Mameshiba on the Loose!
written by James Turner and Gemma Correll
illustrated by Jorge Monlongo
As the second book in the Mameshiba series, Mameshiba on the Loose is very different from the first one. The first, Meet Mameshiba!, is a mixture of comics, puzzles, and trivia. In Mameshiba on the Loose, it’s all comics.
Instead of being one story, it’s split up into several stories and a few “Mameshiba Shorts” between them. The “Mameshiba Shorts” are each a page long and are more of a cute scene than any kind of a story.
The first story, “Journey to the Center of the Sink,” is split into two parts, separated by a “Short.” The bean dog characters are actually the size of beans, and one of them ends up in the sink drain. The others, believing he has been kidnapped, send a few of their own into the unknown dangers of the drain in order to get him back. While searching, the bean dogs have to face “Mutant Sewer Chickens.” Don’t ask. This book can be quite random, often for the sake of humor.
The second story, “Beans in Space,” was my favorite. It opens with a Star Trek spoof as several of the bean dogs pretend to be in outer space, only to have their daydream ruined by Lentil, who thinks their make-believe game is silly. Lentil is the know-it-all brainiac of the bunch and bores the other bean dogs about what space is really like. But that gets them all talking and they decide to go to outer space for real. In no time at all, they’re on the moon, then Mars (don’t look for scientific accuracy).
And of course there are the “Shorts”: “Learning Japanese with the Jelly Beans,”
“Pistachio with a Heart” and “How to be a Winner! with Cranberry Bean.” The first one teaches a little bit of Japanese, a nod to the fact that the Mameshiba originated in Japan, though VIZ’s books are American-made. English is their first language and they read left-to-right, not right-to-left as you’d expect with manga.
There are quite a few different bean dogs, but the opening two pages give pictures and brief descriptions of each. We get to know some of the bean dogs better than others, since only a few of them have really been able to show their personality. But with so many bean dogs and such random storylines, there’s sure to be plenty more to come.-- Danica Davidson