Animal Academy 1 by Moyamu Fujino: C+

When Neko Fukuta is rejected by every other high school to which she applies, she ends up at Morimori Academy, a school where shape-shifting animals learn to act like humans. She’s allowed to remain, under the condition that she keeps her species a secret, and proceeds to make friends with her roommate, learn about the importance of road signs, encounter a mysterious snake, and meet a boy in her class who claims to be human and who seems awfully determined to get her away from Morimori.

Animal Academy will probably appeal most to its target demographic, since most of the story consists of Neko encountering cute animals and dealing with issues like “how do I make new friends without my possessive roommate feeling neglected?” There is some superficial mystery, too, like a last-minute addition that the school is all a “big lie,” but for the most part it’s pretty lightweight fare.

This is one of those series where the protagonists look a lot younger than they actually are, probably in an attempt to help the presumed ten-year-olds readers identify with high school students. I conducted an impromptu audit of the nearest human and asked my husband what grade he thought Neko was in. “Fourth or fifth?” he guessed. When I told him that the American equivalent is actually tenth, he responded, “Pfft. Maybe she’s the runt of the litter.”

While I doubt Animal Academy is a story that adults would enjoy, it really isn’t that bad. I confess that I am actually considering picking up volume two because I want to know what that snake’s deal is.

Animal Academy is published by TOKYOPOP. One volume has been released so far, while the series is complete in Japan at seven volumes.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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