The Manga Guide to Electricity <--Buy From Amazon!
The Manga Guide to Electricity is the latest in the Manga Guide series to provide educational material in an entertaining way. The standard format of having a manga story to cover a chapter's topic followed by a more traditional, in depth look at the subject is used. No quizzes are here, which is fine.
Story-wise, things start on the planet Electopia (clever, eh?) with female high school student Rereko being summoned by her teacher, Teteka-sensei, regarding Rereko's failing grades in electrical studies. Thus Rereko is being sent to Earth and specifically Tokyo, Japan for summer lessons on electricity. She's given a transdimensional walkie-talkie and observation robot named Yonosuke and sent on her way. Her instructor on Earth is a research scientist named Hikaru-sensei. The price for his services is that Rereko clean his apartment and cook meals for him.
One thing I noticed about the story is that it came off funnier to me than the previous books. I won't give away specific jokes, but things will be funnier to those with a greater knowledge of Japanese culture, situations (as seen in anime and manga) or places in Japan. ^_^
The first chapter covers a rather detailed explanation of what electricity is, including static electricity. Terms like volts, amps, watts, etc. are explained. Chapter 2 covers circuits. Chapter 3 covers how electricity works. Chapter 4 discusses how electricity is created. The fifth and final chapter covers how one can conveniently use electricity through means such as semiconductors, diodes, transistors, etc.
As expected from the Manga Guide books, the manga stories help give a high-level look at the subject and put things into a light that doesn't seem so overwhelming. The lower-level section of the chapter then reinforces the materials covered in the manga section to aid the reader in obtaining a greater understanding of the subject. I really think this is a great way of teaching and is a wonderful aid for those taking classes on electricity. I know I learned quite a few things that I didn't know and since I haven't taken a class on electricity since the 5th grade, there were other things that were refreshed in my mind about electricity.
A note on the translations here, No Starch Press decided to go ahead and keep the "sensei" honorific (though done Japanese style, which means no hyphen between the name and the honorific) which I approve of. I doubt it will be an issue for those who aren't versed in anime or manga but lets face it -- anime and manga fans are the ones this book is targeted too and the kids today who are part of fandom are well versed in Japanese honorifics.
Bottom line: This is a nice resource to take a potentially overwhelming topic like electricity and break it down in such a way so that nearly everyone can understand. While it will be of most use to students, it isn't bad for those just wanting to gain some personal knowledge on the subject of electricity.
Additional: On a personal note, the gang at No Starch Press quoted from my review of Manga Guide to Statistics, which is pretty cool. ^_^