Yay, last volume! Lots of good, serious-minded and plot oriented things happened this volume. Bad things happen to Ran’s brother. Ran sheds a few tears. Ran finally figures out what she wants to do with her life after high school. Also, we get a medly of Ran’s obsessions throughout the course of the series as she gives a graduation speech. “Lemon Ran” I’m sure is a joke that just didn’t make the transition, but I respect its randomness all the same.
There was some good scenes between her and Tatsukichi as well, the serious scenes I’ve been craving. Now, Gals is not the kind of series that delivers said scenes obviously, so it was all the more sweet in the end. Speaking of the end, I hate “oh look everyone’s in the same place what a coincidence” endings that get the entire cast together, especially when they just happen to take place in another country, but this ending was pretty fun, so I’ll let it slide.
Mihona mentioned something about doing a collaboration/something with the author of Kochikame. That actually made a lot of sense after I thought about it. Though I’ve never read Kochikame, I imagine it being almost EXACTLY the same as Gals, with Gals being aimed at younger girls and Kochikame being aimed at a more general audience (technically younger boys, but whatever). I’m sure Ran is something of a young, female dead ringer for Ryotsu, and as far as I can tell, both are rather loud, boisterious, comedic, and extremely proud Tokyoites. Also, both are policemen (of sorts). Ha! I wonder how many series there are like these two, but when she mentioned the collaboration, I did draw several parallels.
One thing I always forget to mention is Timothy’s room, which is one of the omake pages Mihona included in each volume. Basically, it was a photo and story about her dog, which I assure you is still much more interesting than most omake corners. My interest mainly lied with the nickname “Timmo,” which now ranks as my favorite nickname ever. I want to just yell it while walking down the street now.
There were parts I enjoyed immensely, and there were lots of cute parts, but overall this was just kind of a random, girly series that was just not for me, but still very good.
One more volume to go! I’ve got to polish off this last volume before I go to bed, though I don’t know if I’ll be writing about it tonight. Sadly, I’ve got to polish off at least… 4 other volumes of manga along with it, which is insane. Let’s see if I’m up for it.
I really, REALLY wanted Ran to somehow be tricked into passing the police exam. The way her dad and teacher went about it was flawless, and the part where she put on a wig and had to dress like a regular schoolgirl… there were no words. That was the best part of the series, right there.
Things are still frosty between her and Tatsukichi. Nothing’s been patched up on that front, and it seems like Ran is driving him further and further away. I have a feeling the last volume won’t resolve anything and be more madcap hijinks (though perhaps with graduation). Maybe it will patch things up between Tatsukichi and Ran, though. That would be nice. Also nice: a boyfriend for Tatsukichi’s brother.
I liked that we got a big sappy scene between Mamirin and Number Two, too. I liked that said scene took place in the middle of the Shibuya cultural festival, atop two portable shrines to the gals of Shibuya and Ikebukuro.
Yeah, I really liked this one.
I’m posting all these Gals entries together, but I’m occasionally reading other things inbetween the volumes to cleanse the palette. When these other things are Bird Kiss, the palette isn’t cleansed much, but the cleansing does occur. For my own reference: Elemental Gelade 1-3, Bird Kiss 3, and Fullmetal Alchemist 13 are all things I still need to talk about.
I was kind of interested in this volume only because the relationship between Ran and her boyfriend was somewhat threatened. The two always had a comfortable relationship, but not a romantic one, and you are never sure if Ran is just going along with him as her boyfriend or not. So the boyfriend picked up on this and vanished without a trace halfway through the volume. I wonder if this will be mentioned next volume, because I would certainly like to see some mushy stuff from Ran at this point, even though I know it’s not her style.
Much of the volume is about Sayo-pe and her trying to help out a really depressed and lonely girl in her class. There’s also a lot going on when Sayo joins the Shibuya club and makes her own detective division along with her boyfriend and Tatsukichi’s little brother. She’s quite charismatic as well, and people like her almost as much as Ran.
Also worth mentioning (aside from the fact there weren’t any side stories in this volume) is Mihona’s musical “how to draw Panther X” corner. The translator also deserves a pat on the back for that. Basically, she rhymes drawing steps as she describes how to draw the character’s face. Awesome. Usually her author talks are kind of boring, but I give her credit for talking a lot about fashion, which I have no interest in but most people reading the comic would. I do read them though, as opposed to Arina Tanemura, who writes literally the most boring and prolific author’s talks on the face of the Earth. She draws comics for some of them, which still doesn’t help. How does one woman have the capacity for so much entertainment and so much boredom on the same damn page?
