Tuesday, April 28, 2015

MISC. MANGA, *Tea Club

This manga-styled webcomic created by Phuong-Mai Bui-Quang was first printed in single-issue format through Icarus Publishing, who are mostly known for publishing hentai manga, but this was a non-hentai mini-series released in five issues. It was later printed into a trade paperback featuring most of the material from the mini-series, as well as some additional material not featured in original print run.

In a version of Earth where a race of cat-people exist on an island of Japan, Hana Neko is a catgirl that came to an American college as an exchange student, and has a serious love of tea. After finding out that there's a tea club on campus, Hana decides to join it, but is surprised to discover that it is run by a talking bear called Mr. Bear. Unlike Hana, he is not an anthropomorphoid, but Mr. Bear is well versed in the art of tea as a form of combat. Hana gets coaxed into joining up with Mr. Bear when her love interest Kei is brought into a love triangle between herself and her college's rival tea club president Atsuko. This leads to a climactic ring fight between Hana and Atsuko.

The comic was laid out pretty well, with clever writing and cute artwork, with a special prelude shown at the end of the first issue. The comic spawned off a special Tea Club "doujinshi" graphic novel titled Tea Party, both this and the trade paperback through the creator's company of Pandaline. The original series from Icarus is available from some comics collectors, but you might want to just get the first trade paperback along with the fifth issue of the comic to get the full printed version of the webcomic.

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