written by Mana Takahashi; art by Shoko Azuma
published by No Starch Press; $19.95 US
Discussion in my review of The Manga Guide to Physics recommended this installment of the series because it featured a female instructor instead of the usual boy-helping-girl setup. It’s also more imaginative in its premise, going far beyond the usual “schoolgirl needs help in class”.
The Kingdom of Kod sells its fruit, and in her father’s absence, Princess Ruruna is in charge. Various departments of the company all have their own separate data files, leading to mistakes when fruit prices change. An ancient book on the “groundbreaking technology” of databases comes with a fairy guide, Tico, to help her understand and implement a database system.
From the start, I was amused by the image of a grumpy princess, in puff sleeves and tiara, sitting in front of a laptop and surrounded by files. It’s such a conflicting concept that it’s funny. Her idiot maid, who has unceasing faith in her, sets the stage for the more realistic attitudes of her assistant Cain, who tends to talk to himself when learning, a quality I find charming.
The book has six chapters:
- What is a database? and why to use them
- What is a relational database? also, special terminology and operations
- Let’s design a database! using an entity-relationship model and normalization
- Let’s learn about SQL! to “converse” with the database
- Let’s operate a database! with transactions, security, indexes, and locks
- Databases are everywhere! including web-based bookstores
Each chapter, after explaining and illustrating the concepts in comic format, is followed by a text section reinforcing the ideas, including a summary of key points. Most also have questions to test reader understanding.
The art reminds me of shojo manga I’ve read (such as The Lapis Lazuli Crown), with cute, expressive characters. Aside from solving the nation’s fruit data problems, Ruruna also has to decide between Prince Raminess, from a neighboring country and pursued by many girls, and loyal, helpful Cain.
I had a lot of fun with this entry in the Manga Guide series, due to the combination of subject matter and silly story premise. Somehow, it all works together. There’s an awful lot of information conveyed as Ruruna and Cain modernize their country, and I’ll likely refer to the list of “Frequently Used SQL Statements” again.
(A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)