September 16, 2008
I think most of what I’m talking about happens in volume 6, but sorry if I’m mixing events from 5 and 6, I read them both really close together and the conclusion sort of stretches between the two.
I’ve mentioned this before, but one thing this series does a great job of is transforming the main character into someone else. In some shoujo series, the growth of the main character is somewhat stunted, and it’s especially rare in a short series like this to see the main character change her ways so drastically. I didn’t really like her much at first, and my initial impression sort of held through the entire series, but even I have to admit I like the person she became in the end.
I also liked that Mike’s hand wasn’t revealed until the very end. I hated that everyone sort of took him for granted the whole time, so I was happy when he was paired up with Maya and things were going well. I like that his past life has such a direct impact on the past lives of so many of the other characters, too, and I just like his role, period. He’s a good friend.
Tsubame disappointed me a bit in this volume, though. He strikes me as the honest type, incapable of deception, so when he… does what he does, doesn’t call back, whatever, it’s hard to take. I also didn’t like that Kanoko was so casual about it, and just turned around to her destined love to console herself. The point was driven home eventually that only she cared about the destined loves anymore, that pretty much everyone else was living in the present (with one exception), so that made me feel better.
The plot eventually wound up being everyone with a tattoo taking care of unfinished business from their past life, much like Maya did earlier on. Kanoko gets a bit hung up on this, but everything works out in the end. It always does, doesn’t it? And I have to admit, I’m kind of a sucker for endings like this.
Also, one of the characters winds up being what appears to be a geisha in the present, or at least a very classical dancer, which is pretty awesome. It’s not something you see very often.
So yes, this wound up being a surprisingly fun read with some of the most dynamic main characters you’ll find in a short series like this. Some of the secondary characters still had me puzzled since they wound up being so one-dimensional (the lit club was one such asset), but overall I liked this one a lot. This was originally published by Akita Shoten, and I tend to like almost any series I read from that publisher (see also: After School Nightmare, From Eroica With Love, Apothecarius Argentum, Iron Wok Jan, and… uh, Black Jack), so this is yet another feather in that cap, too. And CMX, too, for that matter, who publishes a ton of choice shoujo series.
September 9, 2008
As you may have been able to predict, things come down to a question of past versus present. Do you go with the reincarnation of the love you had in the past that seemed worth dying for at the time, or do you go with the person you’re madly in love with in the present?
Lots of Tsubame/Kanoko stuff in this volume. We get some prelims leading up to the main event, we get a main event, and we even get a little payoff before things go bad again. I’ll just leave it at that. I’m still vaguely put off by Kanoko because of a lingering impression of her from the beginning of the series, but she’s changed quite a bit, and I have to admit she makes for an awesome main character. I’ve always liked Tsubame, insensitive as he is, so any amount of both of them together has me pleased.
Lots of jerks hang around, though. Mike runs into a new character who is unpleasant and loves to hang around the main characters. The lead member of the band who is Kanoko’s soul mate also hangs around a little bit longer. Things wind up bad at the end of the volume.
I’m going to read volume six RIGHT NOW. I wound up liking this series a whole lot more than I thought I would, and I have a feeling the finale will be spectacular.
August 18, 2008
I like that we’re just now getting into love triangles. I mean, you know that Kanoko and Tsubame would get matched up eventually, but they’re just now getting around to looking at their feelings. And while this is going on, Kanoko’s past life true love turns out to be the lead of a really famous boy band/pop group, and also a nice guy. He doesn’t seem to figure in too much just yet, but Kanoko certainly doesn’t hate him. Tsubame does, though.
I’m so, so glad the story finally got around to addressing the total shafting Mike was getting as far as friendship goes. I was glad when he finally told Kanoko to go away when she was slowly stealing away Tsubame, his true love, though I don’t know if Kanoko knew why he told her to stop coming to him to see the past. Now that everyone has basically forgotten about him and only goes to see him when they’ve got problems and seem to care very little that he’s studying for exams, I just felt like slapping everyone a bit. He finally told Tsubame where to go, which was sad and satisfying at the same time. He also gets a good match in this volume, or at least the beginnings of one.
I like Mike a lot more than the lit club, its members and president combined. I get that they’re supposed to be Kanoko and Tsubame’s friends, but they’re so shallow and one dimensional, and seem to serve no purpose except comic relief that I almost wish they’d kind of fade out. I like their role as Kanoko’s friends, which is a role a lot of shoujo series seem to lack… but I don’t know that it was ever stated that Kanoko wanted to be their friends… plus, I think the president could do the role of all of them by herself, so maybe I just want to see her developed a bit more.
I’m liking this series more and more with every volume I read. I have volume 5 on the way, and I have a feeling I’m going to want the last volume right away after that one. It’s cute and quirky, and while it’s not fantasic, it seems like it’s worth reading so far. It kind of depends on how the past life stuff is handled in the next couple volumes.
July 27, 2008
This series grows on me little by little with every volume. Unfortunately, as more and more of the past life business gets uncovered and more and more people appear with the birthmarks, it becomes a little bit harder to keep track of everything. Not to mention the fact that, for all intents and purposes, what I think is the Literature Club serves absolutely no purpose than to show that the main character has friends in school.
