Indonesian Comic Review: Me vs Big Slacker Baby


Today, I was walking in a mall in Surabaya and wandered into Gramedia bookstore. On the front shelves, I found this comic hiding behind a bunch of Re:ON comics. I instantly took it to the cashier and paid a modest sum of money. I did not regret my purchase.

Plot: 3/5

Basically, this comic is a romance comedy drawn by an artist who has read too much shojo manga. It starts with Alvan, the male protagonist, moving into Arin’s, the female protagonist, boarding house. Arin knows Alvan from school, and is now his personal housemaid. Of course, it’s still safe, no Fifty Shades of Grey shit here. After the introduction, the two proceed on a linear storyline as they develop feelings for one another and finally start dating.

It’s nothing original, as there is nothing original under this sky. I mean, look at China and their bootleg shit. Despite that, what I like about the plot is that it advances in a hilarious way, which made me unable to put the comic down. Annisa, the author, delivers the story with light humor and showcases romantic mishaps happening at perfect timing. Furthermore, unlike the unrealistic Tiap Detik (the overhyped piece of shit romance comic), Me vs Big Slacker Baby shows more realistic scenarios that resonate nicely with the social and cultural setting of Indonesia.

Characters: 5/5

I felt the characters are the best aspect of the comic. At first, I expected one-dimensional characters and overused tropes, but I was wrong. I got likable characters that seem so alive.

Arin and Alvan make a great couple together. When they first meet, they’re like total polar opposites. Arin, while being a normal schoolgirl, is a clean freak with a side of OCD; while Alvan, despite being a model student and athlete, is a complete slacker and lazy ass motherfucker. They’re also from different socio-economic classes: Arin is middle-class, whereas Alvan from the fucking bourgeoisie.  I love seeing Alvan drive Arin berserk because he always leaves his room in a mess, and Arin being so fucking cute, she can melt even the coldest of hearts. These two characters are masterpieces, no doubt.

There are also a lot of side characters, but only a few are worth mentioning. Since this is the first comic and there’s bound to be more, the side characters aren’t that important yet. Most of them are only there to add to the humor and set the scene. First is Alvan’s overprotective bitch friend, Cindy. She, at first, is supposed to be Arin’s love rival, but ends up being supportive of the two going out. There’s also Alvan’s mom, a MILF when in make-up. But the honorable mention goes to Alvan’s Secret Service-ish chauffeur. He’s a loyal dumbass who’ll do anything to keep his master safe and often ends up doing and acting hilarious on the go.

All of the characters interact sufficiently with one another, creating an intricate, life-like universe within the pages of the comic.

Art: 4/5

Annisa’s drawing style is not so unique; if shojo manga is your daily bread, you’d find striking similarities. However, she has developed her signature style, which makes her art stand out from the crowd. I mean, you just know it’s Annisa just from a quick glance.

The characters are drawn nicely, especially Arin and her various hairstyles. And what’s important is that the art quality remains consistent throughout the story. As expected from Re:ON quality control.

Technical Stuff: 4/5

Published by Re:ON (PT. Wahana Inspirasi Nusantara), the printed comic is rather plausible. The cover is simply glossy art paper with a matte finishing and the binding is quite good. The comic is priced at IDR 25,000; a more than reasonable price for a 50-70ish-page comic book. Print quality is also nice, with my fingers staying ink-free after one reading. Although… I got a copy that had a couple of early pages smeared with ink here and there. No biggie, at least the drawings were still readable.

Conclusion: 4/5 (Definitely buy)

If you’ve been following Me vs Big Slacker Baby since it’s Re:ON days (from vol. 6), this tankobon is a definite buy. Not only does it show support to the author and Indonesian comics in general, the tankobon also has a bonus chapter which (spoilers!) shows Arin and Alvan’s first “official” date! *cue fanboy squeals*

Ahem… No, Me vs Big Slacker Baby is recommended for those looking for a light romance story with a few bits of comedy, and are completely bored with the Japanese rom-com shit. Priced very modestly, it won’t hurt your wallet. Try Me vs Big Slacker Baby, it will definitely give you a few laughs to get through this dull life and provides a positive outlook on those seeking love. And, by buying it, you’ll also be contributing to giving young Indonesian artists a life.

Bonus pic: Me with Annisa Nisfihani (headscarf), the author of Big Slacker Baby.
Bonus pic: Me with Annisa Nisfihani (headscarf), the author of Big Slacker Baby.

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