by Konami Sonoda; adapted by Janet Gilbert
published by Viz; $7.99 US
Although it’s part of the Viz Kids line, I found this collection of fashion- and friend-focused four-panel strips entertaining in a great-for-summer mindless-fun way.
Choco (Chiyoko Sakurai) is the sporty one interested in moody boy Ando. Mimi is the cuter, frillier one with the adorable dog Chiffon. He’s my favorite character. Although a fluffy dachshund, he thinks of himself as a man serving his master, dedicated to making Mimi happy and being stoic in light of the goofy things she does to him. There’s also Mumu, a cross-dressing little boy who causes conflict in weird ways.
Although we’re told several times they’re 8th graders (making them, what, 14?), they’re drawn in a little kid style (as seen on the cover) that reminds me of Junko Mizuno (only without the grossness). The few introductory pages tell you everything you need to know about them, their likes and dislikes. After that, it’s a series of 4-koma, vertical four-panel comic strips, with the characters being cute and silly at school or elsewhere.
Jokes revolve around Mimi having an unexpected response or the girls and their clothes or how the boys act. There are also half-page images of the girls hanging out, as well as fashion half pages, often seasonally oriented, where their outfits and accessories are described in detail. Sometimes the strips take up a full page or more, with more panels, creating little stories. The result is a lot of content, with plenty to read and lots of detail to look at.
I found it surprisingly readable. I liked entering the ChocoMimi world for a little while, when all that matters is looking cute and having fun with friends. It’s great escapism with an unexpected amount of creative imagination. Although rated for all ages, I don’t know that I’d recommend it for very young kids. It’s best for those who can evaluate what the characters do and figure out which parts make sense (taking care of animals) and which are fictional exaggerations (how Mimi acts in class, like wearing a bikini to school). It’s also not for those who are allergic to “girly”, a word used frequently and accurately within.
(A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)