Chinese New Year moves back up to middle February after starting at the beginning of the month last year. And with a new year comes a new zodiac animal. This year, it is the sheep/ram or goat, depending on where you look. The majority of posts I’ve seen about it seem to use sheep, so I’m going with that.
Fruits Basket – Since this series is about the Chinese Zodiac, it always has an animal to contribute. Hiro Sohma is a 12-year-old boy who rarely smiles except when he is being sarcastic or mischievous. He is the youngest of the cursed family members. He has a crush on Kisa Sohma and can be over protective of her. He is initially jealous of Tohru’s friendship with Kisa, but eventually comes to like her. He is also about the only Zodiac member to have a normal, loving parent in his mother, who loves hugging him in his sheep form. It is out of print but was previously published by Tokyopop.
Spice and Wolf – In as series where on of the characters is a giant, ancient wolf, it should come as no surprise that there is sheep as well. When Holo and Lawrence have to travel from Lamtra to Ruvinheigen, they hire the Shepherdess Nora to help as guide and to use her sheep to smuggle in gold to get themselves out of a large debt. Nora was a really interesting character with her well-trained sheep dog Enek. Together they keep the sheep safe and together. It is published by Yen Press.
Merry-chan to Hitsuji – This series is the only unlicensed title on the list. It is about a little girl, Merry who lives with her uncle after her parents passed away. But her uncle is actually a sheep! But she isn’t alone as her other friends also have animals for relatives such as a panda papa, a fish father and a lion father! The series is a comedy 4koma, and would probably fit in well with sienen titles Azumaga Daio and Yotsuba&!.
Pet Shop of Horrors – Count D’s pet shop features all kinds of exotic animals, and Tetsu, or T-chan as he’s often called is one. He is a totetsu, a carnivorous animal that is a distant relative to the goat. He is often testy and likes to annoy Detective Chris, often trying to bite him whenever he comes to the shop. He is very cute in his animal form, looking like a long-haired goat, and in his human form he is a good-looking guy with large, curved ram horns. Either way, he’s a pleasure to look at and usually funny to watch. It is also out of print but was previously published by Tokyopop.
Karneval – This series was licensed by Yen Press last year, with the first volume scheduled to come out next month. It is about two boys, Nai and Gareki who are coerced into joining Circus, the country’s most powerful defense organization. Working for this organization are the Hitsuji, creatures that look like sheep and serve on Circus’ Second Ship defense system. They are very obedient and follow any rule or instruction given them, but are also very strict about what happens on the ship with respect to safety and unauthorized personnel getting on board.
One Piece – The sheep in this series isn’t so much a sheep as he likes to look like them. Merry is the loyal servant and butler to Kaya, the very rich, sick girl in Syrup Village where Usopp also lives. He has curly white hair like a sheep, with small horns sticking out it. He thinks only of Kaya’s well-being, to the point that he tried to stand up to Kuro, the captain of the Black Cat Pirates who wanted to steal Kaya’s wealth. He is also a capable ship designer and designed the Going Merry, the Straw Hat Pirates first and most beloved ship. It is published by Viz Media.
That what I could scrounge up of sheep in manga. Do you know of any titles I may have missed? Leave a comment on this post and let me know!