Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Paradise Residence: Volume 1

The first series from Kosuke Fujishima after twenty plus years of working on Oh My Goddess! Along with work for hire on character design for Anime and Video Games. Paradise Residence is a decidedly more grounded story than Oh My Goddess focusing on the actions of dimwitted and hyperactive Hatsune Takanashi as she stumbles through her freshman year at the all girl school The Kikka Academy. As well as her interactions with her dorm mates and the cavalcade of strange characters and slice of life antics from trying to pass classes and gain food she enjoys Hatsune is in many ways a good-natured if the somewhat hyperactive girl. While her dorm mates range from the “glorious” American Stereotype that is Stephanie the grade school dorm mother to the two resident Otaku to the hard-nosed Boarding Master Ominato-Sensei. In short it's a cast of oddballs thrown together and reacting against each other with Hatsune's hyperactive nature being the catalyst for humor from over the top reactions to Natto to having to be bribed awake with the promise of pudding. It's very much a slice of life comedy with the whole “cute girls doing cute things” ethos found in Moe series but Fujishima's art style and character design with its old fashioned Anime style looking more influenced by Kenichi Sonoda than Barasui. None of it is unattractive but in a Manga market that puts an emphasis on the younger looking characters this old-fashioned approach may turn some off due to the lack of progression much like if Clamp never changed it's art style and kept like X/1999. While the series also has a tad of fan service here and there mostly thanks to Stephanie having no sense of proprietary or a conveniently broken water heater or a heat wave. None of it feels overly gross or objectifying but it is there. Overall it's a chaste look at a group of funny girls going through High School making it like Azumanga Daioh in it's writing while the art style and tone feel more like Here Is Greenwood with the old eighties era artwork. Also, Kodansha Comics put a lot of extras in it from a recipe for a curry mentioned in the series color character art pages and a short story by the author of light novels that spun off from the series. All are nice in their own way although I found the point of view in the short story confusing. This won't be the series for people who Fujishima to continue Oh My Goddess under another guise but for those that simply seek a relaxing comedy or can get past the old looking art it is an enjoyable confection.

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