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Moyashimon, Volume 1 by Ishikawa Masayuki

Moyashimon, Volume 1

by Ishikawa Masayuki

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Cute, although I don't know how much it would appeal to people who aren't already interested in fermentation. But thankfully I am ;). ( )
  JonathanGorman | Feb 2, 2013 |
Tadayasu Sôemon Sawaki has just entered into an agricultural university. He can see microscopic creatures such as bacteria and fungi. First he met an oddball professor at the site of an underground fermentation project. Next, he crushed the ambitions of athlete's foot fungi hoping to establish an empire on his scary sempai's feet. He then discovered hiochi bacteria in the sake being bootlegged by some fat and bearded schoolmates. His offer to help Beardo and Fatso raise money with caterpillar fungus was met with enthusiasim. And that was just the first day, according to this summary of Moyasimon's plot taken from the beginning of chapter six.

Tadayasu can see bacteria with the naked eye, but to him they appear as little cartoon characters, which he can grab out of the air with his fingertips. Tadayasu rarely knows the scientific name of what he sees, but at a glance he can identify the difference between yogurt made in Japan and Europe because of the 'topknots' worn by Japanese yogurt culture. This makes him a highly valuable assistant to Professor Itsuki and his classmates...it seems like everyone's trying to take advantage of his weird little talent. Unfortunately, Tadayasu never seemed to develop much of a personality.

The scientific explanations of the bacteria and the needs of the story itself could have been blended more evenly. There's a lot of info-dropping regarding fermentation, bacteria strains, and general agriculture. It's interesting, but it's also a lot to take in. The characters aren't developed very much, so sometimes I would start glazing over a little during long-winded speeches about decomposition.

Ishikawa uses fewer screentones in his panels than many manga artists. Instead he relies on hatching and other manual shading techniques, giving his art a loser, sketchier quality. Character design varies greatly, too. main characters Tadayasu and Kei have the stereotypical big eyes and heart-shaped face popular in the genre. Other people, like Professor Itsuki, are even more cartoonish, drawn with thicker lines and simplified features.

If you're looking for something a little different, Moyasimon is one weird little manga. I learned a lot about fermented foods and the world's bacteria, two topics I would probably never research on my own volition, and was entertained in the process. ( )
  makaiju | Apr 10, 2011 |
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Ishikawa sometimes errs on the side of too much info, resulting in pages and pages filled with text, and not so much in the way of plot or character development in the macroscopic human world. Nonetheless, it’s an imaginative mixture of the cute, the gross and the educational.
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So you're saying that alcohol is basically just yeast poop.
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Bacteria to school. Tadayasu is a new, fresh-faced university student hiding a bizarre secret: He can see germs with the naked eye. Between the machinations of an eccentric professor determined to unlock the power of the microbial world and the doomed agricultural experiments of his fellow students, will Tadayasu ever find the cool college atmosphere he so desires?… (more)

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