Take an under-achieving high school freshman and plonk him/her into a high school thatís filled with not-quite-human classmates. You have Rosario + Vampire, right? Well, no. Take away the monsters, the fight scenes and the vampire hotties in short skirts and replace them with adorable animals and you have Animal Academy: Hakobune Hakusho, a new tween-friendly manga series by Moyamu Fujino from TokyoPop.
If you're a boy, you may be thinking 'Aww, dang' -- but hold on a second. Fighting and fanservice aren't the only things that make reading manga fun. Animal Academy has charms of its own that make it worth reading. I dove into both Animal Academy Volume 1 and Volume 2 to see if it was a series that could be cute and interesting enough to hold my interest for a volume or two.
One interesting quirk about Animal Academy is that it was originally serialized in Japan in Comic Blade magazine, a monthly shonen manga (boys comics) magazine. But as I read this Y-Youth 10+ rated series, I couldn't help but think that in America, Animal Academy's focus on fantasy, friendship and cuteness would likely be more appealing to tween and younger teen girls, and maybe a few cat lovers too.
Image credit: © Moyamu Fujino