Misha has just moved in next door to Kotarou Higuchi and swears she will protect him at all costs. Unfortunately, she's not too familiar with the ordinary world, as she is an angel who has lived in Heaven until recently. She has no idea how things work on earth and ends up causing more trouble.
Kotarou Higuchi is a young boy with a lot of troubles. His mother died when he was young, his father is absent a large portion of the time due to work, leaving Kotarou to take care of things around the apartment they live in and, on top of that, he's not the best student and has to study hard just to get average marks - but wait! One day a mysterious girl claiming to be an angel moves in next door and won't leave him alone...
You know, to be honest, Pita Ten has what sounds like an extremely typical plot. In shounen series featuring
magical girls this is usually the sort of situation you find, with very little variance from there on out. But Pita-ten is an exception. While the story may start out typically, later on in the series it evolves into a much more serious tone that questions the roles people have in our lives, how death affects people, and what the true essence of human nature is. Simple things like character quirks turn out to come from past traumas, and characters that would be nothing but jokes in other stories turn out to have surprising depth.
The art is by Koge Donbo, which, in my opinion, almost instantly means it will be remarkable. The character designs are all very cute, if not original. Still there are almost no points in the series where the art is anything less than wonderful. Even when the characters are drawn more simply for humorous purposes, they succeed in looking cute, if nothing else. Koge Donbo doesn't quite have a perfect or mature art style, but her style fits the story perfectly and only serves to make the series have its own character.
Character is another strong suit of the series that starts off seeming weaker than it actually is. While the characters we are initially faced with may come off as bland and prototypical at first, there is more than meets the eye with them. Even Misha, the heroine of the story, who is quirky and off-beat, has a backstory that explains many of her characteristics and actions throughout the story. The characterization of this series works because it deconstructs popular tropes of the genre all while serving to make the characters far less flat than they seemed to be originally. Furthermore, development is excellent as the characters grow up through the series both physically and symbolically. You really feel that they are learning and moving on towards the future, which is, in a way, the major theme of the story.
On a personal note, Pita Ten was the first manga I really read and bought all of the volumes of. I've sold most of my other manga series over the years, but Pita Ten is still on my bookshelf. Often times I go back and read a few chapters randomly, and a few times I've read the whole series in one sitting. It's the only series I do that with and it's because I enjoy it so much. Pita Ten starts out as a bit of a light-hearted manga with some romance, drama and comedy, but over the course of the series it begins to evolve to show you more and more of what's going on until everything is revealed to be completely different from your initial opinion. The first few volumes don't feel like much besides some laughs and a bit of budding romance, but they are fun to read. Past that things take a turn for the even better as the comedy and romantic elements become a bit less and the supernatural and drama pieces show up more and more, with the story improving because of it.
Overall, Pita Ten is the perfect antidote to your mediocre boy meets magical girl plot woes. The series takes this situation and runs with it, dragging you along to unexpected heights. With a cast you will learn to love, art that captures the spirit of the plot, and a story that's far more than it seems at the beginning, Pita Ten is a hidden gem in a genre that's often overlooked. Don't overlook this one, give it a chance, and find out the secrets of the angel who moved in next door.
Let me just start off by saying: DO NOT WATCH THE ANIME.
Compared to the manga, the anime is complete crap. (My apologies if you have already seen the pita-ten anime and are scouting out the reviews to see if the manga is worth-while.)
The manga is much darker, and more in depth than the anime.
Pita-ten is the first, and by far the best, manga I have ever read. And this is coming from a life time lover of CLAMP's mangas.
Koge Donbo- I salute you.
Another thing to remember: Yes, this is a pretty common shoujo story-line. A boy befriends a magical being, blah, blah, blah
skip to happy ending. Pita-ten is not like that.
Kotarou Higuchi is a calm sixth grader who lives in an apartment with his ever absent father. His life is considerably normal, until one day he gets a new neighbor who has an unhealthy obsession with him. This neighbor is Misha, and as it turns out, is a dysfunctional angel whose mission in life is to make kotarou happy.
As Misha and Kotarou's friendship grows (or inevitable love, in Misha's eyes), Kotarou learns that his past is shrouded in more mystery than he believed was possible.
Koge Donbo's style is unbelievably adorable, but she has a way of making her characters very emotional when the time calls for it. Of course, Pita-Ten is not without it's comedy moments, and the art makes it 10 times better.
Again, the manga goes more in depth into the main characters than the anime. You may be suprised to find that Shia (another mysterious resident who moves in with Misha) has a darker personality than you remembered. The characters in Pita-Ten are all memorable, and all play in part in Misha's unexpected interruption into their lives.
I never found myself doubting where the story was going through all 8 volumes. Sure, things get a little bit stranger near the end, but in a way that it's not unrelated to what was happening earlier on.
I can honestly say I laughed at some parts, I cried at some parts, and I was generally glad I had spent the time to read it when I was done.
Pita-Ten is a story about love, the mistakes we make, friendship, death, and the hard choices that come our way.
Trust me when I say you won't regret reading this wonderful, sometimes heart-wrenching story.
Thanks for reading.
Pro: Koge-Donbo's art is very charming and appealing to the eyes.
Con: Long-winded pseudo-plot; irritating characters that you're supposed to care about despite their only foundation being perplexing angst and tragedies guised as comprehensible character development, leaving a debilitated narrative in the ashes.
Result: After reading I am wary of reading any more of Koge-Donbo's works in fear of just wasting my time and being let down. This is a shame as I've fallen is love with her drawing style.