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The Manga Guide to Biochemistry 1st Edition

26 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1593272760
ISBN-10: 1593272766
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Editorial Reviews Review

Kumi loves to eat, but she's worried that her passion for junk food is affecting her health. Determined to unlock the secrets of dieting, she enlists the help of her brainy friend Nemoto and his beautiful biochemistry professor, Dr. Kurosaka. And so it begins...

Follow along in The Manga Guide to Biochemistry as Kumi explores the mysteries of her body's inner workings. With the help of RoboCat, the professor's friendly endoscopic robot, you'll soar through the incredible chemical machinery that keeps us alive and get an up-close look at biopolymers like DNA and proteins, the metabolic processes that turn our food into energy, and the enzymes that fuel our bodies' chemical reactions.

As you dive into the depths of plant and animal cells, you'll learn about:

  • The metabolism of substances like carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and alcohol
  • How the energy powerhouses known as mitochondria produce ATP
  • DNA transcription and the different types of RNA that work together to translate the genetic code into proteins
  • Enzyme kinetics, how they're measured, and how enzyme inhibition works

Whether you're a medical student, an amateur scientist, or just curious about how your body turns cupcakes into energy, The Manga Guide to Biochemistry is your key to understanding the science of life.

About the Author

Masaharu Takemura is an Associate Professor at the Tokyo University of Science who specializes in molecular biology and life science. A Doctor of Medical Science, he has written several book about biology.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (November 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593272766
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593272760
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Michael Larsen on February 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
As a tester, I used to tell people that I could go into any field and I'd be able to test their software, and for a long time I believed it. that is, until I went to work for a company with a product that was heavily dependent on physics and physical phenomena, which was not my strong suit.

I learned from that experience that domain knowledge is vital, and while you can fake knowing some things, there's some stuff you just can't fake. Physics is one of them. Biochemistry is definitely another. It's just not something you can casually pick up on the job, you really have to spend some time with it and come to grips with the world of biological interactions and the cross section of biology and chemistry. For a minimal pain related approach, The Manga Guide to Biochemistry is a wonderful way to get that fundamental domain knowledge.

NoStarch has gamely taken on publishing "The Manga Guide to..." series of books in English, and for those of us who are proudly Otaku in our general interests, to have Manga volumes dedicated to some of the headiest technical topics in the sciences is pretty awesome.

Make no mistake, these books do not dumb down the topics, but they do use the conventions of Manga to illustrate topics in the classic ways that have endeared generations of Otaku to Manga. The silly drawings, the subtle fan service, the inside jokes, the goofy drawing styles to show stress, pain, embarrassment and joy help keep the reader engaged and entertained as they go through what is, seriously, a challenging topic to digest. It's a true testament to the effectiveness of the Manga Guide series that they Are able to tackle these subjects so effectively time after time.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By R. Stewart on September 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a senior biochemistry undergrad who likes Japanese culture, I was immediately interested in this book. It mostly met my expectations for a cute presentation of a complex scientific subject.

I could say that it presents a simplistic view of the subject, but that's through the eyes of a student about to earn his bachelor's in this science. From the standpoint of a high school student or beginning college student, this book provides an excellent overview of the subject. The student will retain foundational concepts after reading this, i.e. the four classes of macromolecules and the concept of metabolic chemical reactions. The immediate application of each concept to a real-life example will aid retention, as will the little bit of cute humor and low-key romance :)

The story itself isn't super-dramatic or risque, but that's certainly a good thing; such would be distracting from the educational value of the comic.

I highly recommend this book to any high school students or undergrads who haven't learned biochemistry in any depth yet. For an educated student and above, it'll be a fun review.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John Jacobson on December 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
What combines lipids, carbs, proteins, and cartoons? Why, it's the . . . Manga Guide to Biochemistry. This book is another in the series of Manga books that tackle serious science such as cosmology, physics, and calculus (among many others).

Biochemistry is the chemistry of our bodies, but not just our bodies. It is the chemistry of all living creatures, both plants and animals. This book teaches the basic concepts of biochemistry through an engaging story about a young girl who is concerned about her weight. In the process of learning about metabolic concepts, she also learns the science behind weight control.

The story starts out with the chemistry of basic nutrition, the cell, and how the cell creates energy from the nutrients we eat. Some emphasis is given to plants and how plants differ from animals in how they generate energy. The three basic nutrients, carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids, are covered in the most detail. There are a number of "asides" discussed in no particular order, including storage of fat, what happens to excess carbs (they turn into fat!), the meaning of blood types, and why are Mochi rice cakes spongy? Another 40 pages are devoted to enzymes and 30 pages to molecular biology, the "building blocks" of life. The book closes with a description of some of the basic tools used by scientists in their study of biochemistry.

I didn't find the story as engaging in this book as it is in some of the other Manga Guides. Others may differ. There are some puzzling omissions in the science of nutrition, including the role of vitamins, and the effect of excessive amounts of insulin on metabolism.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By AstroNerdBoy on December 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
Note: This review of mine was originally posted on AstroNerdBoy's Anime & Manga Blog and is being reposted here.

The folks at No Starch Press sent me the latest in The Manga Guide series, this time covering the subject of biochemistry. The story framework has female high school student Kumi wanting to lose a little weight and struggling against her desire to eat her favorite, fattening foods. Her male friend from college, Nemoto, doesn't think she needs to lose weight, but decides to get her to see beyond a few pounds and how the body works -- biochemistry. To this end, Kumi agrees to come with him to the university to meet his biochemistry professor, Kurosaka. Kumi wants to be as beautiful as Kurosaka is and is all down to learn biochemistry. Kurosaka sees that Nemoto is romantically interested in Kumi and decides to help there while teaching biochemistry at the same time.

The book is broken down into five sections, each with multiple subsections. The main sections cover what happens inside your body, photosynthesis and respiration, how biochemistry affects our daily lives, enzymes and chemical reactions, and finally, molecular biology and the biochemistry of nucleic acids. Since the manga story is designed to show how biochemistry comes into play in so many activities in our life (with food and its interactions with the body and such), I figure a lot of people will be able to relate to this, possibly more so than any other Manga Guide book to date.

As usual, the story framework is just that -- a framework and nothing too deep. The manga aspects of teaching biochemistry do so in a way that is both fun and easy to understand.
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