English: Bitter Virgin
Published: Feb 18, 2005 to Mar 7, 2008
Authors: Kusunoki, Kei (Story & Art)
Serialization: Young Gangan
Score: 8.051 (scored by 13667 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top manga page.
Popular Tagsdrama romance seinen
May 2, 2011
It can be cruel and even when it's not it will tests you. Sometimes to see how far you can go before you break, or even after that. That’s how it is for characters in this story. This manga shines light into things that happen more often than not to women and their families but that we don’t think about until it happens to someone we love.
In case you’re wondering, it doesn’t just deal with a girl’s story into overcoming rape and pregnancy. It throws into a whirlwind everything you believed to be true, to be fair. You see the life of people you love crumble in front of you while you're defenseless to stop it. It’s about moving on and forgiving. And for some characters, it’s even about controlling your psychotic tendencies (you know who you are).
Daisuke is your average guy who helps out in his mom in her restaurant. He wants nothing more than to get into a far away university and never look back just like his sister did. In the mean time he’ll study for his exam and go out with as many girls as he can. He goes through more girls than people change socks which makes him a little bit of a player. But there is one girl not even he will touch and he’s not sure why. Maybe because she cringes whenever any guy even looks her way. Aikawa Hinako. A delivery job and a stalker girl later he finds himself hiding out in a church. While he’s leaving Aikawa walks in and on the presumption that he is a priest on the other side of that thin wall she confesses, everything. Rape, abortion and a baby, how can one girl who’s barely lived been through so much.
Through Daisuke’s eyes we get to see Aikawa, really see her. The way she acts, talks and smiles. Hides her pain from the world. We start to care for at the same time Daisuke does. Slowly she crawls into his heart and he starts to view the world differently and care for someone besides himself. Wants to protect her. He becomes more mature right before our eyes.
Though the manga would have been from Aikawa’s point of view but instead we get Daisuke‘s. Which turns out to be a good thing. She is actually a well rounded character and doesn’t easily drown in her own misfortunes like some people would. But she is also very human about what happens to her and doesn’t just swipe it under the rug. While reading some scenes I found myself getting angry at Aikawa’s life. The way she was treated by people who were suppose to protect her from harm and believe her above all else. Anyone else.
We also get rare glimpses into most of the characters mind. We experience them as people and see them for who they are, evil or not. Whether a role of villain or sidekick, it is played well. So well that sometimes it leaves you wondering how that person will react or what they’ll do. Every chapter is a cliffhanger in Bitter Virgin. It get’s a little frustrating but it’s nothing that takes away from the story, much.
Had the art been bubbly and perfect, I don’t think it would have gone well with the story. As it is, it just emphasis the raw feeling the manga gives. The not everything is beautiful and imperfection has it’s gloriousness feel. The expression sometimes weren’t the best, one scene reminded me of Liar Game, which would have been enough to make me drop the manga but the story was too absorbing to just drop there. The characters have this haunted look that help relate them to what’s going on. As a result it gets an 8 in art.
After all that’s said and done what makes this manga truly rare and priceless is that most of it is based events that happened to Kusunoki Tei, the author. Tei, went through something similar and I won’t tell you what part it is, you just have to read it to find out.
Aug 1, 2009
Normally I would leave the secret as it is, a secret and let you hear it from the book and not me. However it seems other reviews have already told you, so I guess there's no point in not saying. Hinako got a stepfather, and her mother looked happier than ever, of course Hinako wanted her to be happy. However on the first night she was late for work, the stepfather grabbed and raped Hinako. Hinako burst into tears upon seeing her mother the next day, but the stepfather quickly showed up, and Hinako stayed silent, wanting her mom to be happy, and afraid of what would happen if she told. The stepfather continued doing it, and eventually impregnated her. Of course after suffering signs of it, she was taken to the doctor, and her mother found out she was pregnant. She got angry, and when Hinako said it was her stepfather, she didn't believe and made her get an abortion, and didn't tell their stepfather, not wanting him to think badly of her. It continued and she once again got pregnant, but this time was covered in bruises, and this time there was no escaping the truth of who did it. The mother made the stepfather leave, but Hinako was already sacred for life, and terrified of men. I'm sure you'll get what the rest of the story is about from that, and it is a beautiful and well developed story, as you watch Hinako and Suwa grow closer, as Hinako slowly accepts him more and more. Brilliant story, especially if you're looking for a more serious side of romance.
