Ross founded the UK Anime Network back in 1995, and following Andy Hanley's retirement has returned to the post of Editor-in-Chief in 2017. What an old man!
Guru Guru Pon-Chan 4-5
Author/Artist Satomi Ikezawa
Okay, so I’m a 27 year old guy, reviewing what is clearly a girls manga featuring a dog named Ponta that can turn into a girl if she uses the mysterious Guru Guru bone. She’s also in love with a guy called Mirai, and the two of them have started dating. I should absolutely hate this. But I don’t. And that’s really kind of worrying.
With the obvious bestiality issue brushed aside (though, bravely, confronted in the manga itself) the tale is basically a love story with some pretty distinctive complications. Artist and writer Satomi Ikezawahas obviously given a lot of thought to the rationality behind the situation, and as such the story is bursting with some fantastic asides and raw emotions. Ponta, our dog (bitch?) heroine is an innocent in the human world, and has much to discover, but somehow she always seems to grow and never irritates.
Seeing a human girl acting with all the excitement and naked emotions of a dog makes for absorbing reading, and some of the situations our confused Ponta finds herself in are genuinely heart-warming or heart-breaking in equal measure. By volume 4 I was utterly absorbed, and as luck would have it volume 5 arrived soon after. Since I only received these 2 volumes I’ll have to track down the first 3 and catch up with what I’ve missed, but from what I’ve read so far its well worth the investment.
The artwork is nicely detailed, with a light touch and well laid out panels. Everything is drawn to illicit as much emotion from each scene as possible, and the facial expressions of Ponta in particular are never less than utterly engaging. There’s a nice use of humour running through the books too, which is just as well as too much angst would have made for a hard read. As it is, Guru Guru Pon-Chan endears itself completely, and before you know where you are you’ve been hooked. Nuts.
So fellas, it’s a great read, but not exactly manly. Girls will adore Ponta and there’s a great range of hunks within the pages, and we guys can get some guilty pleasure with the spot on humour and (whisper) an engaging romance too.