Reviewby Rebecca Silverman,
Sorry For My Familiar
Patty's in a difficult place. Her father has vanished, leaving her practically destitute, and she's not strong enough to either attract a powerful familiar or to go find him on her own. She decides to solve her problem by making a familiar contract with Norman Volcanello, a human researching daemons who seems like a safe bet. But Norman's much more interested in learning as much as he can about other demons' familiars and possibly about Patty herself. Is she ever going to get him to help her find her dad?
It is interesting to note that in the spring of 2018 two separate titles bearing remarkable similarities to better-known series have been released. One is The Young Master's Revenge, which conjures up memories of Masamune-kun's Revenge in its premise, and the other is Tekka Yaguraba's Sorry For My Familiar, which on the surface bears a resemblance to the late Noboru Yamaguchi's light novel series The Familiar of Zero. As with The Young Master's Revenge, however, the similarities are only in the premise – Sorry For My Familiar is a much sillier, lighter story and it doesn't feature a romantic component.
The story follows Patty, a young teen demon. Patty's not particularly strong on her own, and while her friends and agemates are summoning and forming contracts with animal-like daemons as their powerful familiars, Patty just doesn't have the skill to pull it off. Knowing that she can't possibly find her runaway father on her own – and also keenly aware of the social stigma of not having a familiar in the way only a middle school girl can be – Patty does the next best thing: she forms a contract with a human named Norman. Norman is apparently in the demon world doing research; he's a cryptozoologist and he has a major obsession with daemons. (The translation seems to use “daemon” for animal-like creatures and “demon” for more humanoid ones.) It looks like a good deal on the surface: Norman will be able to see a wide variety of monsters and Patty will have a protector on her journey.
Naturally things don't quite work out that nicely. Norman does, in fact, prove helpful at rescuing Patty when she needs it, but he's also prone to running off the minute he sees a demon he's never heard of or had the chance to see in person before. That means that Patty spends most of her time running after him and then apologizing for his habit of asking personal questions or flipping daemons over in order to study their undercarriages. To Norman, these are all cryptozoological studies, but to Patty, he's embarrassing her in front of her peers and random strangers, not to mention being incredibly rude. Basically, Norman's doing the equivalent of asking people what their racial heritage is or picking up people's dogs at the dog park to look at their genitals. Yaguraba does a good job of balancing Norman's rudeness and Patty's horror in such a way that we don't wallow in second-hand embarrassment for Patty but still get a clear feeling that she's really regretting her decision to contract with the human. For his part, when he's not in full-out scientist mode, Norman does seem to understand that he's supposed to be helping Patty. If he doesn't precisely treat her like his master or a teenage girl (Norman looks like he's in his thirties or forties), that's at least in part because Patty isn't fully comfortable treating him like a familiar. She'd like to, but she's still self-conscious about the fact that he's human rather than a more animal-like creature, and she often seems torn between making him act like a pet and giving him more dignity. (Norman, I should note, is remarkably unconcerned about his own dignity.) The fact that the more she finds out about her dad's bad behavior the more uncomfortable she gets with herself certainly doesn't help; the poor girl is basically living in peak embarrassment mode at all times.
That does not make the manga uncomfortable to read, however. The story is very firmly humor-based, and it generally does manage its gag humor well. The jokes are both visual and verbal, and the detail-heavy art often allows for something bizarre to be going on in the background of a given scene that adds to the fun of the story. Norman's entry into the familiar death match contest at the fair is a particularly good example of how the volume works, with background characters' reactions to his entry conflicting humorously with Norman's blasé attitude and Patty's clear regret at having been lured by the prizes into entering him. Likewise scenes with the desert meercat/gnomes are also fun examples, especially since only Norman can, somewhat bizarrely, communicate with them.
Sorry For My Familiar's first volume can be seen as a monster girl story that takes a very different approach to the genre. Patty's got horns and a cow tail, but she's also saddled with a weird human guy as her familiar, and it's really not working out for her quite the way she'd hoped. There's no romance whatsoever here (apart from a brief implication that two of her buddies have crushes on her) and Norman even fails hard at being a father figure for her, so this is more the tale of a girl and her terribly behaved pet or weird uncle than anything. It's a lot of fun, and it looks like it's setting up for an entertaining second volume with the introduction of Patty's actual uncle. If you're looking for a light read and a chuckle, this fits the bill.
Overall : B+
Story : B+
Art : A-
+ Fun story that treads lightly around potential mood-killing elements, nice details in the art
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