by Ema Toyama
Published in the U.S. by Tokyopop
Slugline: Because of an accident, Mayu is cursed to transform whenever she drinks something.
You can believe I picked this book up reluctantly -- it has all the marks of an awful cookie-cutter story. Well, it's not perfect but it ain't half bad either.
Mayu's parents run a cafe (oddly, she hasn't been conscripted to work there, it seems) and she runs afoul of a "drink fairy," which is something like a house elf/brownie/water sprite, only chibi. As a result, drinking liquids makes Mayu transform in various ways and Pucho the fairy is acting as both the un-transformer and the comic relief/PITA.
Mayu is also slightly obsessed with The Cute Boy At School, who shows little interest in girls. (Well, they are only twelve -- girls may be hitting puberty, but it could be a year or two off for the boys.) Some aspects of the story are predictable, like transformations wearing off at the worst moment, and some parts are realistic, like using her invisibility (from drinking water) to spy on The Boy. Yes, transforming has been used plenty of times in manga, but the variety of changes balances that out somewhat.
I was expecting to write a Dishonorable Mention, but Pixie Pop beat the odds. I wonder if she will start using her ability to fight crime...
Pixie Pop is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.