Moriking is a new manga series from Shonen Jump by Tomohiro Hasegawa. The first chapter introduces elementary school student Shota Aikawa and his high school-aged sister sister, Shoko. In the first few pages, Shoko joins her brother to watch as his pet beetle Moriking begins to emerge from its pupal form.
Instead of a normal transformation from pupa to grown beetle, we get…well, this instead:
The first chapter then follows Shota, Shoko, and Moriking (who eventually gets clothes) as they deal with this random new unexpected change to their household, and as the titular beetle explains himself.
Moriking was a rhinoceros beetle born to be the king of all insects. This happens only once every hundred million years. So when this occurs at Moriking’s birth, it is followed by much fanfare and natch, references to The Lion King.
The rest of the first chapter consists of silly jokes about Moriking being both a human male that Shoko clearly is attracted to and the king of beetles. He also almost leaves the family, fearing that he is causing them trouble, but Shoko convinces him to stay. This is followed by Moriking entering a beetle fighting contest on behalf of Shota. This, apparently, is a thing elementary school kids do. (I’ll have to check with mine to confirm.)
After Chapter one, I’m definitely interested in reading more. This first chapter presents itself as a reverse gijinka story with an anthropomorphised cute boy instead of cute girl who doesn’t fully understand the human world around him and has seemingly magic, beetle powers. Will this gag keep me entertained week after week? Who knows, but it kept my attention for one week and I’ll come back in two when it returns to find out what happens next.
You can read Moriking at Shonen Jump. The most current chapters are always free.