September 15, 2007
This was the last volume, and I am just so upset that it’s over now. It really was one of the best manga I was reading, and I would say that it ranks up with Paradise Kiss as one of my favorite romance manga ever. The two series are very different, but Guru Guru Pon-chan really is that good.
Satomi Ikezawa opts for a rather sad parting in this volume, which I respected tremendously. It takes a lot not to end on the perfect note, and while everything doesn’t go the way you expect it to, the thing is sad right up to the last few pages. Things perk up right at the very end, and there was a part I was rather unhappy to see shoehorned into the last couple pages, but the seriousness of what happens sticks around after the end of the volume, so it wasn’t a total cop-out, and it was still one of the saddest endings I think I’ve ever read.
The relationship between Ponta and Mirai gets all the stops pulled out this time, and it tugs on the heartstrings in just about every way imaginable. I teared up more than once while reading this, which I’m a bit ashamed to admit (especially since this is meant for younger girls), but the relationship really is that strong, and it goes through a few happy-sad extremes here. Mirai is probably the stronger character, and though everything that happens in this volume happens to Ponta, she felt a bit more two-dimensional than Mirai did. Both opened up all the way in the last volume though, and they went on a final date which was really… just the best thing ever.
Ponta and Mirai’s relationship really is what makes this series so good. There are plenty of madcap comic hijinx that happen throughout the volumes, and the cute factor is handled quite nicely, but everything always comes back to them, and… really, in the end, everything that didn’t kill them only made them stronger. Very few series peg the chemistry between the main couple as well as this, and Ponta and Mirai are one of the most genuine couples I can think of. I prefer series where the characters get together right away for that reason, because the relationship is much stronger if a lot of time isn’t spent messing around with other people or trying to decide the least embarrassing way to bring things up. And when you opt for a sad ending at the end of one of those types of series… well, more power to you, because it works the best.
Actually, speaking of embarrassment, that was probably another thing which made this series a lot different. Ponta has no sense of shame, so she had no problem expressing herself to Mirai. Mirai would often reciprocate, because this lack of shame or embarrassment for her feelings made her more childlike in a way, and just a lot more open. There were a few cases of misunderstandings, but… overall, a lot of time Ponta and Mirai’s feelings were just reaffirmed again and again, and it was wonderful to see the two getting closer.
Yeah, it’s hard to get over the fact that the main character is a dog, and it is a series meant for little girls… but it really was one of the best shoujo manga I’ve ever read, for what it’s worth.
June 29, 2007
I read this one awhile ago (almost as soon as I got it), but I’m just now getting around to it. I’ve got a couple more volumes from awhile ago to get to as well, but less now than last week. I just didn’t want you to think I’d been sitting on a new volume of this for more than a few days.
I know no one cares about this series but me, and I know it’s silly of me to care about it, but it’s SO GOOD despite being so stupid. I say that every time I review a volume of this, but it bears repeating since I don’t think anyone else reads it (if we’re going to refer to librarything again, I’m definitely the only one reading it there). This volume doesn’t stray too far from the formula and wins yet again with really sweet and sensitive stories that win out over their silliness.
The first story is especially silly, but it really had me going. Mirai turns into a dog like Ponta when he licks the guru guru bone, which is a weird thought. Except he doesn’t turn into the big, manly dog you may imagine. Oh no, he turns into a little wimpy dog. Together, he and Ponta fight off a burglar. It’s quite a cute way to open the volume.
There are a few short stories about Ponta as a puppy that aren’t as good since they don’t appeal to my like of Ponta/Mirai. Moving on.
The main draw in this volume, and also a cliffhanger, is the fact that Ponta may be dying due to stressing out her body with physical change. She doesn’t realize this and doesn’t understand, but everyone’s really broken-hearted. It leaves off as a cliffhanger… but the damn preview pages don’t leave much to the imagination. Part of me hopes there’s some way out of that mess, or I’m going to be crying my eyes out when the last volume of the series comes.
I think I’d really like the series a lot if that was how it ended though. Not many series will go through with such a final, character-altering event like that. Well… while I do like it when the endings rock the boat a little, I’m not sure if I could handle sweet little Ponta dying. Ugh. I can’t wait for the last volume now.
February 4, 2007
I LOVE THIS SERIES. It’s necessary to start every entry out like that, because I don’t think nearly enough people read it, and I can understand, because it’s got a bizarre premise. But the relationship between Mirai and Ponta is still one of the cutest and strongest in any manga I’ve read. They’re extremely true to each other, and the fact that Mirai keeps his end time and time again is part of what I love about this series. So cute.
This volume though… dips into… weird territory. Territory that most people dwelling in such questionable subjects in manga leave alone. A subject which Rumiko Takahashi, creator of Ranma 1/2, has summed up with “I don’t think about it, and neither should you.”
