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Manga: Centaur no Nayami
Being a teenaged centaur can be rough sometimes.

Kimihara Himeno is a rather shy but friendly Japanese high school girl, the only daughter of an average middle-class family. She goes to a normal high school, hangs out with her close friends Nozomi and Kyouko, and generally has the same dreams and worries a girl her age is expected to have — like falling in love or simply mulling about whether or not she overeats everyday.

However, Himeno also happens to be a centaur. This in itself isn't much of a big deal though, when literally everyone else on the planet display characteristics that might mark them strange if they lived on our world — like wings, tails, and animal ears.

Written by Murayama Kei and serialized in Comic Ryuu magazine, Centaur no Nayami/セントールの悩み (or Centaur's Worries) follows Hime as she experiences first-hand the highs and lows of being a teenager along with her friends.

Although at first glace just another Slice of Life series that replaces humans with fantasy races, it soon becomes apparent that the author put a lot of thought into figuring out just how such races would act, live, and even interact with each other in a contemporary setting. The world-building is impressive, to say the least, and likely the main draw to non-Slice of Life fans.

Released in North America by Seven Seas Entertainment under the name A Centaur's Life.

Centaur's Worries gives examples of the following:

  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: The Antarcticans were the first civilization on Earth. It wasn't the Antarcticans' idea to become a Hidden Elf Village, rather their isolated home in Antarctica couldn't be reached easily before the invention of the plane.
  • Alternate Universe: Hime's world is very similar to ours, but evolution took a slightly different path that led to most land vertebrates being six-limbed and Antarctica being inhabited by intelligent reptiles.
  • And Now For Something Completely Different: Many chapters focus either on world building, or things totally unrelated to Hime and friend's little slice of Japan. Or the setting for that matter.
    • Chapter 8.5. Seemingly set in the real world (meaning there are ordinary humans in it), it focuses on a puppy (with a girl's face) being taken care of by the daughter of the family.
    • Several chapters focus on the shenanigans that the Antarcticans have been doing behind the scenes, which among things, include trying to influence other races via proxy (as shown in the Sea God festival), experiments in reviving extinct subspecies (the Tiger-centaur chapter in China), or fighting aliens (the Midwestern US chapter).
  • Baseball Episode: Chapter 9. Unsurprisingly, centaurs make excellent baseball players.
  • Beauty, Brains and Brawn: Hime (girly), Kyouko (sensible) and Nozomi (tomboy).
  • Bifauxnen: Nozomi and her cousin, Akira. Omaki even more. And some minor characters really look like boys.
  • Big Fancy House: It turns out that the father's side of Hime's family owns one of these, a holdover from the time where the family were still landed Samurai.
  • Blatant Lies: One side-story had Kyouko as a Black Mage, killing a chicken-shaped "vegetable" for a magic spell.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Kyouko, Nozomi and Hime, respectively.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Nozomi. Justified, as she finds maintaining long hair like Hime's a big bother.
  • Buxom Is Better: Hime. She gets a love letter that actually it's just an appreciation of her bosom. And Nozomi agrees. A racial traits of mermaids, too, as Komori quickly points out.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: After performing a cleansing ritual on a box and having to (very uncomfortably) ask for a donation, Manami returned home to her father. Out of guilt for having to beg for donations despite feeling like she hadn't actually done anything, she lashed out at her father's work ethic and painting hobby. She laid down an ultimatum and told him to either to quit his day job and be full-time real painter, even if it means her resenting him for it, or quit his painting and work full time to support the family of himself and five children (including Manami herself and the youngest, Ill Girl Suetsumu).
  • Cat Species: A whole species of them. The Class Rep's father and her triplet sisters are examples of these.
  • Cheerful Child: Himeno's cousin Shino, and class rep Manami Mitami's triplet sisters.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Remember the movie that scared little Hime in chapter four? The Fear from Antarctica comes back to play a role later.
  • Clarke's Third Law: In chapter nineteen Kyouko discusses the similarities between really advanced science and magic with Sasasul derailing the scary storytelling and turning it into a skeptic's meeting for a moment.
  • Class Representative: Manami Mitami. Lampshaded in-series in how she was pretty much born for the role.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Shino doesn't want to share her cousin with anyone.
  • Cold War: The Antarcticans are depicted somewhat as the old USSR, opposed to this universe's USA.
  • Cool Big Sis: The Class Rep to her trio of catgirl sisters, and Himeno to her cousin Shino, while Shino is this to an even younger centaur girl from kindergarden, Maki-chan.
