The Manga Guide to Electricity by Fujitaki & Matsuda

Title: The Manga Guide to Electricity

Author:Kazuhiro Fujitaki

Illustrator: Matsuda

Producer: TREND-PRO, Co., Ltd.

Translator: Arnie Rusoff

Publisher: No Starch

ISBN: 9781593271978

May Contain Spoilers

Rereko is a bit of a dunce, and that is rather unfortunate, since she lives in the futuristic city of Electopia.  Her punishment for being so obtuse?  A sentence of cramming in the backward city of Tokyo!  Will Rereko be able to crack the books and ace her makeup exam with the help of Hikaru Sensei?

I really enjoy the concept of this series of textbooks published by No Starch.  They actually make tough topics and scientific theory fun.  The illustrations and concepts are presented in a light-hearted and non-threatening way, all the better to pave the path to learning.  Rereko is a loveable nitwit, and Hikaru is a sincere and very messy scientist.  Hikaru takes Rereko’s sudden appearance in stride, and enthusiastically begins tutoring her in the mysteries and wonders of electricity.

The format of the book is as follows:  Each chapter begins with illustrated sequences of Rereko and Hikaru discussing different concepts in electrical science.  Hikaru patiently explains such subjects as electrical circuits, how electricity works, and creating electricity.  Then, prose sections delve further into the topics, explaining them in greater depth.  Useful illustrations accompany the descriptive sections, and all of the information is presented in clear and easy to understand language. 

Personally, electricity is one of my favorite scientific advancements.  It allows me to Twitter, blog, and spend too much time on the interwebz.  It feeds my air conditioner in the summer, keeps me dancing away at DDR, and illuminates my home so I can read all night long.  What is not to like about electricity?  While reading the book, I discovered that there is a lot about electricity that I didn’t know.  Learning along with Rereko was painless, and was even engaging and fun. The topics are covered with enough detail to make you feel like you are learning new and useful material, but not so deeply that you come away confused and overwhelmed.

As a textbook, I found the Manga Guide to Electricity to be engaging, organized, and easy to understand.  The comic book portions stay on topic, and other than the most basic of departures, concentrates on the topics at hand.  The sequentially illustrated portions serve to highlight the upcoming text explanations, yet still manage to give the characters personalities as they follow along with the science of electrical theory. This is a great concept, and I wish material had been presented in this fun and entertaining way when I was in school. 

Grade: B

Review copy provided by No Starch

[PR] STARTING POINT: 1979-1996 TRACES THE FIRST HALF OF THE CAREER OF FAMED ANIMATION DIRECTOR HAYAO MIYAZAKI NEW FROM VIZ MEDIA

STARTING POINT: 1979-1996 TRACES THE FIRST HALF OF THE CAREER OF FAMED ANIMATION DIRECTOR

HAYAO MIYAZAKI NEW FROM VIZ MEDIA

Comprehensive Edition Will Debut As Miyazaki’s Latest Animated Film Hits Theatres In North America This Summer 

San Francisco, CA, July 17, 2009 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced the publication of the first of a new collection of essays, interviews, memoirs and manga from legendary animation director, Hayao Miyazaki, titled STARTING POINT: 1979-1996. STARTING POINT: 1979-1996 has an estimated street date of August 4th and will carry an MSRP of $29.99 US and $34.99 Canada.

The book will cover the first-half of Miyazaki’s legendary career, during which he rose from humble beginnings to create some of the most seminal animated features ever made, including Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind, Castle In The Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Porco Rosso, as well as his launch of Studio Ghibli. A fitting introduction is offered by John Lasseter, the Chief Creative Officer at Pixar and Walt Disney. Ponyo is Miyazaki’s newest feature film and will be released by Walt Disney in North America this August.

Hayao Miyazaki is one of the world’s most beloved animation directors. In September 2005 he was awarded the Venice International Film Festival’s Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement, and his Studio Ghibli received the Festival’s Osella Award for overall achievement in 2004. His notable films include Spirited Away, winner of the 2002 Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature Film, as well as Princess Mononoke and Howl’s Moving Castle, all of which have received tremendous acclaim in the U.S. Miyazaki’s other achievements include the highly regarded manga series NAUSICAÄ OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND, which is also published domestically by VIZ Media (rated ‘T’ for Teens). VIZ Media also publishes many other Hayo Miyazaki books including the for CASTLE IN THE SKY, HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE, SPIRITED AWAY, PRINCESS MONONOKE and more. VIZ Media also publishes many of Hayo Miyazaki’s beautiful and engaging Art Books and Picture Books.

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