The Japanese company Sanrio is responsible for some of the cutest creations in popular culture, and Gudetama is one of its strangest characters, an anthropomorphic egg yolk who just wants to lay around in its soft egg white and eat other food. It’s a design that rivals Baby Yoda in terms of pure lovability, so it makes sense that people would reach out to Gudetama for advice on how to lock down love in their own lives. Wook-Jin Clark’s Gudetama: Love For The Lazy (Oni) is a compact hardcover graphic novel featuring short tales of Gudetama and his companion, Nisetama, responding to desperate pleas from unfulfilled romantics. The problem is that Gudetama is extremely lazy, typically offering advice that will provide the quickest fix—if it fixes anything at all.
Wook-Jin Clark and letterer Tom B. Long have a lot of fun bringing Gudetama to American comics, and Clark has a particularly strong handle on Gudetama’s adorably lethargic body language. This is immediately put on display on the title page, which features a background of Gudetamas lounging around both in and out of their eggshell. Clark contrasts Gudetama’s sluggish disposition with Nisetama’s high-energy bounding, and much of the comedy stems from how Clark makes Gudetama’s blobby form expressive and reluctantly active. There’s an early moment of Gudetama rolling toward a phone, holding on to its egg white along like a blanket, that encapsulates how the design informs character by showing how easy it is to be lazy when you’re connected to your bed at all times.
Some of the romantic quandaries that are (kind of) resolved by Gudetama include how to connect with people when your natural talking volume is yelling, how to make your cat and your partner get along, and figuring out how to navigate dating in person after you’ve connected with someone online. The short comic structure allows Clark to play around with format in different ways, like presenting the stages of a break-up as a board game and using a two-page spread to break down different kinds of romantic gifts and what they mean. There are actually some solid tips on creating a dating profile, but in general, Gudetama is really bad at giving advice because it’s an egg that doesn’t care.
The aesthetic of Gudetama: Love For The Lazy channels pure delight with its vibrant palette and exaggerated characterizations, bringing a lot of energy to the romantic interactions. Long’s lettering enhances the art’s expressive qualities: Wobbly world balloon borders for Gudetama’s dialogue give the impression of post-sleep grogginess, and the aforementioned loud dater has word balloons that explode out of his face and aggressively attack anyone who is nearby. The book’s final lightning round is a rapid-fire barrage of jokes, using color coding to help each short strip stand on its own. This isn’t an especially deep read, but the charming visuals and sunny tone make it a worthwhile expansion of the Gudetama brand.