This summer I finally finished reading the Manga Guide to Calculus by Hiroyuki Kojima and Shin Togami. Here are my two cents:
The Manga Guide to Calculus is chocked full of great mathematics and lots of quality comic art (the author went to great lengths to ensure it was authentic manga, with illustrations by popular artist Shin Togami).
That being said, I don’t think anyone could ever learn Calculus using this book. In fact, I think Kojima must know that. He never claims this can be used as a textbook replacement. The math isn’t presented in a very systematic way, and there are very few real exercises for the reader. Right from the beginning he puts heavy emphasis on linear approximation. He takes a very different approach to presenting Calculus than a math book would. It is a story most of all. Kojima, in his preface, says its a great book for those who already have Calculus knowledge–both for those who love Calculus and for those who have been “hurt by it.” I tend to agree.
As for the story, well, it’s a bit contrived. But what story that tries to smuggle in some math doesn’t seem a little contrived? Sometimes it’s a bit of a stretch and the story suffers. You should still give it a chance, though.
So to those looking for a Calculus textbook, you need to look elsewhere. For instance, I was looking for things I might be able to use in the Calculus class I teach, but couldn’t find much usable content. But for those interested in math and are looking for a fun read, I would recommend picking it up.
Mr. Chase, if you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time” by Mark Haddon.