The art is pretty good and makes a mix of Seinen and Shojo drawing. I can remember moments with flowers blooming behind smiling or blushing characters, though the story is mature as hell, and at times it will reach a darker moments where the drawings move away from that style as well. Nothing particularly special, everything's drawn well, and doesn't really add to or distract from the series, and all the characters also look pretty good.
The characters are all done well, and despite the dark story actually mix in some comedy with it as well. Suwa is careful about getting close to Hinako despite his feelings for her, and is always looking out to protect her from men, though also tries to help heal her from her fears, of course he doesn't tell her that he knows here secret. Hinako is actually fairly happy, especially around Suwa, for the most part. Of course mentions of babies or being around males will scare the hell out of her are make her sad, but that's only normal. These are the two main characters, and there are also other re-appearing characters of course. Like Suwa's mother who wants him to get a local underage teen pregnant, and start his life as the keeper of her shop. More get introduced as time goes on, and they are all done well, with both a little comedy and especially having great drama ties to the story as well.
Overall Bitter Virgin is an amazing read despite it's short length, it stays focused on the true story without any non related side stories, and greatly develops the characters in that short time, as we get to slowly see the Hinako overcome her past, with a lot of help of course. Overall don't even think about the title, Bitter Virgin is an amazing read for anyone who likes the dramatic and mature side of romance, and is highly recommended to anyone who likes either genre. read more
May 9, 2008
A manga like this, with such a taboo plot, doesn't usually hit this close to home. Not to me, but with my very dear childhood friend. This is captured perfectly, the step-father's attempts, the mother thinking the child is lying, then when the mother was backed into a corner, she had no choice but to kick him out and beg for forgiveness.
Some of us have gone through things that happened in this manga, some can relate on another level, (for me it's the fear of men I have because I knew a molester like a neighboor, and my friend's brave struggles.) or just you want to see things from a new point of view.
This stories struggles with a strong and brave heroine, who faces her fears every day no matter what, and the people who grow to care about her.
This is a truly amazing manga. read more
Sep 19, 2008
Daisuke Suwa is just your ordinary teenage boy who has been living a simple life but doesn’t enjoy it one bit. Then he soon becomes involved with his classmate Hinako Aikawa, after unintentionally learning about her deep dark secret. The story really gets serious, right from the start, which is pretty uncommon for your average romance. Though what intrigues me the most about the story is the bittersweet relationship that eventually developed between Daisuke and Hinako and how Daisuke was always troubled by what he knows about Hinako. Sure the fact that Daisuke, constantly worries about the issue with Hinako, does get wearisome after a while; the new situations that crop up become further compelling parts of the story (like the matter with Daisuke’s sister).
The characters of this manga generally cause a great deal of concern to those who read it. The story focuses on our two main characters; Daisuke a regular guy who ends up smitten over someone he would never consider and our heroine Hinako a girl who’s suffered a traumatic past. It’s really great how this manga gave an equal amount of focus on each of them, describing their thoughts and feelings when appropriate. Then there are other girls to consider (Kazuki & Yuzu), as they each make a huge impact on the overall romance, whilst another character makes an impact on the story.
Although when it comes to the artwork, it really doesn’t have much of an impact on this manga. Sure the characters look great and so does the backgrounds but there’s really nothing special about it, as you can easily find a bunch of shoujo manga that look just as great.
