Recommended: yes ♥
For a sweet light story, for drama mixed with humour, for characters you’ll love
Long ago, the gods granted a few special animals great powers… but not all those animals used their magical abilities for good! Senzou the Fox Spirit in particular grew too brash and arrogant, abusing his strength until the gods imprisoned him for his bad behavior. Three hundred years later, he’s finally been released, but only on one condition– he can’t have his any of his abilities back until he successfully helps a tanuki cub named Manpachi become an assistant to the gods. Unfortunately for Senzou, there’s no cheating when it comes to completing his task! The magic beads around his neck make sure he can’t wander too far from his charge or shirk his duties, and so… Senzou the once-great Fox Spirit must now figure out how to be an actually-great babysitter to a mischievous little tanuki or risk being stuck without his powers forever!
The light and watery art style is a perfect match to this story, because it’s overall pretty lighthearted with some moments of pain and depth for the characters to grow from. It’s pretty irresistible to have the tough bad guy’s heart slowly thawed by the adorable little fluff chub. Yet despite some character changes throughout, they also do stay true to themselves in many ways too; there’s no miraculous conversions or sudden 180s here.
I really need to emphasize how much this made me laugh, too. Not just in terms of how often I laughed, but the force of my laughter. The frog part had me laughing so hard I cried, partly because it was just so unexpected, and I re-read it several times, laughing that hard every time. In fact, I’ll probably go read it again when I’m done writing this, because it was such a pure joy.
Between sections are short info panels on the different kinds of bakemono, their powers, their history, relationship to the gods, and so on. I really enjoyed these because they gave me context for each character that I was missing without the cultural knowledge. Even for people who are more familiar with bakemono, the panels are beautifully done; I wish I could print them out and frame them!
The key reason why this is missing its fifth star is because I was reading along, laughing, crying, getting all the feels, when I went to the next page and it was an ad for another book. It ended! At a really weird moment! It felt so abrupt that I went back and made sure I hadn’t missed something, but no… that’s the end of this segment. That threw me off quite a lot, but I am really excited for the next installment, so maybe that’s what they were going for. Regardless, this was an absolute delight!
Thanks to NetGalley and TokyoPop for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.