Ryo Takagi

Sometimes I just want a nice, fluffy romantic comedy.  This is the manga one-shot equivalent of an ice cream cone.  Sweet, delightful, and summery.

The story takes place in the mythical kingdom of Vera Morgan, ruled over by King Chanel.  There’s also a Burberry kingdom, by the way, and a court doctor named Louvuitton.

It stars one Fen Dytri:

Fen aced the civil servant exam and is hand picked by the king to serve on the SDF force.  Which turns out to be The Special Doll Force.  The title is not a typo for Brain Doll, oh no.  It really is Bran Doll.  The Special Doll Force retrieves truly fugly handmade dolls on behalf of the king.  Naturally, Fen thought he was going to be doing something Important and Meaningful with his civil service career, but instead…

Fen ends up working with the king and a couple of SDF members to fetch back the weirdo looking dolls:

Since this is a romantic comedy, plenty of wacky hijinks ensue, and the poor hero ends up getting handed over for marriage, falls off a cliff, talks to a possessed doll, is bitten on the ear, foils a plot, and finds twoo luv.  Which is how romantic comedies ought to go, really.

There isn’t anything particularly genre-breaking here, and this isn’t a deep story.  But it doesn’t need to be.  The tale involves an endearing reason for the dolls and the efforts gone to find them, an exploration of trust, the meaning of love, and learning to rely on others.

It’s a stellar example of its type.  The art is lovely.  For the more serious scenes, the characters are drawn in a more realistic style, and for emotive effect, the artist switches to an endearing and very effective chibi style.  She draws the dolls in a strange, childlike scratchy scrawl that she uses for doll owners as well.  It’s a great comedic technique.  At one point, she draws a character’s fantasy of how a plot will go–and the scratchy, silly, child-style perfectly mimics the immaturity of the character’s vision.

My favorite manga are generally long, dramatic series that explore themes, build up complicated and rich visual imagery, and show character growth over many volumes.  But after being bogged down by life and the utter confusion that was Nuts Peck, I just wanted something funny.  A story that I could pick up, read, and enjoy without any need to feel like I’d have to invest a couple hundred dollars before I got the eventual payoff.  A nice, satisfying one shot.  This delivered very nicely indeed.  Highly recommended.

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