Ai Ore 3

November 28, 2011

Mayu Shinjo – Viz – 2011 – 10 volumes

On one hand, I still read every volume of this wishing it were Sensual Phrase. On the other hand, I’m still reading every volume of this, and probably will for some time.

It’s cheap thrills, to be sure, and not even the funny and insanely amusing kind that you’d find in Sensual Phrase. Mostly it’s just Akira trying to get into Mizuki’s pants. Akira isn’t really all that sympathetic or even charming, so there’s no way to overlook his completely jerk-y behavior. Because he’s a terrible person, this series is less fun for me to read. But it’s still a horrible, smutty shoujo manga, and it’s hard for me to say no to those.

This volume is a lot of one-shot-style chapters. Akira and Mizuki at a Christmas party, Akira and Mizuki do New Year’s, Akira goes out on a date with a guy who’s trying to stop Blaue Rosen from performing in a club… stuff like that. Shoujo sitcom stuff, with no real plot or character development. It’s fun to read, and Shinjo knows what she has to put in stories like this to make them entertaining, but it’s definitely not among the best chapters of shoujo manga I’ve ever read.

More serious plots include a story about another guy who looks like a girl that seems to be a romantic rival for Mizuki (eventually, Akira and the new guy have a princess contest at their all-boys school), and a story that elaborates on some of the character motivations behind Akira (they are about what you’d expect, and they don’t make it any easier to like him).

The better plots occur towards the end of the volume. In a two-part story about how Mizuki can’t admit to loving Akira out loud, the two break up and Mizuki attends a marriage meeting… with a boy that turns out to be one of Akira’s friends. This story leads into another one where Akira divulges his identity to Blaue Rosen fans after being fed up about the secrecy surrounding their relationship. This didn’t quite make sense to me since Mizuki is famous for making manly passes at the girls in her all-girls school, and Akira and Mizuki could’ve just gone out as a lesbian couple if keeping Akira’s gender secret was that important. But maybe that’s not “okay” for some reason.

I read this knowing what I’m going to get. It’s smutty shoujo, and terrifyingly addictive. On the other hand, there are much trashier series that are much more addictive than this, and most people looking for a bad shoujo manga, or even a trashy one, will probably want to look elsewhere. Still, Mayu Shinjo is famous for a reason, and while this isn’t one of her best… if you’re the type of person that ignores the warnings and knows exactly what they want in a story like this, you probably won’t be disappointed.

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