The Manga Guide to Statistics
by Shin Takahashi
Trend-pro Co, LTD and Ohmsha
It’s an odd combination — complex mathematics illustrated by the weird sexual vibe of Japanese comics. Shin Takahashi takes us on a pretty decent review of a first year college stats class and illustrates it with a Japanese schoolgirl sexual fantasy. Cute little Rui with her short skirts and shorter nose falls for hunky Mr. Igarashi, one of her father’s coworkers. In order to get closer to him, she asks daddy to get her a statistics tutor. Too bad that tutor is geeky Mr. Yamamoto with his coke-bottle glasses and flyaway hair. He leads her down the road of means, modals, and standard deviations and introduces her to the Gaussian and Chi Squared distributions. If this doesn’t sound sexy, it’s because it’s not. Things remain quite chaste even if Rui is right on the edge of flashing her panties in her new school uniform. You sort of hope for a sex scene, but then reconsider — this IS a math book, after all.
The problem with statistics is you always end up with long strings of numbers and that tends to glaze over most people, even professional mathematicians. This book covers the basics of statistics, and starts in on the more challenging topic of probability discussions. If you need a math refresher, this is enjoyable, but there’s not enough rigor for science majors and the Chi Square equations sort of assume you know a bit of calculus. Takahashi’s crisp graphics capture all the idioms of modern Japanese cartooning but don’t push any boundaries. I found the book campy, even if it does give a nice explanation of how grading on a curve works. I’ll keep it on my shelf to impress the new guys, but I doubt I’ll refer to it very often.