After having seen the anime adaptation of mangaka Sano Nami’s Sakamoto Desu Ga (Haven’t You Heard I’m Sakamoto?) and discovering her latest manga series, Migi To Dari (Migi and Dari), earlier this year, it’s clear that comedic stories about handsome characters performing fantastical feats in average-everyday scenarios is a trope that Sano explores in her works.
Migi To Dari follows a pair of adopted twins who pretend to be the most perfect son, Hitori, to an old couple. But they have a secret… Spoiler alert: They return to their biological mother’s hometown to find and take down her murderer.
The concept is refreshing because comedic manga are usually a collection of standalone stories featuring a character or a cast of characters (of sometimes distinct stereotypes) who fall into crazy scenarios and react with funny shenanigans. Migi To Dari establishes itself, at first, as a mixed bag. The reader knows that at its roots the manga is a comedy, but its story plays with the reader’s perceptions via the element of suspense to make it interesting. The twin brothers appear suspicious and evil. Sano does this by showcasing the twins and supporting characters’ vague conversations, mentioning of secret plots and shared knowing looks, creating buildup to the big reveal toward the end of the volume.
The trope of an attractive protagonist being able to do crazy movements is the reason why I enjoy Sano’s manga because it makes her stories memorable. Her artstyle is realistic and distinct from other comedy themed manga I’ve read because she doesn’t depend heavily upon exaggerated facial expressions. She conceives outrageous physical feats (that couldn’t possibly be done in the real world) for her protagonists to perform and brings them to life in her drawings. At the same time, she makes these actions appear natural.
The manga panels flowed well throughout her work. There wasn’t any experimentation of using crazy shaped panels or breaking away from the standard format. Despite how Sano’s artwork and story is “out there,” it never leaves the boundary of fiction. Sano’s drawings remain within square and rectangular shaped panels. I also really liked how Sano takes the time to draw out action sequences in the space of a single panel or over a number of panels.
Migi and Dari are the most notable characters. Not only because they are the focus of the story, but because their beauty is unnerving. Their designs are simplistic yet clean, having slim features, non-existent bones and perfectly coiffed blonde hair with a parted bang that covers an eye. Dressed in black and white and moving around bare-foot a number of times around their new home in this first volume, these characteristics help them in being stealthy (with the exception of the blonde hair).
They seem alien and mysterious compared to the secondary characters. In a half-assed remembered quote from their adoptive mother, she stated that Hitori chooses to appear poor and minimalist like Steve Jobs. Despite being fantastic in executing unimaginable physical feats, they are still adolescents with an active imagination and curiosity of the twisted kind. They are not perfect robotic individuals without emotions like a particular Sakamoto-san because they do panic when their plans fail. I can definitely say that the twins aren’t relatable but their antics are entertaining.
The manga’s backgrounds offer context to the characters’ lives and helps paint a picture of the people who own and fill those spaces. The two adoptive parents are nouveau riche as we can see by the way they’ve decorated their home (with its Western influence/style with long drapery hanging off the numerous windows in the house) and their fashion choices, which compliments their kind yet “airheaded” doting personalities. I didn’t think the supporting characters were too flat because the story itself is so strange that they acted as a nice foil to the protagonists.
The concept of Migi To Dari is enjoyable and I think that it’s a comedic series that is written and drawn very well. The physical comedy is outrageous and doesn’t get old since it’s placed in an overarching mystery plot. I can only hope to see how these two characters will develop in future chapters and how the story will progress.
In short: it’s strange and it works.
Migi to Dari is an ongoing seinen comedy manga by Sano Nami. Its publication began in July 2017 and is serialized in Harta.
What is your favourite comedy manga? Leave me a recommendation down below!