Let me tell you that that was some rough territory to weather. It was still cute, and still extremely well-done, but it was rough. Mirai acted admirably throughout the ordeal, and at the end, where she couldn’t turn back into a dog… ugh. The ending was a bit of a cop-out, as it really had me going, but I was also quite relieved. But still… ugh. I suppose a series this silly was going to deal with it sooner or later, especially since Ponta in heat was something that has come up before.
What was really awesome was the girl that was at the vacation spot that was so sure that Ponta and Mirai were a perfect match for herself and her male retriever. She comes back as a sort of creepy stalker character, and she’s what starts the whole mess. She also degenerates into silly gags, much like Go has, and I think I would prefer her as more creepy, but you know… I like her and her dog plenty anyway.
I think we’ve only got two volumes left in this series, which makes me sad. What’s also sad is that I have to wait till April for the next volume. Urgh. As an interesting side note, it gives me a great deal of pleasure that in my Del Rey box, Pichi-Pichi-Guru-Guru-Sugar-Sugar all come out in the same month. I need my dose of embarassing and girly repetition from the same publisher every so often.
November 29, 2006
It’s really hard not to like this series. Particularly Ponta. She’s got her annoying qualities, but she’s so cute, and so naieve, and the relationship between her and Mirai is one of the best in any romance manga I’ve read. It makes you feel good to read this series, and that’s why I love coming back to it.
This volume is a lot about what happens when Ponta gets stuck as a dog. Often the series questions hers and Mirai’s relationship, but yes, we get it here again. As a dog-human pair, the couple still seems happy until they run into another dog-human pair of opposite genders… a male for Ponta, and a human girl for Mirai. There are about two chapters about this, and both are quite good because Ponta and Mirai seem to be properly enjoying themselves. There are some fake-outs on the trainride back (as well as the cutest teddy bear disguise ever), and Ponta and Mirai get into a fight, but it’s not one of the more serious of the fights between the two, and you still just want to hug both after the events of the rest of the volume.
The first chapter is also very cute, though it doesn’t really tie into the rest of the volume. Mirai saves Ponta from being molested, and then Ponta saves Mirai in a pretty good scene.
Yeah, I can’t help but like this series. Anyone who’s a girly girl at heart would love it, too. It still is fairly stupid, and there are still points where I cringe a little bit because Ponta’s a dog, but she’s still SO CUTE. I’m so sad it takes so long between volumes now.
November 12, 2006
Every time I read this, I’m struck simultaneously by how good and how silly this series is. It’s about the romance between a dog who turns into a girl and a teenage boy. But it’s a GREAT story about it.
This volume leads you down roads you don’t really wanna think about. There’s a chapter where Mirai and Ponta go to a love hotel. There’s a chapter where Ponta is convinced a puppy she finds is brought by the stork and is hers and Mirai’s baby. And there’s a chapter about how Ponta runs away when Mirai tries to get her to change and be a bit normal and she doesn’t understand how to.
As regular and every day as those events seem, and as silly as they are made by the fact that Ponta is a dog, the relationship between she and Mirai is so good… both are excellent characters, and I especially love Mirai. You do have to suspend your disbelief a bit with him about how such a normal teenage boy could love a girl who is actually a dog, but you gotta admire the kid for putting up with Ponta and loving her in spite of her flaws. Their relationship is quite charming, and it is something to see how it fits into the every day situations like babies and sex and misunderstandings.
I feel like I could read it forever. I’ve got the next two volumes enroute, and I’m so pumped to read them.
January 14, 2006
*squeals* I LOVE THIS SERIES! OHMYGODILOVEPUPPIES!
Seriously, this series has turned from embarassing to absolute addiction over the course of three volumes. We get some pleasing developments in Mirai and Ponta’s relationship here, including a suitor for Mirai thrown into the mix. Of course she’s trying to split the two up, and of course she’s doing it by abusing Ponta. We get Go back for awhile, and while he doesn’t play a huge part, I really love the character a lot all the same.
It’s focusing more and more on Mirai’s relationship with Ponta, and I’m very glad it’s developed to the point it has so fast. I really enjoy the story, and I love both characters at this point. I keep wishing Ponta wouldn’t doubt herself so much. I’m really really looking forward to the next volume, because we got a cliffhanger this time around. Three cheers for Satomi Ikezawa!
November 12, 2005
Goddammit, I hate admitting I like this series, but I do. It’s just so adorable and awesome. Ponta herself is a wonderful character, and while I still hate the fact she’s a dog, girl-Ponta is so insanely cute it’s her that makes me wanna keep reading the series.
There are many interesting things that happen in this volume along with some unfortunate stuff… paramount among things is a new love interest vying for Ponta. I don’t know if she realizes what this guy’s doing or not, but it certainly is interesting since he winds up being an enjoyable character. There’s also a tiff between Ponta and Mirai that’s melty sweet, and I really liked that too. There’s lots of sweet moments between Ponta and Mirai. Mirai’s such a good guy.
Ponta also becomes an escort at one point, which winds up being very interesting. Very interesting indeed.
Still can’t recommend it for older audiences, but it certainly is creeping up my list.