Webcomic Wednesday: A Review of Sakana

Jeannette Mooney ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer


Story and Art by Madeline Rupert.

It is commonly known to anyone who reads enough webcomics that even the most dedicated creator can spend years on story arcs that would take just six months in a serialized comic. The comic Sakana, by Madeline Rupert, is one such example.  Sakana started on Deviant and eventually migrated over to Hiveworks. At the time that this article has been published, its second volume has just finished a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Sakana is about the lives of a group of people working at the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. The main character, Jiro Sakana, is a fish salesman who manages to work up the courage to ask the beautiful and enigmatic Chie, who works at the stall across from him, on a date (despite his fear of the opposite sex). Meanwhile, Jiro’s protective older brother, best friend, and hated coworker decides to tag along to his first date in secret.

Niro and Chie’s relationship, and those of the other characters, develop through humorous situations and hijinks. Rupert conveys her story through comic-strip format pages that are reminiscent of Sunday morning funnies one would find in a newspaper. Unlike many of the comics that use this strip format, however, Sakana is much more plot heavy (though it is a plot that takes its time and is largely driven by characterization).  

It is Rupert’s characters that truly make the comic shine. Each one is uniquely lovable and relatable, and the character development, though it happens through exaggerated situations and shenanigans, feels natural in context. Though there is some very good slapstick in the comic, the biggest source of humor comes from the character’s interactions with each other, as well as the expressions that fit very well with Rupert’s style of drawing faces.

Image Credit: Sakana-comic.com

As seen in the above panel, Sakana is a black and white comic; without any colors or grayscale. This works in the comic’s favor, as is really shows off Rupert’s skill at inking, especially in the second half of the comic.

While the comic has been going on for over eight years, largely due to a few hiatuses taken here and there, as of now it updates regularly twice a week. There are currently twenty one chapters finished (with Rupert estimating that the story will conclude around the thirty second chapter). The comic reads very quickly, though, so catching up is not in any way a hard thing to accomplish. Sakana is also very strong on a second or third read-through. Don’t let the age of this ongoing webcomic frighten you from getting invested, because this is definitely a gem that deserves all support and praise one can give.

Read it Here: http://www.sakana-comic.com/comic/title-page-vol-1

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