Cover Image: Weeaboo

Weeaboo

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.

This graphic novel is one of the most strangely undeveloped books I think I have ever read. There are excellent set-ups for a real discussion about issues like racism in geek culture/otaku culture, the fetishization of Japanese people and cultures, and the negative aspects of "model minority" stereotypes but non of them are fully realized. 

There is only one real comment made on each of the topics, but none of them make an impact on the characters or story. They only make one comment on Maya's fetishization of Asian culture and how she treats her Japanese friend, but by the end of the novel, they are all agreed that being a weeaboo is a beautiful thing. Nothing in these books is out of the reality of how high school weeaboos act, but having said that the story is going to strike true for people who at this point would be old enough to not act like that anymore (hopefully). It felt closer to how conventions and weebs acted when I was in high school about 10 years ago. 

I did very much enjoy the art style. There were wild inconsistencies in depictions of characters that made it a little difficult to keep track of who was who, but the watercolors were gorgeous and I personally really like the kind of wild sketchy style the artist went for. The cover photos for the start of each of the chapters were particularly cool, some of them reminding me of the style of Yoshitaka Amano (old final fantasy art). 

I wouldn't go as far as to say there were issues with the pacing, the pacing was good for the story that was written. It's just that the story was not great in itself. I don't think I would order this title for my library purely because I would not know who our audience for the book would be.
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I really tried to like Weeaboo, because its message of belonging and strong LGBTQ+ potential. But the super strange (and at times ugly in my humble opinion) art style and mostly unconnected "plot" completely ruined it for me.
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I wasn't really hooked by the characters and the story, but it had pretty cute artwork, and I think those younger than me could really enjoy this book.
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Beautifully illustrated book about three teens navigating their family lives, identities, friendships, and fandom. An otaku love letter to cosplay and conventions that shows how pretending to be someone else can help you discover who you really are. Highly recommended!
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Weeaboo by Alissa M. Salah.
Super cute illustration but somewhat confusing. I had a hard time with the storyline but my 13 year old son loved it...

I received this digital copy to give my honest review in Netgalley. Thank you to the author and publishers for allowing me to review books for my honest opinion.
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Weeaboo by Alissa M. Sallah is a story about friendship and being enthusiastic about anime, comic books and cosplaying. This has definitely a very different take and pop from any other graphic novels I've read before which definitely makes it unique and interesting in its own way.
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Book Title: Weeaboo

Author: Alissa M. Sallah

Genre: YA, Graphic Novel, Coming of Age

Publish Date & Publisher: 17 November 2021, Oni Press

*Note: I received an advanced copy of Weeaboo from NetGalley in return for an honest review*

Weeaboo is a graphic novel that follows three 18-year-olds (James, Maya(ko) and Dan) in their final year of highschool and their lives as they make costumes (cosplay) for the upcoming anime convention.

Firstly I will say the art style is unique and quite jarring at times. It took me a bit to get used to. Also there were a lot of embarrassing reminders of my dark past reflected in the actions of Maya which many who enjoyed anime in their teens will also be able to recoil at. 

Past the cringe moments and anime references, however, are strong reflections on racism, cultural appropriation, sexism, and the effects of overbearing parents.

James' story focuses mainly on his anxieties around being unable to meet the academic expectations of his mother, and the resulting insecurity that comes with them. James faces casual racism from classmates and his own friends due to his Japanese heritage but the main focus of James' arc is him trying to find himself through cosplay while working at a sushi restaurant and trying to decide what he wants to do with his life. 

I feel James has the most airtime throughout the book. I was a bit disappointed that despite cultural appropriation and anti Asian racism being highlighted throughout his arc there isn't much confrontation between it and James other than an offhand comment to Maya about her being a Weeaboo and one blow-up about not being the smart Asian stereotype. In fact the most disappointing thing about James' arc is that there was no conversation with Maya about her actions and how it affected him. 

Maya's story focuses on her love of Lolita fashion and the pressure on her to conform to European beauty standards from both online haters and her own family. Maya deals with this pressure by creating an online persona of a Versailles noble lady called "Mayako" and projecting deeply into her favourite anime and imagining her and her friends as the main characters.

Maya's arc was probably my favourite. While being the least confrontational it was the most deeply personal and she handled her problems mostly by herself. By the end of the novel she begins to accept her natural beauty and slowly reject European beauty standards and the idea that Lolitas can't be black. Slowly she will become her truest self and I think that is beautiful. I must say though I was disappointed that her crush in Dan was never revealed or discussed.

Dan's (Danielle) story is a more confusing arc to interpret. I've seen people say it was an allegory on transitioning and Dan transitions at the end. I myself saw Dan's arc as the battle of a gender nonconforming woman against sexism in her acting career and relationships. 

Dan desperately wants to play the main male lead in the school's play and begins to date her friend and fellow actor André, however things soon turn sour when André's actions towards her change as he attempts to 'be the gentleman to her lady' and the school, only seeing her audition for the male lead as a joke, casts André as the male lead and Dan as the female lead. Dan also feels the weight of responsibility and expectations for being put on a pedestal as both a talented actor and courageous person. The stress leads to her breaking up with André and withdrawing from her friends. Dan's resolution results in a newfound freedom and courage within herself.

Overall I enjoyed this book (once I got past the art and cringe moments) a lot. I'm looking forward to seeing the final published product in November when I will likely secure myself a hardcopy to enjoy again.

7/10
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This comic was okay. However it was really confusing at some points and I didn’t really connect to the characters and the story and i really had to push myself to finish it. The art was okay! I haven’t seen anything like it before, I did not really like the colors and the proportions were off, but some people might like it!  It just wasn’t for me.
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This is a tough one for me to review. I think the comic has some important things to say about the thin line between otaku fandom and appropriation/low-key racism, and although it starts that conversation, it also ends up trailing off before it finishes its argument. The art swings back and forth between being quite lovely and somewhat difficult to look at, page to page and even panel to panel, to the point that I occasionally couldn't wait to get to the end so I could just stop. A good pick for school libraries where there are definitely teens who need to see other kids with hobbies and dreams like theirs, but not a book that I'll be buying for the collection at my public library.
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Thanks to Oni Press for the e-Arc of Weeaboo. 

If you're a huge fan of anime, mangas, cosplay, this graphic novel is for you. This is so cool and the drawings are really specials. It was a great moment of reading. A story about friendship, love and passion. This was cute !
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Firstly I want to thank Netgalley and Oni Press for giving me the chance to read this ARC for an honest review. This. Graphic. Novel. I am blown away still just by how beautiful the art was and how it automatically dragged you in. Some of the most beautiful art I’ve seen in awhile. The stories behind each character were so heart-wrenching that I did tear up a few times. The author explained family troubles and self troubles so well. Showing that friends always come back together and learning to love yourself in the end made this book as good as it was.
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The layout made the story confusing.
I didn’t get the characters’ ethnicity from the illustrations.
It took me a while to realise that James and his sister were different people.
Interesting social issues were raised but not fully addressed.
Romances were hinted at but not resolved.
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C/W: Racism, homophobia, transphobia, neglectful parenting/parental abuse, discussions surrounding cultural appropriation. 

Overall, a surprisingly fresh 4.5 star read.

Weeaboo is a story that draws from a very specific set of anime/manga during the early to late 2000s and is set in a small town. 

It took me a while to consolidate what I thought of my reading experience of Weeaboo. So I'll start with the most obvious point that might come under criticism: which is the art style. I think many readers might not pick up this work purely because the art style isn't something they would gravitate toward. However, I think there is something nostalgic about the use of this particular art style (combined with other styles when describing anime or manga). This style reminded me of the anime figures most people draw when they get enamoured by anime for the first time and (while I may be overthinking its use) it was a brilliant way to showcase the love the characters had for the medium as a whole.

The story deals with a lot of issues I see pop up in small towns. So topics like poverty, racism, cultural appropriation and queerphobia were set behind a backdrop of three friends preparing to go to an anime convention in cosplay at the end of their senior year. While the story may feel disjointed at times, I really think it did a great job with veering back to this idea that these three (very different) individuals are friends and need each other because anime/manga for each of them provides an escape (and fantasy) their reality doesn't offer. 

I don't think this work is for everyone, but in the hands of certain readers, it is a story that lingers in an almost painfully realistic way. We see these characters grow up, discover themselves and test the boundaries of their friendship in the course of a year. Overall, a surprisingly fresh 4.5 star read.

Thank you to Oni Press and NetGalley from providing me with a free e-arc to review.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Oni Press for a free advanced copy in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

This graphic novel illustrates an essential part of growing up in high-school, where friends bond together over a shared love of anime. It is authentic and inspires the reader to express themselves, whilst touching upon issues of appropriation through anime and cosplay. The art style is slick and beautifully painted in watercolour, and really helps to give life to the characters.

The story is somewhat lacking in development - this isn't a particular issue, but I would like to see a sequel to wrap up plotlines and develop character arcs further. I can almost see this feature as a mini-series as the characters develop. It is an enjoyable read that many fans of YA literature and anime/manga alike will relate to. I could see this on the shelves in my library!
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Thank you to Netgalley and Oni Press for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

1.5 stars

Nope! I didn't enjoy either the story or the artwork, it was depressing and sometimes it got incoherent. I'm generous with my 1.5 stars here. Also, I really didn't like the characters. I won't say more because it is going to be just bad critiques. Good luck for a better work in the future.
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I was hooked by the synopsis of the comic and had high hopes but was extrememly disappointed by the content. The story was very lackluster, the character struggles were not presented in a profound  and meaningful way but rather glossed over.

I didn't particularly care for the drawing style either. It was choppy and inconsistent to the point that it became ridiculously offputting.

Would not reccomend this graphic novel.
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This graphic novel was entertaining to the reader. and you could definitely read it in one sitting. This was a graphic novel where we follow a group of friends and their journey in school. All of these friends have something in common but, not all of their parents agree. I feel like the plotline was halfway thought out and the ending was left somewhat on a cliffhanger. There definitely could be a sequel published in the future but, i'm not sure I would read it. I felt like this book was decent but, there was something missing.
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I wish I could say I enjoyed this book, but instead it was just your average forgettable teen drama. It glazes over the issues like sexual identity, racism, cultural appropriation, and forced stereotypes. 
I was hoping for a more in depth look at each of them coming to terms with their own identities, but it never gets beyond the surface of the character's issues. I think the potential was there, but none of the topics ever got addressed in a meaningful way the character development was minimal to almost nonexistent.   

It was somewhat confusing to follow and the artwork was inconsistent throughout.  Everything rang kind of hollow.
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I enjoyed this book, but wasn't thrilled.  It was very confusing at the beginning and I felt the character development was weak.  I know many reviewers liked the artwork, but it didn't appeal to me.  It seemed a bit sloppy.  

The general plotline about these kids growing up and spreading their wings was sweet, but the relationships between the characters could have been fleshed out more.  

I shared this with my 14-year-old son who loves all things anime and manga and he couldn't finish it.  He said it did not keep his attention.  I tend to agree with him.

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC!
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I feel like valid criticism and issues of the anime community were brought up, but it just wasn’t handled in a good way, or at least in a way that made the story interested. I felt bombarded by the issues and conflicts, but none of the solutions made me satisfied. I think this graphic novel can benefit greatly from more explanation and set up into the characters and their issues, and maybe one to two more volumes.
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