  • Cool Down Hug: Kyouko does this to her big brother after he is depressed from losing a baseball game. He makes some comment about her being really flat-chested to break the serious atmosphere.
  • Cosplay Otaku Girl: Akechi. Will find just about any excuse to dress her classmates in the dresses she made. Works out in her favor during the Cultural Festival, when she is put in charge of the costumes.
  • Costume Porn: A lot of thought went into designing extremely fashionable outfits for a centaur.
  • Crapsaccharine World: A world similar to out own, where cute monsters go about their business peacefully, and tolerance is a basic requirement. Sounds good! Except...
    • There are a million seemingly innocent things that can get you jailed for "hate crime", including accepting a lift from a centaur friend (you slave driver!) or being an angel who cut off the wrong bit of hair (you're rejecting your race! You are guilty of hate crime against yourself!). Made worse by...
    • The fact that talking about hate crime is a hate crime. Not only could you could be arrested without having any idea what you did wrong (after all, no-one's told you about it...because they're not allowed to), but you could be arrested for trying to warn something that their actions might be illegal.
    • A flyer early in the series mentions "a royal license for reproduction". So...who gets this license and who doesn't..?
    • Scary looking armed guards accompany a group of teenagers on a school trip.
    • On said school trip, the guard is standing in front of a sign which states that anyone caught littering will be shot on sight! Looks like Kyoko really wasn't joking about being executed for accepting a ride from Hime...
  • Date Peepers: Himeno, Nozomi, and Kyouko follow Sasasul on a date at an art museum. Various security/intelligence agencies are also following the Antarctican and the three friends are almost picked up as terrorists.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Several chapters don't feature Hime at all, and instead focus on her relatives (her cousin Shino), her friends and classmates (Sasassul and Manami the class rep), or their families (Manami's younger catgirl sisters). One chapter even focuses on the Recurring Extras, a catguy and mermaid couple who've appeared in the background several times.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In chapter 4, Himeno and her parents watch a news report about the first centaur president of the United States being elected on the Democratic Party ticket, and Himeno's dad remarks that the guy's got a lot on his plate, between foreign affairs, military deployment, and his efforts at health-care reform... sound like anyone we know?
  • Doing In the Wizard: Despite what it might look like angels, imps, centaurs, cat people etc. are nothing but human subspecies naturally evolved, nothing magical or mythical here. Even the angels' halos are explained as just Idiot Hair with a funny shape.
  • Dramatic Irony: A teacher gives a political speech thinly disguised as a biology lecture. In it, she states that if only quadrapeds had survived, humans wouldn't look significantly different from each other, except for slight variations in skin and hair colour. She gravely asserts that if this "perfect" world had existed, the lack of serious differences between humans would have meant that the world would never have had the serious racism problems that their own world faces. If only that were true.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Some of the boys look like girls, similar like some of the girls look like boys.
  • Expy: A chapter, which focuses on merpeople instead of Himeno and her friends, has a half-mermaid-half-satyr who looks like Himeno. She has the same face and similar hair. The biggest differences are the species characteristics and the small breasts of the mermaid (this rare, considering that mermaids are very busty women).
  • Eyes Always Shut: Kyouko and the rest of the Naraku family.
  • Fanservice: Whenever present-day Hime takes a bath.
    • The chapter focusing on the merfolk festival can be taken as this, as males and females both typically wear nothing but "bikini bottoms" and the females tend to be bustier than the average for other races, while the males appear toned. Of course the beginning of the chapter is two mermen looking at a magazine with girls dressed more modestly in bathing suits.
  • Fantastic Racism: Racial equality is a relatively modern thing in this Alternate Universe and still a sensitive topic, as seen in the overly strict anti-hate laws - e.g. riding a centaur is illegal, the centaur being willing notwithstanding, because of a past history of centaurs being enslaved to be used as mounts. The "serpentines" (reptilian inhabitants of Antarctica) still face prejudice outside their native continent, as do the South American amphibians.
    • The latter is doubly true, we see a lot of the human species either whispering or thinking in thought bubbles very unkind thoughts about the Antarctican character (in particular, they're usually unduly suspicious that she'll report them to some government office for no reason).
