My Master Has No Tail, Vol. 1 | Review
[Today we have a new guest review by Renee Scott, who is joining the GC4K blogging team.—Ed.]
My Master Has No Tail
Kodansha Comics (digital only)
Gr 8 Up
If you ever wanted to read a book about a mischievous creature wanting to learn more about humans, My Master Has No Tail has you covered. This adorable story centers on Mameda, a shapeshifting tanuki who wants to trick humans. Mameda discovers a charismatic rakugo master named Bunko and is impressed by her ability to create illusions through her storytelling. Through this experience, Mameda decides that she wants to become Bunko’s apprentice and learn how to enhance her skill of trickery through storytelling. But in order to do that, she must convince the stoic Bunko to take her under her wing.
Now before I go further, some clarification so there is a better understanding of the story. A tanuki (or Japanese raccoon dog) is a real-life animal that has a reputation in Japanese folklore for magic and mischief, as well as an affinity for pulling pranks and surprises. Tanuki have the ability to shapeshift, which explains Mameda transforming into a young girl to blend into her new surroundings. A little spoiler and a touch of hilarity: Tanuki also possess the ability to fly which *mostly in scenes involving male tanuki* exposes their genitalia. When Mameda tries to escape a crowd she tried to deceive, Mameda fails horribly as she reminds herself, and readers, that she’s a female tanuki. Nothing graphic is exposed *thank God as this review would not exist,* but it is a hilarious scene.
Rakugo is a form of Japanese verbal entertainment of yose, or spoken vaudeville theater. The storyteller (rakugo) sits at a desk on a stage and tells their stories to the audience. The manga captures this perfectly as Bunko tells her tales and the stories are illustrated behind her. These depictions of the story being told are not overdrawn or overpowering. They are drawn to be interwoven with Bunko’s performance as she tells the story for her audience and the reader. Would Mameda be able to impress her master with her brand of storytelling, and use her own skills of trickery to do so?
Mameda has a lot to learn about humans and the art of rakugo. What we can take from her adventures is that she’s a determined and strong-willed creature. Even as she makes friends with a wanna-be rakugo who obviously gets annoyed with her and possesses secrets of her own, Mameda’s adorable charm tends to win people over. If not that, her magic sure will.
My Master Has No Tail is a funny tale *heh* that will keep readers entertained and cheering for Mameda to achieve her goal of becoming a rakugo in her own right.
Filed under: All Ages
About Brigid Alverson
Brigid Alverson, the editor of the Good Comics for Kids blog, has been reading comics since she was 4. She has an MFA in printmaking and has worked as a book editor and a newspaper reporter; now she is assistant to the mayor of Melrose, Massachusetts. In addition to editing GC4K, she writes about comics and graphic novels at MangaBlog, SLJTeen, Publishers Weekly Comics World, Comic Book Resources, MTV Geek, and Good E-Reader.com. Brigid is married to a physicist and has two daughters in college, which is why she writes so much. She was a judge for the 2012 Eisner Awards.
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