There's something to be said for complete consistency. $100 is Too Cheap sticks to its principals on every page, from the opening splash to its final twist. Simple, direct, and ultimately charming, this little one-shot should creep on to anyone's reading list because the price of admission is so low.
The entire manga traces the course of one conversation between two adorable protagonists. Consequently, each twist and turn of thier discussion recieves some page layout. From the drink recipie cards to the rendering of each character's analogies or explanations, each of the thirty-one pages of this manga serves the already tight storyline.
The whole thing leads delightfully to a predictable final twist, but the playful tone and the sincerety of the closing pages makes it easy to forgive any flaws there might be in the story. The little micro-parable should appeal to almost anyone and makes this one-shot equally enjoyable by fans of any age.
An air of deliberate technical weakness pervades the layouts. The pages are almost completely devoid of screen tone, as the mangaka chooses to use thick hatching as a fill instead of any semblance of gradient. Poor execution occasionally mars the clean look of the black-on-white drawings, but the straightforward character designs and no-nonsense settings should endear readers in spite of any shortcomings. Add to this the enchanting juxtaposition of Petey's candid expressions with Sun's practiced deadpan and the artwork goes a long way toward helping shape the world and characters in the face of limited real estate for exposition.
With no room for development and no time to get acquainted with the cast, the characters as they are have to carry the tiny narrative. Nonetheless, both characters fit their roles in the story well and manage to intrigue enough to incite interest beyond the scope of the plot. While the Yamamoto (the mangaka) trims their interactions and histories in order to keep everything wrapped up tight at the end, readers should agree that this pair could easily support a second or third story without overstaying their welcome.
A perfect snack, $100 is Too Cheap offers everything you'd want from a one-shot manga. Adorable visuals, a personable cast, an amusing plot, and a moral lesson. Any fan of manga can pick this up, read it in one go, and walk away satisfied.