Major Trigger Warnings: Bullying, Child Abuse, Murder
Every once in a blue moon, a new debut comes out that takes the entirety of the manga aficionado world by storm. This year happened to be one of those lucky years – the series, Takopi’s Original Sin by Taizan 5.
The story starts with the arrival of an octopus-shaped Happian alien affectionately called Takopi. As the cute alien travels through the universe, it arrives on Earth and meets a group of elementary students each going through their own issues. Their stories are told through the eyes of Takopi who does not understand even the most basic things.
At its core, the story asks: can this alien use its magic powers to save these children? And what would the cost of doing so entail?
Despite only being a 16 chapter series, the work delivers a hefty punch. This was Taizan 5‘s first work and yet the mangaka exhibits an extraordinary ability to use everything at their disposal to deliver the most airtight manga I have ever seen. From elements like the contrasting artwork, fantastic dialogue and pacing, every element is used to its fullest potential to deliver exactly what the author needs. Nothing feels superfluous, but neither does it feel underdeveloped.
The reaction to the work in Japan has been substantial. Despite the work being first released for free on the Shonen Jump Plus and MANGA Plus platforms, the comic volume releases sold over 1.2 million copies within 2 months of its initial release. For the top 50 top selling comics of the year, it was the only new and shortest running of the ranking, and the only one not attached to a long running series. I would absolutely consider this to be one of the best works, if not the best, to debut in 2022.
The work is available now worldwide.
Edit: As of August 2023, the English language version will be slated for a November release.