Overall Bitter Virgin is one of those tragic stories that will make you well-up with tears, but will still allow you to recover, with its endearing romance. Well there were a few annoying aspects about it, like the fairly unrealistic characters and how Daisuke kept on repeating the fact that she was ****ed and got ******nt. But apart from that, this was a good romance drama that can suck most people in. This mangaka managed to accomplish in 4 volumes what most manage to do in twice the amount and it had a decent ending to top it all off.
^_^ read more
Jul 12, 2009
STORY - …Bitter Virgin isn’t actually about a bitter virgin. Quite the opposite, actually? To be honest, the shock value and tragedy of Aikawa’s secret faded relatively quickly for me (probably because of one too many episodes of Law and Order: SVU). The subject matter also reminded me a lot of those in Mondaiteiki Sakuhinshu (brought overseas as Confidential Confessions). Consequently, the story premise and flow felt rather typical and predictable in that romance drama sort of way. Nevertheless, Bitter Virgin is well told, and there are enough surprising little twists and interesting literary elements to keep a reader engaged and guessing. It has all of the things that keep the romance genre going strong, despite the shared basic plot. What I found most interesting though, was the fact that, as the series progresses, the themes explored gradually shift from one type of tragedy to another, and eventually, it connected the two as interesting foils. The further into it I got, the less typical things felt.
The emotional aspect of Bitter Virgin is very strong, particularly since Kei Kusunoki admits between chapters that she drew a lot of elements and inspiration from her own life and experiences. The story, while idealistic at times, still comes across as very heartfelt and sincere. Kusunoki also admits that her usual work is of the horror and comedic sort, and that this is her first romance, making it even more impressive.
CHARACTER - Like the story, both protagonists come off fairly typical at the beginning. Aikawa is a meek and quiet girl, and Suwa is a headstrong and impulsive boy. And yet, I warmed up to both of them very quickly. Both have an endearingly earnest quality to them that makes them likable, and no matter how many times these character archetypes are used, as long as they’re well-written and well-presented, they will work. Both characters also grow a great deal in the short four volumes, and they become truly multi-faceted. For example, Aikawa is noted to be terrified of men, but shows a lot of unexpected courage and resilience when faced with female tormentors. Her feelings for Suwa develop very gradually throughout the series, and Kusunoki is careful to make her thoughts and emotions at least somewhat believable. Similarly, Suwa’s initial interest in Aikawa is fraught with pity rather than any real kind of attraction; the progression is interesting to follow, and the lengths to which he feels he needs to go to remain appropriate to Aikawa are also rather admirable.
The supporting cast is also very strong, which I didn’t have expected at all. Suwa’s elder sister, in particular, in addition to being surprisingly headstrong and impulsive like her brother, becomes a startlingly significant role that contributes a great deal to the themes in the latter half of the story. Her presence contributes a unique perspective and forces those around her to consider many things in a difference light. Yuzu and Kazuki, Suwa’s classmates and respectively, his childhood friend and sudden girlfriend, are more predictable in their personalities, feelings, and eventual maturation, but both provide good support and drama and work well to round out the cast. Honestly, I didn’t find any of the characters particular irritating, which is a huge and thankful plus.
ART - Even though the marketed genre is seinen, the series’ art is pretty standard josei. It’s clean, elegant, and pleasing to the eye, but of a more mature aesthetic than typical shoujo — proportions are more realistic and there are less tonal flourishes like sparkles and bubbles, though they aren’t completely absent. I didn’t think much of it initially, but the style really grew on me as I progressed through the story. Kei Kusunoki is fantastic at depicting the emotions of her characters, which is unsurprising for the genre, but considering that she usually works in other genres, it might be a bit more notable. The art really helps heighten the sense of drama and suspense in many scenes, though the panel layouts are occasionally haphazard and confusing, especially when the gutter space is inconsistent or cramped. Because of the emphasis on emotions, there are a lot of close-ups and headshots, and backgrounds are lacking on many of the pages. Even the backgrounds that are present are contained within tiny panels, and yet, there is never any confusion as to where the characters are located, so I guess it works out well enough in the end.
