Paranoia Cage is a manga by Coolkyousinnjya, the creator of the Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid manga.

Paranoia Cage Volume One
Written by: Coolkyousinnjya
Publisher: GOT Corporation
English Publisher: VAST Visual
Release Date: February 22, 2022

The main character of Paranoia Cage is Mizuki, an adult manga artist who is also a virgin. At the beginning of the series, she has just moved out of her parents’ house and into her own apartment. Her assistant, Saki, is also a boys’ love author. Mizuki is on a quest to create the ultimate adult manga, but she’s usually being reined in by her new editor, Enoki Kyousuke.

Each chapter of the manga is basically a vignette focusing on one topic. The first chapter shows the reader that Mizuki has moved into her own place and her struggle to make deadlines. The second chapter introduces Mizuki’s assistant, and then the third introduces Mizuki’s new editor. While most of the vignettes show Mizuki’s story in chronological order, there are two chapters that actually takes the reader back in time to when Mizuki had her first tankobon published while she was still with her former editor.

Paranoia Cage is written in a comedic manner, and for the most part, there really isn’t an overarching story that runs through the vignettes. They’re basically humorous snapshots of various things that Mizuki is doing while she’s creating her manga. In that regard, it’s kind of like Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun, but that series feels like the characters progress over time. Admittedly, I’ve only read one volume of Paranoia Cage at this point, but it feels like none of the characters make any kind of progression over the course of it. I plan to read the second volume before long, so I can better comment on this point after reading Volume Two.

Of all the characters, Mizuki feels like she’s the most developed. Her character is basically obsessed with porn, and that she sees a lot her world through a porn lens. This was made abundantly clear in the chapter focusing on Mizuki’s high school reunion. She would see her classmates and think about what kind of characters they would be in her manga, and we learn she did the exact same thing back when she was in high school. Mizuki serves as the main source of the comedy for the series, and it works well if you’re a reader who appreciates this kind of humor.

Unfortunately, the other characters feel one-dimensional and kind of flat. On the one hand, Saki serves as a foil for Mizuki, since she has a more serious demeanor about her. But on the other hand, there’s just not much else to Saki’s character. And Enoki basically comes across as a nervous newbie editor. Yes, there are times when he’s professional and tells Mizuki when she needs to make changes to what she’s doing, but for the most part, his nervousness is utilized for some of the humor of the series. From what I saw in the Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid anime, the characters started out as various character types, but progressed over the course of the series and they developed a chemistry between them. I’m hoping that perhaps something similar will start happening in the next volume of Paranoia Cage.

When it comes to the art, if you’re familiar with Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid (either the manga or the anime), you can tell the same person is behind the character designs for both manga. When I see Mizuki’s face, I can’t help but see an older version of Kanna from Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid. While the other characters don’t directly make me think of any particular character from the other series, I can still see the similarity in the art styles.

I was surprised to discover that Paranoia Cage ran in an all-ages manga magazine in Japan, considering some of the images and topics that come up in this series. In the Western world, this would never appear in an all-ages publication. Personally, I would recommend this manga to readers who are 16 or 17 years of age and older, because I don’t think teens younger than that would truly be ready for the content of this series.

Admittedly, Paranoia Cage isn’t the type of manga I normally go out of my way to read. It’s not necessarily a bad manga, but it just doesn’t appeal to me personally. However, manga readers who are already fans of ecchi should find something they enjoy in this series, whether it’s in the art, the more adult topics that are touched on in the dialogue, or in the humor that’s utilized in Paranoia Cage. Even though I wasn’t personally invested in this series, I have access to the second volume, and I intent to read and review it to see if my opinion of the series improves.

The reviewer was provided a digital review copy by VAST Visual

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