Reviewby Rebecca Silverman,
Oh, My Sweet Alien!
A few years ago, salaryman Nobuo was abducted by aliens—and he ended up marrying one of them! Now his wife disguises herself outside of the house by wearing a “human skin,” but that doesn't mean that they aren't still trying to figure things out. From keeping their new daughter's heritage a secret to protecting the family home from his father-in-law's corrosive tears, there's never a dull moment when you're married to an alien.
There are plenty of stories about people who claim to have been abducted by aliens, but how many of them end with the abductee proposing to his captor? That's Nobuo's tale – a few years ago, he was taken aboard an alien spacecraft as part of their human tagging process. (Earth not being part of the Galactic Alliance apparently means that Earthlings are fair game for studies.) While on the ship, he fell instantly in love with a humanoid alien woman who was too afraid of hurting him to complete the process – and he proposed on the spot. Fast-forward to the present, and Nobuo and the alien woman are now happily married and living in Japan. Since she's only humanoid – she's got elf-like ears, huge blue eyes, and Medusa-esque hair – she has to disguise herself by wearing a special suit made to resemble a human body, but both of them are trying their hardest to make their marriage work.
What's particularly nice about this oddball couple is that things areworking out for them; Nobuo and his nameless wife's love for each other is never in question. They're devoted to each other, have a healthy sex life, and are able to work with each other's faults rather than getting upset about them. Their biggest challenge is making sure that no one sees her true form, rather than the kind of relationship drama we more typically see in manga, making this a delightfully refreshing read. It also helps that this volume covers the entire series – Yen Press' choice to publish this as one of their two-volume omnibuses ensures that you don't have to wait for the second half to come out, and it also means that the series can conclude before it wears out its welcome.
That would have been a risk had it gone on much longer, simply because the central premise can only be stretched so far. Creator Kouji Miyata, who primarily works in short story format, subdivides each chapter into three smaller stories, with a couple of exceptions where the chapter covers a single event divided into parts 1-3. The stories are vaguely linear, but still only tangentially related to each other, and you could almost read chapter one and then just randomly open to a different chapter at any point in the omnibus. The first half skips through time much more generously than later on in the story, with the birth of the couple's child Asora (via weird cocoon in a great visual) being quickly followed by Asora's toddlerhood.
At its core, Oh, My Sweet Alien seems interested in making points about getting along despite differences, although this message is mostly handled through humor. Both Nobuo and his wife are concerned about how his mother feels about their marriage (with one throwaway line implying that her own marriage to Nobuo's dad might not always be rosy despite them being both humans), but this turns out to be a misunderstanding on their parts based on their own assumptions about her. Likewise, when friends come to visit from his wife's home planet, Nobuo finds himself on the end of the very scrutiny he (internally) accused his mother of – his wife's friends don't necessarily trust him because he's from Earth and therefore an alien. In one late chapter, when the family goes to stay on his wife's planet, it becomes clear that Earth is the least diverse planet his wife has ever visited; in fact, her parents appear to be different species of extraterrestrial life. (Amusingly enough, the diversity of shapes and bodies is explained as the reason why aliens are always naked – there were too many different body types for a culture of clothing to develop.) To his credit, Nobuo doesn't let this get him down – after all, she's putting up with a strange world for him, so it's the least he can do for his wife.
Somewhat bafflingly, this volume comes wrapped in plastic and with an M rating, even though it isn't terribly explicit. There's one character, Venusian Madoka, who is aggressively sexual toward her crush Nobuo, and there are plenty of bare breasts throughout the book, but there's no explicitly sexual content to be found, nor any violence. Perhaps it's simply the preponderance of bare boobs that made the publisher err on the side of caution. But even the scene where Nobuo's wife finds a coworker's breast-centric porn magazines and plays with a prosthetic set of larger bosoms as she decides if that's what her husband would prefer doesn't seem all that scandalous. Oh, My Sweet Alien is simply a romantic comedy where the couple is already together and committed, and the tenor of the art and writing, even when sexy, never loses sight of that.
The art itself can be very busy, so the slightly larger trim size of the volume is a bonus in terms of being able to see and process all the details. The human skin suit can be creepy, but that's obviously intentional on the author's part, and its difficulty to put on and the fact that it closes via zipper are used for a few gags. Alien designs are fun and varied while space ships are faithful to the days of 1950s science fiction, which is a nice touch. The “tendril” hair (the translation is very careful not to call them “tentacles”) has a neat look to it, and it might make you wish you were an alien yourself just so that you could have those extra hands.
Oh, My Sweet Alien is a fun book. Told completely in one omnibus and featuring a lead couple whose relationship really does live up to the title, it's a good romantic comedy for when you just need something light and happy.
Overall : B
Story : B+
Art : B
+ Funny story about likable characters with some nice artistic touches and a good message
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