Publisher: Viz Media (Viz Signatures)
Editor: Nancy Thistlethivaite
Design: Yukiko Whitley
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life
Rating: All Ages
Release Date: 06/27/2020
MSRB: US $6.99
Reviewer’s Note: I enjoyed The Emperor And I Vol. 1 using my Shonen Jump app subscription, which allows me to read tens of thousands of chapters of manga for US $1.99 per month. All manga reviews are spoiler-free and image-free unless noted in the review. Opinions are my own.
The Emperor and I Vol. 1follows a high school girl named Kaho who, one day, finds an Emperor Penguin inside her family’s refrigerator with no warning. Rather than sending him back to the zoo, they keep him. Thus begins the trials and tribulations of having a wild animal in the household.
I can’t express the amount of joy I felt reading a story about a high school girl and her penguin friend, but like… wow, was this a hilarious manga! It doesn’t matter what Kaho and Emperor are up to: everything hits just right, and feels genuienly hilarious.
The manga is largely episodic. There’s a feeling of connectedness, but honestly, it’s not strong. It mostly just feels like really charming peeks into Kaho’s life with Emperor. Lately, episodic stories like this really appeal to me, especially as a busy reader. It’s nice to read a chapter, go do something, and then come back without needing to remember more than, “Oh yeah, Kaho has a penguin friend!”
That last bit is exactly why this series works so well. It’s so out of this world hilarious that a family would find a penguin in their fridge and then decide to just… keep him. Even more hilarious is the fact that Emperor just becomes a part of their family in the blink of an eye. He’s almost like a little brother or son!
Another thing that makes this manga rather special is that it was published in full color. I mean, full color: every panel is in brilliant color. Also, the art style leans towards a bit more of a “graphic novel” vibe. It’s a simpler style that’s actually really, really clean and very nice to look at. I think that’s actually really good though: it makes it a bit more welcoming for younger readers who may not have any manga experience.
I really, really recommend this title for young readers, particularly because it’s a really funny, genuinely hilarious All Ages title. Kaho and Emperor are particularly funny, as is the general idea of sharing your residence with an actual penguin. Fans of Gal and Dino, which is also known as My Roomie Is a Dino, would also probably like this series, simply for the fact that it’s a girl living with an unusual animal. As a fan of Gal and Dino, I can tell you that this hits the same “girl meets wild animal” feels that that anime does.
While it is a digital only read, I don’t think that should keep you from sharing it. In fact, do the young person in your life a favor and gift them a Shonen Jump subscription and tell them about this title. I think it would be an excellent way to encourage youthful manga readers!
It really is a shame that The Emperor and I isn’t in print, though I’m so, so glad I can access it via the Shonen Jump app. I might have to root around the app for some more hidden treats. If it ever does come to print in English, I’ll buy it up and then some. I might even buy it in the original Japanese, if I can get it. For right now, I’ll probably pick up the English release on my Nook in the coming year.
I might also have to read some more of this too… In fact, this is the end of the post. I wanna read volume 2. See you next post!
TL;DR: The Emperor and I is a funny manga where High School Girl meets Emperor Penguin. It’s pleasantly episodic, which makes it a good series to read in chunks versus a big, plotty series that might require a lot of memorization on behalf of the reader. Additionally, this is a really great all ages series for the young readers in your life. In fact, I highly recommend gifting it to readers via your ebook platform of choice, or even getting them a Shonen Jump subscription so they can enjoy it. It’s an excellent gateway series to turn young readers into young manga readers, and hopefully, graphic novel fans as well!
Rating: 🟊🟊🟊🟊/ 4 out of 5 stars
Bingo Card: Read a Digital Only Manga
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