HomeComics/MangaMANGA REVIEW | "Show-ha Shoten!" - Volume Three

MANGA REVIEW | "Show-ha Shoten!" - Volume Three

MANGA REVIEW | "Show-ha Shoten!" - Volume Three

What can be considered funny in one country might not work someplace else. The concept of manzai comedy may come from the same roots as Abbott & Costello and Martin & Lewis, but humor in the West has moved on from that era. It’s what makes comedy a tricky thing in Japan, as a citizen can easily laugh as a duo like Downtown, but fall silent at the sight of a Ron Funches or Randy Feltface. Perhaps this is what makes Show-Ha Shoten! a tough read for those unfamiliar with the manzai style. For those who are, Volume Three showcases just how much of a challenge putting on a bit can be.

Azemichi and Taiyo are getting prepared for their performance at the Wara-1 Koshien Preliminaries. But within their group are two comedy powerhouses. The first is Sprechchor, a duo that have become well-known to them as friendly rivals. But on the other side is a duo whose style is a little different from other manzai performers: Kirameki Confections. As the performances wind down, Azemichi and Taiyo do their best to figure out which skit could give them the biggest wave of laughter.

Much of Volume Three of Show-Ha Shoten! focuses on the performances and origins of Sprechchor and Kirameki Confections. It gives readers a better chance to see what makes both of these duos tick, on top of showcase their motivation to get into comedy. Although Sprechchor aims to make the world laugh, Kirameki Confections has one person in mind that they’d like to see bowl over with laughter. How they aim to do that differs, as both find different ways to deliver comedy.

Where Volume Two focused on the science of comedy, Volume Three is all about the strategy. Comedy competitions can be tricky, as the contestants have no idea what the other performers have in store. As such, creating a strategy to win against someone who creates one wave of laughter after another is next-to-impossible. But as we see in both Azemichi and Taiyo, they still do their best to find what could work in the audience.

While Sprechchor’s routine is familiar to readers, seeing them turn the tables on one another was a good surprise. Very rarely do you see the straight man and the funny man switch roles, so doing such a thing winds up properly taking the audience aback. As for Kirameki Confections, one judge points out that what they’re doing is more physical-based comedy than manzai. However, a good point is made over its presentation, with a strong comparison to cooking contests and taste.

Finally, it’s time for Azemichi and Taiyo to shine. Their bit takes a page out of both Sprechchor and Kirameki Confections’s books, going on both traditional and untraditional routes. The timing is good, and the audience is easily eating up what they’re doing. But then, just when the crescendo of punchlines is about to be delivered, one of the worst things that can happen onstage occurs…

If you are not familiar with manzai comedy, then Show-Ha Shoten! might be a tough read. With that being said, how they dive deep into how humor works is something that I’ve never seen any sort of medium do before. Explaining a joke is said to be the worst thing a comedian can do (unless you’re Jimmy Carr, who sometimes does it with funny context), but Show-Ha Shoten! doesn’t explain the joke; it explains its process. For that reason alone, this manga has become a great guide for anyone who dreams of doing stand-up comedy.


Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt of VIZ Media.

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)