OVERALL - Bitter Virgin is a good, quick read, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a serious and emotional story. The characters are sincere and their relationships are sweet, if a little idealized. The story’s themes become less shocking and more meaningful and powerful as the series progresses. That the author drew a lot of inspiration from her own life experiences also helps tremendously in relaying the strong emotions the characters experience, so the package is very much worth the time. Sadly, Bitter Virgin hasn’t been licensed for release in the US or elsewhere overseas, but honestly, I think it could do pretty well anywhere. It’s a pretty universal story. read more
Jan 17, 2008
I love this romance, of how Aikawa's story transform's the girl chasing Suwa into someone in love without her even noticing, and how Suwa changes Aikawa's view on men and love. over all i have fallen in love with this manga as it was the first ever shojo manga i heve ever read(i was not a huge fan of shojo before this).
the story is matched by the romantic well draw backgrounds and characters, using a traditional shojo theme with what i describe as a wispy and romantic way of drawing.
the only downside to this story is the unpredictable rate of scanalations coming out, they are very slow, but it's well worth the wait in my opinion. read more
Feb 7, 2008
To me, i found this manga to be one roller coaster of horror despite that not being one of its genres. The drama of this thing is so amazing, when i first found out what this story was going to be about, all i could say was... "Holy...sh-" with my blood pumping faster than it did when i watched Higurashi no naku Koro ni for the first time, and believe me, that anime was scary!!
Anyway, although this isn't my first shojou manga, this certainly gives me a more positive view on it...although it sure drops my faith in humanity's future...i can't believe some mem...they sure don't make the rest of us look any better...I hope and root for this manga to have a happy ending and i pray to Haruhi that the Tragedy genre will not come into this manga!!
Good Luck!! read more
Jun 10, 2013
I wouldn't rate "Bitter Virgin" that high. It deals with a very serious matter, which is interesting... but there are some things that may be objected. The manga goes about a girl that was abused by her stepfather. As a result, she is scared of men, until she meets Daisuke.
That alone is a very heavy burden to deal with, both for her and for Daisuke... but still, as if it were not enough, things keep happening to her... I thought it was a little too much, and a little cliched at times. "Abuse" is a very difficult topic to write about, there is a high risk of resorting to clichés... and it is also very easy to strike the readers sensibility with such a topic. Who wouldn't be moved by the pain and experiences of an abused child? That's why I generally don't like stories -be it manga, short stories or novels- about such topics, unless they are very well written or they approach the matter in an original way.
Still, it was good. The art was ok (not breathtaking but ok), the story ran smoothly and the characters were well developed, not only the two main characters, but all of them.
There is something about the end that I didn't quite like. I cannot give details because spoilers are not allowed... but it has to do with the characters reasoning and how they see their relationship. The characters reactions throughout the story are very credible, except for their final thoughts. They are not consistent with their way of dealing with things up till then, especially in Daisuke's case. It's such a small detail, and it could have been solved with just a small change in the phrasing, making them doubt or wonder about the future instead of being so sure about how things will turn out to be.
In any case, regardless of these little objections, I think the manga was good. Guess I can give it a 7.
Jun 30, 2010
Story: I never thought in my entire life that anyone in the manga industry would actually write about such a taboo topic. Since every managaka is concerned about popularity, such a topic may not be a very pleasant idea. Out of all the manga that I've read (those listed and not listed), truly this is a masterpiece. In my opinion, I see a lot over-elaborating resulting with waay too long events, contrary to this manga however. This story strikes an emotional chord right off the bat. It WILL keep you interested, at least if you're a fan of shojo.
Art: I'm not really a fan of lame, gag-manga like artwork like Bokura ga Ita. The artwork is pretty similar to Kimi Iru No Machi, in a sense. There may be some variability, but if you've read Kimi and you're about to read this manga, you won't find that much of a difference.
Character: Again. Such a unique character throughout the piece. Each character has a unique personality and work well with the story. Honestly, there isn't much to say.
Enjoyment: For me, it's rather the suspense that this manga creates. Similar to Death Note, only not on such a murderous suspense. I was beyond interested. I was entranced, and even THAT is an understatement.
