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Hey! Order Up!: Neko Ramen    by Kenji Sonishi order for
Hey! Order Up!
by Kenji Sonishi
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2010 (2010)
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Four-panel strips are the Japanese equivalent to our comic strips. They are short pieces meant to contain a joke, usually within a larger, ongoing story and drawn in a more casual style than a longer work. The problem is, this type of humor often does not translate well. Luckily, this is not the case for Kenji Sonishi's Neko Ramen.

The first volume, Hey! Order Up!, introduces the reader to Taisho, the cat owner of Neko Ramen, and Tanaka, a low-level businessman who is often the only customer. The humor of the piece lies in Taisho's desire to have a unique ramen shop. The irony, which Tanaka realizes but Taisho doesn't, is that Neko Ramen is already one-of-a-kind became no other ramen shop is owned by a cat, and in himself, Taisho has a built in gimmick. Unfortunately, the hapless Tanaka is subject to all of Taisho's plans to make Neko Ramen stand out, most of which backfire with humorous results.

While the manga is rated T (ages 13+), adults will possibly enjoy the humor even more than teens as Tanaka is the type of character to whom many grown-ups can easily relate. But whatever your age, if you are looking for something to get you laughing, Neko Ramen is the manga for you.

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