Ryoko is just your average high schooler--IF you can overlook the fact that he's a Manga character (yes, really) trying to adapt to and live in our world.
When a mysterious rift appears between Ryoko's world and ours, Ryoko is sucked through--along with some nasty monsters. He quickly falls head-over-heels with Marissa Montaigne, a pretty classmate with a jealous ex problem. As the two become friends, then more than friends, they begin to learn about each other's worlds. This is depicted with the switching back and fourth from, and sometimes blending of, Manga and western styles of artwork. Despite their differences, and the disapproval of friends and family, these two manage to make things work. The ending, although predictable, is nothing if not satisfying.
Although I typically don't read novel-length comic books, preferring instead stories with an exponentially larger print-over-graphics ratio (all the better to use my imagination with, my dears), I happily dug into Mangaman when it was handed to me by a coworker. I was pleasantly, and appreciatively, surprised. There's drama, there's romance, there's some serious weirdness, there's well-done artwork... But there's also a decidedly strange and unique plot (where the afore-mentioned serious weirdness comes in) that's like something straight out of a made for the Sci-Fi Channel movie. Totally awesome!
The overall: Not sure how well-received this one will be with patrons. The shameless mixing of the two genres/styles could alienate both Otaku and fans of western-style comics. Or it could fascinate them both so much we can't even keep the book on the shelf. As a fangirl of neither, but an appreciator of both, I say this: Like Marissa daring to befriend Ryoko, give Mangaman a chance. You might discover something incredibly cool. I know did! --AJB