Sunday, August 9, 2009

One-Shot Review: Escape

This isn’t your most conventional style OR genre of yaoi manga. Some of you may criticize me for this, just as this manga has been criticized, but there’s a strangeness to this manga that I find attractive. Moreover, I think its awkward and slightly disturbing elements make it high on the list for me.

Backtrack a little bit, though. I’m not saying I agree with the violent nature of this manga, but it’s a passion that I can’t ignore. Therefore, you can’t ignore it either. Because I said so. And why should you agree with me? Well, you’re reading this, aren’t you?

Because of the somewhat controversial nature of this manga, I’m not going to vote it as One-Shot of the Week (It’s a bit early for that too, although I always like to write in advance). Even as an afterword, the mangaka apologized for spewing out domestic violence straight off the bat.

Alright, I’ve been building on it for long enough. Once I get into the review you’ll realize all that hype is for nothing. Well… almost nothing. There is violence in this manga, but not to the extreme limits you’d think. It’s still violence as a product of aggressive anger, and that’s what puts the shock in it.

Shouta is your average college student, working part-time at a video store and as gay as can be (did I mention this was yaoi?) for one of the costumers. He spends the first couple of pages fawning over this older guy who comes into the store in his business suit and his glasses and his cute smile – oh it’s wonderful.

By the way, this is my random paragraph to go off-track and mention little tidbits about the artwork. Starting… NOW! Okay, I have to say, I really like the way this guy dresses. I’m not very girly and I’d dress like that. Casual and comfortable with random accessories (headband/scarf/bracelet) to add a nice touch. It looks like you have good taste but because it’s so relaxed and easygoing, it looks effortless. However, I can’t understand why he’d be required to wear an apron at a video store. It’s not like he’s going to be serving DVDs with some tartar sauce on the side. *sigh* This isn’t a fashion blog. I’ll move on to REALLY talking about the artwork now.

This is a really attractive style to me. I’ve noticed – especially with yaoi – that this is the new face of manga. It’s not the traditional ones where the eyes are really larger than life, the hair is elaborate and the expressions are drastic and dramatic. Maybe it’s because it’s targeted towards males. Manga evolves and you can already pick up on different styles, and this is a look that you can notice as being less whimsical and more focused. The lines are hard, sharp and clean. No screwing around. It makes it seem less flimsy and more… well, let’s admit it. More manly. I’d have to say, I like the yaoi style like this much more than shoujo. However, girls don’t really look that good drawn like this most of the time, which is why this is a style that is usually set aside for the good ol’ man-to-man.

Back to the story! :D Although Shouta’s totally hot for this guy, Shiraishi, there’s little to gained from his side. Ah, unrequited love. Hurts like a bitch. But Shouta’s not lacking in the sex department. Oh noooo. Enter Kuraki, Shouta’s… friend with benefits – if we’re going to put this delicately.

Oh wait, this is Mho-Shoujo. When have I ever been delicate? Screw that, they’re fuck-buddies. That’s what FB really stands for. Not Friends with Benefits. Not facebook. Shouta goes over to Kuraki’s and they do the nasty. As soon as you see Kuraki, you already know who’s on top. Besides, Shouta looked terrified as he was about to go in. The room. Go in the room, okay? GOD, you’re all a bunch of perverts.

Anyway, they get busy, Kuraki has a smoke, Shouta falls asleep. Silly little boy, he mumbles Shiraishi’s name in his sleep. Kuraki hears it. The thing about Kuraki is that he’s one of those squinty characters. He’s constantly got his eyes narrowed – giving everyone the most evil look his muster. Like “I hate you all” So at this moment, he turns to Shouta’s sweet sleeping face, gives him that look, and looks away.

At this point, you’re thinking ‘Uh-oh’ because you can tell nothing good’s going to come of it. And you’re probably right. The next time Shouta goes over to Kuraki’s to get some (Just SOME. You know?), Kuraki’s waiting to confront him. Actually, you wouldn’t call it confronting; Kuraki doesn’t even want to hear what Shouta has to say. So after taunting him, cornering him, threatening him with cigarette burns and a bit of yelling, Kuraki knocks Shouta to the ground.

Whoops, we have a bleeder.

By this time, the scene is getting a bit grim. Major non-con starts happening, Shouta’s freaking terrified and sporting a pretty bad nosebleed. If the bleeding didn’t get to you, the thrusting will. The blood on the floor, the sweat, the sound effects are pretty disturbing. This is borderline rape, and you’re reading this not sure of whether you’re supposed to be enjoying it or be shocked. I said ‘borderline’ because at that point, Shouta has a sort of epiphany – if you want to call it that. In the heat of the moment, he can’t remember Shiraishi’s face. He then turns around and sees Kuraki with almost a tender look on his face.

Now, all the while Kuraki had been shouting at Shouta. Yelling that Shouta likes it rough, will never be satisfied with anyone else – and you can understand why a few minutes later, he has that expression on his face. If Kuraki was the heartless bastard we would normally make him out to be, he wouldn’t have been provoked (and even threatened) by Shouta’s mentioning of someone else – even if it was in his sleep. This is the passion I was talking about in the intro. You can tell Kuraki genuinely cares, and I think the anger and the acting out stemmed from fear. I think Kuraki actually freaks out at the thought that Shouta would want someone other than him. It’s a crime of passion! Literally! See? You’d have to learn to appreciate the more odd ways of showing someone you care about them. Like I said in my disclaimer – here on Mho-Shoujo, we don’t discriminate :3

How Shouta reciprocates Kuraki’s actions is sweet. The ending, to me, was perfect by one-shot standards. A lot of people say that in situations like this they feel dissatisfied with what they call ‘open endings’. It’s true that it’s open, but in the sense that it says “What happens, happens! This is the story, there is a future, and we’ll leave it up to you to interpret what you think will happen!” A lot of people don’t understand that concept of ending one-shots. It’s a standalone chapter for God’s sake. It’s supposed to leave it at a point you can call the end, but not say “Yay! Happy ending!” but more like “Yay! Wish them luck for the future!” I mean, you don’t say “Happy birthday!” to someone and that’s it, they die. Noooo, it’s “Happy birthday and many years to come!”

See? I love putting things into perspective.

So, kidlets, if you’re not easily shocked, don’t feel bad about a bit of blood (it wasn’t THAT much), into a bit of rough sex, then pick up this one-shot and find out about it’s ending ;)


(Image © Kyuugou. None of these images belong to me)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Manga of the Month: Mars

Okay kidlets, it’s time for one of the best (and lengthiest written) features of this blog – Manga of the Month! This is one of the best mangas I’ve ever read. It’s up there on my all-time favourites, and because I’ve been more in touch with it recently, mostly because of Laura’s review on her blog, Heart of Manga (Which you can check out here) It’s an excellent review and I suggest you give it a read, really, because I really love the way she structures her reviews, gives different ratings and generally puts it all together.

When I read her review, I sat there thinking ‘I’ve seen this before – this is all way too familiar’. Once I got over my ditzy moment, I remembered that I’d already started reading this manga. I also remembered that I had adored it. I think this manga should be (and probably is) a shoujo classic. I suggest you read Laura’s review first. Tell you why… Her review is a REAL review. She summarizes the events and the feel of the manga wonderfully, giving you a synopsis and review separately. However, since this is Manga of the Month, what I’m doing is gushing about it – like the shoujo fangirl that I really am. So what are you waiting for! Click the link! :D

As for my bit, there’s more than enough gentleness, drama and passion put into this manga enough to develop into something amazing. I’d have to say, I’m quite biased when it comes to older manga. I’m not TOO fond of the art and usually shoujo back then was quite different. HOWEVER (and that’s a big however – even bigger than capital letters) I decided to stick it out, and once I got past the first couple of pages, I couldn’t care less. In fact, I enjoyed the wispy light feel that this manga has. I’m still not entirely happy with the artwork – sometimes Kira (the main character)’s eyes seem to be too big. Her expression in the first few chapters seemed pained – ALL THE TIME. It bugged me.

