Manga Review: Tuxedo Gin
Hmm I’ve not written anime/manga reviews for some time. I actually thought twice about posting this up because it’s not really something I would recommend for any young uns to read, but this was one of the first manga I read when I just got into manga so it does merit some credit haha. Something about manga is that when you see a nicely-drawn cover on the book, it usually encompasses something in the contents which you didn’t quite expect.
So the first volume cover has main girl Minako holding a penguin. As child friendly as that looks, and hell, maybe you’re expecting a magical story of a girl with a penguin and how they go through everyday life together or whatever, you’re kinda right, but also wrong — because there’s ecchi in this romantic comedy.
If you don’t know what ecchi means, here is a child friendly definition – it means you will see a lot of boobs and bums. Yes really.
Anyway, if you can see past the regular ecchi-ness of this manga, you’d find out it combines the innocence of a children’s TV programme/show because of the ‘cutey animals’ mixed in with a plot revolving around goofy characters and a struggle to reunite with one’s true love that defies human nature. A penguin in love with a human, per se.
(see manga cover)
Our main character is Ginji, a high school boxing champion who is driving his motorbike one day and almost runs over a girl called Minako who was chasing her cat in the street. They meet and instantly fall in love.
As much as I don’t believe in love at first sight, their interaction and first meeting was a sight to behold and had me rooting for them, although the manga did go for 15 volumes and I wanted to bang my head against the wall after the 13th volume or so; I was gripping the book so hard screaming GET TOGETHER ALREADY.
One of the best things about this manga is that the mere first page already had me bursting out in laughter.
(see picture below)
This manga series kept me entertained every volume, every chapter. The humour is great. A few toilet jokes there and some sick ones, too, but I can stomach it. Not many mangaka can do that nowadays without coming across as being disgusting. Going back to the plot – so when Ginji meets Minako, he asks her to go on a date with him to the aquarium to see penguins, her favourite animal – until Ginji is returning home by his motorbike and gets attacked by a rival gang and ends up in a motorcycle crash.
He dies but is allowed to be reborn as a penguin by this bald Buddhist monk angel, and as a penguin, he goes to look for Minako. For some reason I don’t really understand, Minako meets Penguin Ginji, takes him in and starts to look after him. Hmm, perhaps it is ok in Japan to find a wild penguin and have him as a pet but in the UK, that’s kinda crazy, like…having a pet tiger kind of crazy.
Anyway, from then on, Ginji tries to find a way to return to human and be with Minako again. But of course, living with a girl, and the girl he likes nonetheless, has its own benefits. That’s where the ecchi came into play. Again, if you can get past the ecchi, Tuxedo Gin is a really funny manga. Living with the girl he likes also has its own complications, namely protecting her from other guys who take a fancy to Minako. Each chapter is packing a well-defined and sensitive story and some even continue on in other volumes; an example is a human-turned-osprey who meets Penguin Ginji during a holiday who returns in a later chapter. Another is a Ginji look-a-like who Minako ALMOST goes with because of his resemblance…le gasp!
My only gripes is the art style. It’s a bit too simple. The people just aren’t pretty but because they’re funny, it makes up for it. But that’s okay for me, because I don’t just read manga for pretty-drawn people (actually, that’s not true because I CAN’T STAND Alice in the Kingdom of Hearts because I hate the art style of that manga too).
Apparently, Disney have acquired rights for Tuxedo Gin. Hmm, I wonder what will come out from that?