It’s been a little while, but I am going to get back into writing my thoughts on manga. After all, I’ve got a backlog that needs to be covered now, including the stuff I picked up at Comic Con.
In fact, I will specifically be talking about a title I picked up from Comic Con: Unmagical Girl.
Unmagical Girl is written by Ryouichi Yokoyama, and the art is by Manmaru Kamitsuki. The series launched with the title Sharenima! in August 2014 on Pony Canyon’s online manga magazine PoniMaga, where it was serialised monthly until it ended in October 2016.
The first volume of the series contains ten chapters.
This no world for a magical girl!
Pretty Angel NirBrave was one the spirited magical girl heroine of a cult TV show. But when an anime director’s computer goes on the fritz, it brings Pretty Angel NirBrave out of the screen and into our world! With bills and bullies to face, it’ll take more than a sparkly transformation and a frilly skirt to get by “real” life!
Before I get into this, I just want to take a moment to focus on the front cover as seen above. I really like the way it uses a photo of a location in Japan (possibly somewhere in Tokyo, I really don’t know), with a drawing of NirBrave. I think the cover itself communicates pretty well what to expect from this story.
I’m also unsure why the art is credited to Manmaru Uetsuki on the cover, when Kamitsuki is used during the afterword
So the story is effectively about a magical girl from an old anime being pulled into the real world, and having to adjust to living there. Said magical girl is Pretty Angle NirBrave, and she can’t do anything to deviate from her script.
The one who accidentally ends up bringing NirBrave into the real world is a female 19-year old university student called Mayuri Tanahashi. She happens to be the daughter of the now-deceased Suguru Tanahashi, the director of the Pretty Angel Nirvana anime that NirBrave comes from.
Whilst it didn’t end up becoming popular, Mayuri was enamoured with it. Her love the show ended up alienating her from her friends when she was younger, and she lives a fairly solitary existence.
She receives her dad’s old computer, and discovers a bunch of cuts of the anime she’s never seen. Mayuri goes on to wish that she had someone like NirBrave at her side, and her wish ends up being granted.
That’s when NirBrave starts living with Mayuri. Mayuri has to adjust to having a magical girl around, whilst NirBrave has to adjust to living in the real world.
This manga brings two of my favourite genres together: magical girl and slice of life. I enjoyed reading it a lot because of this. There is also plenty of meta-humour present, what with NirBrave openly acknowledging that she is an anime character. She even has off-model moments.
Mayuri and NirBrave find themselves facing a whole host of different situations as they acclimate to living with each other. Mayuri happens to be an otaku, so she has quite the extensive collection of anime merchandise – it also means that she tends to struggle to pay her rent.
NirBrave doesn’t exactly have an easy time of it, either. After all, being an anime character means that there are plenty of things she never experience because they weren’t in the script.
The relationship between Mayuri and NirBrave is quite a fun one as well. Mayuri is often exasperated by NirBrave’s actions, but she definitely starts to develop some sort of attachment toward her. Doesn’t stop her from getting annoyed when NirBrave does something wrong, though.
I had a lot of fun reading this first volume of Unmagical Girl, as the type of humour it uses is the kind I really like. The magical girl and slice of life elements manage to go fairly well together, leading to plenty of situations that amused me quite a bit.
There are more than a few gratuitous up-skirt shots throughout this manga, which may put some people off reading it. It doesn’t particularly bother me, but I figured it’s something that should probably be mentioned.
I’ve only read one volume of the series, but I can already say that I would like to see this manga get an anime adaptation.
It’s a silly read for sure, but that happens to be something that I like a lot.