New this month from Vertical is a fan-favourite pet manga based on a real person, a real dog, and a real glass studio – Lovely Muco! In the beautiful mountains of Akita stands GLASS STUDIO amato, run by Mr. Komatsu and the shiny-nosed dog who loves him – MUCO!! Muco dreams of the day when Mr. Komatsu will become a dog, too, but in the meantime she spends her days chewing up towels, jumping in the pond, and inventing new games… all called “Komatsu”!
Kodansha’s Vertical imprint has been home to some quality pet manga including Chi’s Sweet Home and With A Dog and A Cat, Every Day Is Fun. This is another fun series to add to that line-up. Lovely Muco! already has a following amongst English speaking fans thanks to its anime adaptation that streamed on Crunchyroll in 2014. It is a manga series that has been long overdue for an English language release and it was definitely worth the wait.
This series is obviously played for laughs and not something to look too deeply into. The main takeaway is the fun and accurate depiction of a happy dog. Muco is an intensely loyal and fun loving shiba inu with a very out-there outlook on the world which never fails to provide laughs – even with simple things like seeing how her nose shines in her reflection on the glass doors of the studio. Despite his occasional frustration, her owner Mr. Komatsu has a strong bond with her and Muco dreams of being able to help him with his glass making which is obviously completely incomprehensible to Komatsu.
As well as having a great gasp on dog and human behaviour, Takayuki Mizushina knows how to create an entertaining manga. His art is bright and energetic with most of the energy being channelled into Muco’s antics. The facial expressions carry a lot of the story with the delightful contrast between the mostly serious Komatsu and the perpetually happy Muco being impossible not to get a smile out of. Additionally, Mizushina nails the more subtle moments of dog behaviour outside of tail wagging and running around – with Muco’s sleeping (whilst dreaming of Komatsu becoming a dog) being a great example.
This is another strong pet manga that is perfect for anyone looking for a fun easy read. Muco’s antics will warm even the most cynical of hearts.
Lovely Muco! 1 is out now from Vertical (9781647292393, p/b, £15.99)
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