Train Man: A Shojo Mangaby Machiko Ocha, Hitori Nakano, Makoto Yukon (Translator)
Geeky fanboy Ikumi Saiki has a dream that someday, somehow, he’ll finally get a girlfriend. Then one day, on the train home, he rescues a beautiful girl from a troublesome drunk. Now the girl sees the hero inside the otaku–and it appears that Ikumi will finally find romance! But though Ikumi found the courage to save her, how will he
LONELY HEARTS UNITE!
Geeky fanboy Ikumi Saiki has a dream that someday, somehow, he’ll finally get a girlfriend. Then one day, on the train home, he rescues a beautiful girl from a troublesome drunk. Now the girl sees the hero inside the otaku–and it appears that Ikumi will finally find romance! But though Ikumi found the courage to save her, how will he ever be brave enough to win her heart?
Desperate, Ikumi posts an urgent plea on an Internet message board: “Help me win the girl of my dreams!” Ikumi’s story ignites the whole online world. Everyone is ready to help Ikumi prove that even an otaku can find true love!
Boys do cry in this sweet geek-meets-girl story, originally a best-selling novel supposedly based on a real chat room thread. In a moment of uncharacteristic bravery, a twentysomething introvert stands up to an abusive drunk on a train and catches a pretty young woman's attention. When she offers her thanks, the stammering geek flees homeward and posts an account in a chat room for dateless men: "Sensation! One of us is a hero!" Naturally, a courtship develops between "Train Man" and the young woman�dubbed Hermes by the chat group, which coalesces into a collective dating coach and cheering squad for Train's wooing. Hair styling! Trendy clothes! Names of good restaurants! The chat group proffers advice via emotion-drenched messages enriched with incredible ASCII art (unfortunately, rarely reproduced in the manga). On her end, Hermes�nicknamed for the brand of teacups she sends the mystified Train as a thank you�is clearly out to Get Her Man. The only villain in the story is Train's shyness. Of the three manga, Hara's has the best-realized art and characterization. Ocha's is cute and showcases more of the ASCII art but compresses the story. Watanabe makes the characters overly childlike and less nuanced. The Ocha title is rated older teen; the other two are rated teen. An English edition of Nakano's novel is available via Amazon.uk. In Japan, a live-action film and TV series also exist; the film has been released here by Viz.
Based on transcripts from an Internet message board, Train Man tells the story of a nervous, nerdy young man who meets the girl of his dreams in a chance encounter on the subway. He talks about it on a bulletin board for lonely singles, and the collective advice of the anonymous Internet community provides him with the knowledge and confidence to pursue this budding romance. While the artwork lacks depth and deftness, this manga successfully depicts both the multiple personages of the online community and their computerized forms of communicating emotion and code. The layouts aid immensely in adding personality and action to what is effectively a story depicting the writing of a modern epistolary tale. That process of showing computer screens and their immobile observers could have been deadly dull, and it is not. So while some of the figure work lacks finesse, it can largely be forgiven in light of the artwork's other strengths. The translation is quite good, with a solid voice and current references that help make the setting and exposition connect with readers. And while the romance is obviously the central movement of the plot, the protagonist's self-reinvention grows from the generosity of his online peers, and it is the depiction of this supportive relationship that is the most compelling.
Benjamin RussellCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
- Random House Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.09(w) x 7.41(h) x 0.65(d)
- Age Range:
- 13 - 17 Years
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When I was at my local library a couple months ago I was looking at their (relatively small) manga collection, when a certain title caught my eye: Train Man. To anyone else this title would mean absolutely nothing to them, but to me it does: my first ever online username was Trainman1405, a name I still go by sometimes even to this day. I picked it up off the shelf, sat down in a chair at a nearby table, and began reading it since my mom was doing shopping at the nearby Costco before she came to pick me up. I was planning on checking it out from the library if my mom came to pick me up before I finished it, but by pure luck I finished a couple minutes before she arrived. Train Man is a one-off manga novel about otaku (the Japanese word for fanboy) Ikumi Saki who is on a train home when he spots a woman being harassed by a drunk man. Somehow Ikumi manages to muster the courage to tell the drunk to leave her alone. She thanks him. Later, once at home, Ikumi posts on a popular online message board soliciting advice on how he can win the girl of his dreams, the one he saved from harm on the train. Over the course of the story it progresses as he continues soliciting advice on the message board from the thousands of others following his journey on what to do in order to achieve the girl of his dreams. You’ll see the relationship between him and the girl grow, and also how Ikumi goes from being a shy and quiet boy to a man with confidence. It’s a fun and pretty quick read you can knock out, however I did not enjoy it tons. I just didn’t care for the way it felt it jumped around a lot without warning, causing me to have to re-read a few bits. If you’re interested, you can read more about Train Man on Wikipedia and how it’s become a book, movie, and even a television show.