Jiro Sakana works at the Tsukiji Fish Market at his uncle’s stall with his brother, Taro. For two years, Jiro has pined over the cute cashier at the next stall over. And now, he’s finally worked up the nerve to ask her out. Everything is going according to plan… until his brother, their roommate Taisei, and co-worker Yuudai, decide to tag along. All Jiro wants is to go on a decent date for once in his life and to finally learn Cute Cashier Girl’s name. But life is never normal at the Tsukiji Market, especially when Jiro finally learns her name.
Written and drawn by Mad Rupert, who studied abroad in Japan, Sakana is based on the actual Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market. Being slice-of-life, the action within the comic is slow; the comic has been live since 2010, but within the comic’s timeline, only a few days have passed. But the longevity of the comic rests squarely on character interactions and development. The four main characters (Jiro, Taro, Taisei, and Yuudai), balance well as a group of friends who are handling life day-by-day. The supporting characters enrich the story, showing the colorful characters that inhabit the fish market, forming a small community in the unlikeliest of places. Emotion is well conveyed, as Rupert isn’t afraid to have her characters get into arguments and experience discomfort.
Rupert mainly uses black and white inks for her drawings, although she sometimes uses color. Her art resembles Western cartoons the most, but with a Japanese influence, befitting the story content. As a realism story, the characters have little exaggeration, similar to most Western cartoons in anatomy proportion, but the emotional expressions have a Japanese influence. The backgrounds are highly detailed, creating an enclosed world where the characters live and work.
Sakana is a slice-of-life comedy about a boy, a girl, and fish. Read it at Sakana-comic.com.