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Moyasimon 1: Tales of Agriculture Paperback – November 24, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The typical manga situation of a young man ready to experience life as he goes away to college is made unique through some very odd characters, starting with the lead. Tadayasu can see and touch bacteria, unaided, and even talk to them; his talents either save the day or get him involved with those who want to exploit him. The title, which loosely means mold cultivator, describes his family business, supplying starter cultures to make fermented products. As he struggles to start his career at an agricultural college, he's surrounded by oddballs: his professor gleefully manipulates those around him and has a fetish for the most disgusting, bacteria-created foods (such as decaying seabirds buried inside a dead seal for months). The older student guide dresses like she's about to go club-hopping as a sexy goth. Most strangely, there's a whole flock of tiny little germs as supporting cast. The book's twisted sense of humor is reinforced by various marginal notes that explain the germs he sees or to provide the author's apologies. Favorite scenes feature disgusting college rooms, teeming with Tadayasu's little friends; it's gross-out humor, but gentle and inventive. (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • Series: Moyasimon (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (November 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345514726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345514721
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tim Lasiuta on November 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
Manga unlike any other. No giggling girls, no magical powers, no boy likes girl (giggle, giggle) or vice versa, no fights even. This is manga for the educated market, those who want something to challenge them.

Tadayasau is going off to University, an agricultural university to be precise, with a special talent. He can see bacteria with his naked eye! That may not seem like much of a talent, but when the produce of a country depends on `cultural' processes (ha!), the skill becomes more valuable. For his fellow students saved from food poisoning, he is appreciated. For his classmates, who look for his assistance on their assignments and sake brewing activities, he is also appreciated. To his professor, his grandfathers' friend, he is invaluable. To Hasegawa (leather and lace clad research assistant), he is annoying at first, then becomes essential to her work as well. For a young man, eager to enjoy his first university experience, his `gift' carries a burden.

As I said before, this is an unusual manga. The information presented by Masayaki Ishikawa is intriguing in that it is accurate scientifically speaking. He explains how invaluable fermentation is to food supply and drug manufacturing for readers. He even tackles the difficult topic, publish or perish. In this case, publish is not enough. Itsuki wants more, he wants agricultural practices to help transform the earth, to terra-form, as it were.

The very interesting thing about this book is that it has captured the imagination of Manga readers so much so, that there are exhibits in museums that celebrate bacteria! Moyasimon is a national phenomena! An alternate title might be "Bacteria and Me, a Love Story".

If you like Kitchen Princess, this is way above you!

Tim Lasiuta
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Format: Paperback
Moyasimon is an amazing combination of agriculture and fun. I was listing off random facts from it before I even finished the first volume. However, if you are looking for a light read with some fun trivia now and then, you may be a bit intimidated by the shear amount of text and information presented. It definitely takes longer to comb through this than your average issue of Naruto. However, as a student at the Agricultural School at North Carolina State University I am fascinated not only by the facts about microbiology and agriculture, but also by the portrayal of the Agricultural University in the manga, which is based on a real university.

I've mentioned a lot about the facts and information in the manga, but there is also the story. While it may not have a clear plot in the "conflict needing resolution" sense, that's fairly common for manga and doesn't detract from the read at all. The characters are great and definitely not a bunch of nerds in a lab or hicks on a farm. They are extremely likable and funny, even when they do get to talking science. Please check out and support this great manga so that Del Ray will continue to publish and distribute it in the US!
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Format: Paperback
When I heard that the premise of this manga by Masayuki Ishikawa was a guy who could talk to germs, I expected cute humor. Instead, what I got was a typical coming-of-age story, only with some surprisingly gross moments.

Tadayasu is headed off to agricultural college in Tokyo, accompanied by childhood friend Kei. The two young men are ready to start their lives as adults, figuring out what to be and how to chart their future. Tadayasu is a typical guy, except that he can see and communicate with bacteria. That’s come in handy for the family business, growing a particular kind of mold used as a starter for fermented items like sake and soy sauce, and serves as the basis for the title, which loosely means “mold cultivator”.

On their first day at school, they’re notified of a missing student, after which Tadayasu finds a large dead object by following a trail of germs. It turns out to be a crazy professor’s snack, the dead body of a seal left to ferment with a stomach full of decaying sea birds. The birds’ slimy insides are sucked out as a delicacy. The professor has a fondness for similar nausea-inducing foods, all formed through unusual bacterial action. Unsurprisingly, he’s also going to be Tadayasu’s teacher.

The art style is mostly realistic, often with impressive detail and shading, until it comes to the germs, circles with dot eyes and random stick appendages. The professor is similarly simplified, with minimal features and glasses that hide his eyes. That caricatured portrayal adds to his oddness, making him seem more a force than a character.

I expected more interaction between Tadayasu and the germs, but instead, they’re mostly a plot device to get him into some awkward situation.
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Format: Paperback
Some people can see things others can't. Tadayasu Souemon Sawaki, a first-year student at a Tokyo agricultural university is one of them. Sawaki can see germs with his naked eye. He is not very happy about having such a strange power, but on the first day of his new school Sawaki finds something weird is going on in the backyard of the campus, where he sees a ton of germs floating in the air. And according to the school, one grad student has been missing for a month. Does this mean....

Masayuki Ishikawa's "Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture" (serialized in Kodansha's bi-weekly magazine "Evening" since 2006) is a comedy, and a very unique one. Set against the backdrop of campus life at agricultural university, the manga's episodic story is about a group of eccentric characters including erudite and mysterious Professor Itsuki; his assistant Haruka Hasegawa, a postgraduate student who looks and acts like a dominatrix; Kawahama and Misato, two sempai (senior) students brewing sake (it's illegal), and of course, lots of micro-organisms like E. coli. And they can talk, if not to humans, to each other.

Creator Ishikawa's detailed artwork may look old-fashioned to some, and obviously he is not very good at drawing female characters (sometimes they all look the same). This is a character-driven comedy with a bit of cultural references and parodies (explained in the translation notes). You may be either entertained or bemused at the strange world of "Moyasimon" peopled with complex characters.

At the time of writing, Del Rey published only first two volumes (eleven volumes have been published in Japan so far). This is understandable as the comic is not for everyone, even among Japanese readers. If you are looking for something unique, "Moyasimon" may be the one for you, though you may find the comic too unique.
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