Thoughts on Otaku Elf Volume 1

Otaku Elf is a manga written and illustrated by Akihiko Higuchi. It is about an elf who enjoys the geekier pursuits of life, as you may have guessed from the title.
The manga is licensed for an English release by Seven Seas Entertainment.
This first volume contains four “episodes”, each one split into three chapters.

Front cover of the first volume of Otaku Elf, featuring Koito Koganei & Eldali Ilma Fanomenel

Introducing a quirky, game-loving elf from another world… and the local girls who to deal with her.
Koganei Koito works as the teenage shrine maiden at the Takamimi Shrine, catering to the whims of its resident: a centuries-old elf who loves video games as much as she hates going outside! Line up your offerings for the otaku elf – some energy drinks, chips and video games will do nicely – and watch her new friends scramble to keep up!

Sometimes a manga’s premise is enough to catch my attention, and Otaku Elf is one such title. Of course I look into it a bit more after the point, but I am definitely glad I picked up this manga.
Sure, the title tells you its whole premise, but there’s a bit more going on here than a geeky elf.

I’ll start with the main characters. We have Koganei Koito, the shrine maiden who serves Takamimi Himenomikoto – or, to give the elf her real name – Eldali Ilma Fanomenel. She gets called Elda for short.
Koito is determined to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a shrine maiden, and as such is devoted to her duties. Just kind of a shame that the shrine’s supposed deity is a massive otaku…
The elf in this duo, Elda, is an otaku. It’s right there in the title. Elda would just prefer to shut herself away from the world and immerse herself in video games, or manga, or building Gunpla. As you’d expect from an otaku.
Judging by the offerings the shrine receives, people are well aware of what Elda is actually like.
She’s not so good with talking to other people, though. That kind of stuff is what makes up Koito’s shrine maiden duties.

Besides Koito and Elda, we also have two more recurring characters introduced: Koito’s sister Koyuzu, and Koito’s friend Koma Sakuraba.
Koyuzu is the angelic younger sister type, and Koma is Koito’s childhood friend who tends to just blurt out whatever she thinks.
Koito has some pretty nice chemistry with Elda and Koma respectively. It is only the first volume, but both girls seem like they could end up being a good match for Koito.

This is pretty much a slice of life story, so the characters play a pretty big role in what makes this enjoyable.
There are also some genuinely touching moments to be found in here, particularly when it comes to Koito’s mother. Elda being long-lived is also something that comes up, too.

Of course there’s plenty of references to otaku culture in this manga. For a start, you can see Elda holding a particularly familiar console on the front cover, she has a collection of amiibo that include a certain Inkling x Octoling pair and she receives a PlayStation VR offering.
Besides the PS VR, most of these things are not directly mentioned; they are just background details. Fun things to keep an eye out for if you’re into that kind of stuff.

This first volume of Otaku Elf has impressed me. The characters are great, and its sense of humour speaks to me. This is a fun manga, and I look forward to its next volume.

About Rory

I enjoy writing, manga, anime and video games, so naturally here on my blog, you will find anime reviews, Nintendo news and other such things that I deem interesting.
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