REVIEW: ‘Little Miss P’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Little Miss P

People don’t like talking about periods. Whether it’s from the patriarchal stigma around them or the way that stigma has made women feel ashamed, there are very few stories about experiencing the monthly menstrual cycle that is just a normal part of life. But, in Little Miss P, a manga published in English by Yen Press, mangaka Ken Koyama tackles the taboos around menstruation head-on with a series of stories told from various feminine perspectives.

Little Miss P is a collection of short stories that tells the stories of multiple women across different ages and backgrounds when it’s that time of month. By anthropomorphizing the period as a giant cartoon eponymously named Little Miss P, the book explores the lives of women and how they deal with their periods and the problems it causes in their lives. For the women in the manga, Little Miss P always seems to show up at just the wrong time, generally armed with a heavy dose of fatigue and poised to deliver a barrage of beatings that leave her hosts physically and mentally exhausted. Though Little Miss P is often met with dread and resignation, the realities of a woman’s period are widely misunderstood—especially by those who don’t experience them.

In this manga we get to see women and girls experiencing their first period, menopause, their first sexual experience, recovering from bad decisions, developing self-worth, and even transforming into superheroes (there is a magical girl short). While the story is written by a man, there is a lot of understanding and care put into telling the stories in this manga. When Little Miss P shoes up, she does so to advise, harass, comfort, and deliver cramps. The last of which she does with a PERIOD PUNCH and subsequent beating which is probably the best description of the out-of-nowhere pain that shoots through your abdomen when your period starts.

Little Miss P is filled with humor in its narrative and illustration.  Plus. Little Miss P isn’t alone. She’s joined by other yokai — Mr. Libido, Mr. Virginity, and Little Miss PMS. By using a hilariously illustrated character and simplistic panel design, the focus of each story is delivering commentary on life and society while providing laughs. From a store clerk who doesn’t believe a boy could like her, to a writer who can’t write thanks to Little Miss P’s arrival, to a woman experiencing her last visit, there is a wealth of stories that confront the inconvenience of menstruation. But more importantly, Koyama takes the time to show the patriarchal assumptions at play in many of the women’s life. This is especially true when highlighting a story from Feudal Japan. 

There are elements that are less than perfect, specifically the heteronormativity of the manga and some of the characterizations of not typically “beautiful” women. And it seems like Koyama is working through his own assumptions of periods when writing the male characters in the manga. For better or worse, Koyama does seem to channel male ignorance on the topic in a way that can directly speak to other men reading the title. Plus, there is a balance between Koyama’s perspective and the way the stories are recognizable for those with similar experiences.

Overall, Little Miss P is adorable. It’s a title that works for a wide range of ages and can speak to a wide audience. With a live action film already in the works, this is a volume that will resonate with many readers. Not to mention, the illustrations of Little Miss P in a PERIOD PUNCH rage is both hilarious and recognizable.

Little Miss P is available from booksellers now.

Little Miss P
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TL;DR

Overall, Little Miss P is adorable. It’s a title that works for a wide range of ages and can speak to a wide audience. With a live action film already in the works, this is a volume that will resonate with many readers. Not to mention, the illustrations of Little Miss P in a PERIOD PUNCH rage is both hilarious and recognizable.