Minami’s Lover by Shungiku Uchida
Hardcover – Fantagraphics – Jun 2023 – 186 pages
In this raunchy, moving, funny manga for adults, high school student Minami’s girlfriend, Chiyomi, shrinks down to six inches tall — and moves in with him! Originally appearing in the underground/alternative manga magazine Garo in the 1980s and adapted for television several times, the Japanese pop culture sensation Minami’s Lover is the story of two high schoolers’ romantic relationship when one of them shrinks down to six inches tall. Everyone thinks Chiyomi has disappeared, and suspicion naturally falls on Minami, identified as her boyfriend in her diary. But after inexplicably finding herself in such a state, Chiyomi moves in with him. As depicted in Uchida’s clean, loose line and Zip-a-Tone textures, the two soon adapt to the unusual circumstances, devising ways for Chiyomi to use the toilet, brush her teeth and hair, attend classes, and more. After some silly sequences of trial and error, they even figure out a sex life. But in addition to learning how to navigate logistics, jealousy, and the cat, they’re also growing up (if not taller). Uchida uses the conceit of a teen couple literally learning how to take care of one another to examine gender dynamics and intimacy.