cover image Japan Ai: A Tall Girl’s Adventures in Japan

Japan Ai: A Tall Girl’s Adventures in Japan

Aimee Major Steinberger, . . Go! Comi, $16.99 (183pp) ISBN 978-1-933617-83-1

Aimee’s a six-foot-tall cosplaying fangirl who visits Japan, land of her favorite hobbies. There, she visits historical Kyoto, shops, dresses as a geisha, visits a hot spring, goes to Tokyo and shops some more. The cute, cartoony sketches present a travelogue by an out-of-place but observant gaijin who is keen to absorb the intricacies of a new culture. Much of the story has a fairly straightforward “went here, saw this, went there, saw that” pace—few incidents are given any dramatic weight. When her luggage is lost, it’s a two-page incident, with the problem magically solved with no involvement on her part. Similarly, the developments from one of Aimee’s companions being mistaken for a yakuza and being revealed as a narcoleptic are swiftly passed by in a one-page sequence. However, the cute characters cannot help becoming sympathetic, and Aimee missing a chance to go to dinner at a factory that makes her favorite dolls has real disappointment. The book resembles an illustrated travel sketchbook more than a manga, but the otaku subject matter—and endless enthusiasm for the details of Japanese culture—is of built-in interest to readers of the latter. (Dec.)