The season of new manga series debuting in Shonen Jump continues. This time with Ichigoki’s Under Control, also known as Ichigoki! Soujuuchuu in Japan, from Seiji Hayashi. Seiji Hayashi history includes winning the 81st Akatsuka Award in 2014. After publishing several one-shots Hayashi worked on the ongoing series I’m From Japan, Jimoto ga Japan, published in Saikyō Jump that went on for 61 chapters collected in six volumes from 2018 to 2020. I’m From Japan also had an anime adaptation that went on for 50 episodes. With all that is Hayashi’s latest work set up to find similar success? Let’s find out with Ichigoki’s Under Control!! Chapter 1.
Writer & Artist: Seiji Hayashi
As part of her mad scientist journey, Misao Chiisaki shrinks herself with a potion to live in her dollhouse but forgets to make a potion to return to her regular size.
Chiisaki convinces her childhood friend Kai Ichigoki to help her gather the ingredients she needs, including several animal testicles.
When Ichigoki goes to the zoo to get the ingredients he is killed by one of the gorillas.
Ichigoki wakes back up in his room and is shocked to learn that Chiisaki has turned him into a cyborg and is able to control him from the cockpit she made inside his head.
After convincing Ichigoki this is the only way to help each other Chiisaki helps him get ready for his first day of school.
On the way to school, Ichigoki notices someone being attacked by a gorilla in the streets. Unable to ignore it Ichigoki convinces Chiisaki they should help.
Chiisaki uses the Hidden 100 Feature #1: Synchro Mode to control Ichigoki’s movements. After initially failing to use his full power Chiisaki is able to fully power up Ichigoki to nail the gorilla with a rocket punch.
After defeating the gorilla Chiisaki rushes Ichigoki to school. Chiisaki accidentally uses too much power and Ichigoki crashes through his classroom wall during class introductions. End of chapter.
At 37 pages Ichigoki’s Under Control!! Chapter 1 is the shortest first chapter of a debut series that we’ve gotten in a while. The page count is certainly felt with how Seiji Hayashi rushes to get over what Ichigoki’s Under Control is about compared to the pacing of Cipher Academy and Ichinose Family’s Deadly Sins.
Speeding through establishing Misao Chiisaki and Kai Ichigoki is not a bad decision at all. It actually works for the set-up of Chiisaki and Ichigoki being childhood best friends. We don’t need to go into all the details of their history together. Two simple panels explaining their childhood and why Ichigoki distanced himself a bit as Chiisaki dove further into her goal of becoming a mad scientist was all that was needed.
Hayashi deserves a lot of credit for making Chiisaki and Ichigoki’s dialogue come across as childhood friends. Even though Ichigoki distanced himself like a teen going through puberty would as soon as they were alone together he and Chiisaki got back into their normal routine from childhood. Chiisaki’s shrunken form certainly helped with this.
It led to Hayashi highlighting the strength of his artwork with all the comedy of the story. Chiisaki in particular was a joy to watch be up to random antics. Things like unintentionally playing wack-a-mole after Ichigoki became a cyborg were a great way to put over Chiisaki’s form of humor. This made Ichigoki trying but failing to play the straight man funnier as his reactions were a great compliment to Chiisaki’s antics.
So when it comes to getting over the comedy of the story Hayashi succeeded with the first chapter of Ichigoki’s Under Control!! Where Hayashi falls short is the world-building of this series. It’s in this aspect that you can really tell that Hayashi was limited by his shorter page count compared to his peers in this round of new manga releases. The only other character that we see in any substantial weight is the gorilla that is the antagonist for this first chapter.
The lack of world-building really makes this series lean into the comedy of this series. What was particularly surprising is we don’t see either Misao Chiisaki and Kai Ichigoki family at all in this chapter. Given the life-changing events, Chiisaki and Ichigoki have gone through we should’ve at least seen their parents involved in some way. Even if it was a silent scene similar to the childhood flashback just with a shrunken Chiisaki shown explaining to their parents what she did to herself and how she is bringing Ichigoki back to life would’ve added so much to the story.
It was honestly a missed opportunity because Hayashi could’ve easily had either Ichigoki’s mom or dad positioned as a wacky parent who just goes along with Chiisaki’s experiment. It’s little things like that that Hayashi really misses out on adding to what he has going on with Chiisaki and Ichigoki. Hopefully in the next few chapters, we see Hayashi flesh out the world by introducing Chiisaki and Ichigoki family and friends into the story.
Ichigoki’s Under Control!! is off to a good start, adding a solid comedy series to Shonen Jump’s line-up. Seiji Hayashi writing and art style certainly lean into the crazy comedic antics of series leads Misao Chiisaki and Kai Ichigoki. The shorter page count does lead to very little world-building but it did make Hayashi lean into his strength as a mangaka. If you enjoy comedy manga this is one to check out.
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10