By Synecdoche. Released in Japan as “Elf-san wa Yaserarenai” by Wani Books, serialization ongoing in the magazine Comic Gum. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Jennifer O’Donnell. Adapted by David Lumsdon.
As those who follow me on Twitter know, I frequently make comments about manga as I’m reading them, before I do a review. This are usually glib, off-the-cuff, and not meant to be taken seriously. Case in point: while reading Plus-Sized Elf, I noted that it was an odd combination of a fetish manga and an exercise manual, and several people actually sounded more interested in it than they were. So I want to clarify here: we’re talking about 85% fetish manga and 15% exercise here. You have to really, really like seeing large breasts, large butts, and the women who possess them, as they’re on pretty much every page. That said, when I heard that this was a title that ran in Comic Gum, I was actually expecting much worse than I actually got. Plus-Sized Elf is, in the end, goofy fun, and far more interested in gazing at plump girls than in doing anything sexual with them.
That’s our heroine on the cover, clutching her McDonald’s fries and glaring at us. She’s Elfuda, an elf (the names are not exactly world-beaters in this title) who has come to the human world to eat, because additives and preservatives are unheard of in fantasy land, and things TASTE SO GOOD with them. Unfortunately, this means she’s gained more weight than she’d really like. She ends up at an osteopath clinic and meets Naoe, a young man who does a combination of massage therapy and diet/exercise advice. After taking care of her horribly out-of-alignment bones, he recommends a diet that works… at first, but Elfuda quickly backslides. As the title goes on, we meet more fantasy creatures that are hanging out in Naoe’s town, all of whom have various reasons for being on the hefty side: a dark elf who’s standing at her job all day, a mandragora girl whose large flower on her head (and possibly other large things) leads to poor posture, an ogre who loves booze, etc.
As I said above, there’s something that so far is very obviously missing from this title, and that’s any sense that it’s a “harem” series. Naoe clearly appreciates full-figured women, and he can be seen blushing a number of times. But none of the girls who he helps and meets up with really seem to be that into him. This is not about a guy amassing a bunch of women, it’s about a bunch of women and the guy who hangs around them. The manga also manages to walk that fine line between finding amusement in Elfuda’s inability to resist junk food and keep weight off without actively mocking her for it. And a lot of Naoe’s advice is pretty good, too – there is a BIT of exercise manual in here, as I said. Again, this is still a title you should only get if you don’t mind fanservice – there’s several shots of the women eating food and getting massages that are basically orgasm face art. But if you don’t, Plus-sized Elf proved to be more fun than I expected.