Marginal (マージナル Maajinaru?) is a Japanese science fiction manga written and illustrated by Moto Hagio, and serialised in Petit Flower between 1985 and 1987.[1] It is a gender-reversed take on science fiction stories that Hagio had read where men disappeared, leaving an all-female world.[2]


The Earth has suffered a biological disaster, and by the year 2999, the Earth has become a wasteland. There is only one woman on the planet, revered as "Mother", who gives birth to all the boys of Earth, and is herself reborn like a phoenix.[1] Prior to the beginning of the story, the amount of children from Mother has been decreasing, leading to anxiety among the men. At the beginning of the story, Mother is assassinated by a cult. The setting of the world has been described as "strongly reminiscent of Arab culture",[1] "with horses and camels, swords and arrows, the world feels more medieval than futuristic."[3] The men of Earth only live to about 30 years old due to "defective genetic traits" It is later discovered that Earth is an experiment run by humans who live on Mars, who have men and women, and that Mother is also a man who has his mind controlled and has had organ transplants. Mother is a ruse by the experimenters to camouflage the true source of the boys, they are genetically engineered on Mars.[4]


  • Kira (キラ) - an "eccentric"[1] youth, who is discovered to be a genetically engineered hermaphrodite with extreme empathy,[5] suitable for becoming the next Mother.
  • Grinja (グリンジャ) - the cultist who killed Mother. A 'straight man' to Kira's eccentric, Grinja represents "death and grim resignation".[1]
  • Assidin (アシジン) - a 'straight man' to Kira's eccentric, Assidin represents "life and hope",[1] and has been described as "the only optimistic relief" in the series.[5]
  • Meyard (メイヤード) - an employee of the Company that oversees Earth. Has a "cursed gene" and is forbidden to reproduce, and takes medicine to suppress this gene that has made his body feminine. According to Ebihara, Meyard is not as repellant to Hagio as his analogue in Star Red, Paveman, is.[5]
  • Iwan (イワン) - a "scientific genius from Mars" who created Kira. He is considered an "adult child" by Ebihara as when he was young, his father left his mother for another woman, then tried to return to Iwan's mother. She refused, and then Iwan's father knocked her unconscious and raped her. She committed suicide "half a year later". When grown, Iwan wanted to create "happy children", by giving them powerful empathic abilities - Kira is the result of this wish.[5]



Serialised in Petit Flower between August 1985 and October 1987,[6]Marginal was collected and released by Shogakukan as a series of five volumes from 1986 - 1987.[7][8] Marginal was reprinted twice in 1994 and 1999 in three-volume editions.[9]

<tr style="border-bottom: 3px solid #CCF"><th style="width: 4%;">No.</th><th style="width: 48%;">Release date</th><th style="width: 48%;"> ISBN</th></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol01">01</td></td><td> 20 June 1986[7]</td><td>ISBN 4091780415</td></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol02">02</td></td><td> 20 January 1987[10]</td><td>ISBN 4091780423</td></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol03">03</td></td><td> 20 March 1987[11]</td><td>ISBN 4091780431</td></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol04">04</td></td><td> 19 September 1987[12]</td><td>ISBN 409178044X</td></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol05">05</td></td><td> 20 October 1987[8]</td><td>ISBN 4091780458</td></tr> </table>

Audio drama

Marginal was adapted into a radio drama.[1]

Stage production

In 2008, Marginal was staged by Studio Life,[13][14] an all-male theatre troupe which had previously staged Hagio's Thomas no Shinzō twice.[1]


Matt Thorn has described the manga as "simply the best shojo sci-fi manga ever".[15] Midori Matsui regards Marginal as a negative Thomas no Shinzou, which deconstructs the logocentrism and idealism Matsui detects in that work.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7
  4. 4.0 4.1 Matsui, Midori. (1993) "Little girls were little boys: Displaced Femininity in the representation of homosexuality in Japanese girls' comics," in Gunew, S. and Yeatman, A. (eds.) Feminism and The Politics of Difference, pp. 177–196. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3
  6. Thorn, Matt. "Moto Hagio Bibliography". The Comics Journal (Fantagraphics Books) (269): 176. ISSN 0194-7869. Retrieved September 26, 2010. 
  7. 7.0 7.1
  8. 8.0 8.1

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