Artist Yupechika along with some assistance with their script advisor Marie Nishimori create Sakoto and Nada, a slice-of-life 4koma manga about two foreign exchange students studying in America.

Japanese student Sakoto moves to America to study at a university and is very surprised to find that her new roommate is not only a fellow foreign exchange student, but a woman from Saudi Arabia named Nada. Despite an initial surprise, Sakoto and Nada quickly became friends with both of the women being perky, energetic and fond of sweets. Together, they begin to learn about one another’s culture and customs such as Nada’s Islamic faith. From food to fashion, to celebrations and beliefs, the two women not only learn more about each other, but they also start to understand the country that they are studying in. It’s a good thing they have plenty of fellow students to help them understand the American college experience.

Like with most 4koma, Satoko and Nada focuses a lot on humor, particularly the classic ‘fish out of water’ setup. But instead of relying solely on a single character being in a different location, both of the main characters are at an American university. Along with the humor, the manga goes on give lessons of Islamic and Saudi culture as well as touches upon a few serious points. The slice-of-life gives a guide to the reader about certain subjects about Saudi culture and the Islamic faith: topics touched upon include veils, cooking, and even driving. The illustrations can be seen as typical for a 4koma at first glance, Yupechika places great attention into how each character looks, particularly when it comes to Nada and others wearing her different types of veils, or when the characters are all having a classic girl’s night in. Overall, Sakoto and Nada both entertains and educates with two foreign exchange students proving that friendship doesn’t have borders and that friends can always continue to learn more about each other. 

Seven Seas Entertainment translated and released Volume Two of Sakoto and Nada last June. The third volume is slated to be released in May of this year. For more information on Sakoto and Nada, visit Seven Seas Entertaiment’s website.