Title: Coin Laundry no Onna (コインランドリーの女)
Author: Hiro Kiyohara
Publisher: Kadokawa Shoten
Published: 2005 – 2009
Length: 1 Volume
Coin Laundry no Onna – otherwise known as The Laundromat Woman – is a humorous, gag-based series that follows the life and times of Maoko, a Sadako-like girl who receives much pleasure in scaring the customers of her laundromat.
The manga is presented in an episodic fashion, with each chapter following Maoko and the supporting cast through a variety of misadventures. The chapters range in length, with the shortest only four pages long. The author doesn’t allow the manga much breathing room, with each plot proceeding at a lightning-fast pace, but such is the nature of a gag-based plot. Comedy is the sole genre, with the author churning out the laughs in quick succession. The humour itself is outrageously comical (not so dissimilar to the likes of Gintama and Cromartie High School); it’s both well implemented and superbly executed, allowing the manga to stay at an enjoyable level throughout. The manga would perhaps benefit from some more substance, but it’s simply not the avenue the author was going for. Instead, Hiro Kiyohara presents a quick-fire comedy series that doesn’t dwindle; each chapter is distinct from the next and above all else, they’re enjoyable.
The artwork ranges throughout; the first chapter has noticeably more detail than the subsequent additions, with Maoko’s design taking a bit of a hit later on. Still, in the larger frames, chapter introductions and page spreads, Hiro Kiyohara often delivers to a very high standard, with Maoko’s horror reenactments and scare tactics being of particular note. But a number of scenes do come across as simplistic; lacking in background and detail.
The characters – Maoko in particular – are the life and soul of the series. Since humour takes precedent over any sort of depth or development, they’re generally rather one dimensional, but remain consistently enjoyable, captivating and lovable throughout. Maoko is a wonderful enigma and ever-interesting to follow, and while the rest of the cast are rather stereotypical, the comedy provides them with life and enthusiasm. Still, it would have been nice to have a more involved and firmly established cast. Certain character traits – and even some characters in the case of chapter five, which features none of the recurring personalities, but instead introduces a separate cast who are never seen again – come and go like the wind. Authors of manga such as School Rumble and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei successfully delve into their characters while maintaining a steady flow of comedy, but unfortunately Coin Laundry no Onna’s length doesn’t allow it the same privilege.
The length of the manga is what prevents it from standing out; given more time and substance, I can’t help but feel the series would have come into its own. Nevertheless, Coin Laundry no Onna is an enjoyable compilation of outrageous comedic situations, with wonderful characters and many stand-out segments. It’s a marvellous read; I just wish there was more.