March 17th is "Weekly Manga Magazine Day" in Japan.

It was established because the weekly boys' manga magazines Weekly Shōnen Magazine and Weekly Shōnen Sunday were both first published on this date in 1959.

A manga magazine delivered to Grape's editorial department

This morning, a writer at our sister site Grape noticed a manga magazine on a table in the office when he arrived at work.

He initially thought of just ignoring it, but since he's an anime and manga fan, he couldn't help but pick it up.

He opened it up, thinking to himself: "I'll return it as soon as the owner appears," but very quickly, he sensed something was off about this manga magazine.

"It's nothing but nori!!!!"

A woman is eating tuna tataki (chopped tuna sashimi) with nori seaweed at a restaurant, and as she begins wrapping the nori around the tuna...

Sushi chef: "Tataki made with Aomori tuna. Please wrap it in Saga nori and enjoy."

Woman: "Wrap it directly with nori, OK. (I see it comes without rice!)"

...she begins to fantasize, and in her imagination⁠—if you can believe it⁠—tuna and nori are anthropomorphized into characters in a romantic comedy story!

Vinegared rice guy 1: "Hm? Maguro-chan?"
Vinegared rice guy 2: "Where is she?"
Aomori Maguro: The most popular idol
Aomori Maguro: Those vinegared rice guys are always sticking around me
"At this rate, I'll never have a chance to be alone with him..."
Saga Nori: "Heya..."
Aomori Maguro: /WAFT/ The aroma of the sea... "Saga Nori-kun! How come you're here?"
Saga Nori: A young actor
Saga Nori: "I had 5 minutes free before my shoot begins."
"Let me stay like this wrapping you...just for a while..."
Aomori Maguro: As the aroma of the sea embraced me, my tense fatty parts began to melt...

Our writer couldn't hide his bewilderment at this sophisticated ploy to promote seaweed...

He stopped reading, took a closer look at the cover, then realized the magazine's name was unfamiliar to him: 藻刊サガノリ Sōkan Saganori. If it's a new manga magazine, it's not uncommon for the word 創刊 sōkan to appear before the title, but this magazine had the first kanji as 藻 meaning seaweed...And the name, Saganori.

It was all beginning to make sense...

What is Saganori?

Saganori was created to maximize the appeal of 『佐賀海苔®』 "Saga Nori®," a specialty of Saga Prefecture, which has boasted the highest production and sales for nori seaweed in Japan for eight consecutive years.

It's the world's first nori manga magazine which contains a total of 46 stories featuring Saga Nori® in collaboration with local ingredients from 46 prefectures of Japan!

The stories are divided into six sections by region: "Hokkaido/Tohoku," "Kanto," "Hokuriku/Tokai," "Kinki," "Chugoku/Shikoku," and "Kyushu/Okinawa."

As zany as it looks, Saganori is packed with stories representing all kinds of manga genres, including romance, coming-of-age, battle, SF/fantasy, isekai, horror, human drama, business, sports, and music. Sometimes funny, other times moving, they were all of such high quality that our writer finished reading them in no time at all!

And at the end, he really wanted to try some "Saga Nori®" for himself.

As it turns out, there was a surprise in store on the final page: A sample pack of "Saga Nori®" as an added bonus...!

Unfortunately, Sōkan Saganori is not for sale.

If you live in Japan, however, you have a chance of getting your own copy of Sōkan Saganori if you participate and win in a campaign. Just follow the instructions on the Saga Prefecture Gourmet Twitter account.

You can also read the manga on their website here.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.