It’s not a secret that out of everything Mangaholix produced, Ninja Girl Ko! is the one that messed with my brain. So when I saw Michiko fronting a booklet on a table, no question that was getting bought. I even squealed yay in front of the author.
The indie special gives quick summaries in the front of who Anton, Michiko, and the Kamao are. Very quickly, boring guy Anton finds himself suddenly with an interesting life with the last WWII Japanese straggler, soldier/ninja daughter Michiko.
This continues the tale of how these two slowly find out who the Kamao are, starting off with this small-busted arnis-fighter girl coming out of nowhere to challenge her, immediately after a well-drawn, well-paced WWE-grade fight. (Um, yeah.) But the booklet is solidly about Michiko, with Anton just making an appearance at the end. This is in contrast to the earlier material where they both get equal airtime, and Anton usually more than Michiko.
There are several important changes to the release, now that the author and artist have total control back. Much of this totally feels like a statement: “This is OURS, and we’ll do what we want with it, and we’re not apologizing.”
Firstly, the release is completely in English, not in the original Tagalog/Taglish. While very understandable, this does take a little away from the Pinoy-ness of the title. Thus, in the few speech bubbles he has, Anton now sounds Kyon-ish, no longer distinctly Pinoy-sarcastic.
Second is the free rein with the panty shots. Said panty shots come with a very well-executed fight scene, where it is clear that the artist likes that he CAN have his fight scenes and panty shots, thank you very much. Don’t worry, even with the free rein, there are very few gratuitous odd angles just for those shots.
Thirdly, the paneling is more solidly manga-style than in the previous releases, which is an improvement overall of the presentation. There is something that Kriss Sison gets right about the Pinoy manga-style, such that NGK looks Pinoy-made, and not trying-hard, even with all its manga sensibility.
Overall, I’m very happy to see that Michiko and Anton are still here and here to stay, because I’m one of those that need more of them. The changes with full ownership will only make this series better.