Junko Mizuno, what is it about your bizarre oeuvre that intrigues me so? It can’t just be the sexy/nasty/classy artwork, otherwise I’d just stick to the artbooks like Hell Babies and leave the comics alone. No, it must be the deadly combination of that and otherworldly storytelling that hooks me and keeps me coming back. 2004’s Pure Trance, for instance, was just as its name implied. Digging back deeper, rifling through gradually fading old issues of PULP, the blame can perhaps be placed on Mizuno’s fractured fairy tale, Cinderalla.
Whether her stories titillate you or not, it’s hard to deny their unique place in the world of manga. Sans narrative, they’re vintage candy wrappers that you hold on to because you know you’re going to want to just look at them again sometime down the road. In that respect, maybe Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu is the lovelorn-tragedy-laced Laffy Taffy of the bunch.
Pelu hails from a planet called Princess Kotobuki, which seems comparable to living on top of a world-encompassing birthday cake. Not a bad place to call home, but Pelu is different than everyone else, and doesn’t really feel like he belongs. Just for starters, he’s not a naked girl; rather, he’s a Popple-looking cotton ball of a creature, and once he finds out the truth behind his origin, he nabs the Space Hippo’s magic mirror and hightails it to Earth.
Just like the comic itself, that last sentence is better left unexplained. Absorb the billowing, bedazzled panels and move on to Pelu’s Earth exploits, where he just wants to find a girl to love, cherish and hold forever. As he soon finds out, though, our ladies can be even more fickle and strange than those of his home world (hey, don’t shoot the messenger), so he spends the rest of the volume tackling them each one at a time, often with humorously devastating results.
Our Charmin-soft hero’s targets range from a singer stuck on the mall circuit to a shellfish-diving beach maiden, and Pelu’s only real companion throughout these endeavors looks like Charles Schulz’s Pig-Pen all grown up, as homeless as we imagined. The story they weave together isn’t for everyone, but I think just picking up the book and flipping through its bizarre contents once should serve as enough of a measure of potential enjoyment.
Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu actually makes for a pretty good place for those new to Mizuno to start; it’s a simple enough tale with the underpinning of something more keeping it sturdy and strong. Like her other work, it has a fairy tale quality to it, as well, and the art plays a major factor in that aspect. Most illuminating of all, however, is the prime-beef question the comic begs: is there enough love on our cruel planet to include a vomit-green, bow-tie-wearing cotton ball like Pelu? Maybe the answer lies in volume two, but I’m digging the journey so far.
Publisher: Last Gasp
Story & Art: Junko Mizuno
Image © 2003 Junko Mizuno