I was intrigued by Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san the instant I found out about it. You see, before I came to Right Stuf, I worked in a comic shop for over a decade. When I found out about a semi-autobiographical manga about the travails of a fellow book-slinger, I had to add it to my reading list immediately. Let me tell you, this book is scarily accurate.
The book revolves around Honda-san, a hard-working clerk in the manga department of a large bookstore. It focuses on the day-to-day problems he has to deal with on a typical workday, and in his eyes, he’s practically crushed by them regularly. Many of the book’s chapters focus on his issue with language barriers, struggling to figure out what books his international customers are looking for. Others deal with challenges like good suggestions in genres he doesn’t follow, keeping hot titles out on the shelves and even just smiling more when working.
That last one shouldn’t be too hard, though, if you think about the title of the book. Honda portrays himself as a skeleton to both protect his anonymity and add a nice layer of surrealism. All of his coworkers, as well as other industry folks, are portrayed with masks or otherwise odd heads, adding to the off-kilter atmosphere of the book.
The art style is loose but detailed, and it does an impressive job of conveying emotions through Honda. He finds a way to make a skeleton relatable, managing to create expressions without having the help of eyes, lips, or any of the typical face bits, for that matter.
Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san is a relatable, hilarious look at retail life. Those that have done the work will get a lot of empathy from Honda’s struggle, and those that haven’t will hopefully feel some compassion for the hardships customer service presents. This book is going straight to my employee picks!
Honda might be a skeleton, but that's nowhere near as crazy as working in a Japanese bookstore! Whether it's running the store, dealing with out-of-print books, or handling eccentric customers, the bookstore life is filled with laughter and tears.Add to CartLearn More