(ADV Manga, 2004)
™ and © 2002 Rin Asano

When high–school student Ryohei’s father suddenly becomes the manager of a disreputable housing complex, he’s forced to move into Tengai–ya, and soon his life is forever changed. The ordinary character who gets sucked into a world of strange characters and situations is a manga staple, so it’s more than a little surprising when someone like Rin Asano comes up with an original take on the premise. It’s almost easier to say what Tengai-Retrogical (though as always I’d prefer an English title that was in actual English) isn’t than what it is, seeing as how it straddles science fiction and fantasy while avoiding most of the obvious clichés and stereotypes of both genres. It’s also not a “harem” comedy, because, although Ryohei definitely meets the obligatory group of oddball residents, with each having special powers, so far only one of them is a fabulous babe. If it seems I’m being more than a little vague, it’s because the central conceit of this well–done series is so odd and unexpected it’s best discovered first–hand.

— S.A. Bennett

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