Shinozaki-kun no Mente Jijou or The Everyday Maintenance of Shinozaki-kun is my latest random manga discovery and I am really digging it.
There is a genre called High Fantasy and I’ll be completely honest with you, I never looked up the actual definition. It gets associated with Tolkien a lot, so I always just assumed that high fantasy is traditional hero journey stories with a lot of expansive world-building and magical not quite humans we have come to associate with fantasy. Like elves and dwarves and all that.
Just plain fantasy would then be a story that uses the same adornments, elves and dwarves and all that, and possibly magic as well but isn’t necessarily as expansive and doesn’t have a huge central adventure with a lofty goal. You can debate me on these definitions, I fully admit that I just sort of made them up in my head through the years.
I personally like urban fantasy which also uses the same general ideas but transposes them to a modern (and usually urban) setting.
But there’s also another type of fantasy. I’ve sometimes called it soft fantasy in my head but maybe SOL Fantasy would be more accurate. These are the tales that don’t have much adventure at all and even though they are set in fantasy worlds with fantasy creatures, they don’t need to be. Stuff like Dragon Goes House Hunting. Comes to mind.
Why did I just go on this wild tangent explaining my personal fantasy categorizations? Well, I think it’s the best way for me to give you an idea of what The Everyday Maintenance of Shinozaki-kun is. It’s an Urban SOL Fantasy. And apparently, that’s my favorite genre now.
Why I Picked up Shinozaki-kun no Mente Jijou
As is often the case, because I liked the cover art. Here is a little collage of the currently available covers.
The one that particularly caught my eye was volume 3 but all of them are pretty cool. I really like how vivid and colorful they are. And you know, I also enjoy that these covers are a lot busier than we usually see in manga. They just seemed cozy to me
Shinozaki, an ordinary office worker recently worried about being “off his head”, is approached by a woman named Yuyake. She explains that her magician grandmother modified his body in the past…causing him to have a lot of inside machinery?! He’ll have to receive internal maintenance from Yuyake…
A slightly wobbly magical remodelling life between a very ordinary salaryman, Shinozaki, and an enigmatic magician, Yuyake, begins. – AniList
My First Impression
Wait what? Oh fun!
I don’t really like that official summary. Since I got it from AniList and not the manga itself it might not be all that official but it’s the summary that’s most prevalent online. It’s not bad but honestly, if I had read that and not seen the covers, I probably wouldn’t have picked up The Everyday Maintenance of Shinozaki-kun.
On the other hand, the first page of the manga itself have a much better hook if you ask me!
It goes at such: I am Shinozaki Yusuke. A very ordinary office worker. Very ordinary with just one problem… Recently my head’s been falling off too easily.
And this sets the tone for the series. Shinozaki is a 27-year-old office worker who has led all his life believing himself to be a perfectly ordinary person. He thought everyone’s head fell off occasionally and people just don’t talk about it because it’s not polite public conversation.
But now, he has to quickly adjust to this whole new world of magic and shapeshifters and homunculi. But other than exploring this new world so far there isn’t a particular purpose to his journey. He’s still a normal guy and still does mostly normal things while getting regular maintenance updates for his inner machinery.
Honestly discovering the details of the story is the entire fun here. The tone is lighthearted and casual, the characters are fun and the magical universe has some very interesting features I don’t usually see.
If you’re in the mood for a magical comedy without the epic missions, I personally recommend The Everyday Maintenance of Shinozaki-kun. It’s a breath of magical fresh air.