The problem with gag manga is that they can get repetitive too fast if their execution is off…
Mitama Security is a bit of a dumb series, but for some reason I can’t quite put my finger on (“charm”, perhaps…?), I’ve grown quite fond of it.
Since it’s only got 10 chapters as I type this so far, I’ll break my normal rule of assuming you know what I’m talking about: There’s this girl called Rena Haze, who’s constantly being followed around by a line of spirits. She occasionally reels in a big one, though, and that’s where Mr Joh Mitama comes in – he’s a secureity (T/N: rei = “spirit, ghost”) professional who’s seemingly the least qualified person for the job. It’s just a bit silly in the same way Mairimashita! Iruma-kun is and that makes it good for Halloween if you’re not big on scares.
Sidebar: The fact I did two Halloween-appropriate, pun-heavy series in a row for Weekly Wednesday is a complete coincidence…
The first thing you’ll notice is the art – it’s quite simplistic, almost scratchy in places. This is no mistake, as the author’s previous series Mukidashi no Hakuchou would indicate. Mitama’s hair is roughly in the shape of a magatama, which, according to one explanation, is meant to be in the shape of a soul, while dangling off his hair are shide which are used in Shinto rituals. Likewise, his name means something along the lines of “purify the souls of the deceased”.
The second thing is that even when other cast members are introduced…well, even after that fact…the series majorly focuses on Rena, her ghosts and Mr Mitama. Souya, the ostensible shonen rival, gets regularly relegated to non-ghostly duties (such as encouraging Mr Mitama to do some self-care). However, this could be attributed mostly to the fact it’s early days for the series, rather than the series being a slow burn one. (A slow-burn gag manga would, to be honest, perform badly in the mostly battle-oriented but long-running-series-oriented Weekly Shonen Jump.)
Sidebar 2: Janca from the newest chapter seems to be a pun on –janaino? (or in the English, “-ja’know?”) Likewise, Souya’s full name in Japanese order is Kurosu Souya, whch obviously has a phonetic allusion to a cross (which Mitama occasionally does the sign of to ward off spirits, plus Souya has cross earrings) or could be taken to mean “I heard [you’ll be] killed!”…which, considering his profession, is morbidly appropriate.
For a gag manga, it can get extremely battle-oriented (well, it is called Spirit Busters in English)…even if that means, in the true spirit of comedy, the fight ends in an anticlimax and requires subversions of expectations throughout (such as the aforementioned “Souya encourages Mitama to do some self-care” thing). I guess, in this sense, its best comparison would be the early days of Katekyo Hitman Reborn – it’s clearly setting up the premise for a battle manga if it needs to take that route, but the gags are always at the fore.
So what are you doing to celebrate Halloween? I have absolutely no faith in my ability to cosplay, so I’m planning to see if anyone in my neighbourhood is going to even trick-or-treat with treats for myself at the ready, possibly capped off with a Hozuki episode or few.