Sunday, July 3, 2016

REVIEW: A Centaur's Life (manga, vol. 3) story and art by Kei Murayama, translation by Angela Liu

A Centaur's Life is a slice-of-life fantasy series. It's licensed by Seven Seas Entertainment.

I'm using the same read-alikes/watch-alikes list I used for the first volume, although it technically works better for the series as a whole rather than for this volume specifically.


In this volume, Hime and her classmates play softball, Shino deals with a bully and becomes a younger centaur girl's big sister-figure, Hime and her friends form an after school study group, Manami's little sisters play with other kids while she's at a student council meeting, the boys fight over control of the TV, and Hime's class gets a new student.

My favorite part of this volume was the nearly wordless bit with Shino. She was so cute as she tried to be a good big sister-figure, just like Hime. I thought she did a pretty good job considering that she had to deal with both a bully and with the little centaur girl getting jealous as other little kids started wanting to be around her. The only part of that section that I disliked was that, once again, Shino's mother acted like there was something either romantic or sexual about Hime and Shino's affection for each other. Please, stop. Just let them be two family members who care about each other. Even if she was just joking, it really wasn't funny.

Aside from that, this volume was serviceable, but boring. The second-best part was probably the softball game, which was messy and a little hard to follow, but otherwise not bad. I also liked the peek, later in the volume, into the student council president's home life.

This is the last volume I have on hand. I'd be fine with quitting the series at this point, except for one thing: the new development at the end of this volume. Murayama had been hinting at this since the very first volume, and I'd kind of like to see what this new development adds to the mix. Just not enough to buy more of the series. Maybe I'll put in an ILL request for volume 4.

  • Two full-color illustrations.
  • More information about Kanata City on the inside front and back covers. I still fail to see what any of this information has to do with anything.
  • Several informational pages about the gods and supernatural beings of this world. Oddly enough, magical girls are included in this list. Apparently, magical girl shows come in two different varieties: one with a team of magical girls representing all the major races, and one in which the main magical girl character changes every season. 
  • A 2-page manga-style afterword. It's intended entirely to poke fun at the perviness of the series' most openly lesbian character. ::sigh::
Read-alikes and Watch-alikes:
  • Zootopia (CGI animated movie) - Those who'd love something else that gets into a lot of the nitty gritty details of life in a city where beings of all shapes and sizes live might want to give this a try. Just be warned, the recommendation doesn't work both ways. I've written about this movie.
  • Babylon 5 (live action TV series) - Another one that might be good for those who are particularly interested in the "beings of all shapes and sizes living together" aspect of A Centaur's Life. This is sci-fi with political aspects, though, so otherwise very different from Murayama's work. I've written about the first season and the first movie.
  • Alien Emergencies (e-book) by James White - Medical science fiction. This omnibus isn't the first in the series, but it's the only one I've read. Again, on the surface not very similar to Murayama's work, but it might be a good one for those who'd like more "beings of all shapes and sizes living together" aspects. I've written about this book.
  • Mindtouch (e-book) by M.C.A. Hogarth - Maybe? It's basically slice-of-life sci-fi starring a humanoid empath and a centauroid being. There are indications that the world has a very dark past, but the story itself is gentle and often sweet. One warning, though: there are kids with terminal illnesses, and one does die. I've written about this book.

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