Sometimes you just need to take a leap of faith and that’s what I did with this manga. I saw the cover, a dapper-looking gentleman serving champaign in a tuxedo next to a penguin doing the same. I saw the title, obviously Penguin Gentlemen. And I thought, say no more, this is going in my basket right now!
I have had mixed luck with this approach in the past…
Why I Picked up Penguin Gentlemen
I just told you the whole story and be honest, you would have been tempted to do the same. It’s called Penguin Gentlemen!
The dapper staff of The Watering Hole are always eager to serve their clientele with grace and charm. But little do the patrons know that these handsome gents are actually penguins in disguise! The sharplydressed flightless birds love all that the human world offers, but as the saying goes: “You can take the penguin out of the Antarctic, but you can’t take the Antarctic out of the penguin!”*
*Not all penguins come from the Antarctic.**** Yes, this actually matters in the world of Penguin Gentlemen.
My First Impression
This is NOT what I was expecting….
What I liked
First of all, let me say that Penguin Gentlemen is a very pretty book. It’s a nice hardcover book with a full-colour semi-matt dust jacket that is resistant enough to have survived not only the shipping but also my repeated handling. The cover underneath is smooth and completely black with the title in silver relief on the spine. The first few pages are full colour and on glossy paper but unfortunately, everything else is in black and white even when they are discussing their different coloured plumage.
Ok, so I think I’ve kept you in suspense long enough. Why is Penguin Gentlemen not what I expected and in fact different from any manga I have read? Heck, I’m not even entirely sure I can call it a manga. You see, there is no story in Penguin Gentlemen, it’s a fact book about penguins.
Yeah, like what you might give to a kid that’s really into animals. It goes over the physiology, temperament, environment, diet, life stages, etc… of several different penguin species and compares them to each other. The gentlemen at the bar simply stand around and spout penguin facts in a 4koma structure. I honestly learned a whole lot and I do like penguins.
To me, this seemed like a bold and exciting risk to take. The clash between the format of the book and the content was both unexpected and refreshing.
But it is a fact book about penguins. So I feel like if you want to read a manga, this simply isn’t going to offer what you wanted. Although the information is laid out in little skits, there’s really not enough there to be entertaining unless you are interested in random penguin facts.
It’s a lot like reading Wikipedia but with little manga butlers. Which will either sound great to some of you (myself included) or kind of stupid and not interesting in the least. And honestly, I can’t judge you. It’s not for everyone.
If you know anyone that has a thing for penguins, I think Penguin Gentlemen would make a great gift. It’s a very unique sort of manga and the book itself would look great on a coffee table or shelf.