Genre: Slice of life, comedy
The Emperor and I is a short manga series about Kaho, a high school student who one day opens up her refrigerator to find an emperor penguin nestled within it. Kaho and her family decide to take in the penguin and name him Emperor (creative I know). The series follows Kaho and Emperor’s antics and how they get by as whole big slightly unusual family.
When first starting the manga I was filled with questions at the premise of a penguin magically appearing from the fridge and is somehow able to manage and survive in Japan instead of its natural habitat. This magical appearance of Emperor at first seemed to be a glaring plot-hole within the manga but somehow, the author makes it a part of the charm of the manga. Many who encounter and get to know Emperor are just as confused as the reader and by the end of the series it has become a running joke instead of an annoyance (plus there is a pretty funny surprise at the end in connection to the fridge).
The art style whilst being clearly a manga, is somewhat different to what I’m used to with my usual manga consumption. It has a simpler art style to it which works well with its slice of life setting and whilst the characters are very manga-ish in their design, the Emperor himself looks pretty realistic to its real life counterpart. Mato hasn’t cut any corners when it comes to Emperor’s character design and their choice in a more realistic penguin compared to a cuter, more manga style somehow adds to the charm of the series. Japan often transforms animals into adorable, chibi style characters (not always but I’ve noticed that it is a theme) so the fact that the series actually took a more realistic approach just helped to spice things up a bit.
Mato also chose to draw everything in full colour throughout all four volumes of the series which I thoroughly enjoyed and I feel truly spoilt as a manga reader at just how much full colour content this series gave me. Most manga readers are used to the traditional black and white style of an either physical or digital volume with the occasional coloured page sprinkled in at the beginning of the book for us to feast our eyes upon. The Emperor and I however, delivered its coloured content by the buckets and the simple character designs really popped with the colours used.
The Emperor and I was a whole series which I managed to get through within the space of a few hours which gave me mixed feelings as a reader. Chapters are very short and get to the points of the stories and its punchlines fast. As I got into the series and finished it so quickly I felt as if I got attached to characters and then suddenly it was all over and I was left with the horrible empty feeling I get after finishing a really good series. I think the shortness of the series was a very smart move of Mato (despite my sadness) as they stated at the end of the series that they wanted to create stories surrounding each season which would finish after the completion of a single year. This allows for various different slice of life stories to occur throughout the seasons and for characters to experience many holidays and occasions together without it getting boring as it could get repetitive if it had gone on any longer.
The Emperor and I is a beautifully bizarre slice of life manga which is thoroughly fun and enjoyable. It captured not only my attention but also my heart and the wholesome fun of The Emperor and I is a manga which can waddle its way into many manga readers hearts.
Overall rating: 8/10
Until next time thanks for reading and I hope you’re having a great day!
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