Most of this volume is devoted to settling things between the main character and her sister. I’m glad for that, because it kind of made me angry that the sister took her past life to heart and decided that the main character was just going to up and leave her. It just… didn’t make much sense to me that you would tie someone’s past life into their present personality. Anyway, yes, after a daring rescue or whatever normally happens in manga, things are settled and everyone’s happy.
The boy that the sister was dating was a member of an extremely popular band. After the two of them… break up, another member of the band, his rival, decides that he’s going to start dating the main character because… yes, because he has the birthmark and says he was her lover in her past life. Ugh.
Meanwhile, the boy who stirred up all this past life business in the first place seems to slowly be falling for the main character, while his best friend admits his feelings for the boy to the main character and decides he doesn’t want anything to do with anyone anymore. This made sense to me, because it seemed like absolutely everyone used him for their own purpose, never once asking what his role in the past was.
The story is just a little sloppy, and a lot of the characters are a little off, but it’s still a pretty fun story, and I’m enjoying the ride. I’ve already got the next volume, and I’ll probably read it sometime this week since I’m enjoying this quite a bit more than I thought I would.
June 12, 2008
Hmm. It’s driving me crazy that the main character maintains the lie that she has a “soul mate” despite the fact she seems to be helping Tsubame search desperately for his. She starts to fall a little bit in love with him here, and she still refuses to let their thumbs touch again to see what can be seen. It drove me crazy, but things started to work themselves out by the end of the volume.
I kind of liked the main character as a somewhat standoffish, keeps-to-herself type, but she seems to fall in pretty easy with Tsubame and the writing club after they pursue her. I have to admit I appreciate any sort of healthy relationship between females, but I feel like the club president isn’t quite fleshed out well enough for me to really get behind Kanoko’s use of time there as opposed to helping her sister maintain her persona as an actress. I think the relationship she shares with her sister is pretty awesome (if a bit unhealthy), and I was sad to see it start to crack in this volume.
Romances are bloomin’ all over the place here, which is what I like to see. A little between Kanoko and Tsubame, though nothing that either would admit to yet. Maya gets a match, Tsubame’s former fling is suspected of a match, and there’s even a crazy stalker. The significance of what hand the birthmark is on is revealed. All of this was pretty good, but I didn’t quite have it sorted out in my head until the end of the volume.
One thing is that I have trouble keeping side characters straight. They all look the same, and the members of the club are sort of interchangeable. It’s sometimes important and sometimes not when a side character does something, and I wish that they were either combined into a few people or one of the characters we see more often stepped into their roles. It’s kinda messy the way it is now.
I like where things are going, but it’s still seems like it’s got a ways to go if it’s going to really crank on the drama. It’s definitely on the right track as of the end of volume 2, though.
May 4, 2008
I’ve been see-sawing on this title ever since it was licensed. Whenever the opportunity to buy it comes up, I always seem to be in a rare conservative mood and restrain myself from starting a new series. Of any other series, it’s kind of strange how I haven’t wound up buying this one after wanting it for, like, two years. Especially since it’s so short. Apparently I was meant to have it though, because volume one surfaced in a discount bin at Chicago Comics over the weekend. I couldn’t turn it down for two dollars, and I’ll probably wind up buying the rest pretty soon.
The plot intrigued me, though I knew it would wind up being a slightly more mature, but still likely mediocre, shoujo story. It has being serialized in Princess magazine in its favor, and I tend to like series from there A LOT (After School Nightmare and From Eroica With Love spring immediately to mind). After reading it, it was basically what I expected. An introverted girl is forced into a social situation when she shares a butterfly birthmark with more than just her sister… and apparently the birthmark means that a promise was made in a past life with a destined lover. For some reason, I thought time travel was involved too, but it has abstained so far, and I’m okay with that. I kind of dislike time travel since I’m not at all familiar with Japanese history and a lot of story details miss me in those situations.
So far, so good with volume one. It is kind of lukewarm, but it definitely has potential to be a fun story. I like the main character and her sister. The main character is extremely self-assured and knows exactly what she wants in life and how to deal with people despite being totally withdrawn from the rest of her students at school. Her older sister is really shy and has no idea how to interact with others, but somehow she’s wound up as a really famous actress. To deal with this, she’s adopted a personality as written by her sister so that she can deal with people as the “actress” and not as herself. Both sisters seem satisfied with this arrangement. I thought this was pretty unique myself, especially as a secondary plot. It’s a good idea, but I don’t think it would hold up for long if that was all the story had going for it.
The main character begins getting harassed at school by a pair of boys who have the same butterfly birthmark on their thumbs that she does. She doesn’t like talking to others, but the pair keep dragging her around, and one insists that they are destined lovers. The girl rejects him again and again, and goes on to say that she’s already got a (made-up) boyfriend. His story is strengthened by the fact that the girl does have strange visions of the past when the two touch their thumbs together. By the end of the volume, the name of the game is keeping these boys from finding out that her sister has the same birthmark. Also, the sister begins to seem like she’s getting jealous of the time that the main character is spending with friends and not with her, though she’s not the kind of character that’ll come out and say it.
Actually yes, so far this series is really fun and extremely unique. I think the reason I’m not completely won over is that I haven’t warmed up to the characters yet, but so far it’s got a lot of unique ideas at work in the plot.