No, this is not about a baseball player. "Ichiro!" (complete in five volumes) is a four-panel comic about an 18-year-old girl Nanako Konishi, who has just failed her entrance exam for a college. To prepare for the next year's exams, Nanako and her best friend Akane Nakazawa decide to live together in a girl's dorm and attend a "yobiko," a special privately-run preparatory school.
What easygoing Nakako didn't know is that the dorm is owned by a Shinto shrine, and she has to work as a part-time miko (shrine maid) to live there. Not only that; people she meets at the shrine and the prep school are so ridiculously unique that she often finds it very hard to concentrate on studying.
"Ichiro!" created by Mikage had been serialized in Houbunsha's "Manga Kirara Time Max" 2006 through 2010 and in "Manga Time Kirara Carat" 2006 through 2009 (the latter being known for "K-On!" and "Sunshine Sketch"). Like many comics published by Houbunsha, the story itself is almost non-existent, following the funny episodes of the likable characters with slightly eccentric traits and happy-go-lucky vitality.
Most characters in "Ichiro!" have something to do with today's otaku culture in Japan: maid café, video games, Komike (Comic Market) and "miko." But most jokes are character-based. Like in "K-On!" they are based on the delightful interactions between the characters with distinct personalities. Cute artworks and colorful expressions of the characters are also a plus.
Though the relations between characters are sometimes confusing (partly because of the yobiko system unique to Japan), "Ichiro!" is pretty fun to read, even without knowledge about pop culture.