July 14, 2013
Yuyuko Takemiya / Zekkyo – Seven Seas Entertainment – 2011 – 5+ volumes
I like this series so much! I had to take a break for a while, because I read a big chunk of the novel series after I finished volume 3. The manga is a very faithful adaptation, so there’s only so much of the same story I can take. I wish light novels did better over here, because I would still buy every volume of the novel series. The characters are just so great!
But as a faithful adaptation, the manga is just as good, honestly. The artist is good at drawing comical facial expressions, and Ryuji’s scary face comes across much better in the manga.
Mostly though, the main appeal of the story to me is the way that it is kind of a subtle romance, without most of the terrible traps romcom series like this fall into. Granted, there’s still some of that if that’s your thing. The first half of this volume is about how Taiga doesn’t want to go swimming because she can’t hide the fact she’s flat-chested in a swimsuit, and much is made of well-endowed classmates. But the fanservice is relatively minimal, and most of this series is quite tasteful.
I also like how it side-steps the usual plot device that the characters are too shy and embarrassed to talk to the person they like. Both of the main characters are like this, to the point of paralysis, around their crushes, but the slowly building friendship/romance between Ryuji and Taiga is being built up through their mutual struggle to confess their feelings to their respective best friends. It’s nice to see friendship in a male/female relationship like this, even if I can see a romance coming from a mile away. It’s not there yet!
This volume? Well, it’s still a lot of fun. Ryuji does find a way to help Taiga with her swimsuit problem, and much is made of it on the first day of class swimming. The second half of the volume is a contest between Taiga and the annoying model friend to see who can swim better. Taiga can’t swim, so Ryuji helps her once again, as he is the prize to be won. Again, that’s a rather typical plot device, but the characters make reading it a lot of fun, and slightly more fresh than it should be.
Next volume? Summer trip to a vacation house! I hope you like ghost stories!