The Diary of Ochibi – Manga Review
The Diary of Ochibi:
Synopsis: Ochibi is a young boy living in the town of Mametsubu-cho, somewhere in the ancient Japanese city of Kamakura. Everyday he and his friends Nazeni the dog, Pankui the hungry dog and Jack the naughty cat get into all sorts of adventures and experiences both big and small from the mundane to the fantastical.
Review (Warning: Spoilers to Follow):
Let’s keep this short and sweet, folks. Diary of Ochibi is a simple slice of life, one that seems oriented towards maybe younger readers but can be equally enjoyable for older ones too. While most of the stories are set and executed in a real world setting, there are elements of fantasy throughout the volume. First off is the fact that Ochibi’s animal companions seem to be able to verbally communicate with humans and vice versa, and the animals seem to have their own homes and lives as well. Then there’s the fact that some of the chapters seem to have rather eclectic punchlines, like how Ochibi and Nazeni make a mochi big enough for them to fit inside just so they can fulfil their dream of doing so.
If you cannot already tell, the humour is a little bit of a gamble each chapter. Sometimes the jokes hit hard or atleast bring a smile on your face while others might leave you just scratching your head in confusion or shrugging it off. This might mostly have to do with cultural differences rather than any actual lapse in translation as the book has some great cliff notes at the end of most chapters explaining what we just read about especially if it is a more Japanese centric matter. These explanations really help the reader widen their knowledge of Japanese culture, understand the joke and in some cases even further appreciate the effort made by the translators. Heck, the volume even explains that the names of our main characters are actually little gags/ easter eggs in and of themselves.
The volume is divided into months, and each month features stories about the activities that Ochibi and his crew can get into thanks to that specific time of the month, like celebrating certain festivals or engaging in seasonal activities. The mangaka, Moyoco Anno, definitely succeeds in bringing out the humour in a lot of the chapters showing off her creative mind but since this series has some strong cultural roots, it may not always be as easy to observe and enjoy for the average western reader.
Now the most important part of these CrunchyCrawl reviews, is this series for you? If you are a fan of comically subtle and slightly childish slice of life tales, you will probably find Diary of Ochibi an adorable read. It’s endearing to watch Ochibi and his friends experience life through their young eyes, and there are times when the story becomes very relatable too..like Ochibi experiencing jealousy and insecurity when his friend Nazeni brings over a new friend. The Diary of Ochibi would also be perfect for anyone with much younger siblings who enjoy funny stories as something to entertain them with and maybe even teach them a little about Japan. However, if you prefer your slice of life to be more mature or constantly and nonsensically laugh out loud funny, Diary of Ochibi will most likely leave you unimpressed.
The Diary of Ochibi is available digitally via Crunchyroll.com.