I must agree this is different from your average manga. Overall feeling is non sequitur. You get a bit intrigued by the characters, but Climb On To My Shoulders falls short of actually developing into anything solid. Not at all unpleasant, but don't expect too much.
DISCLOSURE: I worked on this manga, so a certain degree of bias is unavoidable. Still, I tried to rate fairly and give a detailed explanation for my rating.
Where, oh where, oh WHERE to start with this one. Yuhki Takada is probably the most geeky mangaka you've never heard of. This is the first book of hers ever translated into English, and it is the kind of thing that normally NEVER would have been translated. Not by traditional publishing models, and probably not even by the scanlation community. And that is because it is WEIRD. But when the jaded manga reader has seen and read everything, maybe weird is just what the doctor ordered.
First of all, and I don't know how evident this is to the average reader browsing around in here, but this story, set in 1969 Seattle, is about the imagined relationships of the major American technology leaders. The main characters are all expys of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Paul Allen, Steve Wozniack, and Larry Ellison (no celebrities were harmed in the making of this manga). Paul and "Trey" are the ambitious young programmers who fall in with "MJ's" crazy schemes, and "Coz" is a guy in a bunny suit. Larry Ellison's character...I can't even... There is fun and silliness to be had all around.
(Sad truth: I myself did not realize this connection until we were nearly finished working on it. In hindsight, it's a bit obvious if you're at all familiar with Microsoft's origin story, as I wasn't at the time. But if anything, realizing the connection made the whole thing funnier.)
So there's this completely harebrained premise going, but who do I recommend this manga to? The art style is pretty far from any of the "norms" as far as manga goes. It feels a bit...airy? It's full of extensive whitespace with minimal shading and screentone, and the character designs are definitely unusual - just look at Trey on the cover. It's certainly not appealing to everyone, but for the most part I found it expressive and often quite funny. (Silly bonus: inanimate objects such as the computers often have little faces on them.)
The story is ostensibly light BL, but really, it's barely there, so the fujoshi contingent will probably come away disappointed. (Did you really want to read BL about Bill Gates, though? o_O) Tech geeks will probably get a few kicks out of it ("A beta version with bugs is our tradition!" "You're always saying that the user is a bug checker!"), and maybe too the history buff with a twisted sense of humor. It's hard to pin down who the audience for this book might be.
Some thoughts on the localization: All three of us who worked on this book were first timers at manga localization, and I fear that it shows. It's not riddled with unforgivable errors or anything of the sort, but looking back at it now, it's evident to me that it's not quite as polished as some of our more recent work.
In the end, I settled on four stars for several reasons: one-of-a-kind premise; fun and hilarity; art that seemed inaccessible, but grew on me like kudzu on Miracle-Gro. Why not five stars: lots of little nitpicky things I would change or fix given the chance; a sort of inconclusive ending that didn't really go anywhere. (Gosh, apparently I DID want to read BL about Bill Gates. ^^;;;)
Give this one a chance. It's different, and that's good.