Let’s talk about Centaur no Nayami, or A Centaur’s Life for the english release.
To begin with, this book is a little bit NSFW. There’s some nip in it, not gonna lie. It’s a little fanservice-y, but it’s not handled egregiously. Just sayin’, if you don’t want to see that, well, here’s a trigger warning.
A Centaur’s Life is a slice of life/yuri(?)/world building book that is analogous to our own, except that hexapods evolved as the dominant species on the planet, instead of tetrapods. As such, it’s filled with peoples who have some variant of six limbs, as in the case of the titular centaur, with four hooves and two arms. There are a variety of various fantasy races that populate the world in this book, like centaurs, fauns, imps, etc, and are meant to be analogous to our own various cultures and ethnicities. That is to say, they’re all treated as the same species (they all refer to themselves as humans), but are different groups within the species.
This is Hime, the centaur/main character. She’s ditzy, clumsy, standard manga stuff. She’s also an incredible archer, and very motherly. She’s got some body issues that her friends help her overcome, some fears and prejudices, and all told is a pretty well-developed character.
She’s not perfect, and not just in the normal anime “she’s kind of clumsy there I put in one character flaw GOD” sort of way. She actually has some racist notions sometimes, which the book addresses and helps her overcome. And that’s very refreshing, especially for a book that started off pretty bland.
But honestly, the characters aren’t what makes this book so interesting. I mean, they’re all great and all, but what really stands out is the world that this comic builds.
There’s entire chapters that are dedicated to biology lessons
There’s out of universe chapters dedicated to folklore and legends.
There’s chapters dedicated to this universe’s own alternative history speculation, which admittedly is a little heavy-handed. It postulates that if our own world existed, where people would only be separated by skin color instead of entire limbs and body types, we’d probably live in perfect harmony.
This comic has entire chapters about history.
There’s chapters that show the various political problems of other countries in this world.
Hell, one of my favorite chapters, which I had a hard time finding pictures of, is one where a couple of guys are fighting over a TV remote, and we keep seeing various TV shows that would exist in this world.
I can’t stress enough how thorough and interesting the world-building in this is. Is bizarrely experimental for a manga, especially one that starts off with a weird premise, and looks like it’s just a gimmick. This book really pushes it’s own concept, and I can’t recommend it enough.
It’s published in America at least by Seven Seas, and you should be able to find it at most book stores. Do yourself a favor and pick up the first volume.
Congrats to Bob being crowned this year’s Drag Superstar, but I will always be Team Kim Chi! I’ve been wanting to draw her as a magical anime school girl since the first episode of this season haha. Thought it’d be fun to put her in a manga format