LITTLE FLUFFY GIGOLO PELU • JaPRESS/Last Gasp • Junko Mizuno • 18+
Pink things, purple things, splattery things, flesh and meat and hearts and skulls…Junko Mizuno’s work combines the erotic perversity of Aubrey Beardsley, the horror sensibility of Hideshi Hino, and the character designs of Strawberry Shortcake and My Little Pony. Pelu, a friendly little ball of fluff, lives on Planet Kotobuki, a planet inhabited only by gorgeous naked women. As the only one of his kind, Pelu is happy but lonely, until eventually he discovers the shocking truth: he is a sort of walking, talking ovary, accidentally ripped from the womb of a dead Kotobukian before he could fulfill his biological function. After discovering that there are no other creatures like him outside of the womb, a sad Pelu flees to earth, hoping to find someone who will be his partner and fulfill his destiny: to make a baby! And so begins an incredible collection of short stories, as the lovelorn Pelu encounters enka singers, romance novelists, pill-popping schoolgirls, homeless people and pearl divers. Pelu himself is not really the center of the stories; cocooned in alien innocence, not really attractive to anyone, he rotates like the moon ’round pulpy, touching, tragic tales of relationships between the two sexes. As a sort of living testicle, Pelu is just the most extreme form of Mizuno’s cute but dumpy men, and the parthogenetic Kotobukians are the logical extension of Mizuno’s gynophilic, self-sufficient women. If there’s any complaint about the book, it’s that Pelu himself is a secondary character, but the stories he drifts through are some of Mizuno’s best.
*** 1/2 (three and a half stars)