Also known as Oumagadoki Zoo or Oumazoo. That may have been the hardest title to type. This is the manga series that was done by mangaka Horikoshi Kouhei, the creator of Boku no Hero Academia. This series ran on Shonen Jump from July of 2010 to August of 2011. This series is 5 volumes long, but I heard it was cancelled before becoming any longer. This is now popular Boku no Hero Academia’s author’s first serialization!
Aoi Hana is the protagonist of the story. She loves animals is determined to change her clutzy self for the better by getting a part-time job at the Oumagadoki Zoo. In terms of personality, she is very bright despite hating her own clumsiness. She wants what is best for the animals and Shiina, her boss. She knows a lot about animals and this makes her a crucial part of the Zoo.
Shiina is the head of the Oumagadoki Zoo. He is cursed by a magic rabbit and became a rabbit furry monster. He has to shown his love for animals, not bestiality, in order to become a human again. And he has powers to change animals into semi-human form using magic from his curse. He is an adult with mindset of a child as his childhood was stolen when he became this. He loves animals but is terrible at taking care of them.
Aoi Hana is clumsy as all hell high school girl who LOVES animals. For self improvement and as a dream job, she gets a part time position in a rather sketchy local zoo, the Oumagadoki Zoo. Turns out that the owner of the Zoo, Shiina, is cursed by a magical rabbit and wants to become human again. To undo the curse, he needs to show that he cares
The series has couple of the Cursed People who are part animal, like Shiina, that can use magic to turn other animals to semi-humans. Above is a picture of Killer Whale that was influence by magic to become half man.
My biggest complaint about this series is that of its 3 arcs, the second and the third arcs felt very similar, a little too similar. Even Hana mentions this, she thinks to herself along the lines of “Oh no, this is exactly how things went down in the aquarium!”. The entire series is only 3 arc but apart from the first one, the other 2 followed the similar series of events. Here it goes:
In both arcs, there is another animal based entertainment center in town, it was aquarium in the second arc and a circus in the third. Then they find out the owner of the facillity is another cursed person similar to Shiina, but this person is evil and abuses those he ‘s working with. Hana and the crew engage in combat with the facility and the good guys win. And the facility they defeated become a better working place because of change in management or change in hearts.
I was hoping that the story was more varied from the usual Shonen cliches as it has unique enough of concept as well as diverse cast of characters. Judging from Hana’s personality, having most pacifist arc could have been interesting, something more in the lines of Mushishi or even Bakemonogatari. But I guess I was barking up the wrong tree as this is a Shonen, and most Shonens have over the top action.
This being from the creator of Boku no Hero Academia, the character designs are great! My favrotie designs were the characters from the aquarium. Sakamata looked so classy with that suit but maintained his beast nature at the same time. His boss, the head of the aquarium, looked great in both his semi-human form as well as cursed form.
Let’s talk about the protagonist Hana. She is the heart of the series. Although she cannot fight, since everyone else is magic, she tries her darnest to make things right. She is clumsy as all hell but LOVES animals to a point where she frequently risks her life trying to help them. She is extremely knowldgeable about animals of all kind and uses that information to help Shiina and others fight their opponents, almost like Oracle from DC Comics.
I really appreciated the lack of romance in this series. I feel as though many series are pressured to include some sort of romance in their stories where they do not belong. Don’t get me wrong, I like good romance, but only when they make sense. Here, Hana and Shiina have very professional relationship that later blossoms to strong trust and friendship, but it does not become romance. If there is any spark of romance, it is with Uwabami and her crush on Shiina, but that is not really emphasized or elaborated.
-Cameos to Boku no Hero Academia-
While reading Boku no Hero Academia, I noticed that couple of characters from this series cameoed in Boku no Hero Academia. Here they are:
Uwabami makes an appearance in chaper 48 of Boku no Hero Academia as a professional hero. She was in charge of teaching Momo and Itsuka during the Field Training Arc. Her personality seems to be similar to that of Oumagadoki counterpart, except she seems to be a little more “commercial” in Hero Academia. But it was cool to see her again!
Sakamata makes an appearance in Boku no Hero Academia in Chapter 87 as Professional Hero Gang Orca. I thought this was interesting because Sakamata appears initially as a villain in Oumagadoki where as he was a hero in Hero Academia.
There may be some other cameos, but I have not found them yet… I heard Toy Toy also makes an appearance at some point.
- Will I read the series again? Sure, I have the books, they are fun to read!
- Do I recommend this? Yes, especially if you like Boku no Hero Academia and want to see where the creator started, then a must read.
This is a fun little series, it was the author’s debut series and it shows. The biggest shame in this is that it ended before more of its potential got a chance to grow. You can see how the character designs and many themes are transferred over to his newer series. It was a good read and I invite you to check it out!