Love Live School Idol Festival and Ten Fes: Rise of the Normal Girls?


Recently, the Love Live! School Idol Festival rhythm game began featuring a new comics series within the English-language app itself: a 4-panel comic series called Ten Fes: Transfer Student Fesival. Its premise is that, rather than focusing on the expected stars of Love Live!, these manga put the spotlight on the lesser-known girls exclusive to the game. Whereas once these characters’ stories were told in only the briefest vignettes, they might now have the chance to really show off their charms.


I once expressed a desire to see these “Normal Card” characters fleshed out more than they currently are, and I feel that Tenfes, while not an absolute game changer, is significant in this respect. To understand the potential impact it can have, it’s important to look at a rival fictional idol franchise: The iDOLM@STER.

The iDOLM@STER is devoted to having every one of its idols, be they the original ensemble from the first game or new ones created for their mobile apps, feel like a star. Love Live!, on the other hand, went as far as to create a new set of core girls to focus on, while the lower tier from School Idol Festival remain as essentially “fodder,” cards sacrificed to level up the ones that “matter.” Although being featured in short gag manga isn’t quite the same as getting to star in a full-fledged show like what happened with The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls, it still gives a chance for these “lesser” Love Live! characters to be characterized in more than just brief vignettes you earn within the game.

I’m not the kind of person who can thrive off of just sparse character descriptions. Even when it came to the main stars of Love Live!, I needed the anime. I could not feel any particular attachment to them when they were merely faces with semi-long descriptions. Also, while properties like Touhou and Kantai Collection can get away with it because all of its characters are equally barebones, the fact that this massive rift exists between the central casts of Love Live! and the School Idol Festival-exclusive girls makes that much more difficult.

Ten Fes allows for greater opportunities to portray interactions and relationships between the “common” characters. In isolation, these girls can only provide so much interest, but if they’re reacting to each other, playing off of each other, and maybe even butting heads with each other, then it gives them the chance to establish a lasting presence and build fan bases of their own.



Inhuman Fujoshi Comedy: f ningyo

It’s taken a while for Japanese publishers to get anywhere close to the idea of free online manga, but we’re finally getting somewhere. There’s Grand Jump (from Shueisha, the same publisher as Shounen Jump), which releases a few of their titles online every month for a limited time, and the decently popular Onepunch Man comes from another Shueisha site, Tonari no Young Jump. Now, while One Punch man gets all of the attention, I do want to point to a different title on there I enjoy, the 4-koma manga  f ningyo, by G3 Ida.

It’s a comedy about a fujoshi mermaid.

More specifically, it’s about a mermaid named Mero whose only conception of the human world comes from yaoi manga, so to her the surface is just teeming with guy on guy action. She’s discovered by a marine biologist named Tsubsa Reiji who’s far more interested in fish than women, and in order to keep this research a secret he tells everyone that she’s his girlfriend (her fins turn to feet when away from water for prolonged periods). The two other recurring characters are the scientist’s student, and his childhood friend, whom the mermaid sees as the scientist’s lover and a fellow fujoshi, respectively. Given the white lies and misconceptions on their parts, the foundation of the series’ humor comes from everybody misunderstanding each others’ words and intentions, sort of like Minami-ke. When she first introduces herself to Reiji, Mero tells him that she’s clearly not human because she has no balls.


Even though the fujoshi-based humor is funny, two of my favorite jokes from the manga don’t even really have to do with that angle. The first is when Reiji’s friend, who has a crush on him, is extremely suspicious of his claims that the beautiful girl in his office is his girlfriend and decides to test him. She shows him a porn magazine, zero response. Then she follows up with a magazine about aquatic life and he immediately perks up.


The second is when they’re all out at a festival, and the mermaid gets the chance to eat some fried squid. Being from the sea, she remarks that she’s only ever eaten raw squid before (which she would literally catch and bite into live), but the friend misinterprets her words as those of an incredibly well-to-do woman of luxury, i.e. “I only ever eat squid sashimi.”

Unfortunately, I think this manga has a lot less chance of being released in English like One Punch Man has been. That said, it is the second most popular manga on Tonari no Young Jump, so maybe there’s hope after all.



In case this somehow convinces anyone to purchase it: Official Site

If you want to see true mastery of Comipo, head over to Dave‘s Kawaiikochan Gaming no Korner.