Evil Villains Need Self-Care Too!
Mr. Villain (aka ‘The General’/Warumono-san) is the leader of an extra-terrestrial organization bound on Earth domination and determined to destroy the human race. But he really looks forward to his days off when he can go around incognito on Earth, relax, and indulge his secret obsession: pandas (and other cute animals) to his heart’s delight. Pitted against the General’s organization are the heroic Rangers – and Mr. Villain has already encountered the Dawn Red Ranger (who happens to have a terrible sense of direction). But now Mr. Villain’s fellow aliens are also keeping tabs on him and his much put-upon amanuensis Rooney (‘a corporate drone’) summons him urgently (on his day off!) because he’s discovered a monster that appears in winter on Earth, lures people in with the promise of warmth and then gobbles them up! Mr. Villain hurries to Rooney’s rescue…
Back on Earth, Mr. Villain is mystified yet tempted by the sight of people eating panda-shaped steamed buns (bao buns). And so begins his latest obsession: trying all the different steamed bun flavours until – they’re out of season (the nice combini assistant warned him that they were seasonal). However, he discovers that he can buy packs of steamed buns to reheat in the microwave at home – but, oh, the disappointment when his attempt results in a flat bun!
Christmas is drawing near on Earth and when Mr. Villain helps out a little old white-bearded gentleman with his heavy sack, could it be that he’s helped out… surely not! Surely it was just a dream on Christmas Eve…?
And so a New Year begins and Mr. Villain continues to indulge his love for pandas and winter turns to spring. Watching him from the shadows is another Ranger, the Daybreak Pink Ranger, a young woman good at doing her job in apprehending villains – but secretly dreaming of becoming a cute magical girl. Will she confront Mr. Villain – her arch-enemy – or will he be the one who unexpectedly helps her out?
The second volume of Mr Villain’s Day Out, Yuu Morikawa’s delightfully mischievous (villainously cute?) look at the two opposing sides in a Rangers (good) versus Evil League (bad) struggle to take over the Earth, continues in the same vein as before. She’s good at staying on just the right side of understated humour – and Mr. Villain looks appropriately terrifying when seen in his full alien (with viciously spiky tail) form. Given his love for pandas – and his attempts to speak feline when encountering a cat in the park, not to mention his childlike sense of wonder when building sandcastles on the beach, it’s genuinely surprising to see him in full-villain mode when encountering one of his fellow aliens, Trigger, on Earth. There’s no love lost between the two and there’s undoubtedly foreshadowing going on here which may well lead to a full-on clash in future volumes.
Square Enix Manga deliver another attractive volume to match the first with two colour pages at the front (impossible not to contrast the cute chibi images with the full-length picture of Mr. Villain limbering up for another day off on Earth – those serrated teeth!). The translation is again expertly handled by Julie Goniwich with a splendidly appropriate wide range of lettering styles from Kelsey Denton (with suitable sinister dark jagged lettering for Mr. Villain in evil alien mode). Yuu Morikawa’s drawings are expressive and/or quirky, according to what’s happening, and filled with little details. Occasional yon-koma (4-panel) pages are inserted after some chapters and the splash pages are striking, often featuring Mr. Villain. I really love Yuu Morikawa’s art (so apt for the story she’s telling) and I’m intrigued to see how well the TV anime series coming in 2024 recaptures it (the trailer bodes well, but we’ll see…)
If you’re looking for an escape from reality for a little while in these difficult times, then this is the ideal tonic – and it’s not too long to wait for Volume 3 which is due out in February 2024.
Our review copy from Square Enix Manga was supplied by Turnaround Comics (Turnaround Publisher Services).