With the anime adaptation premiering this week, The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated! – the latest manga from Square Enix – makes its perfectly timed English language debut. The Great Jahy, the Dark Realm’s second-in-command, cuts a frightening figure, feared and revered by all. But when a run-in with a magical girl results in the destruction of the precious mana crystal, the Dark Realm falls, transporting the newly puny and powerless Jahy to the human world! Unfortunately, plotting the revival of the Dark Realm from a cramped, crumbling one-room apartment is no easy feat when you have rent to pay and a job to keep!
Square Enix Manga have slowly been ticking off the boxes of popular subgenres in manga since their start in 2020. This series is their first foray into the slice of life comedy genre, albeit with a twist which brings in elements of the body swap genre. In this case taking a villain and her minions from a magical girl series and placing her in an everyday average world whilst stripping her of her powers and appearance. Jahy spends the majority of this opening volume stuck in the body of an eight-year-old which not only is far removed from her regular adult form which she holds in such high regard, but also makes it difficult for getting employment in order to afford her rundown apartment. She must rely on a tiny fragment of mana crystal that allows her to briefly regain her true form whilst she works as a waitress in a bar (a role that is far beneath what she is used to) and ends the day sulking at home over her situation.
There’s lot of fun to be had in this series, mainly derived from Jahy’s inability to handle her new life and surroundings. She has a low-paying job with a patronising boss and no minions at her beck and call to do her bidding. In addition, her quest to find the crystals necessary to revive her empire are either prohibitively expensive or in the grasp of people bigger than her – including an older boy who isn’t the least bit intimidated by her. In addition, we get to see how her other minions have fared since the Dark Realm’s destruction, with her once lowly slave Druj now the CEO of a consultation firm who – despite being thrilled to discover her mistress is still alive – frequently unintentionally flaunts her wealth and influence. Fans of Don’t Toy With Me Miss Nagatoro will definitely enjoy the rather biting sense of humour Wakame Konbu employs.
The art is packed with energy and well suited to the style of storytelling. Jahy’s two forms are great designs and Konbu has a ton of fun switching between the two. Not only does she nail the zaniness a series like this demands, but she also excels in contrasting between the madness of the Dark Realm and the far drearier world Jahy now occupies.
This is an insanely fun comedy series which will appeal to fans of several different manga genres. In addition, anyone who like some bite in their humour will find The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated! highly appealing.
The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated! is out now from Square Enix Manga (9781646090761, p/b, £10.99)
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