Anyway. Let’s keep going with the Gals.
Moving right along, this one brings us another “will Ran move up to the next grade level?” story. Of course, the best way to get Ran to do anything is to turn it into a contest, so that made it kind of fun.
There were only three main stories in this volume. The above one was the last one in the volume. The one which was most fun was where Ran got mistaken for a celebrity in Taiwan and wound up switching places with the girl. That one was a little disappointing, because it was short and there could have been a lot more story milked out of it, but it was cool seeing how everyone reacted to another country all the same.
The middle story was about Valentine’s chocolates and whether or not Oto-kun liked Aya or Ran better. This was kind of cool, because it’s been hovering around unmentioned since volume one or two. I can’t remember if it was resolved or not, but I don’t think it was, so we’ll see how everyone handles this one next time. We also meet Ran’s boyfriend’s brother, who is slightly more obnoxious than he is. I wonder how that will turn out.
Ran still has her hair extentions. That’s something. Three more volumes left. Still just sort of an okay series for me, but maybe it’ll execute one of those perfect endings I’m so fond of.
I’ve fallen slightly behind schedule on this one. I read this one yesterday and wanted to finish up the series today, but it looks like I’m only going to be able to get in 2 volumes plus 1 volume of something else, which leaves me with 9 volumes of manga to choke down tomorrow before I go back to my apartment. This arrangement is hard to explain.
Anyway. I am definitely warming up to the series more and more as it goes on. Perhaps I needed to get used to the somewhat manic storytelling techniques, which again, are fine, but not something I personally am into. The volumes also seem to be developing a major storyline that is resolved at the end amidst other minor events that go on. This volume, Aya and Oto-chi were on the rocks and Aya was exploring why this was, and if perhaps it was Oto-chi and not her causing the problems. I was kind of shocked by this, because thus far the series does not mess with couples (as hard as I wish that Ran and Number Two would get together), but, you know, it kind of works. Especially since they’re the most likely couple to have trouble and Aya’s the most emotional of the main three characters anyway.
Ran gets to run two school festivals. She excels at both, even the potato-digging festival she’s not at all pumped about. The school cultural festival is pretty fun, especially since she gets to be head of it by telling the vice principal that, as head of the Shibuya club, she leads students in music performance (karaoke) and Japanese dance (para para). We also get to see her and her boyfriend celebrate both her boyfriend’s birthday and Christmas. Odd that Ran’s birthday hasn’t come up in the story yet.
Onward. More serious issues this time. Most of the volume is spent with a victim of bullying who takes all her sorrows out on Ran, since that’s who her bullies idolize. There is a knife involved, and robberies, and many other rather serious things. Everything turns out well in the end, of course, but it’s still pretty depressing all the same. One of the chapters was weirdly without resolution… it kinda served the purpose to establish things, but ended without the usual one-shot-plot structure. Or maybe I just didn’t pick up on the plot, or it was unresolved and was resolved later. Not too sure, but it didn’t sit right with me at the time.
More tanning jokes, and I’m not sure why, but I really enjoyed the fights between the tanned gals and Ran/everyone else. I didn’t mention it when it occurred, but I also enjoyed Ran’s “can it, brownie!” line to one of the guro gals in an earlier volume. Unfortunately, as big a kick as I get out of the three Ganguro girls, it just reminds me of Peach Girl and how I could be reading it, or anything else, instead of Gals.
Also, they took the one thing I was rooting for away at the end of this volume. NUMBER TWO NOOOOOO. Maybe there’ll still be hope in later volumes.
Moving right along… this book was a lot about Miyu as Ran took a bit of a backseat. Turns out Miyu lives mostly by herself and when her mom’s boyfriend’s money dries up, she doesn’t have anything to live off of when her mom’s not home. Some of the plots are about her studying to get a scholarship since her mom can’t pay for her school anymore.
Also, unsurprisingly, Ran is in danger of failing her first year of high school and repeating it again. She is not all that concerned by this, but everyone else is. Underhanded methods are required to get her to pass. This volume also includes the mandatory Valentine’s day/White day story required of every shoujo manga running in any magazine full of school romances aimed at girls 17 and under.