  • Fauns and Satyrs: One of the humans sub-species, not any more wild or debauched than any of the other sub-species. Kyouko is a satyr, but since her legs are regular "human" legs, not goat legs, she's probably a case of Mixed Ancestry.
  • Fiery Redhead: Inverted. While Himeno is carrot-topped, she's actually more of a Shrinking Violet.
  • Five-Token Band: Invoked and Exaggerated In-Universe. All of the Magical Girl anime for young girls (though it can be reasonably assumed a great deal more cartoons besides) in this world, as an unwritten rule, must have a supporting cast containing a magical girl of each race, with the main character's race changing every episode.
  • Foreign Exchange Student: At the end of the third volumen Quetzalcoatl Sasasul, a serpentine girl, tranfers to Hime's class.
  • Funny Background Event: Once in a while soldiers could be seen around, reflecting the desegregation laws.
  • Ghost Story: Chapter nineteen has Hime and the crew telling each other ghost stories as a kind of courage test at the suggestion of the Occult club's vice-president.
  • Girlish Pigtails: How Himeno styles her hair when she goes to school. Turns into Mega Twintails at one point due to how long her hair had become.
  • Hair Decorations: Class Rep's hairpins, Hime's hairties.
  • Heinz Hybrid:
    • The various human subspecies can interbreed succesfully, although some combinations may have high rates of congenital defects, as is the case with centaur/angel pairings. In accordance with Mendelian inheritance laws the offspring may belong to one of either parent's subspecies or it might have traits from both parents, as seen in the youngest of Manami's sisters, Suetsumu, who has angel wings from her mother's side and cat ears and tail from her father's side.
    • The nameless House Familiar has every feature of the bipedal subspecies.
  • Heir to the Dojo: While it's not glossed upon in-series, Nozomi is part of a well-known family of martial arts practitioners.
  • Historical In-Joke: A mention of a possible centuar-queen of Russia is a shout-out to a rumor that Alexandra the Great liked to ride horses.
  • Hive Caste System: The Antarctican government system (soldiers are apparently legless, only the queen lays eggs).
  • Holy Halo: A racial attribute of the Angels. Subverted in that it's actually just a piece of hair, that can even regrow when (accidentally) cut off.
  • Horned Humanoid: Of different types too. Kyouko for example is a satyr-type, while Michi's like a unicorn.
  • Horse Archer: Pun aside, this is apparently a traditional role of Himeno's family. Both her mother and her aunt are these as well. Likely connected to how Japanese centaurs actually served as Samurai cavalry in this world's history, as well as how centaurs are associated with archery in Greek mythology.
  • Hostage Situation: In chapter eight, with the bad guy using Manami's younger sister, Sue as a Human Shield.
  • Huge Schoolgirl:
    • Himeno. Justified in that she is a centaur, and towers over all of her classmates barring some of the guys like Komori.
    • Sasasul is even taller than Hime, even though most of her height comes form her long neck.
  • Hypercompetent Assistant: Kyouko's apparently this to her father, having almost single-handedly eased the workload of his editors, and helps him keep focused enough to always submit his drafts on time.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Hime doesn't mind really kissing Nozomi.
  • Ill Girl: The Class Rep's little sister Suetsumu gets tired easily, and sometimes gets a fever if she over-exerts herself. Current medicine has yet to determine what's causing it.
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: Apparently has happened to Suetsumu a few times, including being mistaken as a new 'doll' by a dog she and the Chi-triplets had been playing with when visiting a friend.
  • Info Dump: Chapter sixteen has Sasasul explaining to her school mates what Anctartica is like.
  • The Internet Is for Porn: In chapter 0, Nozomi's first idea for settling Himeno's anxiety over how her private parts look is searching the internet for porn, but Himeno's family doesn't have a computer.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Despite the Point Of Divergence being in evolution, many things worked out the way they did in our world—for instance, Frankenstein and Dracula were both written by the same people at the same time, and adapted into the same movies, with the only difference being that the creatures are an Angel and an Imp respectively.
  • Interspecies Romance: A real possibility, as the Class Rep's family demonstrates.
  • Lecture As Exposition: Chapter 5.5, a primer on evolution and race relations in this alternate reality.
  • Like Reality Unless Noted: Despite the obvious differences, the world is not much different from our own. They seem to have the same geography countries and cultures. Much of the appeal of the manga is noting the small differences having so many different species living together would make to our society.
  • Little Bit Beastly: The centaurs aside, some of the other races like the Satyrs and Angels look mostly like normal Humans except with some animal attributes, like tails or wings.
  • Mama Bear: Manami's reaction to someone taking her youngest sister hostage at their own shrine? Asks for (and is given) a spear and threatens to kill the idiot if he doesn't let go of the hostage that instant.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Who or what was the seventh kid who played with Manami's sisters?
