Written by Jd Banks, Manga Editor Sunday, 01 March 2009 12:22
Dr. Yamamoto makes a house call.
Not all anime fans are allergic to mathematics, but for those who are, there may exist such a prescription: The Manga Guide to Statistics by Shin Takahashi.
The Manga Guide to Statistics spans rudimentary statistics, from standard deviation to the Cramer’s Coefficient with the help of the characters in the manga, Rui and Mr. Yamamoto. The characters take the readers through each concept using everyday items, such as ramen and Rui’s favorite manga, to solve hypothetical problems. At the end of each chapter, readers have the opportunity to view a summary of the explained concepts and answer practice problems.
The most admirable aspect of the guide is its systematic way of describing statistical concepts that would otherwise need a live tutor. Characters bring up something mundane before delving into a session of statistics. Questions that might arise, such as “What are these numbers? What do you mean?”, are frequently preempted through Rui and Mr. Yamamoto’s sweeping dialogue. Mr. Yamamoto, Rui’s hired tutor, explicitly explains new terms and posed problems, attacking more complicated concepts through different examples.Besides taking a chill-pill from the traditional way of describing dull statistical information, The Manga Guide to Statistics offers a visualization of statistics that can’t be found in any mere textbook. In the illustrated format, Rui and Mr. Yamamoto provide a backdrop to the mathematical lessons with an overall plot capable of being called a shojo.
Rui, the teenage daughter of data analysis, becomes infatuated with her father’s co-worker, Mr. Igarashi. In hopes of ultimately marrying Mr. Igarashi, Rui hatches a plan to get closer to him by becoming statistically literate. Under heavy persuasion, Rui convinces her father to hire a statistics tutor, and to her dismay, Mr. Yamamoto becomes her tutor. Though the story is cliché—and as a woman, somewhat infuriating to see a girl stoop down to such direly low standards just to get a man—the statistical guide is very useful, as it creates a simple ploy in manga format to explain statistics.
If there are concerns that this stats prescription is coming from a quack, fear not. Shin Takahashi, a graduate from Kyushu University, has experience in data analysis and technical writing. The Manga Guide to Statistics is only one of his statistics books, the others including the Ohmsha-published Statistics-Factor Analysis Edition and Statistics-Regression Analysis Edition of the Manga Guide series.
As for any black-box warnings, The Manga Guide to Statistics is too short. Mathematically challenged or not, any reader can easily follow the language as new terms and concepts unfold. With the engaging presentation of statistics, the end of the guide leaves you with a desire to learn and find out more, despite the rather the cliché plot (but what can you do when you’re teaching such a challenging topic?). After reading the guide in its entirety, I practically lobbed the book across the room and yelled, “That’s it?!” Obviously, if there was a sequel to the particular guide, my reaction would involve a money transaction of sorts (hello, No Starch Press).
So, if you need some sort of treatment for your statistical ailment, you may want to give The Manga Guide to Statistics a try before calling a doctor. Who knows? It could be your cure to an A, stat!
Bottom Line: 9.5 out of 10
Anime 3000 reviews anime, manga, and games based on specific criteria designated by each medium's respective editor. Volumes of manga are reviewed individually on a scale from 1 to 10. Manga that receives a score ranging from 8-10 is considered oustanding, 6-7 recommendable, 5 average, 3-4 unrecommended, and 1-2 terrible.
All in all: Get it! One day, you’ll need to know statistics, and when that day comes, you’ll want this guide.
Author: Shin Takahashi
Publisher: No Starch Press, Ohmsha
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