There’s another little sister story in the back that was cute. I actually am growing to like the series a bit more, though it’s still not my cup of tea. Though I still think she’s annoying, it’s hard not to respect Ran when she seems to have the solution to everyone’s problems and not really care what anyone else thinks of her.
Nothing else new to report. Still one-per-chapter stories with sparse continuity. Let’s continue, shall we?
We still have a slowly, slowly developing romance between Ran and Number 2, and I still kind of like that, but a new suitor for Ran was introduced, which I didn’t like. Number 2 deserves better.
I’m still not getting into the plots et al, but this volume was slightly more entertaining than some of the past ones. There’s a longer plot involving Ran wiggling out of an absence by winning the sports festival and taking the title away from a nasty teacher who turns some of his pupils into scapegoats. She eventually gets into a fistfight which is slightly beyond belief, but also cool. I believe two of the stories involve this, and Ran makes friends with the girl who gets all the flak for losing. There’s also some attention paid between Aya and the boy Aya likes (number 1, because I can’t bother to remember either of those guy’s names), and there are a couple plots involving that. It seems like the focus shifted more to romance in this volume, which isn’t really a bad thing.
Once again, though, I had my manga texted to me. I believe the phrase was “LT no C,” and it took me a minute to figure out what that meant. Not even Gals can get away with lazy text, and I think Gals is actually improved by all the insane slang the characters use. But text messages? No. Not even for Ran.
I’ve got to read the rest of these by Saturday night. Let’s see how that works out for me. I hated the first volume so much that I wanted to see if perhaps marathoning the series would help out any.
My main problem is the main character, who I find to be pretty annoying. She just rubs me the wrong way, as I am not the free spirit that she is and find something objectionable about her “live life for the moment and don’t plan for the future” philosophy, and also the annoying battles she gets into about the ownership of Shibuya. These are personal beefs though, and that’s just the way the story works. Nothing wrong with that.
I did start to like some of the other characters this time around, though. Miyu and Aya both get their quiet character moments and chapters dealing with their flaws, and we get to meet Ran’s sister and her boyfriend, both of which are cute characters. The story is setting up a romance for the boy named “Number Two” and Ran, which may turn out to be interesting later on. A slowly developing romance is something I can admire the series for, at least.
The stories themselves are also kind of cute, my favorite this volume being the one where Ran gets a suntan to blend in more with the kogals and winds up getting burned and losing the tan in a couple days (she also beats people up and solves problems for her friends et al, but that was just the part I liked about it). They’re episodic, which the author says reflects the faddish nature of Gal fashion and I can agree with that kind of philosophy, but I tend not to like chapter-to-chapter episodic series, especially if I’m not won over by the story in the first place.
But onward. I’ve got eight more volumes, let’s see if I don’t warm up at least a little.
I’ll admit I bought this series for the shallow reason of artwork, and I’ve paid for it by having to sit through the plot. There are some good things about it… it is nice that Ran isn’t a stereotypical easy kogal, but she shoves it in your face so often that the meaning behind being a “good” kogal is lost. Ran shoves a lot of things in your face, come to think of it. I half like her, half hate her at this point. The chapters were a series of one-shots, and the formula was that “big trouble is stirred up in Shibuya/School/Ran’s life and Ran sets things right in the way that only a righteous kogal can, gives a little speech about it, then something funny happens at the end that usually relates back to the story intro.” And otherwise it contains nothing. It’s ten volumes long I think, so surely plot occurs somewhere. I’ll probably buy up to volume three, and if it doesn’t get some substance by then, I fear I’ll be forced to burn my copies and other volumes that may have come in contact with them, so that the incredibly shallow, repetitive plot does not contaminate.
Hell, it’s Gals!, and I wasn’t expecting particularly great things, to tell you the honest truth… just some eye candy. The thing that does make me mad are the people who bitch about the slang. I don’t know if they were expecting some sort of intelligent diatribe or what, but Gals! would blow without the slang. I hate slang, and all except for a couple instances, I thought it was used well. In those couple instances, it was just that whatever word didn’t fit, or was just too comical (the most notable instance of the latter being “dizam!”). And to say that there was only a couple places where the slang didn’t fit is quite an accomplishment, because it’s plastered all over. One point for CMX, because that’s the best use of it I’ve ever seen. Now they’re only in the hole 999,999 more points for Tenjho Tenge.