“Paranormal is the new normal.”
Himeno Kimihara is a high school student with all the normal worries of growing up… plus a few more, considering she happens to be a centaur.
A Centaur’s Life is a unique, refreshing title. It’s 100% slice of life, following “Hime” and her friends through some extremely candid and direct concerns of school life, social anxiety, and growing up. The twist of course is all of the characters are human hybrids, showing characteristics of creatures from angels to goats to snakes and everything in between.
It’s all done quite deftly and the extra complications of being hybrids are flawlessly intertwined with more everyday issues. The narrative doesn’t shy away from the embarrassing or confusing parts of adolescence, though even the more surprising topics covered are done tastefully and with a deft touch. The art appropriately captures beauty and grace without resorting to fanservice. Hime and her friends come across incredibly realistic while being rooted in unrealistic trappings. Almost a little too much for me, as I’ll admit while I’ve enjoyed a lot of slice of life manga this one fell just short of compelling.
It’s very odd to say that the high school adventures of a centaur are too normal to hold my interest, but that’s essentially what this amounts to. In a way that’s a compliment to how perfectly Murayama has crafted this coming of age story, and anyone who wants to travel along with some (admittedly unusual) teenage girls through their daily lives and troubles will find a treat here.