License request day: Karechi

Have I mentioned how much I prefer rail travel to the indignities of air travel? Have I mentioned how annoyed I get that there are so few rail options in my region of the country?

I’m certain I’ve mentioned how much I like comics about travel. I know there’s ample evidence that I like episodic, slice-of-life manga and would like to read more of it.

So it should come as no surprise that I’m very interested in a series called Karechi, written and illustrated by Kunihiko Ikeda and currently running in Kodansha’s Weekly Morning.

It’s set in the late 1960s and stars a conductor on the then-new high-speed rail line between Osaka and Tokyo. It’s about how Kenji Ogino helps individual passengers, and it’s also about how high-speed rail changed Japan. All evidence indicates that it’s nostalgic in tone, which is another plus for me. And you can even buy a reproduction of the lead character’s uniform.

Isn’t that dapper? I probably couldn’t walk through the club car on a moving train without it ending up looking like tie-dye, but that doesn’t diminish the uniform’s old-school elegance.

Now, I live in a country where governors actually turn down huge amounts of money to develop rail systems for reasons too baffling to credit. (My personal theory is that these governors’ oil-company overlords are petrified that people might actually use these rail systems instead of filling up their cars with gasoline.) But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a few volumes of comics about rail systems, does it?

It probably means exactly that, doesn’t it?