Beings who possess animal-like powers walk among humans in this alternate universe. These mysterious mutants, the +Anima, are shunned by society. Four outcasts in particular—Cooro, a boy with crow-like powers; Husky, a fish-boy; Senri, a bear +Anima; and a girl named Nana, who wields the power of the bat—search for others like themselves while trying to gain acceptance in a world cruel to anyone or anything that is different.
Ahh, +Anima. Half the readers probably stumbled upon this manga because its name is, alphabetically, one of the first to appear on a manga-hosting website.The other half probably just liked the word "anima" because it sounded pretty. Despite what coincidental "methods" we readers used to find it, +Anima was far from something meagerly amusing, and in fact, was engrossingly endearing in its own right. You can tell a professional storyteller from an amateur one, and Natsumi Mukai is by far the former. A story that's able to be told with stunning and consistent aesthetics, married with heartwarming character development and engaging subplots is difficult to find. Look no further, however, because +Anima is one of the most underrated manga I've ever read (according to MAL scoring); I write this review on this sleepy Monday night to bring light to the wonderful +Anima.
Some lump character development in the "character" section of reviews. I don't disagree that character development is related to the characters themselves. However, MANY stories convey the growth of characters as their means of storytelling. It's not something merely physical such as a journey (though that is the physical plotline of +Anima); story also includes the story of character growth and how their interactions change later on in the manga. Despite other reviewers' relatively lower scores of +Anima's story, I give it a well-deserved 10.
The premise is simple enough. You have children that have the ability to use physical traits of animals, be it because they've been forced to adapt to this ability or whether they're born that way. Cooro sets on a journey to find other +Anima and travel with them for no exact reason, other than perhaps an innocent "because it's fun" chain of thought. Given its somewhat linear overarching physical plot, it's deduced that this is a slice of life manga. Which is perfectly fine, but I'd have to disagree with other people giving the story a lower rating because of it. Stories don't need to be complicated to be wonderful; the purpose of telling +Anima's story is not to confuse readers or tell a save-the-world/damsel/treasure story, but rather portray the everyday lives of our party of +Anima.
"Given that it's a slice of life manga, how are the daily events of Cooro, Senri, Nana, and Husky, anyway?" you may ask.
"Well," I answer, "it's sweet, relatable, and shifts between fun and serious." Some of the fun ones, such as Husky being mistaken as a mermaid later in the series by a young man, makes the corners of the reader's mouth daintily twitch up in amusement. Yet, there are also points of reflection and the subplots provide small tidbits of information on the characters and their pasts. The more serious stories, such as meeting Senri's tribe, heavily emphasize on the characters' pasts and why they've become whom they are today. It's difficult to convey the endearing moments in these events in this review, but each story provides a small moral or lesson that is IMPLICITLY (and I emphasize this word because there's just not enough IMPLICITNESS in manga) told to the reader, not shoved in our faces like a whole pie. Beautiful, beautiful storytelling. The daily lives of our protagonists are interesting and allow the reader to reflect upon common morals that we may or may not agree with.
Beautiful details. Intricately drawn backgrounds. It's not like your common shoujo with half-assed bubbles or flowers shown in the background when a character has her moment of pleasant surprise. Instead, these beautiful, lush backgrounds of the nature surrounding the party is depicted. And if it's not nature, it's the bustling towns that they move to and fro. Line art is well done -- bolder where emphasis should be and shyer where they're just small wrinkes in the clothing, etc. Given the age of this manga, the style of art has stood the test of time because the mangaka knew how to actually DRAW. As stated before in my review of He Dedicated to Roses, you'd be surprised at how many mangaka can't draw for the life of them despite the nature of their occupation. The characters' clothing designs are done extremely well; one look at a coloured (actually, it doesn't even have to be coloured) picture of Cooro and you can see the bright yellows contrasting the blues and reds, as well as the well laid-out, yet practical, layers of clothing he adorns. Wonderful work on the mangaka's part.
Despite the colourful cast of protagonists that most readers grow to love, there are several irking supporting characters within +Anima that were evidently not well-designed. Characters such as Fly could have had so much more done with them, but instead they're presented as rather 2D, especially in contrast to the well-designed +Anima protagonists we all know and love (at least, I do anyway).
