As I’d hoped, the wish list of worthy, unlicensed shônen is coming along nicely, and an early contribution from Brack of Awesome Engine has really caught my eye. How often can you reasonably expect to come across satirical comic books about recorder students? (Do they still make elementary school students play those charming hybrids of flute, clarinet and kazoo?)
So today’s request is for someone to license Kyosuke Usuta’s Pyu to Fuku! Jaguar, serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shônen Jump since sometime in 2000. Per Brack, the series “does a … number on idol manga, though it’s a lot more biting in its satire which is specifically aimed at the idol industry and the exploitation therein.” As I may have mentioned, I find the weird hothouse that is Japan’s idol industry somewhat unsettling, so I’ll happily support any attempt to satirize it.
It stars a young man with a dream of pop stardom, Kyohiko Saketome, whose plans to become a guitarist are derailed by the mysterious Jaguar Junichi, recorder instructor and savant. These two are joined by a number of other would-be and almost-are idols, including a “hip hip ninja” named Hammer. It promises poetry showdowns, foul-mouthed robots, brainwashing schemes, and a hyper-defensive internet “star.”
The reason this one in particular speaks to me is because of its evident satirical intent. There’s plenty of goofy shônen on the shelves featuring motley casts in ridiculous scenarios, but this one seems to have that extra layer of barbed self-awareness. In other words, I’m getting a Gin Tama vibe off of it, and that’s a good thing. Also, something about the idea of would-be recorder-playing pop idols tickles me sight unseen.
I’m honestly a little shocked that it hasn’t been made into a musical, but I guess these things take time. It has been adapted into a motion picture, video games, and an animated series. The manga is up to its 17th volume.