Cheeky Angel (aka Tenshi na Konamaiki) Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 196
  • ISBN: 1-59116-397-8
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Cheeky Angel (aka Tenshi na Konamaiki) Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     August 11, 2004
Release Date: June 01, 2004

Cheeky Angel (aka Tenshi na Konamaiki) Vol.#01
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Nishimori Hiroyuki
Translated by:Joe Yamazaki
Adapted by:

What They Say
Megumi, a nine-year-old martial arts enthusiast and all around rapscallion, always wanted to be "the manliest man on Earth." After saving a sorcerer from a group of local toughs, Megumi is presented with a magic genie that can grant any wish. Unfortunately, this genie misconstrues Megumi's desire as wanting to become the "womanliest woman on Earth," and in a flash, Megumi's Y chromosome is swapped for an X. Six years later... Megumi is the hottest girl in school, but has stayed to his/her tough talkin', punk stompin' ways. If that's not enough, Genzo, the baddest dude in town, is smitten by Megumi's womanly wiles...

One of the most popular titles in Japan today, Hiroyuki Nishimori's Cheeky Angel is full of enough gender-rending comedy and inappropriate slapstick silliness to please the most seasoned manga fan.

The Review
Packaged in a tall B6, this title is presented in right-to-left format. Viz uses the original art featuring a close up of Megumi with an SD'd Soga peeking into the cover on a pink poka-dot background. The opposite cover has a portrait of Megumi in his girl's high school uniform next to the volume description blurb.

Inside the printing is good, without alignment issues. This volume features a word from the editor, Michelle Pangilinan, and an intro to the mangaka. There are also ads for: Excel Saga, Megaman NT Warrior and Flame of Recca.

Nishimori's art is similar to some of the more popular yanki manga of the eighties and nineties. Where his work differs is the use of thick lines and tone shading techniques (older yanki artists would use ink to shade with some pretty dramatic results). His character designs have a very flat feel to them, but in general they have good sense of proportion and style. Nishimori tends to excel with his facial expressions and action scenes. With characters like these both of these aspects are used to the fullest and keeping the pace up and brightening up some plain looking art.

Nishimori's backgrounds are stale and are often half done. The layout is also pretty simple, so overall the art does little to support Nishimori's writing.

With this title Viz decided to translate the SFX by using overlays. The retouch is pretty good, but with the funky art the new FX sometimes look a little too fancy for Nishimori's designs. (I find it awkward having to say that the best art in this title comes from Viz and their FX.)

The translation is solid. It sounds and flows really well. This can be a funny series with the personalities involved but Yamazaki and Gary Leach have done a good job keeping the context for this teen comedy.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
There are plenty of ways to define manliness. The dictionary defines it as "having qualities traditionally attributed to a man/belonging to or befitting a man; masculine." Some people might consider a rugged figure like a cowboy or soldier manly. Others might say a firefighter or a police officer manly as they risk their lives for their work. Some might say men with good looks are manly.

Amatsuka Megumi always wanted to be manly. He wanted it so bad he wished he could be the "manliest man among men." Instead, due to poor luck, he is redefining the meaning of manliness as a man in a woman's body!

As a man, I can say being a manly one is pretty easy. Wake up in the morning, do the morning routine, go to work or play, hopefully fulfill my primary needs, rinse, go to bed and repeat. Pretty easy gig, actually, but I have to admit I have been a male for all of my twenty-seven years.

Megumi has been living with a female's body for six years now. For his first nine years, he expected to eventually go through some of the same experiences as millions of males have gone through. However, because of his unique situation he is now questioning what being a man really means. Making matters worse, he is now starting high school where he should be going through the initial phases of adulthood, and now he is facing the horrors of testosterone from the opposite perspective! Learning the awful truth from this angle is not the way he wanted to learn what it means to be a man. Could it really be getting mushy and weak over women? Do they all have to be so pathetic? A real man should be strong, cool, respectful, like Megumi; not some potato-faced goon hung up on pretty girls, like everyone else.

Gender bending seems to be the hip sub-genre lately. There are a handful of titles out there with this concept, luckily Viz ended up with one of the more entertaining ones. Nishimori goes about this the right way. Initially his main character struggles with the idea of suddenly becoming a woman. Megumi understands the situation he is in, but for the time being he continues to live his life as best as he can. When he needs to be a gal, he tries to be; when he has to be a guy, well? he is a guy. The only problem the young man has is understanding how guys work, as he has suddenly started his wonder years as a part of both sexes. Imagine how confusing that can be! Through that confusion and his ability to stay true to himself, Megumi entertains and creates situations that are shocking and equally hilarious.

Nishomori's supporting cast is also pretty solid. This small group modifies stereotypical characters that other high school stories lean heavy on to fit within the concept of this title. Soga is a great example. He should be stealing the show, and occasionally he might, as a brash, tough, and violent character. Megumi's unique personality has changed Soga's role from yanki thug into fanboy geek. The concept of an idol fan club is creepy enough, but with the crew involved in this title readers should be concerned for the safety of the club members and not the unknowing idol. Even best friend Miki is an enigma. Most of the time she tries to get Megumi to act feminine, but when she is bored she often plays tricks on Megumi's suitors to keep the fools on their toes. With a cast like that, one might wonder how Megumi has not checked into a mental ward yet.

There is no doubt that Cheeky Angel is an entertaining title. As a shonen title it fills a void created by the battle oriented titles that dominate this market. Instead we get a strange drama, where a young man learns the troubles of youth through his female body. There really isn't a way to relate with Megumi's struggles, so there is nothing a reader can do but laugh at the circumstance and stick with this title to see how he grows despite the situation. I guess that is what makes this title so much fun. Seriously, gender-bending titles are naturally funny, but the situational comedy that comes about the concept is really what will make or break a title in this genre. Nishimori's goes about it in a rational way, making sure to highlight the good times and the bad times but making sure both are funny.



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