Palepoli (Manga)


by Furuya Usumaru (scanlation by Hox)

Usually, whenever I see yonkoma whilst hoarding manga to read on various scanlation sites I take one good look at the preview image (which is almost always the cover) and go “meh” then scroll past. Call it discrimination but I can be really picky when it comes to art but I’m slowly coping. Slowly. Okay, so some yonkoma manga like The Wonderful World of Sazae-san and Hetalia I can take but some of the others give me antagonistic feelings. This wasn’t the case with Palepoli.

While other yonkoma are of the slice-of-life, nothing heavy kind, I’ll take the liberty to say that it’s on the other end of the spectrum – in fact, I’ve found it by using ‘mature’, ‘psychological’, and ‘seinen’ as search categories hence earning it more brownie points. Oh, and since I’ve already mentioned the rating, a little warning if you’re pretty young or still green-behind-the-ears and you want to read it.

Frankly speaking, there is really no plot to boast of – not even a semblance of a proper premise, like that of Azumanga Daioh – but instead littered all over the pages are parodies and, for lack of a better term, themes. If I were to make a guess about Furuya Usumaru’s work process, I’ll just compare it to how I some writers go about writing: find prompts, think of interesting ways to write out prompts, write. But how he does it in this weirdly great way with the amazing artistry to match is beyond me.

On some panels he’s making sly iconoclastic gags and insightful treatments of religious and Renaissance imagery (see picture above and here) while on others he makes some rather cheek-in-tongue takes on sexual deviancy (NSFW, second link extends to several pages),  and what probably counts as black humor. There’s just enough material here that will make you do an occasional double-take and you’ll just find that Furuya doesn’t hold back in taking taboo and running away with it.  My favorites, though, are the more lighthearted strips including gags about Garbage Day and the kid named Takashi. The Fiend of Rejection, involving the mangaka himself, is also a good one.

There are no sob stories, nothing remotely romantic, nothing that is really action-y and hardly any life-changing experiences to be had here and some of the strip topics may be questionable and the references obscure but Palepoli is an entertaining read. It just is. Give it a try, who knows? Maybe you’ll love it as much as I do.


Hello, this is my first post in months and I do not understand how formatting works. In case you’re wondering about what manga I usually read, I’m currently reading One PieceLiar GameMPD Psycho, Rookies, Initial D and the shojo manga I’ve subscribed to using Google Reader. I try to be a hipster sometimes and look for obscure series. I know squat about current manga and anime besides what I see on Tumblr.

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