Wait, wait, wait. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking ‘This is gushing?’ WELL, I’m taking my time. Working from the bottom up. I have a tendency to complain, remember? I’ll save what’s left of it for the next Ugly. This manga’s role as Manga of the Month will not fall short, trust me. By the way, what’s up with my unbearably long intros? I end up ranting about the manga without even talking about it properly. Isn’t that stupid? See? I’m doing it right now, too! I should shut up.

So on to the fawning over this excellent manga. This is four chapters of shoujo goodness, and a whole lot of drama. Something I loved was that the tension and suspense built up beautifully in this manga. It rises and falls, and there are moments that make you hold you breath.

I think the first meeting of Kira and Rei is quite lovely. She keeps pressing her dislike for Rei on you, and it’s interesting. I think she unpicks every single thing she doesn’t like about him. But being a certain way and having a certain mindset of her own, Kira makes assumptions about him. She probably has reason to, but I think it was the foundation for their relationship. There are all these stereotypes as to the kind of person Rei is, but he works pretty well at beating down any misconceptions about his personality.

But first off, let’s introduce them properly. Rei is your typical bad boy. Drives the bikes, plays the women, smokes the cigarettes and only goes to school because he’s promised his dad. Otherwise, he wants to be a professional motorcycle racer – and as he confesses later on in the series, you don’t need school for that. Kira is the quiet art student who doesn’t really show any emotion – not because she doesn’t care, but she doesn’t see the point. Something Kira says in the beginning of the manga strikes me as quite insightful. She says “This classroom is so strange to me. I’m just different. No one pays any attention to me. But that ‘s okay… It’s easier that way.” NOW. Tell me that’s not insightful. I think part of the reason that Kira resists Rei in the beginning and the way he seems to want to talk to her is because she feels that it’s drawing attention to herself. Being a person who’s kept quiet so she can stay in her own quiet space, this must be a big change to be hanging out with the one guy that gets the most attention.

The development of Kira’s outlook on Rei happens pretty quickly, if you ask me. By the end of the first chapter, she’s got feelings born inside her and she’s starting to see him differently. Rei’s the kind of personality that’s high on life – literally. Because of it he takes chances and pushes every boundary possible. I can see why someone like Kira would find him distasteful to begin with.

Notice I said “to begin with”. This is only the beginning! Of course! There are events that ensue, which I think are great. For starters, there’s your typical shoujo plotline here. Timid, quiet, different girl is getting attention from the most desired hottie in the class, and other people start noticing. Anyone want to take a guess? :D

She becomes the target of other girls’ jealousy, and they proceed to bully her. Now, I’ve read manga bullying. This is on a whole ‘nother level. NOT because it’s more extreme. I mean, what manga was it that they wanted to crush her hands with dumbbells? Oh, wait! It’s this one! :D So, it IS extreme. I’ve read mangas where they splash cold water on the girl or lock her somewhere or put ink on her clothes… Kira’s had her shoes incinerated and her fingers nearly broken by these girls.

Honestly, I don’t know what high schools these people go to. To be honest, when I read manga, I’d like to think that it teaches me something about Japanese culture. Like calling asking someone out “confessing” or karaoke or the nature of bentous and Valentine’s Day chocolates. I’m not sure I like what it’s teaching me about high school and dealing with girls that you don’t really like. I’d hate to think that it’s actually like that. Where I went to high school, it was more about whether you were lame or not. However, by the last 3 years of school people outgrew it, and it was more about personal feuds than hating someone for the sake of being a grade A bitch.

These girls are grade A bitches – signed and certified. Nonetheless, this stands out because it’s not just “Why are you hogging all the attention?” – but there’s actually something personal to it. The main bully actually had a thing for Rei, waited for him for ages (even when he had a girlfriend) and he didn’t do so much as breathe in her direction. Not that this justifies what she’s doing, but it just makes it much less of a cliché.