Even if the supporting characters fall short of what's ideal, the main party makes up more than enough for it. Each of the main party's members has a distinct feel to them. Cooro is playful, yet mysteriously obedient, and loves to eat; Husky is rather frugal, dislikes girls, yet looks like a girl himself; Senri... I'd have to be a little biased and say that he's my favourite character in the manga because there's so much to him (you'll love his absent-mindedness, his ability to spice up cooking, and his forgetfulness); and then there's Nana. Not particularly likable at the get-go, but later on she does learn her place and even Husky learns to tolerate her. Though these may sound stock characters to you, rest assured they're not; the mangaka uses tiny details in their actions and cleverly manipulates the dialogue to give colour to the characters.
It's a great read, but don't expect to finish it all in one or two go's. It's slice-of-life, and meant to be taken in small doses because it's calming and simply a pleasant read. Like Cooro and friends, just take a bit of time out of your daily life to read a little at a time, as reading +Anima could be a slice of your own life's events.
I couldn't give it a solid 10 because some of the events weren't consistently strong; however, they were all well-done. Some were simply better than others, and when compared, the reader wouldn't have the same gratification of reading some of the weaker stories.
Terribly underrated series, and I suppose being a slice-of-life really can bring the story score down for certain reviewers. Don't treat it like a manga you can race through, because that's just simply not how you can enjoy +Anima. Read as much as you want, and stop when you feel you won't get any joy out of reading more. Then pick it up again, sprinkling it in the multiple slices of your own life to help sweeten a tame Sunday afternoon.read more
First of all +Anima is a great manga for anybody that loves great artwork and awesome characters. It isn't for everyone becouse there isn't a lot to the story and there isn't a lot of action.
Story: The story received a 7/10 because it wasn't all that special. The four main characters,Cooro, Husky, Senri, and Nana, walk around the world of +Anima in search of a true home. This doesn't sound all that special but it is because on their travels they encounter villains and friends alike, as well as other +Anima which makes the story a little more interesting.
Art: This is what I think is the strong point of this manga. The artwork a amazing. Everthing is drawn to it's fullest. The characters are drawn perfectly. I really think Mukai Natsumi did a wonderfull job with his artwork. You will fall in love with the art.
Character: This is another strong point to this manga. Each character has strong points and weak points, likes and dislikes. At the end of a chapter Mukai Natsumi usually has character charts so you can compare all the characters together. Most people that read this manga will probably be able to relate themselves to one of the characters. This manga also doesn't just focus on the four main characters. It also focuses on supporting characters that Cooro, Husky, Senri, and Nana meet on their travels. So if you can't relate to a main character you probably will to a supporting one.
Enjoyment: Enjoyment only got a 7/10 becouse I personally am a shounen type of guy. Even with that this manga was good and kept me tuned in.
Overall: Overall this manga was very good. What made me really like this manga was it's artwork and characters. They were both amazing. The story wasn't as great but it was original so that made it special. While reading this manga you can just sit back, relax and be ready to be taken into the world of +Anima.read more
I'm very picky when it comes to manga, but this one just drew me right in!
I picked it up just to fill in the slack between Naruto and D.Gray-man updates and just piled right through all that has been posted (up to chapter 41 on the site).
It's amazing, the artwork and the stories. One by one you're drawn in by the characters and kept wondering about them. The manga adds twists and turns, giving you something else to wonder about on top of what already has you wanting to read it. Along with the beautiful pictures and the short clips explaining why Senri has no mouth sometimes, in example.
It truly is a wonderful manga, if you like anime and animals, it's a must read. Comical, beautiful, suspenseful... it has it all. read more
I'm very surprised there isn't already a review for +anima.
+Anima is a very unique manga in it's storyline and characters. Although +anima doesn't have a set storyling except for the characters exploring new places and meeting acquaintances, it is still very enjoyable.
The characters are very well developed. Frequently at the end of a volume, Natsumi Mukai will often have a page or two describing the characters. As you progress in the manga, you'll notice that the characters become more and more developed with traits that make them unique.
I really loved this manga for it's great art, wonderful characters, and it was very enjoyable. It's still running, so there's more fun to come! read more