Manga Review: Zoushoku Shoujo Plana-chan!

She’s an adorable girl set to outnumber the world around her.

Plana-chan 01

Title: Zoushoku Shoujo Plana-chan!

Author/Illustrator: Hiroki Haruse

Publishing Years: 2010-11

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Meet Plana-chan, a young girl who is a cross between a human and a Planarian, a type of flatworm. That’s right, another moe anthropomorphism tale. Plana spends her days learning about the world, similar to a certain blue tentacle haired cephalopod… So, what makes this manga different from Squid Girl? Well, Plana’s flatworm half gives her the ability to multiply. Yes, she can split into twins or more, sometimes of varying size (usually smaller than the original). But she can only be split up to thirty times, after which the multiples disappear and Plana is whole again. This isn’t good news for her caretaker, Rinne Ikaruga, a high school student that is suddenly charged with Plana’s care. Rinne receives Plana through her mad scientist of a sister and is reluctant to accept the “experiment” and care for it, but Rinne eventually grows to love Plana.

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Each day is a learning experience for both Plana and Rinne; much of the chapters stand out as a lesson for Plana in understanding the world and Rinne for being a guardian to Plana. Near the middle of its 21 chapter run we get acquainted with a cast of school mates, an anti-Plana, and Rinne’s sister/Plana’s creator. The story culminates to a satisfactory conclusion, despite abruptly being announced in the penultimate chapter. I always want more and was hoping this would reach the same notoriety Squid Girl did (250+ chapters, geez!)

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The character design sure is cute and childlike, almost having a chibi feel to them. In other words, none of the characters are anatomically correct, and that’s fine for a manga of this nature. Though some characters exude a sense of maturity and growth, the adorableness factor Hiroki puts in makes swift work at turning down the suggestive material. But moe does run much of the appeal for this manga. Plana-chan herself is as small as a 5 year old with pink hair and blush stickers, cute enough to make me what to take care of one! None of her physical attributes lead her to being some kind of human-animal hybrid, well expect for the tail-like hair tips and the star-shaped pupils. Rinne’s design too makes use of some nice braiding to her hair bangs and is fashionable even in school uniform.

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I enjoyed this read and appreciated the concept of multiplication, once a novelty in a gag comedy now turned standard in this manga. Things didn’t get old with her ability because Plana doesn’t have the right mind to use it for complex tasks, not that she’s not smart, rather she is honest… sometimes. I get a dose dopamine every time I turn to a page with Plana-chan just there innocently smiling away, which happens a lot by the way! The manga is a fun read despite its short run, and definitely memorable.

I recommend this manga for those readers who enjoy ultra-cute characters in a story that is simple and light.

Not shown is Lia, my favorite character! She is a bit of a spoiler though… I’ll just quote the translator after her first appearance: “I approve of tanned lolis in booty shorts.”

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