November 26, 2015
Meca Tanaka – Viz – 2015 – 2 volumes
Oh, this was so good! I was not expecting that! The cover and title both look like regular shoujo romance, and even flipping through it, it looked like just a short version of what I normally like. 2 volumes, why not?
This had me from literally the first page, inside the cover. The three pages before the manga starts are a discussion about how excited the author was to draw the first chapter title page with the main male protagonist naked. Not “excited,” maybe, but very enthusiastic and analytical. And all but one of the first seven pages discusses nudity, story and commentary combined. This series is WEIRD, and I was delighted.
The premise is pretty shoujo-simple. Hako has a lot of bad luck. Comically so. The supernatural club at her school recruited her because the bad luck is so abnormal. But she deals with it, and she’s happy because she has her friends in the supernatural club. One day, a naked boy falls out of the sky and declares his intentions to mate with Hako. He’s an alien prince named Io, and he insists on mating with Hako because their wavelengths match, and that’s how it’s done on his planet. Hako’s best friend eventually convinces him that he needs Hako’s consent for that, and Hako adds that the two of them need to be in love. So the first volume is about Io trying to figure out ways to love and to fall in love with Hako. In the most extreme, outrageous way possible.
Hako’s bad luck is actually pretty funny. I was sold on it when, early on, Hako walks out of school and is assaulted by two birds and a baseball in the same panel. It’s bad enough that she can’t swim (lest the large waves drown her, she can barely walk along the shore), can’t go out without it raining during monsoon season, can’t stay in because the roof will leak extensively, and can’t hang around construction sites. This series doesn’t do anything in half-measures.
Both Io and Hako are both extremely positive individuals. Hako takes her bad luck in stride, and does all sorts of cute things to keep other people safe. Io is very gung-ho about learning everything on Earth and getting Io to fall in love with him. He thinks nothing of her bad luck, and winds up hanging out with her while things collapse on her, the ground gives way, et cetera. Typical shoujo hero things, but it’s super cute. He continually tries to convince Hako that she shouldn’t be scared to do things. He’s also magic, because he’s an alien, so he can do things like sprout wings, turn into a dolphin, show them what an enormous octopus alien looks like on another planet, et cetera.
Everything about it is funny, positive, cute, weird, et cetera. It even pulls out a few Serious Moments that work pretty well. The end of this volume broke my heart, even though I knew a shoujo manga would never end that way and there was a volume two.
I immediately picked up volume two. I also have an older series called Omukae Desu by Tanaka that I haven’t read. I need to unearth that and read it, too. She’s great. Really.