Periods are something that womankind spend a large portion of their lives dealing with. Although we’ve begun to treat periods as less of a taboo subject in recent years, there’s certainly still an element of secrecy to it. To help combat this, mangaka Ken Koyama has created Little Miss P, which I’m here to check out today! Does it offer a sensitive look at the subject? Let’s find out.
Little Miss P gives periods a physical form with a somewhat lovable pink, heart shaped character. We follow Little Miss P as she visits a variety of women, young and old, to give them their monthly gift and check-in on their lives. Little Miss P causes cramps and bleeding for our poor cast, but she’s also there as a shoulder to cry on and willing to listen to the problems each girl faces – be it complaining about work, their husband/boyfriend or family and friends.
The nice thing about this manga is that its 10 chapters are all relatively short and focus on different aspects of periods and how they affect us. This means there’s a story for everyone, from the tired unfocused writer (I could definitely relate to her issues) to the young girl just beginning her first menstrual cycle. There’s even a story about a pair of magical girls, one of whom wears white and doesn’t want to jump around defeating evil for fear of messing up her costume.
One story that I was particularly fond of follows a drama student, busily compiling a script for a competition against a fellow (male) student when her period suddenly hits. Frustrated, she yells at the boy about how men have it so much easier than women. The young boy, plagued by an overly active libido and countless distractions, feels as though women have it easy and says so right back. The next day the two have swapped bodies and are forced to deal with each other’s problems. It’s an entertaining read, and also a thoughtful anecdote on how men and women view one another.
There’s also a thoughtful story inspired by the life of Yoshiko Sakai, who invented Japan’s first ‘sanitary napkins’, which showcases how this one small invention changed the lives of so many people nationwide. While not the best read in the book, it was still intriguing for those who aren’t aware of the history.
What Little Miss P provides is a knowledgeable, thoughtful and outright fun read. The artwork is fairly free form, with no real structure page to page and characters who look like they’d be right at home in one of Masaaki Yuasa’s animated works (director of The Night is Short, Walk on Girl; Tatami Galaxy). Hair, clothes and body outlines are often inked in a solid black colour, but otherwise a lot of the art is just thick pencil lines. It sounds barren but overall I liked this abstract style.
If you can’t relate to the monthly woes that periods bring then this probably isn’t the book for you. The comedic value that’s in being able to say ‘yep, been there!’ wouldn’t work half as well without the context. It doesn’t tackle the subject with particular depth, nor attempts to educate on periods you in a scientific manner, but I don’t think it needed to as the end result is still very entertaining.
This release comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and has been translated by Taylor Engel. The translation reads well and is problem free. The release on the whole is quite attractive, with thick pages and a bigger book format similar to Yen’s Silver Spoon releases.
Overall, Little Miss P is an entertaining read on a usually taboo subject. It’s certainly not for everyone but I can see plenty of people getting a kick out of the quirky stories being told. If nothing else, it’s nice to see manga tackle such a sensitive topic and handle it with the respect it deserves.