Otaku USA Magazine
Ugly Duckling of the Entertainment District Is Lurid, Sexy and Addicting

In the manga Ugly Duckling of the Entertainment District, Esora is a young woman who is not in an enviable position. While it’s not entirely clear what her background is, we know she is used to being abandoned by people, we know she’s been abandoned again, and we know she’s desperate. She ends up in a temple, eating the food there, and falls asleep. After that, she’s a prisoner in chains being bought by a man who hides his face. But is this even still the human world?

After Esora is bought she’s expected to sleep with men for money, but she refuses to. She lets the man who hides his face know this. He doesn’t force anything on her, and instead suggests she might want to be a courtesan, because then she can pick her own clients instead of having the clients pick her. Esora is still trying to wrap her mind around what’s going on, and there is something strangely supernatural about this new world. Like, why does that one character seem to have scales on his skin?

While the manga deals with a very serious issue in real life — human trafficking — it doesn’t feel gritty or real. Since it’s set up in a fantasy manga, it instead has almost more of a fairy tale like quality to it, so that readers know not to take it too seriously or literally. Esora is a passionate, strong-willed (and usually very hungry), interesting main character. And even though the faceless man has bought her, there are inklings that he might not be so bad. (Again, because this is fantasy.) For some reason, he’s searching for a specific individual, though we don’t know why. For these reasons, Ugly Duckling of the Entertainment District is, well, entertaining. It’s somewhat lurid, somewhat sexy, somewhat mysterious, and addicting.

The series is being published exclusively on the Mangamo app, where chapters are being updated. It’s already difficult to not be able to read on further, because the manga has set itself up nicely as a dreamy, strange read that has the real possibility of growing from here.

Story & Art: Naru Kariya
Publisher: Mangamo


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.