Aho-Girl – A Clueless Girl, Vol. 1

By Hiroyuki. Released in Japan by Kodansha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Bessatsu Shonen Magazine. Released in North America by Kodansha Comics. Translated by Karen McGillicuddy.

Do you know, I actually tried to research the difference between Aho and Baka as I read this? Thanks to Ranma 1/2, I think ‘baka’ is far more prominent in my mind as the default meaning for ‘stupid idiot’, and I’d assumed that ‘Aho’ was a stronger, cruder variant. Turns out it’s just regional differences – Aho is Kansai, Baka is Kanto. Whichever one you use, though, you know coming in what sort of series this is going to be. And it does not disappoint. Featuring the incredibly clueless Yoshiko and a supporting cast who seem to be her foils but turn out to be just as weird as she is, this is a series designed purely for the 4-koma format. You will laugh, you will get frustrated with the lead, you will want to strangle her and then realize that her childhood friend is already doing it. It lives up to its title – “what if Haruhi Suzumiya were an idiot and Kyon had no impulse control?” might be a good descriptor.

There’s no real plot to speak of beyond ‘high school’. Yoshiko is the titular girl, who can be defined by the title. Akkun is her perpetually angry childhood friend, who thinks he’s the tsukkomi here but in reality is just as broken and likely would be arrested for abuse if this series weren’t so silly. There *is* a straight man, fortunately, in Sayaka, a nice and sweet girl who you feel bad for for having to appear in a series like this. Other characters include Akkun’s younger sister, who also has bad grades but unlike Yoshiko just seems to have normal attention problems; Yoshiko’s highly desperate mother, who despairs of her daughter ever getting a man and is not above date raping Akkun in order to get Yoshiko to achieve this; and the as-yet-unnamed Head Monitor, who has fallen for Akkun but seems completely incapable of dealing with it like a normal person.

That last descriptor seems to apply to the series, which runs on comedy, and therefore features people missing points, doing incredibly dumb things, and making amusing faces. Yoshiko is so out there that even the neighborhood elementary school children think she needs to stop playing and study. One gets the sense that she got a lot of this from her mother – Yoshie may be my favorite character, as what seems to be just “oh, my daughter is strange and I want to fix that” gets increasingly perverse – drugging Akkun so that she can teach her daughter how to rape him would be a line one should not cross except 1) it fails immediately, and 2) it’s completely ridiculous. Technically the weak point here is Sayaka, who is the standard cute shy young thing, but the series needs SOMEONE to be the baseline, so I’m fine with her too.

I’m not sure how well this will work on a regular basis – I was already pretty worn just reading one volume. It’s the sort of series that works best in a weekly magazine – collecting it is a bit too much at once. Still, lacki9ng a weekly magazine for Kodansha, here we are, and I think it’s amusing enough to satisfy readers who like funny 4-koma series.

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  1. Aoi Yuuki is absolutely killing it as Yoshiko in the current anime adaptation of this!

  2. James Moar says

    The way I’ve heard it is that “baka” is the default and “aho” the more offensive for Kanto, while it’s reversed for Kansai. (Might be that reaching for the less common term indicates more effort being made to offend, in both cases.)

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