    • It is strongly implied that that child was the local shrine's god. And was it really a god that appeared at the mermaids' festival?
  • Meaningful Name: Guess who gets compared to a princess, and usually gets the role during dramas or plays? Himenote , of course.
  • Meganekko: Hime's mom during her high-school years. Later on Miura, the mermaid class rep during their class' summer trip.
  • Miko: Surprise, Manami the Class Rep is also Manami the shrine maiden. Apparently her family maintains the local shrine.
  • Missing Mom: The absence of Manami's mother is very noticeable, especially when one considers the size of the family (five girls all told).
  • Mood Whiplash: With its Like Reality Unless Noted setting, sometimes reading chapters feels like reading a feel good local story in a newspaper, then flipping the page and reading about a mass shooting in a foreign country.
    • An early side story is a cute and heartwarming look at a girl who takes care of a human-faced dog. Then the girl gets a phone call from her mother. The mother verbally abuses her and tells her to get rid of the dog, even if she has to kill it.
    • Chapter 42 starts out as slice-of-life with political overtones, focusing on a farming family in America. Then it goes into sci-fi horror with aliens infesting/replacing people, and no real ending. Chapter 43 is a cute four page short sharing a story about the Chi-triplets.
    • Chapter 49 is a story about a boy in a Nazi forced labour camp. It's back-story for the elderly businessman that shakes hands with the amphibian business man in Chapter 33. Chapter 50 is a story written by Akechi that's laden with fanservice and takes jabs at RPG tropes.
  • Mukokuseki: Merpeople find Kyouko's looks "exotic", although besides her "eyes always shut" face she is drawn just like the rest of the cast.
  • Mundane Utility: Angel wings can apparently be used as an extra "mantle" to warm themselves during winter. Obviously the Class Rep gets annoyed whenever someone else tries to use hers in this manner.
  • Mysterious Antarctica: Although serpentines do have diplomatic relations with other countries, their civilization and how do they survive in the frozen continent are complete mysteries. Sasasul clears some of those mysteries in chapter sixteen.
  • Napoleon Bonaparte: Features prominently in the eventual emancipation of the Centaur slaves in Europe. How? By turning those freed centaur slaves into his armored cavalry, who then wreaked havoc on the armies that Napoleon's forces went up against. As Napoleon's armies advanced, the success of his centaur soldiers then inspire the other centaur slaves to rise up in revolt. Eventually it comes to the point where the English parliament is forced to emancipate its own centaur slaves as a counter to Napoleon (as well as a deterrent to a rebellion). Things then snowballed from there.
  • Nipple and Dimed: The mangaka is not afraid to show nipples on females, regardless if their children, teenagers or adults.
  • Oh, Crap: The reaction of everyone at the shrine during the New Year's festival when some hooligan not only causes a car crash in front of it, but also takes the Class Rep's youngest sister Sue hostage.
  • Our Angels And Demons Are Different: So far they're just two of the many humanoid species, sharing a common ancestor with the rest. Apart from obvious physical issues that halos, horns, wings and tails cause and their societies' reactions to them, they're not really more special or bizarre than any other race.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: They are just a human sub-species and not particularly violent or rowdy, unlike their fantasy counterparts. Their equine looks is just evolutionary convergence (this world's horses are actually hexapodal).
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: They look normal until about knee-level when the legs merge into a sea serpent-like tail, they need to breathe air like any other mammal, and they kind of slither around in waist-deep water at their school.
  • Our Nudity Is Different: The mermaid population that lives near the sea tends to go about topless, only covering up when wearing ritual clothing or when they know they will be interacting with people from the mountains.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Antarcticans don't believe in the supernatural.
  • Parental Substitute: Manami has pretty much been forced to stand in for her mom in taking care of her younger sisters and looking after the house.
  • Pointy Ears: A trait of the "Imps", like Hime's friend Nozomi, and their classmate Komori.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: Because of their physical differences, this world is plagued with a history of even worse racism and violence than our own. The races seem to live together in peace now (with the exception of some of the more "exotic" or isolated races), but the anti-racism laws are so strict that, for example, riding a centaur is a hate crime even if the centaur is the one offering, and all magical girls shows must include magical girls of every race with the main character changing every episode. Society even stresses "unity" over individuality.
