The set-up for Mother’s Spirit is that university employee, Ryouichirou, is forced to house a foreign exchange student, Qaltaqa who is really, really… foreign. Like, Qaltaqa is so foreign he’s from some deep-in-the-rainforest-previously-undiscovered-tribe-never-seen-“civilization” kind of foreign.
Is this awkward?
A little… but, at least, Qaltaqa comes from somewhere unreal. All of the culture he expresses is completely made-up and imaginary. Also, outside of a few African-style masks, Enzou-sensei mostly keeps Qaltaqa’s people unique enough that they don’t particularly read as culturally appropriated from any specific region or real-life tribe.
Also, I kind of forgive Enzou-sensei a lot because Qaltaqa is beautiful af.
I’m often a sucker for ‘fish out of water’ stories and this one hits a lot of those notes/tropes. Ryouichirou is also charmingly… Japanese. I ended up finding the whole thing pretty adorable. But, well, you can read for yourself here: https://nhentai.net/g/165755/2/
I think the thing I ended up loving the most is the fact that Qaltaqa continually and right from the start invades Ryouichirou’s personal space. The first night he stays over, this happens:
And, of course, the chairman, Ryouichirou’s boss, explains that this is just how it is with Qaltaqa’s people. They sleep communally! Roll with it! All of which makes Ryouichirou deeply uncomfortable… and also slowly melts his stand-offish heart.
I also kind of love that we don’t really know if Ryouichirou started off this manga gay or if Qaltaqa made him gay with all the touching and kissing (which is also set-up as a hilarious cultural misunderstanding.)
That’s the other thing that makes Mother’s Spirit stand out. The humor works. A lot of times I end up scratching my head at attempts at humor (puns just don’t translate, damn it), but because the idea here is so simple: what if Qaltaqa thinks that kissing is how people express affection and he just randomly starts kissing Ryouichirou!? What can I say? It’s cute, it’s funny in a sweet way… it totally worked for me.
There is, alas, not a lot of actual sex in this story.
When we do get it, it’s pretty hot, but the entire thrust (pardon the pun) of this manga is towards sweet. We end with a marriage for heaven’s sake! But, sometimes I actually read Playboy for the articles, I’ll have you know. So, yeah, sometimes sweet, heavy on the story elements is what I’m looking for. Plus, I really like Enzou-sensei’s art style. I could probably read all their other manga, even if it’s slice-of-life of people literally curtain shopping.