I’m sure you’ve noticed the trend lately. Many of the latest anime and manga have been released with incredibly descriptive titles. Some of them have rambling run-on sentences as names, while others just hit you with the synopsis in a quick few words. And when we on the Right Stuf staff first heard of this title in particular, we instantly knew what the main story was, but we still couldn’t help but laugh. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to review this one, so let me tell you about Monaka Suzuki’s latest book, My Father is a Unicorn.
This story revolves around Uno Issei, a teenage boy who’s getting used to his new situation at home. You see, his mother has found herself a new husband, Masaru. Masaru is tall, blonde, handsome, and happy to help out around the house. He struggles with that last part, though, because he’s not used to taking on a two-legged humanoid form. He is, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, our titular unicorn (specifically, a unicorn-pegasus hybrid.) And when Mom leaves town on a business trip, Issei is forced to help Masaru get the hang of apartment life.
Each chapter studies a hardship Masaru has to deal with while adapting to his new situation, from cooking and cleaning to simply keeping his supernatural origin under wraps. Otogawa, chairman of the building’s tenants’ association – as well as mother of Issei’s friend Kurumi – is certain that Issei’s hiding a horse in his apartment, so she’s constantly scrutinizing every sound and smell from his place.
A lot of the comedy in the book comes from Masaru’s shapeshifting abilities. He has trouble keeping human form all of the time, and if he gets distracted, he lets slip some of his true nature, whether becoming a practical centaur – though not an actual centaur, as Masaru is very clear to point out – or just having hooves for hands – terrible for cutting veggies, but great for shaping burger patties! Suzuki clearly is having fun coming up with as many horse/human mixes as possible without it ever slipping over into an unsettling space. On top of that, she devises a fun series of situations to put Issei and Masaru through. While regularly annoyed with the situation, Issei accepts that his mom and Masaru are together and does his best to help Masaru succeed in his goal of being a dad.
Suzuki’s art shines on the page with a detailed, clean style. She gives each character a unique look, making it easy to follow who’s who. Her expressions are easy to read and widely varied, with Masaru giving the best example. He wants to prove he’s a good parent, but ends up running through a wide variety of emotions as he struggles to master humanity. And of course, that’s when he manages to not just be a unicorn in an apron….
In My Father is a Unicorn, Monaka Suzuki has given us a lighthearted romp, a delight of a book that adds a magical touch to the slice of life genre. It surges well past the premise-spoiling title and tells a tale of adaptation and acceptance that never struggled to put a smile on my face. So kick back, grab a carrot to snack on, and give My Father is a Unicorn a try!
Issei Uno is still in high school when his mother remarries. His mom’s new husband, Masaru, is a nice enough guy, he just happens to be a unicorn. Sometimes in the form of a talking horse, sometimes in the form of a beautiful man, Masaru is determined to run the household while his wife is away and win Issei over. For better or worse, now Issei is stuck teaching this unicorn man how to be a good dad in this idiosyncratic comedy about the magic of family.Add to CartLearn More