Satako & Nada is a manga series that focuses on an Islamic exchange student living in Japan with Nada. As well as the culture clashes between Islamic culture and Japanese culture.
The first initial impression Satako has about Nada is that could Satako get along with someone that is so different from her culture as well as beliefs even though Satako is something of a lapsed Buddhist.
Nada does have some initial difficulties as well in living in Japan like looking for food that is Halal as Japan has Shintoism as one of the biggest religions and Islam stuff is very niche in the country.
But both as time goes by learns about each other and they grow quite close and they even take after certain traits from one another and the chemistry and character development of both sides are really fun to see.
Nada in particular she is the very very polar opposite of the typical Muslim woman as she is really lively and has a thing for Fashion which admittedly, you wouldn’t really associate with Muslim woman but the manga does also go into detail about Islamic clothing and customs relating to it as well that I had no idea about.
So I really like how multilayered Nada is. The eventually do bond as time goes by like preparing food both cultures can enjoy like chicken soup or rice and coffee and Nada is a very huge foodie even when its Ramadan season.
The manga does show recipes on preparing certain dishes as well too that can be pulled off.
The manga has one panel I remember reading where Satako used liquid soap on popcorn as a substitute for butter and I was cringe laughing quite hard at the panel as I never seen anyone do such a thing in like ever.
So one of the biggest things the manga showcases is that one shouldn’t really judge a book by its cover and not in a preachy manner either.
The artstyle is pretty nice and the atmosphere was wholesome and lighthearted and the later chapters do tend to get a bit into the typical romance shoujo drama side of things. But it does get back to the learning about Islamic culture later on.
The way it explains each culture is very easy and light hearted to understand and honestly it was a lot more shown than in what Religion class shown me in high school.
You don’t just learn about Japanese and Saudia Arabia culture like dietary and religion, but also you learn about some American culture as well too.
It also isn’t afraid to stray into the negative sides of each culture as well too and do keep in mind as well some aspects of the story like women in Saudia Arabia not being allowed to drive is now super outdated but the scanlations though thankfully corrects this by adding a disclaimer that women in Saudia Arabia are now able to drive and how Nada is given very Awkard stares from people because of the way she dresses.
It also shows on more updated aspects as well on certain things in Muslim culture being halal now as well.
There were a few pop culture references here and there mainly popular manga series like Black Butler and compared to other manga or anime that makes up their own parody brands they outright mention real world ones like star bucks for example.
Even meme pop culture references as well too like the infamous salt bae meme in one of the chapters.
It’s a very long manga in terms of chapters but otherwise it’s a quick easy read since its mainly one panel.
Overall it was a pretty fun read.
It gets 4 out of 5 stars.
Even if you aren’t a Muslim you can still find enjoyment in this.