  • Pool Episode: Chapter seventeen.
  • Princess Carry: Done by a longear for his siren/mermaid girlfriend at the end of Chapter 7. Seeing this causes Hime to wish someone would do the same for her, which prompts the response below:
    Kyouko: You'd have to date a crane (the construction vehicle)!
    • In chapter 1, Hime recalls the time she played a princess in a class play when she was in elementary school. The guy playing her prince is holding her like this (albeit with his arms under her abdomen rather than her back, since she's a centaur) and clearly about to collapse from the strain.
  • Quirky Curls: Hime's hair. Akechi points out however that with some effort, it can turn into Regal Ringlets.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Himeno's impressive fall of hair.
  • Recurring Extra: There's a catguy and mermaid couple that show up once in a while.
  • The Reptilians: The Antarcticans, or "serpentines". Somewhat demonized and antagonistical, they are the only species shown some silent prejudice. They are even rumoured to be of alien origin (in fact, they're of the dinosaur family, like birds).
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: As mentioned above, the Antarctican serpentines face segregation due to this view and their mysterious, isolated culture.
  • Same-Sex Triplets: Manami's Alliterative Family Chigusa, Chinami and Chiho.
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians: Not Hime and her friends, but their classmates Akechi and Michi. No one seems to find it strange though.
  • Security Blanket: Mr. Steppy, the bathroom stool Hime used to use as a child.
  • Security Cling: Hime and Sasasul momentarily cling together while watching The Fear From Antarctica.
  • Slasher Smile: Sasasul attempts at smiling like a human are disastrous.
  • Shout-Out: The Fear from Antarctica is adapted from a novel and it has a black-and-white version and a color one, just like The Thing from Another World.
  • Single Minded Triplets: Three of the Class Rep's little sisters are almost a hive-mind. So much so that they're collectively called "Chi-chan" as if they're one person, anyway.
    • As chapter 38 shows, they even dream in unison.
  • Straying Baby: The Chi-chan triplets wandered 20 kilometers away within five hours of taking their first steps.
  • Stunned Silence: Pretty much the reaction of everyone in Hime's class when Hime kisses Nozomi for real during play practice.
  • The Talk: The first chapter is basically Nozomi and Kyouko heroically reassuring Hime that she is normal "down there".
  • Technically a Smile: Sasasul's smiles are horrifying.
  • Theiss Titillation Theory: In-Universe example in chapter 35 with a group of mermaid boys looking at a magazine of a girl in a bikini. It becomes this trope because, as noted in Our Nudity Is Different, mermaid girls go topless unless they have to do otherwise.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: There are neo-nazis in this alternate world, and they have their old penchant for secret weapons.
  • Tomboy: Nozomi gives this impression. Her short and boyish Messy Hair does not help matters any.
    • Omaki as well. She looks even more boyish than Nozomi.
  • Two-Fisted Tales: The backstory includes a Lost World populated with snake-men, a modern Aztec empire, mass UFO sightings and neo-nazis: not your average Slice of Life setting (even if you ignore the centaurs).
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Nozomi's cousing Akira has the exact same face and hair like her. The main difference is that Akira is half-imp and half-satyr; she has horns, goat legs and wears glasses.
  • Unscaled Merfolk: The tail doesn't begin until knee-level (their bodies are normal above that, avoiding The Mermaid Problem), it is long like a sea serpent's, and they kind of slither around in waist-deep water. At least in school, to keep the books dry. They do originate from the sea, from aquatical primates.
  • Vertebrate with Extra Limbs: All land vertebrates on this Earth come from a lineage of hexapodal amphibians (including humans), although some (like tigers and cats) may have lost some of them in the evolutionary road. However, even those that only have four limbs still have internal remnants of central limbs, which either evolved into other organs or are just too small to see from outside.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Hime is afraid of snakes since she saw The Fear from Antarctica when she was a kid.
  • Winged Humanoid: "Imps" and "Angels". Himeno's friend Nozomi is an example of the former, while the Class Rep is an example of the latter. Downplayed in that their wings cannot actually be used to fly.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Manami the Class Rep is way too serious and world-weary for a teenager her age. This is due to all the responsibilities she's had to take up at home, like taking care of her younger sisters and looking after the finances of the local shrine, on top of the ones she holds at school.
  • World Building: An impressive case with regards to its setting, given how this is technically a Slice of Life story about teenaged girls.
  • Xenofiction: A rare total example in the medium.

CencorollSeinenChibisan Date

alternative title(s): Centaur No Nayami; A Centaurs Life
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