it’ll be great. Read my review of the manga it’s based on for moe details…
Title: Denki-Gai no Honya-san
Author/Illustrator: Mizu Asato
Publishing Years: 2011 – Present (40 chapters in 7 volumes at time of review)
The bookstore itself is based on real life examples found in Akihabara. The inner workings of such a place are disclosed realistically too, from setting up for a visiting author to staying up late shrink-wrapping special edition combo packages for the next day’s sales. Even the arrivals of excess books from events such as Comiket are willfully detailed, to the employees’ dismay…
All characters have an equal shine in the spotlight with no main character set, except for maybe Umio. Most feel at home working for Horse’s Bone. In some respect, there are different “levels of otaku” represented here. Let me explain, there’s Hio, a girl who innocently doesn’t know anything about anime culture until she is introduced to it via BL, Rotty, a zombie manga fan, Sommelier, the one that knows what manga to recommend no matter the genre, Sensei, a
struggling hopeful manga artist, and Tsumorin, a successful light novelist with a fan-base behind her.
There is a surprisingly good amount of relationship building; some characters eventually develop feelings with co-workers. There are even hints to implied long term origin stories in the narrative (there’s a flashback every now and then). And of course, conflicts will occur with all these connections being made. But this seriousness strikes a good balance with the comedy elements while still making character development.
Mizu has an amazing art style. The characters are well drawn in some of the cutest proportions seen to date. Yeah, sometimes they look a bit childish but at least there are
no large breasts minimal fanservice moments. A good number of the character’s eyes are drawn with a droopy look to them, not that they are lazy (maybe a bit tired from all the work they do).
I enjoyed this manga’s read since it gave me insight to a Japanese bookstore more than I expected. Add into this the character’s eccentricities of their otaku lives, and you got a well rounded manga that helps explain this culture in depth. The closest I can compare this to would be Servant x Service, with a bit of Genshiken and Comic Party mixed in. It’s a recommended read for those wanting to study otaku culture, while having a great laugh in the process. Enjoy reading/watching this!