Comics & Manga

Strongly Recommending Kindergarten Wars

I want you to read Kindergarten Wars by You Chiba. It's on MangaPlus by Sheuisha So it's fairly accessible! I will not be spoiling any big plot points or surprises in the series, only going over the basic premise and a bit on the characters. But if you wanna go in blind, go read it right now! Also, I would like to thank the Twitter account Manga Mogura who has always done great manga reporting. This account is the one responsible for turning me on to this series.

Kindergarten Wars' lead heroine is Rita, one of the most deadly assassins in the world and is very actively seeking a boyfriend. Rita is in the employment of Kindergarten Noir. a school set up to protect the little kiddos of VIPs and the elite (ew, but hang with me). The kids are targets of all kinds of trouble, including enemy assassins and kidnappings, so it's up to Rita and everyone else at Kindergarten Noir to keep everyone safe. Can they do that while they grapple with the harsh reality of being murderers? Will any hot guys meet Rita's standards? Who's the handsome new face at Kindergarten Noir?

Assassin X Found Family

If you're familiar at all with Spy x Family (surely you are!), you may see some familiar elements at work here. I'm confident that if you like that, you'll love this too, but I'm here to sell you on the uniquities of Kindergarten Wars.

Firstly, Rita is a wonderful lead character. She's wearing an amusing expression in almost every panel, an active participant in her own love quest, and bouncing off of everyone else. As emotionally available as she is, it contrasts in interesting ways with her past and her power as an assassin. This makes her a lot of fun to read about in almost any situation she's a part of. It's always nice to have a female lead in a rom-com action series like this.

Secondly, Kindergarten Wars really knocks it out of the park with character focus and letting the everyone meld into a found family. Everyone loves a good found family! As much as I love Spy x Family, I feel (the manga at least) can have a little trouble with balancing Anya, Loid, and Yor's stories and getting them together as a group. In Kindergarten Wars, our lead characters are all on the same mission, working together, so they get to highlight each other and be a part of one another's stories in a dynamic way. There's a kind of recipe that starts to unfold further and further in, but surprises and cheer worthy moments just keep coming.

"Yeah, this is manga!" - Me in the next paragraph, 2023.

In general, KW has an unbelievable sense of balance and making it all work. Disparate elements start to gel together into being a little slice of life, while never taking away from the wild action packed adventure and huge comedy moments. It's one of those things that makes me smile and go "Yeah, this is manga!". There is a genuine sense of romance, plenty of big shonen fights with weapons, and it still finds the time to be a silly workplace comedy. There are other, less fluffy themes as well, but I'll let you discover those yourself for now.

You Chiba's Artstyle Rocks

I'm enamored with the variety that You Chiba can pull off in KW. None of us are strangers to simplified manga expressions for comedic effect, but Chiba can pull it down to the absolute bare minimum lines and have it read funnier than ever. I am wholly obsessed with Rita's "crying face". Get used to seeing o(TヘTo) and (o;TωT)o a lot! .

Chiba can also draw fight scenes with a wicked sense of motion, big explosions and spread pages, or pull in close for some detail and "un-deform" (reform?) characters when it's drama time. I was genuinely surprised at one romance scene that felt so different, but fit right in at the same time.

Character design has remained strong in the series, even though almost everyone wears a suit and apron, hair and eyes especially are all visually appealing and everyone is fun to look at.

The best time to read is NOW!

As of this writing (November 9th, 2023), Kindergarten Wars has released 53 Chapters. It's a digestable, enjoyable page turner with great pacing. We'll have to come back some time later and talk about some major plot beats, because they're all quite good. Speaking about the series in vague terms today is killing me inside, but I implore you to read a chapter or two and see if you don't have fun. KW has been a smash hit in Japan, with volume 1 currently on its sixth printing! With every volume having been reprinted at least once. It wouldn't surprise me to see the same in the English book market sometime in the near future. For now though, this series only official English distribution is on MangaPlus. If you end up enjoying the series, I'd love to hear about it on Twitter, or if you're really bold, write me a letter!

See you next article! Happy reading!