If you’ve been feeling a bit stressed out lately and you’re on the lookout for a feel-good read, then boy do I have the manga for you! The Fox and the Little Tanuki, by Mi Tagawa, is a sweet and light-hearted story that’s sure to help take your mind off of your worries.
Senzou the black fox is a powerful bakemono, a rare animal who was born with magical powers and shape-shifting abilities. Abandoned as a cub by his parents due to his strange gifts, Senzou grew to hate the world and used his powers to cause destruction and to defy the gods, until he was finally imprisoned for his misdeeds by the Sun Goddess. After serving his 300 year sentence, Senzou is finally released and is ready to go straight back to his old ways, but he soon discovers that much of his powers have been stolen and that the Goddess has even further penance in mind for him. She charges Senzou with raising a young tanuki, who has also been abandoned by his family for being a bakemono, and tells him that he must help this young one to become a worthy servant of the gods. Senzou wants nothing to do with the little tyke, who seems to have taken an instant shine to him, but the goddess isn’t going to take “no” for an answer and now he’s stuck babysitting the naïve tanuki, who has no idea how to control his surprisingly strong powers. Will the bitter and antisocial Senzou find that he has what it takes to be a good guardian? Or will all of this end in disaster?
From the Disney-like art style, to the enthusiastic love that the little tanuki, whom Senzou names Manpachi, shows for his new “friend”, Senzou, everything about this manga is simply adorable! The Fox and the Little Tanuki might not have the most original plot – a crabby and pessimistic person who has their cold heart melted by the innocence and unconditional love of a child is certainly a story that has been told a thousand times. Even so, it’s still delightful to watch Senzou put on a grumpy front, while secretly being moved by Manpachi’s open affection for him. He might not be ready to consider himself and Manpachi family, but we know it’s only a matter of time before the walls he’s built around his heart are completely torn down.
This manga is also fairly exciting and includes a decent amount of action scenes, as Senzou and Manpachi try to complete the various assignments they are given by the wolves that serve the Sun Goddess. In order for Manpachi to be considered a worthy servant of the gods, Senzou has to help him complete a number of favours for said gods, a task that he’s even less enthusiastic about then raising Manpachi. Their half-assed attempt to help a zashiki-warashi(a god that guards a house) reclaim its home from a spirit of pestilence, hilariously results in the house burning down. They do, eventually, manage to help the zashiki-warashi, but with Manpachi’s lack of knowledge and Senzou’s lack of caution, I think that they’re going to be stuck doing these jobs for a good long time, much to the general annoyance of the poor wolves who have been tasked with keeping an eye on them.
The Fox and the Little Tanuki is a fun and endearing story, with loveable characters and plenty of magical adventure to keep things entertaining. I think that this would be a great title for kids and for any adults looking for a warm and fuzzy reading experience.
Final Score: 8 out of 10.
For more information on this manga, visit Tokyopop’s website: https://www.tokyopop.com/book-catalogue-new-titles/the-fox-and-little-tanuki-vol-1
What did you think of this manga? What’s a feel-good manga or anime that you like to turn to when you’re feeling stressed? Let me know in the comments! Also, if you’re looking for more manga about cute animals, be sure to check out some of my other manga reviews: