Betty and Veronica learn about Kumi’s world! I’m guessing Kumi’s world is like our world, but with exciting differences! She probably eats raw fish and uses sticks instead of a fork! I bet she drives on the left side of the road instead of the right! Her government is probably a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government instead of a Constitution-based federal republic!
Hijinks, you are free to ensue!
Okay, I’m done bashing Archie Comics (The Comics Curmudgeon does it better anyway). It’s probably terrifying to realize you’re losing a generation of readers to manga so you publish a Culture Shock! issue to show that you like Japanese culture too. Yatta!
Now we don’t have Archie Comics in the system (EDIT: Mimi informs me that we do have Archie in the system — my apologies to the AJGLU 3000), but we do have many materials if you’d like to learn more about Japan.
Pop Japan Travel: Essential Otaku Guide is a manga tour of Tokyo based on pop culture tours run by Pop Japan Travel. More manga than tour guide, this book still highlights real world locations visitors would want to see.
Japan Ai: A Tall Girl’s Adventures In Japan isn’t manga, but it is a nonfiction graphic novel/illustrated travel journal by Aimee Major Steinberger. Aimee is a 6-foot-tall otaku, and Japan Ai documents her visit to Japan.
I’ve already talked about Maid Machinegun. Check it out people.
Finally, learning about Japanese culture will probably have you wanting to learn Japanese. You should get My Japanese Coach for the DS. Yeah, we can’t help you with that, but we do have Kana de Manga, a manga language series which teaches the Kana script. And yes, we do have Kanji de Manga on order, but it hasn’t come in yet.
It’s published by Del Rey Manga, but Maid Machinegun is a novel not a manga title — although it does have illustrations by Suzuhito Yasuda. And even though it’s a novel, it explains how maid cafes work and takes the reader through the streets of Akihabara to Comiket — so it’s kind of nonfiction-y, except for the end which is surreal.
Anyway, Aaliyah is a clumsy maid in a small maid cafe in Akihabara. Her goal is to become the best maid she can be, but she’s a little insecure and her clumsiness has more to do with her than her character. She’s eager and she has big plans for her cafe — except the new-hire Kiriya-san keeps annoying her.
Maid Machinegun is meta. It’s a combination of Aaliyah’s diary and message board postings where we follow her misadventures combined with chunks of non-fiction like how to behave at a Maid Cafe (no cameras!), a real interview with a maid from Cafe Mai:lish, and a glossary in the back. Aaliyah is awesome and I always love coming away from a novel with the feeling that I’ve learned something — even if it’s about the variations of moe.
Put a hold on Maid Machinegun here.