Suppli 1 by Mari Okazaki: A-

From the back cover:
The skies are always clearer after a storm…

After her boyfriend of seven years dumps her, Minami realizes she’s shut out everything else in her life. Now, at twenty-seven years old, ambitious Minami throws herself into her advertising job and experiences life—and love—for the first time.

From Mari Okazaki, the edgy, provocative author of Sweat & Honey, comes a tale of rediscovering love.

I’ve read a small amount of josei before, but this is the first time I’ve read any that featured a woman in the workplace. I definitely like it!

When Minami’s boyfriend breaks up with her, she realizes she has no friends, and so instead throws herself into the only thing in her life—her job at an advertising agency. Gradually, her eyes open to the people around her, and she gets to know them. Two of her male coworkers are also interested in her, one who kind of ineptly pines around and says the wrong thing all the time and another who has suffered his own heartbreak and attracts Minami by virtue of his neediness.

The developing relationships are interesting, and though it seems Minami makes the wrong choice in feeling more drawn to the not-really-over-his-ex coworker, it still makes perfect sense why she would, and I look forward to seeing how that plays out. The actual occupational stuff itself gets a little repetitive—lots of clients not liking their ad campaigns and requiring rewrites—but does bring about an excellent two-page layout in which Minami, who has just had a bunch of hard work go to waste, sprawls on a breakroom chair in utter exhaustion.

Minami also struggles to balance what it means to be a professional—stay motivated, make the impossible possible—and what it means to be a woman. I like seeing a protagonist ponder that issue, though it’s rather unfortunate that she thinks the role of a woman is “to be cute.” Granted, it’s not wrong to want to attract a guy, and it makes sense that it’d be on her mind since she’s trying to avoid the spinsterly state of one of her coworkers, but the feminist in me kind of cringes all the same.

Suppli (pronounced with an ‘ee’ sound at the end, rather than like “supply”) is still running in Japan and is up to seven volumes. The first three have been published in English by TOKYOPOP, but it is doubtful whether the series will continue to be released in the wake of that company’s financial difficulties. An anticipated October release date for the fourth volume came and went with no sign of the book. It will be a real shame if the series is discontinued, as there’s a lamentable dearth of this kind of manga in our market.

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  1. Oh, this sounds interesting! I’m sad to hear it probably won’t be continued!


  1. […] to me! At soliloquy in blue, Michelle Smith dips her toe into josei waters with her review of vol. 1 of Suppli. Nadia Oxford has some good things to say about vol. 1 of The Mysterians at Ferdinand […]

  2. […] a quick summary from the lovely Michelle Smith: “When Minami’s boyfriend breaks up with her, she realizes she has no friends, and so […]

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