Are you mad? You sure got a mad vibe coming off of you. See, even when you’re smiling like that, I still feel like you’re angry about something. No, that sparkling look in your pupils is certainly hiding something rage-inducing. C’mon, spill it. What’s eating you? Still won’t budge, huh? Fine, then perhaps the sixth volume of Keiichi Arawi’s CITY will kill off any teeth-gritting feelings that lie dormant within you.

With the spotlight placed on a plethora of citizens, CITY focuses on difficult journeys, tough decisions, and even hard discussions with close friends. A quest to make the perfect fried rice, a stage performance of one’s lifetime, a soccer team’s need for victory after a key player is injured, and the reveal of one’s nearing departure demonstrate the hardships that befall the great population of this town. But sometimes, good luck will shine on a lucky person or two, especially those who take their tasks quite seriously. All of this captured within a light that will certainly tear at...one’s...heartstrings?

Oh who are we kidding?! Arawi is never the type to go full sentimental with his stories, even the one’s with heartfelt outcomes! Once again, he takes odd day-in-the-life tasks and amplifies their outcomes, resulting in full-blown hilarity on every page. Watching as Mr. Makabe takes a citizen on the quest for fried rice ingredients leads to a punchline that fits perfectly with the chef’s tongue-protruding reactions. Dealing with the trouble of identical twins Umi and Sora gives way to childlike solutions and silly irks. Then there is the most “evil” barber of the town, who uses his “short cuts” deal to get some pretty nifty gifts and knickknacks.

Readers are also treated to some continuing antics from previous volumes. The Tekaridake Theatre Troupe finally finds a way to convince Nagumo to join their play, putting a new spin on a classic Japanese fable. Niikura’s search for her pendant leads her towards a psychic whose tactics aren’t entirely up to par. Then there’s Ecchan’s need to tell her friend Matsuri that she’s moving away. How she finds the courage to do so, well, let’s just say it’s not by ordinary means.

Although there’s a heartfelt moment or two in Volume Six of CITY, it’s the nonstop zany hilarity that matters most. Throughout its 160+ pages, its comedic velocity never seems to slow down in the slightest. It may often get weird at times, and a punchline may take a moment to truly flick your funny bone, but what Arawi offers here is a treasure trove of comedy wrapped in a beautifully cartoonish package.

FINAL GRADE:

Promotional consideration provided by Tomo Tran of Vertical Comics

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