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Reviewed by Major Keary
Want to freshen up your calculus, or even get a handle on a subject you missed? Or perhaps there is someone seeking your help with calculus? Get a copy of The Manga Guide to Calculus, which is another title in the remarkable Manga series. Even if you don't need to learn—or refresh your knowledge of—calculus, the book demonstrates a remarkably innovative way of technical communication, which is not the same as 'technical writing'). The word, manga, entered the Japanese language in the 18th century and means illustrations in the style of what we know as comics.
Books in the Manga Guide series are originally published in Japanese by Ohmsha Ltd., which has been in business for almost 100 years as a science and engineering book publisher in Tokyo. English translations are published by No Starch Press.
The creative process is interesting. Becom, an editorial and design production studio with a decade of experience in producing manga-based corporate guides, product manuals, and books, is engaged to produce a scenario (usually with a feisty girl as the protagonist). The scenario is passed to the author—in this instance, Hiroyuki Kojima, associate professor in the Faculty of Economics at Teikyo University—who collaborates with an illustrator. The depth of detail is extraordinary, and much of the information is repeated in plain text (with all the maths symbols and graphs one would expect in a text book). An index adds to the book's usefulness, and there are exercises (with answers).
The book is primarily for those who want to understand calculus, especially where some prior exposure has been a bad experience. However, anyone interested in technical communication—regardless of the subject—should find this guide a great source of ideas.
Hiroyuki Kojima and Shin Togami: The Manga Guide to Calculus
Published by No Starch Press, 238 pp., RRP AU$ 37.95
The Australian distributor is Woodslane <www.woodslane.com.au>