Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture, Vol. 1

Curl up with a good book!
by Masayuki Ishikawa | Graphic Novels |
ISBN: 9780345514721 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 3/16/2019
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, March 16, 2019
I got this softcover at a Savers thrift shop, for another release copy.

I first heard of this book via the Unshelved authors' June book reviews. It's a manga about a university student who has the ability to see microbes with his naked eyes - a skill that might seem a bit squicky (would you really like to be able to see what's crawling on the surfaces of everything you touch, wear, eat...?) but which might parlay itself into some interesting advantages...

There's definitely an offbeat story here, but informative, quite entertaining (and yes, occasionally Very Gross Indeed). Tadayasu, the microbe-seer, is starting college along with his long-time friend Kei. But when they arrive on campus they find that there's a missing-person search in progress for a young female grad student, and then while taking a short cut through a wooded area Tadayasu starts seeing more and more microbes of the kind associated with decomposition... Have they found the body? [I don't want to spoil that part of the plot, but I will say that readers may need a strong stomach to cope with the results of the search!]

When the boys are able to settle into more normal scholarly pursuits, they find themselves courted by a professor with an avid curiosity about different kinds of fermentation as used in different cultures throughout human history. He's delighted when he finds that Tadayasu actually can see microbes, and can distinguish different kinds and even different sub-species. But he's not the only one who's intrigued by our hero's skill - some older students are trying to home-brew sake in their dorm, and are having lots of trouble. Given that they have no concept of cleanliness it's not surprising that their brews go sour, but their "cunning plan" to use Tadayasu's ability to harness the right kinds of yeasts and make a fortune off of their home-brew - doesn't quite work out as planned.

The microbes - visible to the reader in the form of very cute little cartoons, each type different - include those responsible for kimchee, for beer, for athlete's foot, and many other things good, bad, or neutral. In some scenes groups of them are competing for space or joyously deciding to party; in others they're fleeing the area - or dying, as when a germophobic character turns up and starts using disinfectant with abandon! [This leads to a chat about "good bacteria" vs. bad, but it doesn't seem to convince the lady.]

I learned about several new foodstuffs, each with an amazingly high, um, olfactory component, never mind the taste; while some of them made me a bit curious, I don't know that I'd be willing to seek them out, especially when one, a kind of fermented ray sashimi, is described as the second-smelliest fermented food product in the world ("14 times smellier than natto").

Not everything has to do with microbe-spotting - there's a very funny scene in which our hero takes part in some standard course-work at an agricultural school, involving palpating the ovaries of a cow - from the inside, of course. For a guy who can see germs with equanimity, he finds this hands-on task surprisingly upsetting!

All in all, the book seems to be mostly a loosely-connected series of lessons about microbes and their uses, with the lives of the characters being secondary to the how-yeast-works and why-you-shouldn't-overdo-antibacterial-sprays teachings. I found it an entertaining look at college life in general, and I liked what little we got to see of the main characters - and the little bugs are lots of fun.

[I don't know if you can tell, but the "stars" on the cover-pic flag are actually little yellow yeastie-beasties with happy smiles; so is this book quirky, or what? And for more amusing tidbits, check out the TV Tropes page for this series.]

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Little Free Library, Roby Park in Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Monday, May 20, 2019

Released 1 mo ago (5/20/2019 UTC) at Little Free Library, Roby Park in Nashua, New Hampshire USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I left this book in the Little Free Library on this very warm day; hope someone enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

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