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Animal Academy: Hakobune Hakusho Volume 1    by Moyamu Fujino order for
Animal Academy
by Moyamu Fujino
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2009 (2009)
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Normally, a 'Y' rated manga does not make its way onto my keepers' pile (I normally prefer the edgier 'OT' and 'M' rated ones), but Moyamu Fujino's Animal Academy: Hakobune Hakusho is a definite exception. This manga is simply adorable, but in a sweet, entertaining way that leaves you smiling.

Fifteen-year-old Neko Fukata has never been a good student, so her high school prospects were pratically nil, which is why she jumps at the chance to attend Morimori Academy. Neko does not know much about Morimori but since they offered to take her, she will go willingly. On the train ride there, she meets Miiko Suzuhara, a shy student also on her way to Morimori. The two form a quick friendship that is almost ruined when the school tells Neko they made a mistake. Neko is devastated but begs them to let her in. The headmaster likes her spunk, so he agrees…and lets Neko in on the school's secret. Morimori Academy is a special school to teach animals to act human! Neko can stay, but she must keep her humanity a secret, even from her roommate, the adorable but possesive Miiko who is actually a cat.

Fujino keeps the artwork and story simple, which is what makes Animal Academy so endearing. The reader quickly empathizes with Neko, cheering her on as she embarks on her high school career in a strange new world. All of the characters are lovable despite their faults and the hint of mystery contained within Morimori keeps the story flowing along with the antics of Neko's animal classmates. Animal Academy is not a deep read, but it sure is a fun, relaxing one. Moyamu Fujino's cute tale had me grinning the whole way through.

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