Tag Archives: funky school

Animal Academy 2 and Takeru 2

Animal Academy Volume 2 by Moyamu Fujino

I’m liking this series about a human girl attending a high school for shape shifters more with the second volume. I previously reviewed volume one. The second volume shows Neko continuing to settle in at her strange new high school, with just enough mysterious happenings to keep the reader wondering what will happen during volume three. She finds out that one of the boys in her class is another undercover human. There’s a mysterious portal to the outside world that randomly appears in the forest surrounding the school. The student handbook seems to predict the future, especially Neko’s club selection – just what is the “Ninja Club” for anyway and how can she find it?

There’s slightly less interspecies friction as Neko’s cat-roommate Miiko settles down a little bit and is less antagonistic towards the other students. Neko still can’t figure out the human identity of the mysterious snake she previously encountered. The only student who is a snake, Sasuke, claims it wasn’t him. Sasuke also appears to have a similar looking brother named Yasuke who also appears around Neko often. The only thing that I find to be a little off about the book is the way the high school students are all drawn to look as if they are in fifth grade. Still, Animal Academy is a light, undemanding read with plenty of cute drawings of animals, and the day to day life of the students attending the mystical high school was entertaining. It is very tough to find manga suitable for the 10+ age range, so I’m glad Tokyopop is publishing this series.

Takeru: Opera Susanoh Sword of the Devil Volume 2 by Nakashima Kazuki and Karakara Kemuri

I previously reviewed the first volume of this fantasy saga about three men named Takeru who come together in a quest to find a legendary sword. The second volume is much more frenetically paced than the first, with plenty of battles, plot twists, and revelations. After being hailed as three legendary heroes by the Jagara, the amazonian society that protects the legendary sword of Susanoh, the Takerus find themselves in a frantic battle that involves hang gliding and an airborne blood coagulant that hampers the Jagara’s legendary blood based fighting powers.

The revelations keep coming as the reader learns that the Jagara have a graveyard for their missing breasts, and Takeru Oguna is actually the long lost prince of the enemy Amamikado. While the action scenes could be a little more coherent, there was something about the non-stop nutty revelations and the energy of this manga that appealed to me. This is the type of series that I’d be perfectly happy reading from the library, but I might not go out and spend my own money on it.

Review copies provided by the publisher

Animal Academy

Animal Academy: Hakobune Hakusho Volume 1 by Moyamu Fujino

Jacket Copy: Can you pledge secrecy when you are… a human being? When Fukada Neko finds herself enrolled in the mysterious Morimori Academy–a secret school for animal-human shape shifters–she soon realizes she must pretend to be a magical cat and not allow any of the other students to find out her real identity… But as she struggles with the trials and tribulations of a new school and new friends, Neko’s just-discovered feline side might bring out the true human spirit in all of her animal classmates!

While this series about a girl entering a very strange high school might not appeal to older readers, one of the things I immediately noticed about the book was that it was recommended for ages 10 and up. That’s an age range that I think is underserved by most manga being published today, so school librarians might want to make a point of seeking out this series.

Neko is a decidedly less than stellar student. She hasn’t gotten into a high school, and her last chance is Morimori Academy. She’s on a train to her new school, and a fellow student named Miiko is sitting across from her. Miiko is strangely silent, but Neko persists in talking to her. At the train stop all the other students quickly vanish, leaving Neko and Miiko alone to navigate through an odd forest until they find their new school. Neko has an interview with the headmaster of the school. He’s shielded by a screen. The headmaster remarks that she’s human, so he can’t accept her into the school. Neko begs to be allowed to try and is set with the task of taking a test that shifts from math, to essay questions, to a three question list that asks her if she can keep a secret, fit in at school, and hide her identity as human.

Neko gets into school and finds out it is an academy for animals to learn human behavior! When she arrives at her dorm she finds out that Miiko is her roommate. Neko ends up being the only girl on the floor who knows how to use a doorknob, and she goes around explaining to her classmates how to open a door. Neko finds out that Miiko’s true form is a cat, and everyone assumes that Neko is a cat too. One aspect of Animal Academy that was funny was the characterization of the different animal types. Miiko certainly acts selfish and cute the way a cat would, laying out her conditions of friendship for Neko, “I’m the only one you should be nice to. You should walk in front of me…and open all the doors for me. You’ll carry my bags when they’re heavy. You’ll go where I want.”

There are some hints of romance, as Miiko is pursued as an object of marriage by a raccoon boy. Neko tries to fit in to her new school, and she’s often helped by a snake although it remains a mystery what the human form of the snake looks like. The art is very cute, with clean lines and huge eyes. Although the students are in high school, the character designs make them look much younger. There were some unexpected surreal moments when Neko faced her admissions test. Stories about characters entering strange schools and having to adjust are very common in manga, but the age range for this manga sets it apart. While older readers might not find Animal Academy very novel, I expect that younger readers will be entertained.

Review copy provided by the publisher.