Centaur no Nayami- by Murayama Kei


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Sometimes I have no idea how we stumble upon some of the things we talk about on this site. Seriously, this particular Manga was just accidentally seen today, but I read like 38 chapters in one day. It is actually really cute and well  thought out. The entire plot is also particularly interesting. Let me warn you now that this manga is recommended to readers 16+ and I agree. There is no sex, but they do mention it and boobs are seen many times (never in sexual ways though).

The manga is a slice of life that focuses on a group of high school students. They go through all the normal problems that adolescents go through; questioning their future, struggling with grades, coping with familial problems, making new friends, discrimination and judging, understanding themselves and differences in society, etc. The biggest difference is that the story is set in an alternate universe where humans evolved into different species of magical creatures. The author recreates an entire history for the world that is so intricate and detailed that everything seems plausible. Evolution occurred much like it is believed today, but the initial water creatures had three set of limbs instead of two. This lead to the evolution of centaurs, imps, angels, fawns, satyrs, mermaids, tiger people (extinct), snake people, amphibian people, and longears as human species. And since they are all humans, they can all interbreed with each other. Though they are very different physically, it is supposed to be like our ‘races’ in reality. She made the mermaids have tails that begin at their knees, so they have genitalia (in case you were wondering). The story follows main character Himeno, a high school female centaur, and her friends, family, and schoolmates.

4If I can make any suggestion to help make this a more enjoyable manga, I will tell you to SKIP the first chapter (the one entitled Ch 0). This first chapter sets up the manga in a way that it does not follow afterwards. What I mean is that when you read this chapter you feel uncomfortable and get this feeling that the entire manga will be this weird sexual yuri type thing. I am not sure what caused me to chose to continue reading, honestly I do not know why I continued. I feel so uncomfortable explaining why you would want to skip that chapter. It started out fine, and the problem they have is like a basic problem of pubescent girls (like not understanding your own body), but then it took a turn and friends crossed lines that most friends (even best friends) may not be so willing to do. I found it all weird, but you may not dislike the first chapter as much as I did. I just want to say that the entire manga is so much better then that chapter depicts it.

Another interesting point of this is how the author depicts this world. She shows everything as being cute, innocent, and a little mundane, but there are tiny details that contrast completely with that. Turns out the society is dead set on equality, because history was so full of discrimination, that many small acts and words are considered hate crimes that cause people to be jailed. When the kids go to a school trip, they are accompanied by militaristic soldiers that are armed. They even have magical girls that fight against things like warped democracy, and the magical girls must have one of each of the species in their group and the main character must switch between species each episode. It comes off as almost dictatorial while trying to make a utopia (very creepy). Through out the manga, many chapters come up that have nothing to do with the lives of the main characters, but instead focus on the world and history and the struggle of the species. It gets really deep and intense at points. And aliens, there are aliens that come to the planet too.

The entire thing is very clever, and even though it may have the smallest hints of fanserive, the story is great. If you enjoy slice-of-life, legends/folktale/religions, and well hidden comments on humanity, then READ this manga!

-Blog Barista

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