Unico related books
Image: Collection of Unico related books

We love our books here at My Unico Fans, and while they continue to release the Unico manga throughout the years, there are a few books that remain out-of-print. While these may no longer be available, the books appear on auction sites now and then for those who would like to possess them. While people are familiar with the original Unico comics, there were other books available over the years. These were books put out as side stories or written for children, but were never republished after a certain period.

While we’re uncertain the reason for these books going out-of-print, it’s often due to declining sales or popularity. If publishers are not making a profit, they often will not print more. They released these books when they were likely to sell well, like when the movies were in theaters.

Either way, we wanted to shed some light on these forgotten books, and maybe fans will see them and say, “Wait a minute! Bring those back!” Sometimes this works, right? If it doesn’t, at least it allows people to know their existence, and that’s better than not knowing at all.

The Unico Gift Books

During Unico’s run in Sanrio’s Lyrica Magazine, they released three books as part of Sanrio’s Gift Book Collection. As the books are small, they are perfect for giving as gifts for any occasion. The Unico gift books featured short stories with new characters not found in the regular comic. We’ve added these books to share what the stories are about, and that these would be lovely to see republished again. Even one book with all three stories included together would be amazing. Every page has beautiful illustrations that the world really needs to see. Interestingly, Sanrio continues to make gift books to this day using their popular characters like Hello Kitty, which is quite amazing.

Check out the books below and learn more! Please be aware that there will be spoilers. While we do not go into great detail on everything that happens, we do give away the ending.

Unico Gift Book by Sanrio
Image: Cover of Unico Gift Book
Unico, Chao, and Sweet
Image: Unico, Chao, and Sweet

They released the first book, simply titled “Unico” on November 5, 1977. In this book, the West Wind places Unico in a forest where he meets a black and white cat named Chao. The two meet a young girl named Sweet in the forest and they overhear a tree telling a bunch of flowers about a music box that plays music and tells stories. The tale intrigues Sweet, and she wants to search for the music box. Chao, Sweet, and Unico continue through the forest, unable to find the item. They learn a witch has stolen the box, so they continue on until they find her. Unico defeats the witch and Sweet gets the music box. The box plays music and tells stories Sweet has never heard of. Chao and Unico say farewell before Sweet can say a word.

Unlike the regular comics, this tale is short and to the point. What’s interesting is the West Wind did not take Unico away at the end. It looks as though Chao and Unico get to run off and continue adventuring. Perhaps the West Wind will get him later?

Unico Gift Book vol. 2 - Love for Liese
Image: Cover of Unico Gift Book vol. 2
Unico, Liese, Hans, and Bernard
Image: Unico, Liese, Hans, and Bernard

They released the second book on April 10, 1978. Unlike the first, this book includes full illustrated pages and some with comic panels. In the story titled “Love for Liese” (Riize e no Ai), we meet a young man and woman named Hans and Liese living in a small village near the Alps. Hans is a goatherder in the village and he and Liese are in love. One day, Hans tells Liese he’s tired of the small village and wishes to leave. Although Liese is happy where they are, they venture out toward a forbidden forest. Liese reminds Hans that people do not return once they enter, but he tells her it’s just a fairy tale and they enter the forest. They discover a beautiful area, which is the sacred paradise of Olympus. Hans is quickly punished and taken away by the gods for entering the land. As Liese weeps, Unico appears and tells her he’s alone. Since Liese is alone as well, she tells Unico to come with her.

Unico learns about what happened to Hans when Liese tells Hans’ faithful companion, Bernard the St. Bernard. After Liese gifts Unico a red scarf, he wants to take Liese to see Hans. Unico transforms into his adult self and flies Liese and Bernard to where Hans is. Liese pleads with the gods to let Hans go, but they refuse and instead call upon the West Wind to take Unico away. The gods tell Liese the only way to free Hans is to sacrifice herself, but Unico won’t let her do it alone. Bernard, Liese, and Unico surround Hans as a fierce blizzard surrounds them. Soon, the blizzard stops and the snow is gone. Hans is free, and everyone survived. The West Wind takes Unico away as Liese calls for him.

This story feels more reminiscent of the comics where Unico is helping a young couple be together. Even after helping Liese, Unico doesn’t get a happy ending as he’s taken away once more to wherever the West Wind will place him.

Image: Cover of Unico Gift Book volume 3
Unico and Sataa
Image: Unico and Sataa

The last book titled “Actually, I’m a Devil” (Hontou wa Akuma Nandakedo) was released on October 15, 1978. After being dropped off in a secluded location, the young devil, Sataa, finds Unico. Sataa welcomes Unico into his home as he believes Unico is also a devil and feeds him well until Unico corrects the mistake by telling Sataa he’s actually a unicorn. Sataa kicks Unico out, but Unico stays nearby because he wants to be friends. After Unico learns Sataa likes a nearby young girl named Arle, he playfully asks Sataa why he doesn’t make her his friend if he likes her. The devil grows angry and wounds up attacking Unico and the town. Unico confronts him about the terrible things he just did, but Sataa simply doesn’t care.

