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Maniac Road

Maniac Road is a three-volume manga series by Shinsuke Kurihashi. It features the exploits of the Takezou Muto and the Kinushima sisters (Haruna, Aoba, and Isuzu) as they run the otaku shop Maniac Road. The series is set in the heart of Japan's electronic town, Akihabara. This area is well known for its concentration of otaku, or anime, manga and game fanatics.

The Japanese version originally appeared in Dengeki Daioh comics in Japan. The English version was originally published By ComicsOne, now out of business. It has since been picked up by DrMaster books.

Plot summary

Many chapters of Maniac Road feature the main characters dealing with otaku hobbies, such as model building, gaming, and cosplay.

Volume 1

As the story begins, Takezou is in Akihabara, waiting for the midnight release of a video game. Due to a lack of food (caused by him saving money to buy the game), he winds up passing out at the side of the road. Haruna finds him and brings him to the Kinushima home and electronics store, where she gives him a meal. While he's there, debt collectors come to collect on unpaid medical bills incurred by Moutou Kinushima, a famous builder of model battleships and the Kinushina sister's late father. While hearing this, Takezou stumbles onto Moutou's workshop. Realizing the worth of the collection, Takezou quickly organizes a sale of the collection, and saves Kinushima Electronics. He refuses to sell three of the battleships— Moutou's models of the battleship Haruna and cruisers Aoba, and Isuzu.

In the second chapter, Takezou has returned to his room in Matsudo, Chiba. While there, his landlord barges into Takezou's room, knocking over a piles of otaku good and causing a paint thinner-fueled explosion, causing considerable damage. Homeless and in debt due to the damage, Takezou returns to Akihabara, where Isuzu finds him and brings him back to the Kinushima's. There, Haruna offers to let Takezou stay with them in exchange for turning the failing Kinushima Electronics into an otaku shop, as he did before.

The next three chapters chronicle Takezou's friendly rivalry with Mikasa, the president of Califlower, a large chain of otaku shops. The first introduces Mikasa and Kyoko Mochizuki. After Mikasa questions if Takezou is worthy to run the store, Takezou challenges him to an otaku duel. The first duel is one of model-ship building. Mikasa builds a diorama of Pearl Harbor, while Takezou builds a single ship, the Japanese battleship Ise. Aoba realizes the scene that is being conveyed by the single ship, and the round is called a draw. The duel is then settled with a second round, a cosplay battle.

In the sixth chapter Takezou then turns to expanding the store. He is interrupted by his friend Sarge crashing a truck into the storefront. Sarge asks Takezou to help his club defend their ownership of BB mountain, which has been challenged by a Mikasa-led team. Takezou and the girls head to the mountain and win the battle. In exchange for this, Sarge and the other carpenters on the team repair and remodel the store.

The final chapter covers the opening of the store. At first Aoba is unable to greet otaku in a friendly manner, but after meeting Sarge, she manages to overcome her prejudice. The volume ends with the opening of Maniac Road.

Volume 2

The first chapter of the second volume opens with Aoba encountering a strange sculptor. Takezou asks him to make a sculpture for Maniac Road, and the man agrees, using Aoba as the model. When finished, it is revealed that the man was a famous sculptor who wanted to make the point that art isn't just for high society.

The next two chapters cover the Winter Comic-Con, which seems to be based on Comiket. Takezou is asked to sell books for a food-poisoned dojinshi group. Due to late submissions of the manuscript, the printer is unable to deliver the books by the start of the con. While Takezou prays for the books arrival, the sisters try to ensure that potential buyers don't pass them by.

The fourth chapter follows Teppi Akashi, an employee of a rival otaku shop, as his manager orders him to try to sabotage Maniac Road's reputation. The general friendliness of Maniac Road prevents him from doing so, and eventually he quits and joins Califlower.

In the fifth chapter, Haruna goes on a trip with friends, leaving Aoba in charge. Takezou discovers a piece from a Gundam board game in the pants that he hasn't washed for years.

The sixth chapter shows the main cast playing a paper-and-pencil role playing game, while the seventh focuses on Mochizuki's involvement with another player in a MMORPG.

In the final chapter, Takezou commissions a maniac road exclusive doll from Mr. Kuma, a doll-making hobbyist. Two weeks later, the president of the construction company Kuma works for tells Takezou how Kuma attacked the men who destroyed the doll he was working on. To help explain why Kuma acted as he did, Takezou gives the president one of the dolls Kuma designed.

Volume 3

The first two chapters involve a "beach-adventure" story arc, in which Takezou & Co. encounter a "sea-dragon" -- actually a World War II-era submarine -- that was terrorizing the local tourists.

The third chapter introduces Takezou's younger sister Shinano, a junior high-school student who's as much an otaku as her brother. In the next chapter, Shinano and Takezou duel using claw vending machines over Shinano's intention to move in and live with Takezou. Shinano became the main character in Manaic Road's sequel series, Pretty Maniacs.

The next chapter features a visit by the Muto eldest brother, Yamato. It is revealed that Takezou's disciplinarian father disapproved of Takezou's otaku hobby, and it was one of his beatings that resulted in Takezou's facial scar.

The final three chapters focus on the accidental destruction of the Maniac Road shop by fire, which had originated in an adjacent ramen shop. The Mutos and the Kinushimas manage to evacuate, but Takezou is injured while helping Aoba recover the three ship models that her father had made. After he recovers, the Kinushimas are able to rebuild the store, with the help of Takezou's friends and Mikasa, but Mikasa's assistance comes at a price: in exchange for a rebuilding loan, Takezou agrees to move to America and take over Cauliflower's U.S. operations. After Aoba assures Takezou that he'll always be welcome to return, the final panel reveals the opening of the new Maniac Road.

References

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