by Tokihiko Matsuura; adaptation by Kenichiro Yagi
published by Viz; $9.95 US
With the second volume, this series is beginning to grow on me. From the chapter illustrations showing a penguin in unusual outfits with a knowing look in its eye to the heart demonstrated through the characters’ care for each other, I’m drawn in. I want to know more, even when they’re involved in activities I’m not much interested in, like boxing.
The book opens with an incident that awakens in Gin a new appreciation for the life he’s currently living. It’s not the one he wanted (since, among other things, he’s a bird, not a human), but it’s what he’s got, and he’s going to make the most of it. Plus, as a pet, he gets to sleep with his crush, Minako.
After a couple of single-chapter stories about Gin delivering lunch to Minako at school and him trying to learn how to write (from genius penguin Mike, a funny concept), most of the book is taken up with a story that returns to Gin’s first love, boxing. The gym belonging to Gin’s coach has fallen on hard times. His boxers have drifted away, and he’s fighting with his son over whether to keep the facility open. There’s only one student left, but Minako and Gin volunteer to work with him to prepare him for a last-chance match to save the gym.
I love Gin’s appearance. He’s set apart from the other penguins that sometimes show up through his tie (a long one, not a bow tie) and his combination shirt/jacket/lab coat. The outfit alternately gives him dignity and makes him resemble a little businessman. When he has to carry something, he ties it in a scarf around his neck, creating a combination backpack/bandanna look. Gin’s also a fun character. He’s cute, determined, and inspiring in his dedication. He tries so hard and wants so much.