On A Roll With Meme Higashiya’s Recorder and Satchel


Recorder and Randsell shows how to navigate the world with enthusiasm regardless of our perceived handicaps.


Laughter is a common event at a comedy concert. People are expected to laugh at jokes, even the awkward, unfunny ones. However, laughing when reading a book can sometimes feel like peeing in a bush next to a family park. You are always guarded and alert, hoping no one sees you. Unfortunately, if you find yourself in a public, reading a book with a well-handled humour, propriety and decorum may be the first thing out of the window as you belt out in laughter like a pack of hyenas. In some ways, reading Recorder and Randsell is like that - I can count a few times when I’ve snickered out loud on the public bus, putting my fellow commuters in an anxious state. 
Recorder and Randsell focuses on Atsumi and Atsushi, a sister and her younger brother, who are quite close and love to do things together, like going to school, baking, etc. The unusual thing about the siblings is that the younger brother, who is 180cm tall, is astonishingly in the 5th grade (equivalent of a class for 10-12 year olds). While the sister, is just 130cm tall is a high school sophomore. 
Capture4With his absurd height (for someone is 5th grade), Atsushi keeps getting into awkward situations both in and out of school. For example, he does get regularly pulled out by the police who mistakes him for paedophile whenever they see him with his classmates.  He also gets attention from amorous women who mistakes his height and good looks for maturity.
Atsumi, on the other hand, gets lots of grief from her juniors in school who thinks she's a 10 year old genius who got catapulted into a higher class. Also, when in an altercation with her younger brother, Atsumi physically finds it difficult to restrain Atsushi and as a result gets dragged all over the place.
Both brother and sister are aware of their unique situation and sometimes use it to gain unfair advantage over other people. It is clear that they have learnt to master this situation and thrive in spite of it.
Recorder and Randsell is funny and the art is lovely. The unusual panel arrangement can be a bit disorientating at first, but it does not take long to get used to it. Most importantly, Recorder and Randsell is a good example for me, of how to navigate the world with enthusiasm regardless of our perceived handicaps.
Recorder and Randsell is written by Meme Higashiya and published by Takeshobo (September 01, 2015)
Many thanks to Takeshobo for review copy. All images are © to their respective owners.


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