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Review: ‘Satoko and Nada’ Volume 1

Satoko and Nada

Satoko and Nada Volume 1
by Yupechika with script advisor Marie Nishimori
Seven Seas Entertainment, $12.99

Satoko is a Japanese woman attending college in the United States. Nada is from Saudi Arabia, covers her hair, and practices Islam. Each of the single-page, four-panel comic strips in Satoko and Nada captures a bit of their everyday life as they room together and learn more about each other.

Obviously well-meaning — the English-language publisher promoted the title as showing how friendship builds “mutual respect” — the book is also quite entertaining. These two young women are realistic, talking about what they wear or sharing food traditions and dishes. Many strips explain details of Muslim behavior. One thought-provoking sequence features the two and their new friend, a Christian named “Miracle”, comparing religious beliefs, with the others surprised by Satoko’s polytheism and kind-of Buddhism.

Satoko and Nada Volume 1

The one false note is an early storyline (unusual for this mostly episodic series) in which Satoko gets in a car with a stranger. The temporary danger/action staging doesn’t fit well with the rest of the book, although it does demonstrate how they care for and look out for each other.

This is a comfortable, easy read, with plenty of good-hearted humor. It was originally serialized online, explaining the basic art and simplified figures, which adds to the series’ approachability. A special story at the end of the book shows why Nada wanted a roommate and how they met. Satoko and Nada is a great way to learn about other ways of everyday life.

Johanna About Johanna

Johanna Draper Carlson has been reviewing comics for over 20 years. She manages, the longest-running independent review site online that covers all genres of comic books, graphic novels, and manga. She has an MA in popular culture, studying online fandom, and was previously, among many other things, webmaster for DC Comics. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

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