by Tokihiko Matsuura; adaptation by Kenichiro Yagi
published by Viz; $9.95 US
Gin’s frustrated. His love Minako is out on her first date with someone she thinks is Ginji, but he’s really an imitator. Hikomaro wants Minako, so he’s come up with a devious plan. He’ll pretend to be Ginji but act like a sleaze, picking up other girls in front of Minako. That way, Minako will fall out of love with Ginji and be available for Hikomaro.
Convoluted, but that’s how things work in this series, about a teenager reincarnated as a penguin out of love. It’s a blend of sitcom-style plotting and action comedy featuring motorbikes or snowboarding or gangs of penguins, depending on the chapter.
The plot is revealed through the goodness of Minako’s heart and her faith in Ginji. There’s more than one pair of characters like this: a self-sacrificing girl distinguished only by her unselfish love for a troublesome teen boy, causing the boy feelings of self-recrimination and awe at her devotion. He can’t change for good, though, because that would stop the stories.
After that, the penguin is left in charge of a class of kindergartners at Christmas, followed by Minako accidentally getting drunk on New Year’s Eve. Then it’s off to the hot springs (can’t have a manga series without them!) for topless shots of the girls and slapstick comedy with the boys trying to spy on them.
Nothing unforgettable here, but as light entertainment, it’s enjoyable enough. This volume lacks as many penguin antics as others in the series, which is unfortunate. The birds are so cute that they provide a lot of the appeal for me, and here, the only real focus on Gin is watching him be tortured by kids, which isn’t at all the same thing.