Being raised as a Christian, I was taught to believe the story of God’s creation in the book of Genesis. As I entered public school, though, we were taught to believe in evolution. I’m sure these are the experiences many people go through. Creationism and evolution are often used against each other, but my belief is a mixture of both. What if there is a God who designed the animals on Earth but continued to make changes to their biology in order for them to survive and thrive on the planet? Well, that is the essential idea behind Heaven’s Design Team...with a twist. In Heaven’s Design Team, God decided that instead of creating the creatures himself, he would outsource the project to the Heavenly Creative Agency’s Design Department. After designing a new creature, the team tests their prototype’s ability to survive on Earth. The designs are also submitted by Ueda or Shimoda, the angel liaisons, and God either approves or rejects the designs. The designers themselves are very unique and fun characters that are named after the planets of our solar system (and Pluto since it’s not considered a planet anymore). Many of them have entertaining quirks that affect the way they design their creatures. For example, Mr. Saturn’s masterpiece is the horse, and ever since he created it he has been trying to create a new take on the horse with disastrous and hilarious results. The unicorn, pegasus, and kelpie just don’t seem to work! Then we have Jupiter, who created the cow. He likes to taste test all of his designs in order to create the most delicious animals. The most eccentric of all is Pluto, a somewhat gothic girl who likes to give her creatures deadly or bizarre traits. Rounding out the designers are Mars, Neptune, Venus, and Mercury. Uranus is nowhere to be seen, unfortunately...Maybe in a future volume? Or maybe the authors just decided to exclude that name due to the immature jokes it would inevitably lead to.
This first volume doesn’t quite have a flowing narrative. Instead, each chapter is presented as a small vignette of a typical work day for the design team. Only at the end of this volume does a cliffhanger present itself that may lead to a more permanent plot. However, I don’t see this style as a negative at all. Each chapter of this manga presents an assortment of creatures, both real and fictional. Much like an elementary school animal book, you learn a lot of educational and interesting facts about the behaviors and biological traits of different creatures that help them survive. You also get some insight into why certain mythological creatures, such as the aforementioned unicorn, couldn’t actually exist due to the impossible demands their bodies would require to survive. I learned a lot of new information about how different species eat, avoid danger, and even reproduce! In addition to the edutainment throughout the manga, each chapter gives you a couple of pages with short encyclopedic entries about the real-life animals that appeared in the chapter.
Back when I was a young boy, I absolutely loved learning about animals. For a long while during my childhood, I actually told people I wanted to be a zookeeper when I grew up. This might be due to the fact that I grew up in a small town in Iowa about an hour away from the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska. Therefore, I went there a lot on school field trips and with my family. Even though my aspirations of being a zookeeper or having a job in the animal biology field have come and gone, I still enjoy learning about all the amazing creatures that inhabit this world. Heaven’s Design Team definitely fulfills that desire and provides a lot of fun along the way! Hebi-Zou and Tsuta Suzuki have given us a great new manga with terrific art by Tarako, who clearly has a lot of experience and talent for drawing animals of all varieties. After seeing the first few pages in vibrant colors, it made me sad that the rest of the book was also not in color. Fortunately, the anime has begun streaming on Crunchyroll and is just as great as the manga! I love the concept, characters, art, and humor of Heaven’s Design Team so much that I sincerely hope it becomes a huge hit for manga and anime fans, as well as animal lovers, everywhere. As for me, I will definitely continue to collect each volume of this manga and watch the anime, and I expect it will quickly become one of my all-time favorites.
Heaven's Design Team manga volume 1 features story by Hebi-Zou and Tsuta Suzuki with art by Tarako. This isn't your average Design Agency! Their assignment? Make the animals that will populate Earth to God’s exacting specs! As their rejected designs pile up (literally), the team may worry that they’ll never get it right, but that’s often when inspiration strikes. The result might be a giraffe, a koala, or something new, weird, wonderful—and real! Welcome to the wild thing factory! Includes photos and educational information about the REAL animals created in this volume: Giraffe, Red-eyed tree frog, Koala, Horsehair worm, Armadillo, Anteater, Sea cucumber, American red deer, Fiddler crab, Narwhal, Sperm whale, Giant squid, Seahorse…and many more!Add to CartLearn More