Usually, I only buy Re:ON Comics because it’s the only Indonesian comic compilation I like. But as of late, my news feed has been spammed by Tiap Detik. Considering the hype, I decided to buy it. Sadly, the comic did not live up to its hype. And I feel ripped off.
The comic is basically a romance-comedy. Avid readers and watchers of anime and manga would instantly recognize the tropes, the cliches, and the plot. What Tiap Detik offers the reader is a dump of abused rom-com tropes and cliches. I finished reading the entire book in like 10 minutes or so because the story had no depth at all.
It all starts with the “oops, wrong locker” cliche, where the protagonist accidentally puts a love letter into the shoe locker of a cookie-cutter tsundere character. From there on out, the story progresses into a typical harem rom-com, with the protagonist being involved in the life affairs of three girls. Seriously, if you follow Nisekoi, Tiap Detik is basically it’s Indonesian discount edition.
In addition to the rom-com, Tiap Detik also tries to incorporate irrelevant fighting scenes into the plot. These scenes do nothing to advance the plot and are there purely for… I don’t know, comic relief maybe? It just doesn’t make any sense.
I’ve seen Nisekoi and their host of one-dimensional characters. Tiap Detik also delivers similar characters. It’s basically a visual novel compressed into a comic book.
You have Teo Rama, the male protagonist. He’s a dense dumbass with fighting skills and a knack of appearing at the right moments just to further the plot. He’s just like any male protagonist in any rom-com or visual novel.
Next you have Erina, the cookie-cutter tsundere. She’s a tsundere, has twintails, and can play badminton. And she also has mysterious parents who want to take her away to Europe and when Teo saves her, her route opens up.
Next up, Riya, the typical cool beauty in a wheelchair. She is Teo’s original love interest, but because of the “oops, wrong locker” cliche, winds up being his best friend. When Teo saves her from drowning, her route opens up.
Next up, there’s Hima, the weird girl with weird hobbies nobody loves. She works at a cafe, and when Teo helps her out, her route sorta opens up.
These four major characters are boring. Seriously fucking boring. None of them have remarkable traits; they’re just recycled rom-com cliches. There are also side characters, but they’re so irrelevant to the story.
As far as art goes, I’ve seen better art done by Indonesian comic authors. Kharisma Jati and Is Yuniarto both come to mind. Of course, my standards are quite high. But even by normal standards, the art in Tiap Detik feels kinda… half-assed. At some parts, it feels like the author just said “Fuck it, I’m tired of drawing this shit”; whereas in other parts, the art was gorgeous. The inconsistency is quite visible, especially as the story progresses into the fighting scenes.
Also, I’m not going to go deeper into the “This art is not Indonesian-esque” debate. There are two major drawing styles in the world: the realistic West and the manga East. You choose one and then add your own touch to it. There are also no established parameters as to what “Indonesian style” is. Just because it’s drawn like a manga doesn’t mean the author hates Indonesian culture. Now shut up and accept the fact that old-style Indonesian art does not sell well to the masses these days.
Technical Stuff: 4/5
The comic was published by m&c!, a reputable comic publisher in Indonesia. I got what I expected, actually. The paper quality, while not stellar, was plausible, considering the book was only IDR 38,000. Print was fine and the ink didn’t smear my fingers. However, they forgot to add page numbers, which makes navigating a problem. I can’t exactly pinpoint the pages I want to make references to. the cover was nice. Don’t expect the book to be durable, especially if you like reading it in the bathroom while taking a dump.
As for layout, I’d say the layout was well done. There aren’t too many panels squished into one page. The font was readable too. As expected from a reputable publishing company.
Conclusion: 2/5 (Not recommended)
Unless you really, really are a diehard nationalistic mofo bent on supporting anything made by an Indonesian, I’d advise against buying this comic. It has a really boring plot, boring characters, and a lot of cliches. While being relatively cheap by middle-class standards, you’d still get better value if you spend the money on a comic by Kharisma Jati or an edition of Re:ON.
That being said, I do appreciate the author for their work, because the comic is a welcome addition to the collection of contemporary Indonesian comics made by contemporary comic artists.
In the end, I feel Tiap Detik is a piece of unfinished work. It feels more like an introduction to a larger series rather than a one-shot comic. Who knows.