Little Miss P, a manga series originally published as a webcomic, talks about the subject of menstruation loudly and humorously by creating an anthropomorphized period called (what else?) Little Miss P.
Each chapter introduces us to a different set of characters, but menstruation is always the theme. Little Miss P likes to show up unannounced, punch the woman in her gut with a “Period Punch,” and then maybe beat her up a little more. Any woman who’s experienced painful periods will know exactly what those punches symbolize. Then Little Miss P will hang out, maybe offer some words of advice, maybe just hover obsessively.
Little Miss P is followed by its sequel, Little Miss P: The Second Day. The followup volume, despite the title, is not about periods during the second day. It’s still just about them in general.
The stories in these two volumes run the gamut, with everything from realistic scenarios (minus the literal-ness of Little Miss P) to science fiction space travel to a zombie outbreak. While all the stories have funny parts, some of them get quite heartfelt, like the middle school girl who’s bullied at school after getting blood on her skirt in front of classmates.
One story does a fictional take on Yoshiko Sakai, who developed Japan’s first sanitary napkins, which have been referred to as “Anne napkins.” This comes from diarist and Holocaust victim Anne Frank, and Japanese girls reading about periods in her The Diary of a Young Girl. The Japanese association of Anne Frank with periods is something that’s meant well there, but doesn’t exactly translate well or respectfully across cultures, where we have a much more grim and reverential connotation with the teenage writer. But while Little Miss P touches on universal period traits, it also gives a look specifically at how it’s viewed and treated in Japan.
The weakest part of the manga would be its art, which isn’t as refined as manga art usually is. Still, the mangaka is able to get emotions and comedy across, and the uniqueness and fun of the stories make up for issues with the art. This is a thoroughly entertaining read that not only takes up something not talked about, but makes it funny in the process.
Story & Art: Ken Koyama
Publisher: Yen Press
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.