Perky, lovesick, sleepy, coy. How are you feeling today? And how would you express those feelings in manga form? Takarai’s book is here to help. From energetic to woeful, preoccupied to shy, she offers a drawing and two Japanese phrases. The drawings are shojo-cute and are all portrayed by girls. The colors are bright and cheerful, even when the emotions are not, but unfortunately several of the emotions look very similar to each other. This is probably because they are not surrounded by the usual plot devices to help differentiate them. The phrases are nicely linked with the pictures and are varied enough to be interesting. They are written in both English and Japanese (in a simplified form of the Hepburn method of romanization, also used by the Library of Congress). For the most part this makes pronunciation easy to guess at, though little detail beyond the vowel sounds is offered in the notes at the front of the book. The main terms are also written out in hiragana, one of the three scripts of Japanese writing (the others being kanji and katakana). A list of hiragana characters and some basic information about hiragana is offered at the back, but it does not go into a great amount of detail. Overall, this cute little gift book would make a nice little present for a student of Japanese, but it wouldn’t really be of much use to libraries or schools.

Manga Moods: 40 Faces + 80 Phrases
Satoru Takarai
ISBN: 978-4-921205-13-3
Manga University, 2006

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