Monaka Suzuki, artist and writer of My Father is a Unicorn, described their inspiration for this manga as follows: “I came up with the idea for this story after thinking, wouldn’t it be funny if your mother got re-married to a horse?” Well… they were right. It is pretty funny.
Issei, your average high school aged boy, is shocked when his mother announces that she has gotten remarried, since he hadn’t even been aware that she was seeing anyone. He is further flabbergasted by the revelation that her new husband is an Alicorn (a Unicorn/Pegasus hybrid) with shapeshifting abilities who can transform into a gorgeous looking human man. On top of all of that, Issei’s mother suddenly has to go away on a business trip and leaves the two of them alone together after having only just met. Issei’s new step-dad is determined to do a good job looking after his new son, but is having difficulties adjusting to life in the city and with grasping the fact that humans don’t eat hay. Will Issei be able to accept his new step-dad and welcome him into his life? And what will they do about their nosy neighbor, who insists that she keeps hearing hoof beats coming from their apartment and who also just so happens to be Chairman of the Tenants Association?
My Father is a Unicorn is a light-hearted and fun read. Plaskett, Issei’s Unicorn-Papa, is a cheerful and well-meaning person who just wants to be a good house-husband and father, but who still has some things to learn about human culture. Most of the humor revolves around him making weird mistakes or involves sight gags, as he does things like slice apples with his horn or only half transform and wind up with a horse head on a human body. Not every joke winds up hitting the mark, but I was laughing quite frequently as I read this. One of my favourite parts in the manga involves Issei trying to look up information about unicorns on the internet. He reads an old myth that states that unicorns are attracted only to maidens and will stab a girl to death if she lies to them about being a virgin. Issei is briefly panicked over the thought that Plaskett thinks his mom is a maiden and will kill her when he discovers the truth. Plaskett latter clears up this misunderstanding, and informs him that he doesn’t care about that and that he, thankfully, knows enough about humans to have realized that Issei’s mom couldn’t be a virgin if she had a son. In another great scene, Plaskett makes some detox water to take to a get-together with the moms living in their apartment complex and uses his horn to magically purify it. The concoction is so potent that it causes the ladies who drink it to look years younger and they all show up the next day looking like classic, shojo manga heroines and demanding the recipe. Suzuki clearly has a lot of fun playing around with the unicorn trying to live in modern time’s set-up and, best of all, since the manga is only one volume long there isn’t time for the concept to become stale. I think, had the series been longer, the jokes would eventually have gotten repetitive, but here they manage not to overstay their welcome. Instead, the gag about Plaskett trying to feed Issei hay actually got funnier each time it was repeated and there is a great scene later on where some of the mom’s in the apartment building chew Plaskett out for not ensuring Issei is getting enough protein.
Story wise, this manga doesn’t have a lot of meat on its bones, as the focus is heavily on comedy instead of character development or plot. Issei does warm up to Plaskett over the course of the book; He teaches him how to use a kitchen knife properly and eventually comes to appreciate all the effort Plaskett puts into taking care of him. This shift in their relationship is sweet but not something that’s very well fleshed out. On the other hand, I appreciated how the side plot involving the busy-body, Chairman of the Tenants Association is resolved. At the start of the manga, the chairman is portrayed as an overbearing nag who berates other residents for rule infractions like not sorting their trash properly. However, rather than leaving her as a one-dimensional character, it is later revealed that she is actually a very helpful and sincere person who, usually, has good intentions. The fact that she never backs down is even shown to be a good quality, in certain situations. She winds up becoming friends with Plaskett and I was glad to see this character receive some depth.
My Father is a Unicorn is a humorous, feel-good story about acceptance and family that doesn’t spend too much time worrying about any of that and is just the right kind of ridiculous. If you’re looking for something funny that’s a bit on the weird side, I recommend checking this manga out.
Final Score: 7 out of 10
For more information of this manga visit Seven Seas website: https://sevenseasentertainment.com/books/my-father-is-a-unicorn/
What did you think of this manga? Do you prefer the term Alicorn or Pegacorn when referring to winged unicorns? Let me know in the comments.