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March 14, 2012

Bento Bako Lite: I’ll Give It My All…Tomorrow vol 4

[Editor’s note: Please welcome Infinite Speech to the Bento Bako column, as he helps out by reviewing the most recent volume of I’ll Give it My All…Tomorrow. He wasn’t very impressed with it, but I’m glad he gave it a chance and offered up a different opinion.]

Title: I’ll Give it My All…Tomorrow
Author: Shunju Aono
Publisher: Viz Media (Sig IKKI)
Volume: Volume 4 (ongoing), $12.99
Vintage: 2007 by Shogakukan in Japan, December 21, 2011 by Viz Media
Genre: Seinen, drama, slice-of-life

[Previous I’ll Give it My All… reviews.]

When first reading about this book there was a spark of interest that helped fuel my curiosity. The simplistic wit of the manga’s title and its premise seemed like something I would enjoy. Well, after trudging through this volume it can safely be said that there will be no returning back for volume 5 if I can help it.

Just when things were slightly looking up for Shizuo Oguro, his old editor quits. The problem  here is that no one will work with him, until finally a young woman by the name of Aya Unami steps up to the task. Unfortunately, he can’t impress her with his work and her brutal honesty gets the better of him. Fortunately, we get a shift from how bad Shizuo’s life is to how crappy his best friend’s life is becoming. Just like with Shizuo, things were going well for Miyata, and then his ex-wife hits him with a bomb that she is going to marry again. Her new husband is American and she will be moving to the States, taking their child with them, and has asked him to “forget” his son.

There was only so much that was bearable when it came to how much it is drilled into the reader that Shizuo’s life is quite pathetic. His family has very little respect for him, his life choices, and he’s constantly ridiculed. He’s also so full of self-doubt that the only time Shizuo is interesting is during a flash back to his teenage years. When the story shifts to Miyata it does lighten things up a bit, as he’s trying to keep his friend inspired enough to continue toward his goal. Though when it comes to Miyata’s own issues, they seem a little more important than Shizuo’s. As the story went on I found myself more and more annoyed at the little captions scattered in the word balloons and panels. If used sparingly it would have been a great storytelling device, but it soon wore out its welcome very early into the story. The book’s ending was a bit anti-climatic, since it could have taken place at any other point in the book. However, to make it kind of work we had to read through Unami’s backstory, which was too predictable and simplistic. Which is how I’d describe the artwork throughout the book as well.

When your antagonist is this boring and pathetic it really doesn’t make for an engrossing read. I also think that when or if Shizuo ever does succeed, that it will only seem great because we’ve been overwhelmed with how bad his life is. I spent the entire time reading this thinking, “Will you stop whining and just man the hell up!” So if this sounds like something you’d like to get into, then by all means I hope you enjoy it better than I did. This just wasn’t for me.

Infinite Speech
infinitespeech@comicattack.net

Review copy provided by Viz Media.

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