November 05, 2013
On the Seven Seas: A Centaur's Life
Hey, everyone! I'm Conner Crooks, Seven Seas Entertainment's social media liaison. This is a very exciting time, as we're starting to roll out some big fan-favorite titles. In particular, we've been riding a monster girl wave recently! Our launch of Okayado's Monster Musume Vol. 1 has been well-received by countless manga fans, and we're now rushing to reprint it only a couple weeks after its initial release. (Not to mention, for two weeks in a row, it's occupied the coveted #1 spot on the New York Times manga bestseller list!) We also just released Love in Hell Vol. 1, about a dead guy in Hell and the alluring demoness who tortures him. Just looming over the horizon is our third "monster girl" themed manga-Kei Murayama's A Centaur's Life, winner of the "Silver Dragon" at the 8th Annual Ryujin Awards. A Centaur's Life is a beautiful and detailed series that couldn't be more different from Monster Musume in terms of setting and mood. Allow me to give you a brief overview of this amazing manga.
First thing you're likely to notice about this release is how BIG it is, as we decided to use what we call "Seven Seas trim size," a special oversized trim size to highlight this manga's wonderful artwork. You'll also be treated to a double-sided color insert featuring the main characters. Packaging aside, this manga packs a real punch with the adorable artwork and meticulous detail by manga-ka Kei Murayama.
A Centaur's Life, at first glance, is a simple story, featuring the everyday high school lives of a group of friends. So what's the catch? Well, the world of the story is populated by a wondrous menagerie of fantastical creatures including Centaurs, Angelfolk, Draconids, Catfolk, Goatfolk, and Antarctic Snake People...but we'll get to them later! In the series, life goes on in a surprisingly realistic manner-and all throughout this first volume, there are plenty of casual mentions of real-world problems that plague our own: war, healthcare reform, immigration, discrimination, and racism. The social commentary is a story within itself, and gives insight into a complex and diverse supernatural culture, but moralizing is not the main thrust of the series.
At its core, A Centaur's Life is a heartwarming and hilarious slice-of-life tale about a group of supernatural friends and their daily interactions, mishaps, and misadventures. You have Himeno, the elegant and reserved centaur; Nozomi the Draconid, a tomboyish, short-haired, and crude-humored girl with wings; and lastly, Kyoko, a bookish, soft-spoken Goatfolk who acts as the voice of reason within the group. Together, these three girls, each with her own distinct issues and problems, form the core of the narrative. You'll go to school with them, join in on their private, and sometimes embarrassing, conversations, and gradually will learn about the details of the fascinating world they inhabit. Nuggets of information about each supernatural race and their culture are craftily inserted into each chapter, so that the reader feels a grand sense of world-building by the end of the volume.
Beyond the captivating story, I'd be remiss not to mention the witty dialog and humor that runs throughout A Centaur's Life. Conversation is pointedly clever and relies on a lot of simple, but delightful comedic situations. You can't have a series like this without a healthy dose of boke and tsukkomi, and there's plenty of it in the form of interactions between Nozomi and Kyoko. These two are the butt of many gags and jokes throughout the volume, with Nozomi interjecting and delivering plenty of zingers, to the dismay and disapproval of Kyoko. Playing more of a neutral "Everyman," Himeno's innocent and naïve nature is oftentimes a topic of discussion between not just her friends, but classmates as well.
To sum up, this manga is both adorable and clever, and never ceases to amuse or make one smile. This is an absolute must for monster girl fans, for fans of the supernatural, or for those who want their slice-of-life with a freaky twist.
A Centaur's Life, known as Centaur no Nayami in Japan, is published by Tokuma Shoten's Comic Ryu-which some fans may realize is also the publishing home of Monster Musume as well. A Centaur's Life has been serialized monthly since 2011, and has since been collected into six Japanese tankoubon so far with no sign of slowing down. You can look forward to Seven Seas' English edition of volume 1 coming Tuesday, November 5, 2013, with volume 2 following next year on February 4 and volume 3 on June 3, 2014!