Play that funky music, Future Girl
It is only with the release of volume 2 that I realize I got the title of this series wrong. I had thought it was called “Mikansei,” and that the “No. 1” was the volume number. Now I am shown to be wrong as I am holding a copy of the second volume of “Mikansei No. 1”
The second volume also happens to be the last of this short but enjoyable little series. All of the lose ends are wrapped up, and the story concludes in a dramatic but not unexpected fashion.
Neo and Saya have been given the challenge of filling up the park during a free concert, or disband forever. Their band, “Clap = *,” has been rehearsing steadily in preparation, but if they don’t pull it off then their dream is over. The music company president Ebisu isn’t supporting them at all, and may even be going out of their way to trash the gig. The free concert is not the only thing standing in Neo and Saya’s way. The secret behind the popstar Nanato is uncovered, and his connection to Neo adds some complications. Meanwhile Neo has been told that she has once chance and one chance only to return to her own time period, and she must chose between taking the leap into the time tunnel or being stranded in the twentieth century forever.
“Mikansei No. 1” isn’t a groundbreaking or deep series, but just a short bit of fast-paced and amusing diversion. There are a lot of ideas and concepts that are just flashed quickly, like Neo’s future society, the sudden appearance of her mother who seems to know more about the situation than she lets on, and Neo’s modifying the past by becoming a pop star. None of these are given much exploration, and it makes me wonder if series author Majiko! had to cut the series short, or if he just intended them to be background decoration and nothing more.
Neo herself is a great character, a spunky kind of “lovable loser” who has far more confidence than talent. Her relationship with Saya develops upon a somewhat predictable storyline, but even then the romance angle takes a back-seat to the hijinks. A new character, Tsubame, adds even more hijinks to the mix. Ebisu’s younger brother, both are outrageously gay with Tsubame changing into women’s clothing every chance he gets, and wearing a two-piece bikini to the swimming pool so he can add some “feminine charm.”
I like Majiko!’s art quite a bit, and a lot of positive energy is put into every scene. The character designs are great, from the cute Neo to the bishonen-type Saya to the utterly bizarre ever-changing afro-headed Ebisu. With the appearance of Tsubame all of Majiko!’s costume skills get to shine, and new outfits are constantly created.
All in all, if you are in the mood for some mindless pop music-themed fun, “Mikansei No.1” might hit the right notes for you. At only two volumes, it isn’t too much of an investment in time or money, and is definitely worth both.