Story/Art: Tomohiro Hasegawa
Translation: Paul Starr
What They Say
Third-grader Shota Aikawa’s pet beetle evolves from a larva to a pupa to a superhot human! The wacky adventures of the Aikawa family and the fabulous beetle who would be king now begins! You’re gonna LARVA this new comedy manga!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The series chugs along with this installment as Tomohiro Hasegawa gives us a little more material in the competitive sense but it’s mostly just fluff. It’s also the ideal kind of fluff that for me harkens back to the manga and anime of old, a standalone piece that’s cute but harmless, showing a little more of our characters and playing with them a bit. It’s also useful in giving us a little more time with Oki so we get a handle on him before things turn more seriously, which also gives us some time in seeing how he is with Sakura, though she has a fairly small role overall. It’s wrong in so many ways but the dynamic between her and Oki is amusing to watch.
Here, Shota has entered Moriking into the pet show competition that the town has thrown only to discover that Sakura has done the same with Oki. Oki, however, gets leashed for this which just looks even more disturbing since he’s totally cool with it. Shoko, for her part, is just unable to really process this and just feels bad for the organizers who are running it as once everyone that’s entered lines up and sees both Oki and Moriking they end up quitting the competition. That just happens a couple more times as it progresses and we see others that are involved with the show getting involved and just noping the heck out of it. Even Shoko nopes out along the way to go home and just focus on that night’s dinner.
The competition is about as you’d expect, such as them getting an item from their “owner” that they then use to sniff out where they are by scent. We get a beauty contest that obviously goes as badly as you’d imagine – that poor judge – and the a big food eating competition where their difference in physique and approach to consumption gives Oki the real edge. Of course, there has to be a moment where things change and a real test is applied to them in how they handle an unexpected situation, but as nicely done as that was the bulk of this installment is all the absolutely silly stuff about the two being in a pet show. These things don’t fly, though with how crazy they may look to your casual person it could explain why it went forward.
Hasegawa has a fun chapter here that’s really low stakes almost all the way through. And you need more of that in more series so that we get this kind of important downtime in order to really know our characters. There’s a lot of silly moments here and I love the way that Shoka just nopes the heck out of there as quickly as she can. It’s straightforward old school silliness and nonsense that Hasegawa delivers perfectly while still touching upon the main themes of the series and the progress that our candidates must make.
Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: B
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Shonen Jump
Release Date: July 5th, 2020