Pixie Pop (aka: Gokkun Pucho) Vol. #01 (Mania.com)

By:Patricia Beard
Review Date: Friday, March 16, 2007
Release Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Ema Toyama
Translated by:Aska Yoshizu
Adapted by:

What They Say
Mayu, the daughter of a cafe owner, is down-in-the-dumps and unlucky in love...until she meets Pucho, the magical fairy of beverages. Now, whenever Mayu drinks something, she transforms! But there's a catch-milk makes her grow, water turns her invisible, and pork soup turns her into a cute little piglet. But will that help her win the man of her dreams?

The Review
Magical fairy of beverages!

The cover is very pink and very energetic with Mayu, Pucho, and Amamiya-kun on the cover with stars and frills and curly stuff. There's no question for whom this is intended. Unfortunately, it didn't get the top-flight print treatment inside. I find the reproduction to be sub par to most recent Tokyopop volumes with the overall print quality looking uncrisp. This mangaka packs a lot onto a page and the increased definition would have helped readability. Included in the volume are two bonus shorts (called "desserts") and some single page ads for other Tokyopop volumes.

The vitality evidenced on the cover is extended to the pages inside. The character designs are cute, but not so distinctive that one could pick this mangaka's work out of a line up. However, Ema Toyama's strength is her focused story combined with a lively layout and energetic visuals. She puts a lot on the page and it packs a punch.

No sfx translations. This is shameful since the primary audience for this is tweens and young teens. The dialog reads well and there are no localizations to speak of. However, there is an interesting regionalization in the use of the word "pop" for the carbonated beverage rather than soda pop or soda.

Contents: (may contain spoilers)
Middle-schooler Mayu is despondent over being turned down by Amamiya kun for whom she has harbored a crush since first grade. ("who are you?" Oh, so cold!) She's drowning her sorrows in "pop" when a tear drops into the glass she has just picked up. It's a pretty drink, a seven color drink, and Mayu wonders whether it's one of her mother's new creations. Down the hatch and out pops an outraged Pucho sama, the cafes resident drink fairy. Mayu has drunk Pucho's seven color magic drink, the drink that was to turn Pucho into an adult.

Now that Mayu has powers of the seven color drink, she is at the mercy of anything she imbibes, and this often places her in uncontrollable situations, often involving Amamiya kun. The imperious Pucho sama, whose help is sometimes a hindrance, sometimes naughty and wicked, agrees to help Mayu in pursuit of Amiya kun when they both realize that there is a way to recreate Pucho's seven-color drink to gain Pucho's adulthood. Mayu's affection for Amamiya kun is the key.

My eleven-year-old self really enjoyed this. The mangaka is very clever and funny in her introduction of drinks and their effect on Mayu. This may be a single joke story, but it is well focused and well paced for a three volume series. Toyama knows where she wants to take this and she gets it there.

Tokyopop has rated this as 13+. There may be a reason for this in later volumes, but I found that this can read
younger. While older readers will not be bored, I didn't see anything that would be problematic for an eleven or
twelve year old. It is a shame that Tokyopop couldn't extend themselves to provide a better quality volume for this group of younger readers, especially with their push into school libraries (for which this would be a good title). Young people like things that look nice, too.

Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: C
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 200
ISBN: 1598168136
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left