Let's Speak English is an autobiographical Slice of Life webcomic featuring Mary Cagle and her adventures as an English teacher in Japan.
Let's Speak English provides examples of:
- Art Evolution:
- Later pages use traditional screen tones for shading.
- Mary eventually adjusted her self-insert to look more like her real self, in particular her "birdlike nose."
- Berserk Button: Mary is very patient and humors her students when they try to guess stuff like her age. But then she gets pretty scary and evasive when her weight is brought up.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: I HAVE NO BALCONY
- But Now I Must Go: The comic ends with Mary declining to continue her stay in Japan and returning to the U.S.
- Cheerful Child: Her elementary students, little kids who're eager to learn.
- Cultural Cringe: Not regarding America or England, but English itself, due to some of the nonsensical spellings (e.g. "knock" not starting with N) present in the language.
- Cuteness Proximity: Mary's reaction to some of the things her students do or the cute merchandise.
- Engrish: Mary finds some interesting shirts and a surprising hat.
- Exact Words: Mary plays a game with her students to find and touch something white. A girl did that and touched Mary, a white woman.
- Flat "What": During an animal guessing game with her class:
Mary: Hint 1 please!
Student: I have kiss face.
Mary: Wait what
- Furo Scene: Parodied. The comic "Hot in Here" depicts Mary's first time using the Japanese bathtub in her apartment, and she comments that in an anime, this would be where she goes to "get all contemplative." She proceeds to contemplate:
"...This'll technically be the first time I've drawn myself naked."
- Girlish Pigtails: Some of the students.
- Halloween Episode: Here.
- Manchild: Mary feels more like herself when singing "ABC Fever!" than pretending to be grownup.
- Never Gets Drunk: Mary discovered that her "European giantess genes" came in handy while drinking with her co-workers, since she could keep up with everyone else and not get too inebriated.
- Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: The second mailbag comic is titled "Mailbag 2: Electric Boogaloo."
- Older Than They Look: Mary complains that Japanese tend to have baby face, making them look younger than they actually are (which means that, to them, she looks much older than her actual age). Also her comments about briefly having a crush on a coworker who turned out to be in his mid-40s.
- Running Gag:
- "You have a poo."
- The Tanuki Mary hit comes back to haunt her every now and again.
- Nejiri Honnyo, the mascot of her town, shows up fairly often due to its strange design and constant debate on whether the black mass in the center of his face was a nose or mouth. The book finally answers that: it's a mouth.
- Sensei-chan: In an interesting twist, it's not the kids that see her this way, but her coworkers according to this strip.
- Shout-Out: In this page her students reference Donald Trump of all things. Mary expresses her bemusement at this in the page's description.
- Sophisticated as Hell: On one wintry day in comic 108, Mary sees little bird tracks in the snow and is inspired to make a haiku:
Behold, a small bird
Left tiny tracks in the snow
That is cute as fuck.
- Translation Convention: Lines in Japanese are still presented in English, but put into square brackets.
- Unsound Effect: Riding a bullet train is often accompanied by the sound effect BULLET TRAAAAINNNN
- Video Game Interface Elements: The last panel imitates a visual novel format here.
- Wall Pin of Love: Explained in this strip. Mary is utterly shocked she didn't know such an important word before.
- What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?:
- Referenced In-Universe in the comic where Mary watches Kamen Rider Gaim. After hitting a particularly dark plot point where the Mad Scientist brings up having to genocide six billion people in order for the remaining one billion to survive, Mary turns to the audience and remarks that the show airs in a time slot geared towards children.
- In the very first comic, Mary thinks she's messed up when she tells her students she watches a violent show like Attack on Titan, but is surprised to be told they also watch it and love it.
- Yonkoma: The comic's generally formatted like this, though there are occasional pages that have a different format.
- Younger Than They Look: A student guesses that Mary is 37 when she's actually 24. When the kid sees her despair at the guess, she dials it down to 33.