“I’m Getting Bigger All The Time” – Marvelous Melmo (manga) – 7/10 Atoms

When I grow up I want to be a little boy. ~Joseph Heller

Mangaka: Osamu Tezuka

Genre: Comedy/Kids/Shoujo

Review Status: Complete (1 Volume/1 Volume)

Licensed: No, this manga is not icensed in the US

Art: Typical Tezuka, but due to this being one of his more lighthearted series, there’s no dramatic shading, and the character designs all stay fairly cartoonish.

Summary: Melmo’s mother dies in a traffic accident, leaving young Melmo and her younger brother Totoo. Anxious Melmo’s mother in heaven asks God to prepare some magical candies, and hands them to Melmo. There are two kinds: Melmo can grow 10 years older to become any sort of adult she wishes by eating a blue candy. By eating a red one, she can become 10 years younger. Using these miracle candies, Melmo disguises herself as a nurse, schoolteacher, policewoman, and overcomes troubles together with her brother, Totoo. (M-U)

Review: This is definitely one of the most innocuous manga I’ve come across from Tezuka. Here, we follow Melmo as she takes care of her brother and solves problems by using the magical candy that her mother brought her from heaven. This is very much your typical children’s storyline – don’t most kids wish they could grow up and bypass all those rules that adults have, or be able to get revenge on the people that tease them?

Melmo has all sorts of adventures using the candy, from saving a swan that’s been caught in the city by pollution, to winning a dance contest over some teasers, to getting an aunt that wanted the candy for herself to leave. It’s all very innocent, harmless stuff. This is also very episodic in nature, so there’s no overarching plot to worry about – the only part that even vaguely connects to Melmo’s mom giving the candy is in a later story, when two angels (a frog and a squirrel) are sent down to make sure that Melmo uses the candy more wisely.

Overall, for a kid’s manga it’s pretty nice, but nothing that special.

Recommended: 6+. Melmo’s mom gets hit by a car off-screen – you just see the car coming towards her and then she’s in heaven. You do see a one-panel glimpse of bare bum when she grows back into a child, when she’s learning to use the candy. And in one scene, she notes that she forgot to imagine her clothes bigger (they are too small, but only in having made the skirt a mini).

Other titles you might enjoy:

Haven’t found any quite like this.

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