Mr. Villain’s Day Off is a short, quirky manga about a nameless villain who wants to take over Earth and destroy all humans. But we don’t really see him on his evil days. We see him on his days off, when he might go shop for ice cream or visit the zoo. He loves cute things, like rabbits, but he especially loves pandas.
Most of the chapters open with the villain narrating to us that he is the leader of an evil league . . . but today is his day off. He talks about wanting to destroy humanity, but then more than once he helps out kids in need. Like the kids lost at the mall, or the very hungry girl sitting by the sakura trees. He wants to have his own pet panda to come home to and cuddle after a long day’s work. He befriends a boy who also like animals and calls the boy “doctor” for knowing so much about them.
There’s also a group of Rangers who fight the villain. We get to see the Red Ranger more than once, and he has a terrible sense of direction, so it’s often just jokes about him getting lost. (The villain might even have to give him directions.)
There are a few possibilities for places where the manga could develop a more complex plot. But it might not. It might stick with its amusing, cute, short vignettes. That style wouldn’t work for a long series, but it works just fine for now. It’s funny, sweet, and relaxing, like cuddling with the (imaginary and not dangerous) pet panda the villain wants. The villain as we get to see him is so harmless that it’s humorous to juxtapose what we see of him with what he claims to be on his work days. Is he eventually going to realize he’s not evil at all, but just a big softie? As the book says, even so-called super villains need self-care.
Story & Art: Yuu Morikawa
Publisher: Square Enix Manga
Translator: Julie Goniwich
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.