Artist/Writer: Toshihiko Matsuura
Volumes: Currently 8
Genre: Action, Comedy, Romance
Tuxedo Gin is a love story with a penguin as the main love interest. Don’t look at me like that because you know I’m telling you the truth, baby, although the storyline is a little more ‘in-depth’ than it first seems.
Ginji Kusanagi and Minako Sasebo, his best friend’s cousin, meet when Ginji almost runs her over with his motorcycle. Oddly enough even with this terrible first impression, the two fall in love instantly. Ginji asks her out on a date and Minako accepts. As they are manga characters things go wrong almost instantly. After Ginji’s professional boxing debut, he has an accident the night before his date with Minako and tragically dies as a result. An angel floats down and tells Ginji that his spirit hadn’t reached its expiration date yet. Ginji of course, doesn’t want to die; he wants to live so that he can meet with Minako the next day. There is one way that he could have a chance to reunite with Minako – he can come back as an animal and hope to be reincarnated as a human when his life as an animal ends. The catch is that he can’t intentionally kill himself. Ginji takes the risk and chooses to come back as a penguin, because Minako mentioned that she really likes penguins. Thus, Ginji begins his life as the penguin, Tuxedo Gin. Will he get his old body back? Will he meet up with Minako again (what do you think?)
Gin’s character design is so incredibly cute that it’s bound to rot your teeth with its sweetness. You really root for this little guy because he is trying so hard to accomplish his goals, stuck in this little tubby penguin body. The number of expressions that Gin has is very impressive. Who’d think that penguins could be so expressive? The artist, Toshihiko Matsuura, really has an eye for detail. While Gin is permanently stuck in SD mode, the other characters are drawn very well – Minako is a beautiful young woman with a pure heart and is shows in her design as well. (Although she has a nasty tendency to end up in really bad situations). Establishing shots are drawn in detail and oftentimes give more insight into the character – as seen in Minako’s room for example.
While experienced manga readers may draw comparisons to Rumiko Takahashi’s portrayal of P-Chan the Pig and Akane Tendo in Ranma 1/2 to Tuxedo Gin (animals in the same room as naked women, anyone?). This isn’t an incorrect comparison, Tuxedo Gin does share some of the mini-pervert moments, and the comparison really ends there. At least P-Chan can turn back into Ryoga. Ginji doesn’t have that luxury.
Viz has printed this manga in the original right to left format. The only downfall that I’ve heard people mention is that Viz don’t translate the sound effects and leave a glossary at the back of the volume. Personally this doesn’t really bother me as you can probably tell from the picture in front of you what sound effect is in effect. However, if you don’t fancy flicking to the back of book all the time to check the glossary then be warned that this can be an annoyance for you.
Other than that Tuxedo Gin, as a manga, is equal parts humour, romance and adventure. It’s a good manga for anyone to read and I guarantee that you will feel sorry for poor Ginji!