Okay, although I’ve already revealed things about the plot, this to me is considered a real spoiler, so either light your screen on fire (to avoid reading) if you don’t want spoilers. Or you can be boring and do the conventional thing of clicking on something else.

I think I didn’t completely understand the random exchange between Rei, Kira and Tatsuya, Rei’s best friend. It served a very strange purpose in contributing to Rei and Kira’s silent attraction to one another. In Kira’s case, it’s the early feelings of love creeping up on her to whack her over the head with a plank. Whatever happened to Cupid, right? That’s old-fashioned. Love walks with a new swagger now. Anyway – Rei… this is the part I didn’t get. Maybe it’s the fact that he didn’t exactly recognize his attachment to her (I don’t think he even fully gets grips on it in this volume) but what’s up with the whole setting her up with his best friend? Granted Tatsuya has a thing for her, but STILL. Aren’t her feelings coming out on the surface – even just a little? Or is it because we see her narration that it’s clearer to us? Because I think her growing feelings seemed increasingly obvious. She has a quiet dependency on him, which is sweet.

However! I think she doesn’t realize it yet, either, so there’s a balance. I don’t think it’s the cute naivety that Aozora Yell has, but in a sense, they share a common ground. How, you ask? Let me walk you through it. Without comparing this to another manga (in the sense of bringing up names and events) there’s the fact that both protagonists have become quite attached to each other without necessarily being an item, or being all fluffy and cute and blushing around one another. This is a good thing, really, because it makes for good development. Something Kira said about her feelings towards Rei blew me away. I think it was beautiful in the sense of admiring someone and having that kind of adoration, rather than being romantic feelings being involved. At one point, Tatsuya sort of confronts (in a non-aggressive way) Kira and asks her whether she’s in love with him. She says she isn’t (filthy LIAR) and that she just has a crush on him (That’ll do… for now). But it’s what she says next that super-inspirational to me. She says “I love Rei’s outlook, his strength. I probably would’ve felt the same way if Rei were a woman.”

THAT is what I loved. That’s what took this manga to a whole new level for me. There’s loving a manga, and then there’s loving a manga. Here we are, constantly breaking away from character clichés, plot clichés, and now: relationship clichés. Think of your warmest, fuzziest shoujo manga. This isn’t it. That’s the beauty of it. The fact that the mangaka can forge a relationship that isn’t entirely based on “oh em gee he gives me flutterz lol” is admirable – and refreshing. It makes me feel like I’m reading something real, and not the slightly unrealistic – and yes, admit it – superficial relationships that seem to be based on attraction that the majority of shoujo titles seem to flock to. Therefore, big ups to this manga. It gets major brownie points in my book.

Wow, this has turned out to be my longest post yet! Talk about lengthy. Which is why this review is coming to a close. Speaking of closes, the end of the volume, anyone?

Spoiler. Oh, yeah, you knew this was coming. How would I talk about the ending without some major spoiler being slapped into our faces? Moving on? :D

Some threats, Tatsuya letting go of Kira – blah blah. Do I care? Well, I probably WILL care about the threats later – because despite Rei sticking up for Kira, it’s not over. In my opinion, it was healthy (and such a relief) that Tatsuya forgot about her. Saves us all the time, doesn’t it? Yeah, there was all that random stuff, and the kiss and some boring dialogue and then it ends. WHAT THE HELL! :D

The kiss? Yes, the kiss! Oh wow, that was a breathtaking moment. And how they dealt with it later… that was even better. In the sweet scent of the night, swept up in the moment (this is BEFORE Tatsuya gave up, by the way) Rei kisses Kira. However, the next day he tells her to forget about it because it’s just some habit he picked up in the states – blah blah blah. What impressed me and REALLY made me smile was Kira’s response. Him just trying to (maybe) earnestly tell her not to take it the wrong way is one thing, but Kira’s cool and cheerful reaction was perfect. She’s totally in the zone, she gets it, she doesn’t get weepy or needy or insecure – she just smiles and goes “Yeah dude, it was totally in the moment. Don’t sweat it!”… but that’s just how it sounded in my head haha. But that’s more or less her reaction. And Rei is so surprised and probably very taken by her confident, open-minded and easygoing response. Well done, Kira – break the shoujo heroine cliché!

