Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gente: Vol. 1 - Review


In what I think is my fist encounter with a prequel to a drama and slice of life story, Gente is the origins of the cast of Ristorante Paradisio, both written and drawn by the master of manga, Natsume Ono. This collection of manga is published by Viz Media's Signature Ikki line of books, and revisits the waiters and characters you fell in love with in the first book, some more literally than others. They're are given a more distinct motivation and background, as well as proper introductions that the first book glanced over. An origin story for waiters . . . Who would have thought that would be an incredible read?

When Lorenzo decides to open a restaurant with his new wife Olga, he decides to make it a place where distinguished gentlemen serve their customers and where glasses are mandatory. Thus, Casetta dell'Orso is born! And that's really the in-depth plot. The chapters all focus on the different waiters and their personalities, as well as people that they encounter in their daily lives. It's by no means an action title, but that's not the sort of thing that Ono does with her work.

In the slice of life realm of comics, no one is really pulling it off better than Ono right now. I could read her books continuously and never get bored. She crafts a very realistic world with very fleshed-out characters and distinct traits that makes every page and event genuine. I never thought you could successfully make a franchise out of a drama, but Ono has gone and proved me wrong.

I believe there are 3 volumes currently released, and I'm unsure as to whether it ends there. I just know that I have to come to terms with the fact that one of my favorite comics right now is about Italian waiters in a restaurant aimed to lure in women who love men in glasses. . . Yep, I'm more than okay with it.

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