A comedy manga following the escapades of Maoko, a strange girl who lives in a laundromat, prone to scaring customers by jumping out on them from the dryer. Each chapter follows Maoko and a variety of other characters who frequent her laundromat, and often revolve around an aspect of life, from Christmas to job hunting to getting a pet and more.
Coin Laundry no Onna is a humorous, gag-based series that follows the life and times of Maoko, a Sadako-like girl who receives much pleasure in scaring the customers of her laundromat.
The manga is presented in an episodic fashion, with each chapter following Maoko and the supporting cast through a variety of different misadventures and aspects of life. The chapters range in length, with the shortest only four pages long. The author doesn't allow the manga much breathing room, with each plot proceeding at a lightning-fast pace, but such is the nature of a gag-based series. Comedy is the sole genre, with the author churning out
the laughs in quick succession. The humour itself is outrageous (not so dissimilar to the likes of Gintama and Cromartie High School); it's both well implemented and superbly executed, allowing the manga to stay at an enjoyable level throughout. One may wish the manga had more substance, but it's simply not the avenue the author was going for. Instead, Hiro Kiyohara presents a quick-fire comedy series that doesn't dwindle; each chapter is distinct from the next and above all else, they're enjoyable.
The artwork ranges throughout; the first chapter has noticeably more detail than the subsequent additions, with Maoko's design taking a bit of a hit later on. Still, in the larger frames, chapter introductions and page spreads, Hiro Kiyohara often delivers to a very high standard, with Maoko's horror reenactments and scare tactics being of particular note. But a number of scenes do come across as simplistic; lacking in background and detail.
The characters - Maoko in particular - are the life and soul of the series. Since humour takes precedent over any sort of depth or development, they're generally rather one dimensional, but remain consistently enjoyable, captivating and loveable throughout. Maoko is a wonderful enigma and ever-interesting to follow, and while the rest of the cast are very stereotypical, the comedy offers them life and enthusiasm. Still, it would have been nice to have a more involved and firmly established cast. Certain character traits - and even some characters in chapter fives case, which features none of the recurring personalities, but instead introduces a separate cast who are never seen again - come and go like a tumbleweed in the wind. Authors of manga such as School Rumble and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei successfully delve into their characters while maintaining a steady flow of comedy, but unfortunately Coin Laundry no Onna's length doesn't allow it the same privilege.
The manga's length is what prevents it from standing out; given more time and substance, I can't help but feel the series would have come into its own. Nevertheless, Coin Laundry no Onna is an enjoyable compilation of outrageous comedic situations, with wonderful characters and many stand-out segments. It's a marvellous read; I just wish there was more.
I figured with only 19 chapters, it should be a pretty easy read. I also really like gag comics (I can read the Azumanga Daioh comic over and over and still laughing at it) so I figured I could I would get a few chuckles here and there.
Boy, was I wrong. Well, that’s slightly exaggerating. There were moments in the manga where Maoko-san (the girl on the cover) would display otaku behavior (mostly building Gundams and figurines) and the chapter where Glasses-kun and Maoko-san play a demo game with Haru reacting towards everything; but other than that, it’s bland.
There’s a female character named Haru Tanaka
– she’s a college student who’s living on her own. However, she holds a secret; she’s her sempai’s stalker. She even went as far as breaking into his place and stole his glasses.
And then there’s her sempai, who actually rarely appears in the manga. There’s a man who lives in wall, a Do-M type whose name literally means “Yakuza boss”, and his son – Oji, who is Haru’s stalker.
There’s a strange looking dog that constantly fights with Maoko-san but that’s about it. There are other random characters here and there but this is mostly about Maoko-san and Haru and their silly adventures.
Of course, as far as gag comics go, this is one that’s really boring. Maoko-san is entertaining so at least it’s not a complete borefest. The first two chapters were pretty good at introducing both Haru and, well, Glasses-kun. I can’t really remember his name but it’s really not even worth bothering to remember.
To be honest, I’m not sure why Haru keeps going back to Maoko-san other than “plot” convenience (the usual laundromat is closed down because of renovations but Haru doesn’t even do laundry anyway except a few mentions here and there). And yes, I’m using the term plot very, very loosely.
The genre says it has supernatural elements and, I guess? There are certainly things that can’t be explained – especially why the hell is Maoko-san living in the washing machines and dryers? Even for a gag comic, it’s kind of … contrived. I shouldn’t put too much thought in this only because it really is just take everything in literal face value. There are moments where it’s like, “Whoa”, but it gets ruined anyway with its consistently poor punchlines or just the general unfunnyness to me.
Slice of life? What slice of life? There are nice moments between Haru and Maoko-san (especially during the Christmas segment where the two just hang out with each other on Christmas Eve).
Comedy in the manga is very debatable. As I mentioned before, there’s a few “heh” moments. Basically, moments where you just let out a small noise; it doesn’t really have to be “heh” exactly but it’s just an acknowledgment that it got something out of you besides just silence.
I feel I would like it more if they kept Haru, you know, not a stalker. If she was a normal, regular person, then I can see how her reactions could be funny (I actually kind of like that humor anyway); but I feel like as a stalker, she really shouldn’t be commenting about how strange Maoko-san or, really, anyone is when she’s constantly stalking her sempai. Not even Oji could save this manga and he was an annoying little shit. There was no reason for him to exist, really. I get the joke is that his dad is named “Yakuza boss” and his means “prince”. Eh, I guess it would have been better if there was a better way to tell this joke or present it.
If there’s anything I did like about this manga, if at all, is the art. I really love this kind of style! If Kiyohara had recruited a writer for this, I actually can see this as being a legitimate series about a woman living in a laundromat with supernatural beings existing. I’m assuming he was just like “fuck it” and drew this for a quick buck. I actually do hope I can come across some manga from him again, only with an actual story and not as try-hard.
That really is the ultimate problem with this manga. It tries so hard to be funny, edgy, or whatever that it either does it way too much or it’s just barely there. I zoomed through most of the chapters because I was honestly trying to figure out what was going on but just decided to give up on it; it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. These are only 19 chapters with 19 short stories about a strange group of people and a lady scaring the shit out of people in the laundromat she lives in.