This turned more into a review of the manga than I expected! Rather than simply highlighting what I loved – which I think I did plenty of – I’ve given you a lovely review of the first volume at the same time. You know what that means, don’t you? That I’ll continue to review the volumes of this manga! I hope this has given you something to look forward too ^_^ Stay sharp, kidlets!


(Images © SOURYO Fuyumi. None of these images belong to me)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

One-Shot of the Week: Soshite Hibi Koishiteku

Another short and sweet manga. This made me smile to no end! It’s a confused, bashful, sweet love that’s captured in a mere 6 pages. Now, you guys shouldn’t accuse me of becoming lazy (the past couple of one-shots that I’ve reviewed have been quite short in comparison to your average story) because it’s much harder to unpick a great story in such a short space. In fact, I think it’s even more difficult to tell a great story in such a short space, which is why I’m more than glad to be able to commend these one-shots with One-Shot of the Week.

Lovely story we have going here. Actually, it’s not even a story. It’s a situation. I think part of the charm of this is the fact that this may be a situation that just about anyone can relate to. It’s more about conveying an image or a feeling than telling a story. Here, it’s about taking that leap, I suppose.

The title translates to mean, Love for Days to Come. Our hero, Fujimoto is quite a distant guy (as he describes himself) and he’s just been confessed to by another guy (This is more Shounen Ai than Yaoi) and he’s not exactly sure what’s going on. Remember how I said that these kinds of one-shots are situations that people could relate to? It’s pretty cute that you’re getting the side that not many people consider. Normally, people would be on the other end of the stick, wondering what they should say or whether or not they should ‘confess’ (I love how manga culture uses that word! It makes it sounds SO dramatic <3). Now, has anyone watched Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist? That one quote about the Beatle's song "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" - how love is about that simple little desire - wanting to hold someone's hand. Has anyone seen this movie? If not, go watch it! Right now! Stop reading this review and watch that movie!

Why are you still here? Have you watched the movie yet?

For you good girls and boys out there who’ve had the excellent taste and sense to have already done so before reading this, I’ll continue with the review :D Nagaru asks to hold Fujimoto’s hand, even if it’s just for the day. See? The movie was right! It’s the simplicity of just that one act of closeness. There’s a little bit of insight where Nagaru explains why he likes Fujimoto (I’m not going to ruin the ENTIRE 6 pages of this manga for you) which I thought was pretty sweet. He continues to blush about it (how could anyone resisit? *swoon*) and Fujimoto continues to get flustered – which is cute in its own sense. He has absolutely no clue what he’s doing and once he goes along with it he finds that it’s something entirely unexpected, but not unpleasant :)

Pick this sweetheart up! No regrets, trust me. And remember, you heard about it here first, right on Mho-Shoujo ;)


(Images © YUMEKA Sumomo. None of these images belong to me)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Ugly: Flying Bunny

Ugh, what a mess. Nothing excuses a really messy manga. Not even cute artwork. The only thing I’ll give this Ugly is that the artwork was great. Otherwise, it was all over the place.

Honestly, I don’t really like writing reviews on mangas I don’t like, which is why I’m not going to spend too much time on this. The thing about this is that it’s actually quite randomly put together. If this was a well set out manga, I wouldn’t be writing this as The Ugly, but just as another review. This had the potential to be a good story, but it fell off in certain places.

For one, I’ll admit that I’m biased. I really really don’t like teacher-student relationships. I never really had a thing for any of my teachers in the sense that I’d fall in love with them. I had maybe a couple of cute teachers when I was at high school, but that’s kinda where it stopped. I find this a tad bit creepy and it makes me cringe every time I pick one of these up.

Actually, I’ll have to say, I read a one-shot that was worse than this. I mean, really terrible. I completely hated it – and it was another student-teacher one. It would’ve cleanly beaten this as The Ugly, but I disliked it so much, I deleted it before even thinking about it. Anyway, let’s see how this one goes. It isn’t as Ugly as can be, but once I unpick it, it’ll feel like it :P

Our story is about this chick who likes to run. Because I’m quite exasperated with this manga, I’m not going to bother with names – mainly because I didn’t take the time or initiative (or even just give a shit) to remember their names. She’s in love with her running coach – who in turn used to be in love with her mother when HE was a student, and the mother was the running coach. So we have chick, mom, teacher. Mom doesn’t really appear. Chick is really in love with this guy and she’s waiting to graduate first before she confesses to him – in a way, it’s like she’s learning from HIS mistake, when he lost his position as a student by confessing to his teacher – her mother. She says that when she saw him as a teacher, he didn’t recognize her and stuff, but she really totally digs him and maybe one day she’ll be able to tell him, once she’s graduated. And he’s all, shouldn’t you be in love with someone? And she’s all blushing and doki doki (although the sound effect wasn’t there. BIG minus points! I LOVE the doki doki!) and he’s trying to make heads or tails of it.

Yadda yadda yadda. She’s all “I’m going to wait to tell him!” He says “You can’t confess to a teacher!” she’s all “but I’m in love!” *blubber blubber* and he’s like “You’re her DAUGHTER!” – like suddenly, in THAT instant he remembered. Or her knew it all along! So then he’s all, oh, I almost couldn’t control myself because you reminded me of your mom. WOW. Way to flatter a girl. I’m not saying looking like your mom is a bad thing, I’m saying, this guy can’t stop thinking about you because he can’t stop thinking about your MOM. I mean – how great does that make you feel? Lovely, I’m sure. Very lovely.

She gets upset and loses her mojo, so she goes for a run. She nearly collapses and he finds her and takes her home. Nope – HER home (in case you smutty ones out there were getting a bit excited). She has some strange random dream about a bunny saying something wise, but she doesn’t really know what, or didn’t really hear. I thought this would be some kind of development or something interesting to work on – but that’s where it stops. It was completely random. She just dreamt about a bunny saying something to her and that was it. You never really find out what, there was no concentration on it, and it seems like it was something of no significance whatsoever – which is why we’d assume it was never mentioned again. So why is it in there? The mangaka seemed to be in the mood of drawing a couple of bunnies, jotted them down and then decided to make them a plot device – that went absolute nowhere. I don’t understand that. Was it just an excuse to have a bunny in there just so it could justify the title? COME ON. Mangas have the most random titles ever. None of them need justifying. I mean, the one-shot I reviewed before was called Just Stay Gold. What’s that mean? No significance! What if in that manga they had a single frame of a gold statue, just so the title would make sense? Didn’t happen, did it? Gah! I’m someone who picks up on things like plot devices and symbolism or imagery. When you put something out there for no reason, there’s nothing worse! But let’s not dwell on that. (Although I actually did.)

The next day, they get called in because there was a report that they’d been seen together. Technically, he’d been doing his teacherly duties by taking care of a student and it was FINE. No violations. But for some reason, she lies about it. I didn’t really get it. What’s she trying to do? Protect him from… what? Maybe it’s the paranoia that he’ll lose his job or something – but still. It’s strange. She then ends up telling him she’s not going to give up. And then that’s the end.

Tell me if I’ve been too harsh, but that manga seemed like it had no substance. Their relationship was non-existent because Teacher seemed hung up on Mom and not wanting to screw up, and Chick was having a one-sided thing. I think maybe it was supposed to be some insight on “Forget the past! Think of the future!” but that never really happened. I don’t even think the teacher was convinced. He never seemed to have any true feeling for her. There was no shoujo development of any kind. Half the time he was like “I really don’t want to do this” and she’s all “Okay, I’ll ignore you and touch your face!”

I really didn’t like this.

So as for it being really Ugly… It is. Don’t waste your time! The only thing I liked was the fact that the bunnies were really cute. The artwork is the only thing this manga has going. There weren’t any ‘moments’ or fluffy shoujo lines, and using lovely artwork to distract you from the fact that the story sucks – well, you didn’t fool me this time. Good luck the next time! Stupid bunnies.