Image: Arle

As Sataa hides by a tree, waiting to see Arle, he realizes she has not come out for a while. Unico investigates for Sataa and learns that the young girl is sick and dying. Sataa is upset and tries to use his powers to help her, but they don’t work. If he uses his powers to save Arle, he’ll become human. When Arle’s mother cries out, Sataa reacts quickly. He uses all his powers and Arle is saved. A beam of light comes down and turns Sataa human, but not all is bad. Now that he’s human, he’s able to speak with Arle and they become friends. He tells her he’s actually a devil, and she simply laughs as if he’s joking.

Various Unico Children’s Books

We will dedicate this next section to the unique books published for children. Although they were published during a time when children read these types of character books in the 80s, they were great short stories for young readers. These books were novelizations of popular Osamu Tezuka characters and comics, and when the Unico movies were in theaters in the 80s, it’s no surprise that Unico and his friends were included in the sets. The artwork looked similar to the movie, but actually followed the two manga chapters “The Cat on the Broomstick” and “Unico and Loneliness”. Let’s go through these books in a little more detail.

Image: Osamu Tezuka Anime Masterpiece Collection books featuring Unico

In 1985, Kodansha published a collection of books called Osamu Tezuka Anime Masterpiece Collection (Tezuka Osamu Anime Meisaku-shuu), which included two books featuring Unico. In total, there were 16 books in this set, with other popular Tezuka characters like Astro Boy, Jungle Emperor Leo, Princess Knight, Mysterious Melmo, Wansa-kun, Wonder 3 and more. But what’s special about these books? Well, other than them being hardcover, each book is full of colorful illustrations. As you read, each page has text on the right page with illustrations on the left. This is great for young readers to help them better understand what they’re reading.

Venus, Psyche, and Unico
Image: Venus, Psyche, and Unico

While these books were never translated anywhere other than Japan to our knowledge, we find their educational value great for children and maybe a great start for those wanting to read Japanese. Each book is around 60 pages, with large easy-to-read text including easy kanji with furigana1. Several pages feature artwork not seen anywhere else, so they’re quite interesting to see. “The Cat on the Broomstick” (Houki ni notta Neko) book is a fun novelization of its comic counterpart, but has a bit of the first movie’s color scheme mixed in. The same goes for the second book titled “Wonderful Akuma-kun” (Suteki na Akuma-kun), which is the novelization of the chapter, “Unico and Solitude” (Hitoribocchi no Unico).

Chao and Baron Ghost
Image: Worried Chao in Baron Ghost’s Trophy Room

Overall, we love these books along with the whole set. We’re unsure if the collection would do well in today’s market, but their value as reading material is not one to overlook.

Image: Videocuentos Infantiles Unicornio I and II

Bet you didn’t think these two books would be included! While these are in Spanish, these hardcover books were released as a companion to the VHS and Beta tapes in 1989. The Videocuentos Infantiles (Video Stories for Children) series published by Planeta-De Agostini included several well-known folktales and other fairy tale-like stories. They used several animations from different sources for the collection, so you’ll see plenty of Japanese and other cartoons from around the world. The fantasy settings and story for Unico made it a great addition to the collection, so they split the movie in two parts and made two books to go with them.

Image: Videocuentos Infantiles Unicornio I
Image: Videocuentos Infantiles Unicornio I

What we really enjoy about these books is the artwork. They can be a bit comical, but we love them. Based on scenes from the movie, the artwork certainly is styled for young children, and we love how they included both video and book media. If a child enjoyed the film, perhaps they’ll like the book. If they enjoyed the book, maybe they’ll enjoy the film. It’s a win either way, right? A perfect way to introduce Unico to children.

Image: Videocuentos Infantiles Unicornio II
Image: Videocuentos Infantiles Unicornio II

As you can tell from the covers, the first book is about Unico being banished and meeting Michel (Akuma-kun/Beezle) then Cati (Chao/Katy). The second book involves Cati meeting the Baron and everything that takes place in that half of the story.

While these books may never be rereleased, we wanted to still showcase them, as they are a part of Osamu Tezuka’s works. We’re big book collectors, so we enjoy seeing the various ways the world has published Unico over the years. As time goes on, several of these books are forgotten, so we believe it’s important to keep them relevant.


  1. 1. “Furigana is a Japanese reading aid consisting of smaller kana printed either above or next to kanji or other characters to indicate their pronunciation.” ↩︎