Friday, January 4, 2013

ARISA By Ando Natsumi

 Today I’ll be reviewing the shoujo manga ARISA by Ando Natsumi. The manga is 12 volumes in total, though it’s only been scanlated to volume 11. But the scanlation group doesn't take long to put out new chapters. Anyway, the heroine of this mystery story is the bold, brash, and tomboyish Tsubasa whose often mistaken for a delinquent because of bleached blonde hair, though in reality she did it because she thought it was cute. Her parents divorced when she was rather young and was separated from her twin sister Arisa, who went to live with their mom while Tsubasa stayed with their father. They communicate through letters and one day, Arisa invites her sister to come sleep over. Things seem to be going well, until Tsubasa witnesses Arisa’s sudden suicide attempt. She is shocked, having formed this idea that her gentle sister led a joyful and peaceful school life. She wants to know what drove her sister’s desire to end her own life, but since she’s in a coma, Tsubasa decides to take her place at school and find out for herself. She soon discovers that on Friday, during free period, Arisa’s class send their wishes to a mysterious figure known as KING.  The mighty KING will grant one wish a week and often uses violence to grant it. Also, if someone angers the KING, the class will make sure to erase their existence; ignoring them, throwing garbage on their desks, and eventually driving them out of school. Tsubasa becomes determined to stop the KING and find out who is, hoping that this will save Arisa since he may be the reason of her attempted suicide. She soon partner ups with one of Arisa’s classmates, Akira Manabe, who also wants to stop the KING and their violent, unjust methods.
The KING manipulates the class, is able to use others as a chess piece to get what it wants, them easily tosses them aside. And the psychological effects they have on the class is frightening.
The story overall doesn't have much romance, but there is some here and there. The mystery and action itself is entertaining. Even when you know who the KING is, its difficult to understand their motives, goal, and plan. And though Tsubasa isn't the smartest, she makes progress following her instincts and is brave enough to face the cruel KING, is determined enough to protect others. Sure sometimes she does fall into the KING’s trap, but she always manages to make up for it, to learn her lesson so that it doesn't happen again. So I recommend reading this manga and supporting Tsubasa battle to protect her sister and her class from the cunning and twisted KING. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Last Game By Amano Shinobu

Hope you all had a happy new year! My first review for 2013 will by Last Game by Amano Shinobu. It’s a cute shoujo manga that is currently ongoing, there are about 3 volumes out in Japan and 14 chapters have already been scanlated in English.
The story begins in primary school with Hisato Yanagi: smart, popular, and rich. He’s the center of attention at school and number 1 at everything. That is, until Mikoto Kujou transfers and beats him in both academics and sports. What angers him even more is that she’s quiet, plain, and poor; he becomes obsessed with beating her. He’s even as desperate as to make her fall in love with him; if she does he’ll consider it a victory. But in his attempts to get closer to her, he falls in love with her. But Kujou has spent most of her life helping and supporting her mother, her only family, so is rather dense when it comes to any type of relationship, even friendship is something unfamiliar to her. The manga skips to them in college: Kujou finally realizes how important Yanagi is to her, how his always been by her side; though she doesn’t realize what she’s in love with him, her social skills are improving. The latest chapter shows her dealing with these new feelings and worrying that Yanagi might get annoyed with her and come to hate her, some progress for someone as dense as her. There aren’t too many chapters out, so it shouldn’t take long to catch up and start waiting for the new releases.
Now, Yanagi is definitely a tsundere, getting angry whenever he becomes flustered and embarrassed; at first he doesn’t want to admit he has feelings for Kujou and even says that he went out with other girls in a futile attempt to forget her. He’s stopped doing such things and is currently focusing on his feelings for Kujou, looking out for her and trying to get her to fall for him. He truly cherishes her and enjoys ever moment he can be with her; once they fell asleep next to each other and he held her hand, when he woke up he adorably apologized for taking advantage of her. He’s so cute that you can’t help but root for him. Then there’s Kujou; quiet, studious, and cool. I typically dislike female leads that are dense, but I can’t really hate Kujou who’s spent so much of her life trying to take care of her mother. She’s hardworking in all aspects of life, even when it comes to school and making new friends; after realizing how important Yanagi is to her, she begins wanting to make friends and experience life a bit more, do something else besides housework and studying. And despite not understanding her feelings for Yanagi, its obvious that she cares about him.
The art is lovely as well, very clean and smooth; though the ink lines seem a bit thick at times, it’s overall very charming; the eyes aren’t too big and they look about their age. Though the romance looks like its going to be rather slow, I think it’s a cute and funny manga and highly recommend it.