Story by Ken Akamatsu with Art by Ran
Released in the US by Del Rey
Slugline: Cuteness as a weapon of mass destruction.
Aliens are attacking the Earth and stealing our monuments, but the traditional military are helpless in the face of the alien threat because the creatures they send are so cute. Apparently the public would not stand carpet bomb big eyed critters stealing our stuff, so instead Japan uses excessively cute prepubescent girls to combat the alien menace. The story is both better and worse than that brief description would imply. It is everything you expect, being excessively cute, characters that use 'cute' phrases, weapons that deal with ouchies rather than city leveling devastation and so on. But the actual storytelling itself is rather deft. Things are foreshadowed, clever story structures (considering the genre) are used and all the characters have moments in the sun, even if the characters themselves are just cliches. Oddly enough, this is rated as a 16+ title, but the cuteness factor and the characters' youth make me think it is intended for a younger audience. Maybe it is the bunny outfits or there is some nudity in a later volume. But this first volume is an example of storytelling winning over both the characters and the plot.
Mao-Chan, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga