(Horribly relatable) Nerd shit.
Welcome to the review where I reveal how I have watched ALMOST NO classic films! Really, you name it! Star Wars trilogy? Indiana Jones? Terminator? Robo Cop? Back to the Future? NONE OF IT (actually I watched BttF like two years ago, but not the sequels). “Why, Terrence? Why are you a tasteless and uncultured piece of shit?” Honest answer is that my life just turned out that way. These cultural mega hits of the 70s, 80s, and even a bit of the 90s just never got viewed by me. I know a whole lot about them via cultural osmosis, but haven’t actually watched a single one… It is one of my great shames that in adulthood I’m trying to remedy. It’s not that I don’t want to see them, I just haven’t. Hey, manga! Am I right?
Obviously there’s a reason for this. Kine-san no 1-ri de Cinema (Kine-san no Hitori de Cinema, 木根さんの1人でキネマ, Kine-san’s Cinema Alone) is a comedy manga by Asai (アサイ) about an office lady who is an obnoxious movie buff (of western…well, American films). All of it you can think of? She’s got it. All the nerd joy and all the nerd rage, all the love of the beloved classics and love of schlock, as well as the very critical eye: it’s there. That’s the manga. Do I have to say any more? Probably not, but here we go!
Kine Machiko really, really likes movies, and has since she was a kid.
She works a job, pays too much on the movie theater and innumerable films, writes reviews as a hobby, and has…unique opinions.
And that’s basically the whole manga, although chapter 2 really solidifies the series by adding a second character. The best thing about this series is probably how Machiko’s not someone who simply follows the popular opinion. The series opens up with her having finished watching Terminator 3, and then getting pissed about someone who implies she hasn’t seen 2, and would like it better. Like I said, I haven’t actually sat down and seen either, but I’m pretty sure most agree that 2 is the better movie. Even Machiko says so. But! She prefers 1. This is a great introduction, because although our protagonist has an archetype (fangirl/nerd/movie buff), her own tastes are clear, so she feels like a person and not just a “pretty girl who likes movies”. That’s good, because the series is almost entirely about her. It’s also good that outside of her work, she doesn’t really hide her movie obsession and never has (though she now has unresolved angst about that, and generally moans over her regrets).
Anyway, while chapter 1 ends in a way that makes you think this might be a romance (read it, you’ll see), chapter 2 immediately takes a sharp right as we’re introduced to one of Machiko’s coworkers, Satou Mizuki.
Mizuki is the second main character, who moves in with Machiko after the events of chapter 2 despite them really only being coworkers (she has no friends). Mizuki, for a character who doesn’t talk a lot, is actually rather interesting. She’s not archetypal, and instead just really really odd. She’s kind of a pushover but not totally, she’s fairly responsible but also reliant on others/impulsive, while she seems cool-headed she’s extremely sentimental, and she’s quiet but…
She’s talking about Bad Boys II.
Mizuki is a great and fast addition to the series and her weirdness doesn’t end here. Like, since she moves in with Machiko, you’d expect the series to be about Machiko coaxing Mizuki into her hobby… Well, not really (though there are yuri-teasing moments)! Mizuki will enjoy some movies but otherwise isn’t really interested in going out of her way to watch them, let alone watch them at the movie theater. Meanwhile remember how I said Machiko is obnoxious? Well, she is, and she’s more than a bit of an asshole too.
So at least in volume 1, most chapters are about how Machiko is absurd but passionate (so, we get lots and lots of stuff about movies, in an episodic one movie per chapter sort of fashion), while some chapters add Mizuki into the mix for a sense of rationality, a different perspective, or just to be so darn surprisingly strange.
But yeah, that’s the gist of the series. The only other thing I can add is that you can count this as an ecchi series, because while the series isn’t really sexual…Asai-sensei obviously likes drawing butts.
And…yeah, it’s good! Not amazing, but it’s a good manga! I think it’s pretty much only good if you care about movies, but who knows. If you don’t like movies but do like this manga, in my eyes you’re an anomaly.
Bam! That’s it! See you in two days with — once more — a very different manga.