...! I just realized that no one's ever written a review for this manga. :o unacceptable. SO! I'm going to point out some good / bad stuff, I guess?
BACKGROUND: before i go over to the technical aspects of this review, i thought i should introduce myself. obviously, i'm a fan of this manga since it's unlike anything that jump's produced (refreshing. original. awesome!) yet it still radiates that childish atmosphere. last spring, i read the one-shot on a popular manga reader that's since then closed down, and was blown away by the originality. i was incredibly happy once it got serialized in july, but also nervous for its fate since most newbie manga like SWOT get axed pretty quickly. however, it proved popular, even though it's leading the bottom 5 according to the table of contents, so i can stop worrying about it.
STORY: okay, so this story is not your average battle manga nor school story. rather, it's a story about the animals of the zoo with magical elements added. what if animals could talk? in oumagadoki doubutsuen, they're personified as humans (anyone heard of this moe cockroach manga? no? okay, moving on). initially, this story is character-driven and started quite episodic, as both the director, cursed to look like a rabbit until the zoo becomes popular, and aoi hana, the newly hired zookeeper, search for new comrades. it is only several chapters later that the real plot (or at least the arc) starts kicking in and with an exciting new assortment of characters! reminds me of katekyo hitman reborn!, though that manga took 8 volumes of gag (still can't believe it survived for so long) before switching to battle-style.
ART: the first thing i noticed was just how incredibly stylistic the art was. the characters' expressions and designs are not... shounen-like or shoujo-like. for example, aoi hana's mouth is drawn in a particular way (rounded, lots of black, some teeth showing). it feels childish, but i believe that is perfect for shounen jump which is geared towards younger children anyway. the second thing i noticed was the incredible versatility of the page layouts, which definitely facilitates my enjoyment and keeps the manga at least interesting. they're not as ~artistic~ as bleach so as much as to distract from the story, which is a good thing.
CHARACTER: i have a feeling that shiina is going to be everyone's favorite protagonist as well as the new antagonist. not going to spoil the contents, obviously. anyway, if you've read the one-shot, there have definitely been some changes in character designs and their personalities. for example, the rabbit is more egotistic and the zookeeper is more clumsy. aoi hana's become more confident and passionate about animals, though it remains to be seen her interactions with other humans. other than that, i really like the diverse cast since it mostly consists of animals, each with his/her defining personality trait. the only bad thing i suppose is the lack of "normal" humans besides the girl in the beginning of the manga, if you're into them.
ENJOYMENT: really high. this is one of those manga that's made me wish there was more English-speaking fandom / fanart. ;_; i've downloaded the RAWs and consistently checked the manga reader / scanlation group for any updates. /no life haha. well, i have to admit that the story was a little slow in the beginning with all this recruiting stuff but this first arc made it all the more exciting (around chapter 10 or so). it drags out a bit though, 'cause of focus on individual fighting scenes, but at least the mangaka utilizes the environment instead of relying only on the characters' strengths/weaknesses.
OVERALL: this manga may not be for those people who prefer dark manga. oumagadoki is really light-hearted, with a decent plot so far. it's the characters that make oumagadoki doubutsuen so appealing to me, as well as the originality of the concept. just how often do you read manga about animals?
thank you for reading my review! written while i was supposed to be studying for my cumulative finals, oops. eue