(Image © FUJITSUKA Yuki. None of these images belong to me)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Reviews: Aozora Yell - Ch5

The first chapter of the second volume has finally been scanlated, translated and delivered into my loving arms :D I have to say, I had been anticipating this chapter almost as much as I anticipate the Nana chapters – although I’ve been pretty disappointed with the releases of Nana these days. Days? I think not. More like weeks. I am feeling quite let down. Waiting for that manga to come out is like waiting for nail polish to dry. It’s agonizingly long and all you want to do is be able to finally scratch your nose or something. My point is – I’m waiting for those chapters to come out so I can get over the suspense and be able to concentrate on other things.

Anyway! This isn’t about Nana! It’s about Aozora Yell’s latest release. Now, it actually wasn’t what I was expecting in the shoujo sense of it all, but I’m quite impatient and I should learn to remember that with the development of couples, it takes time. Especially this couple! One that is so blissfully unaware of their attachment to one another. It’s lovely. I think one of them needs a conk on the head to be able to realize what they mean to each other.

How the chapter starts is really cool. I think Ono is quite cute about the fact that she and Daisuke are “special” friends. Ono’s best friend makes a comment about the fact that Ono’s a little more than sweet on him. Ono, true to what their relationship is like, is completely oblivious.

And then we leave it at that.

I thought it was kinda cute, but it lasted shorter than I would’ve liked. But then again, I have a huge heart for cute little stories that make less than a little sense but have a whole lotta shoujo – so of course I’m going to be impatient. After that, there’s a sweet little scene of exchanging numbers, and Ono ships herself off to band camp.

I gotta say this, that camp is brutal. I’m never playing the trumpet. You have to do all THAT? I think not. I’m a runner, but they’re making it quite hardcore for music. No wonder it’s a top band. They really put in the effort in every aspect! I’m talking like this is real. Someone pull me out of the Fangirldom, please?

Anyway, the moral of this chapter is further building up Ono’s confidence. It was quite interesting to see her struggle with her self esteem and be able to pluck up her courage to talk to people. When she ends up doing so, everyone thinks she’s adorable. I thought so too! She’s able to call Daisuke for moral support, she realizes he’s been there for her even when she didn’t particularly go to him first, and it puts a seal on the fact that they are one REALLY, REALLY adorable couple.

However, there’s one bit in this chapter that I wasn’t particularly fond of. When Ono tells everyone to get along, she ends up falling asleep straight after. The girls start chatting and think she’s quite the pretty young thang and that she’s cute and stuff – and then they make a comment that to me seems a bit out of place, and a little malicious in its own way. Is it just me? They remark that she seems like the type to meddle in others’ business. Now, Ono has good intentions, she’s incredibly sweet and she’s like this little puppy everyone wants to cuddle because she’s cute and naïve and quite oblivious. I get that they’d think she’s a bit clueless – because she kinda is, but that seemed uncalled for. Not in the sense of “How rude!” but in the sense that it came out of nowhere. Also, it’s a bit foreboding. If you think about it, this is foreshadowing something that’s to happen in future chapters. You can just feel it. A comment like that isn’t just in passing, and mangakas have a habit of throwing stuff out there for you to go “Whoa, hold on… What’re you trying to say? What do you mean by that?” This is one of those things.

Well, that’s the chapter. She seems to have been accepted a bit more, but I think the biggest struggle Ono will have in this manga is fitting into her band – more than her relationship with Daisuke. Although I’m seriously waiting for some juicy plot device to put more focus on them. Shall we make bets on all those clichés? Sudden, random ex-girlfriend? Him showing her his soft side and her magically realizing her feelings? A sudden intervention of a new love interest (For either one of them)? I could go on, but I’ll leave it up to your imaginations – and the next chapter! Have fun kidlets! Don’t shoujo too hard! :D


(Images © KAWAHARA Kazune. None of these images belong to me)