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Tadayasu, the young heir to a small-town sake brewery, has the power to see microbes. They look more or less like this. The manga begins on his first day at a Tokyo agricultural university, where his unique ability makes him sought-after by a maniacal professor with dreams of using microbes to terraform new worlds, a dedicated microbiology student whose punk boots hide a colony of athlete's foot fungus, a germ--phobic student, a pair of money-hungry students attempting to use their disgusting dorm room as everything from a sake brewery to a lab cultivating medicinal caterpillar fungus, and everyone on campus who doesn't want to get food poisoning.

In the tradition of many reluctant heroes struggling to balance great power with great responsibility, Tadayasu complains, “What has it ever gotten me? Being fed creepy and disgusting food.”

Moyasimon practically defines oddball, combining gross-out comedy, nostalgic college-days humor, and meticulously presented lessons on microbiology, fermentation, and agriculture. The word-to-image ratio is as dense as Death Note, using cute microbes and funny situations as the spoonful of sugar to help the medicine sake-brewing demonstration go down.

I could have done without quite the amount of grossness, but I enjoyed the college hijinks, the science, and the sheer bizarreness of the concept.

I leave you with this representative quote: “You know what they call worms? Dragons of the earth! Respect their power!”

Moyasimon 1: Tales of Agriculture
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