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.