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Goin’ Japanesque!

“Nickelodeon Red, Blue & Green”: 8 Page Manga Anthologies Unroll Worlds

In Japan manga stories less than one book length ranging from a few pages to few dozen pages are considered short stories.

From anthologies that consist of such short stories, we are introducing “Nickelodeon Red, Blue & Green” this time.

Nickelodeon is composed of three collections of short stories and each volume is called, red, blue and green.

 

Synopsis

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Stories in 3 volumes are staged in different places and different times, and there is no common world view that unites them.

We are introducing a few stories that are contained in these volumes.

1. Heart Food

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A high school girl, who is the main character of the story, wakes up suddenly in a zoo at night.

A tiger that has escaped from a cage starts a conversation with her.

2. Heels & Sneakers

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“Natsu” and “Haru” are intimate sisters.

They are twins and are always together, but their tastes and preferences are not alike.

They are actually Siamese twins joined at their lower bodies.

They are participating in a university research project as research subjects.

3. School Lunches at Columbine

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The story develops around a child named “Fushimi”.

Believing that if she jumps to death from the height of 2 3/7 stories she can start her life all over again, she jumps to her death.

Of course such miracles do not happen, but Fushimi keeps jumping repeatedly from 2 3/7 stories high. 

4. Equations You Cannot Load

Far in the future, a lone spaceship is sailing in the universe.

No humans are aboard, and only one sentient robot is controlling the spaceship.

But the robot discovers a girl who has stowed away in the ship.

The spaceship has only enough fuel to carry the cargo to the destination.

Now that the ship is heavier with the girl’s extra weight, naturally it cannot reach the destination.

 

A total of 38 stories are collected in the anthology including the above.

 

Analysis

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The writer Dowman Sayman likes creating shocking stories containing sex and violence despite his drawing style, and he primarily creates 4-panel manga with such contents.

He draws erotic, grotesque but comical worlds in an anime style that has attained highly symbolic level by stripping down spurious lines.

However in these volumes overtly erotic or grotesque expressions are contained to minimum.

Yet some of the stories feature homosexuality, girls’ sex or cannibalism, thus these works are for readers who do not find these subjects offensive.

Each story is designed to conclude in 8 pages, and the volume starts with the lyrical piece “Heart Food”, in which a broken hearted high school girl has a conversation with a tiger.

The author presents a wide variety of stories, being straight-faced, comedic, realistic or surrealistic, including “Equations You Cannot Load” which is a parody of the classic science fiction novel “The Cold Equations”.

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The title “Nickelodeon” is a word coined in the United States; a nickel means a 5 cent coin in American English, and Odeon comes from the Greek, meaning a roofed theater.

Small folksy movie theaters that used to be popular at the beginning of the 20th century were called with this name, Nickelodeon.

Readers can enjoy a mood that is similar to watching several movies in the middle of the night at such a small movie theater.

It’s a snazzy, perfect title for this work that collected many short stories. 

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In one story a scientist who appears in a supporting role helps a man and a girl running from a pursuer escape into another world. This scientist appears in a different story as the main character and chases his lover who runs away.

Or a character in a story tells a story he or she heard, actually referring to another story in the collection. Links among the stories are one of the attractive points of this work as one character appears in multiple stories and stories are mentioned in other stories.

 

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The only shortcomings of this work are the restrictive condition of 8 page length for one story and that Japanese cultural contents appear without additional explanation, for example “shiritori*” game for survival. Some non-native readers may find such stories hard to follow.

But most stories have clear storylines without spurious contents just like his drawing style, thus I believe readers won’t have much trouble in appreciating them.

This manga is perfect for those who would like to enjoy relaxing, calm time.

*“Shiritori” is a traditional vocabulary game in Japan. A player gives a word and the next player must offer a word that starts with the last syllable of the preceding player’s word.  A player who plays a word ending in the letter N (ん) loses the game, as no Japanese word begins with that character. A player also loses when he/she fails to offer a new word that has not been presented in the game.

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Berial the Demon

About the author

It has been over 40 years of reading manga in the deep world of manga. Japan’s manga has an endlessly wide variety of genres. I will be recommending special manga for you to read from such infinite amount of works.

View all articles by Berial the Demon
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