Ponta is a young, healthy and perfectly normal Labrador, that
is until she is given the magic Guru Guru bone, which enables
her to change into a beautiful young woman. As a woman Ponta
has fallen in love with the boy next door Mirai Iwaki. After
some considerable soul searching and reticence, Mirai realises
that he too is developing feelings for the human Ponta. The
path of true love, even one as unconventional as theirs, is
never smooth and just as the two declare their love for each
other Mirai's ex-girlfriend arrives on the scene, as does
a male dog who takes a shine to Ponta...
Guru Guru Pon-Chan, by Satomi Ikezawa won the Kodansha
Manga of the Year Award. One of the nice things about Volume
Eight is that, even if you have joined the story at this
point, Satomi has been thoughtful enough to include a précis
of the plot as well as a few portraits. Another nice feature
is the layout of the panel, most of which are spread horizontally
across the whole page, this mean that if you find multi-panel
mangas hard to follow then this one will be a cinch, making
the story very easy to read.
The book is broken down into four stories, with only the last
one advancing the plot. For the most part Ikezawa has used
the opportunity to show how the relationship between Ponta
and Mirai Waki develops.
anyone gets too freaked at the strange relationship of one
man and his dog, let me put it into some cultural framework.
Japan has been quite a rigid society from its feudal age to
quite recently. The changing roles within society have been
reflected in popular culture, usually as various forms of
transformation. This transformation is usually associated
with preteen, or young teen girls, not for the sexual connotations,
which this group may have to a western audience, but because
to the Japanese these represent those with the greatest ability
to experience change.
The stories in the book kind of feel like Ikezawa wanted to
get her last few shorts out of the way before concluding the
story of Ponta and Mirai. The first story (Mirai-Kun is
Mirai-Kun) is about Mirai playing a practical joke on
Ponta, which of course Ponta does not understand as she is
a dog. She gets her own back by using the bone to turn him
from human into a dog. The second story (Looking For Him)
is a tale about Ponta, when she was much younger, and how
she and a young girl got lost in the city together. The third
story (Someday, I will too) is the weakest story in
Now before we discuss the last story (The Sleeping Dog
Beauty) look away if you don't want to read a major spoiler.
Done that?... No?... Well here we go.
last story is a real kick in the pants; most, if not all,
of the previous stories have been about Ponta turning from
a dog to a human without ever asking if there was a price
for this miracle. In the last story you find out that the
cost is Ponta's increased ageing, increased enough to threaten
her life. Worse still the preview of Volume Nine seems
to show that Ponta succumbs to her ailments (well she is in
a coffin and I don't think you can succumb more than that).
So this light-hearted tale may have a tragic ending.
Overall, if you take it on face value Guru Guru Pon-Chan
is not a bad manga, though I'm not really sure how many teen
boys will be reading this love story.