Overall: I want to praise this mangaka for actually putting forth the courage to write a manga like this. Even though her pictures (pretty sure they were her pictures) of her in between the chapters were pretty annoying since they ruined most of the atmosphere that the ending of each chapter creates (but I think that's due to more of the websites or subbers than the manga itself. You recruiting and such.)
If you're a shojo manga fanatic, looking for a good romance to read, read this. By far this is the best shojo manga I've read. (Comparably to very very few, for example Clannad.) Not only will you broaden your perspective on "other" relationships, but you will be entertained. Done and Done. read more
Oct 15, 2008
The story is very easy to understand and follow, yet it makes for compelling reading as a result of the story delving into the difficult topic of rape and how a rape victim deals with being around males afterwards. I haven't encountered any other anime or manga that has attempted to show how a rape victim acts and the slow road to getting over the fear of the opposite gender that women understandably feel after being sexually assaulted. The story was made that bit more powerful by the age of the rape victim (she was 14 when she got pregnant for the second time, 16 at the start of the story) and how she was raped so many times by her step father.
Hinako, the tragic female lead of the story, transferred to a school far away from her mother after she gave birth to a child that was conceived when her stepfather raped her. For a lengthy period before this her stepfather had sexually abused her, which resulted in her having an abortion before she became pregnant again later and gave birth. Her mother refused to believe her when Hinako told her just before she had her abortion, even going as far as to cover up the abortion so that her partner didn't find out. And, when her mother did finally believe her after she became pregnant for a second time, it was too late - their relationship had been damaged beyond repair. Hinako gave up the baby for adoption and moved to a completely different area.
At the new school she moved to, everyone assumed she was just a shy virgin. Even the male lead, Daisuke, who had most the girls in his class chasing after him, thought she was just the shy type at first, even going as far as to say she wasn't his type. But this all changed when Hinako entered the local church to make a confession and, with Daisuke hiding in there, ended up confessing everything to him, leaving him feeling awful. His thoughts about her then started to change, and he soon started to develop feelings for her that he hadn't felt before - love.
From there the plot moves at a steady pace as the two become closer and closer. Other characters become involved quickly, providing both help and more problems. On the problem side Kazuki, a girl who is obsessed with Daisuke, is easily the most problematic - she stalks poor Daisuke everywhere and even tries to bully Hinako to stop them becoming close. Another classmate thrown into the mix is Yuzu; another girl with a crush on Daisuke, this one having a sisterly relationship with him and not being obsessive like Kazuki. The other notable characters are Daisuke's mother, who hopes he will take over the shop she runs, and Daisuke's pregnant older sister, Izumi.
The main cast is very small, as you'd expect when the series is as short as it is. However, all the characters bring a little something to the story and never distract the reader from the relationship between the main two. Kazuki is there to make life difficult, Yuzu is there to support the main two (and cause yet another problem for them towards the end), Izumi is there to help Hinako beat her demons and Daisuke's mother is there for a bit of light comedy and some of the more serious moments. Although Daisuke's mother played a relatively minor role, the others are all very good characters.
Now, onto my more general thoughts about the series. Aside from the story not avoiding what other stories avoid like the plague and the story coming across as very realistic, what I liked the most about Bitter Virgin was how it didn't go on longer than it needed to. What I hated when reading Kare Kano, another (less serious) romance manga, was how it focused on the relationship between the main two at first and then started switching the focus to the huge amount of other characters involved, which meant the story dragged on for 21 volumes when it could've ended much earlier if only what was truly important had been focused on. In comparison, Bitter Virgin was able to reach its conclusion in a mere four volumes due to the focus of the story never completely switching from the relationship of Aikawa and Suwa.
Talking of the conclusion, the end did disappoint me a little. After all Daisuke and Hinako went through, it ended a little too negatively - I was hoping for a happy ever after type of ending. It wasn't totally bleak or anything, it just ended with rather depressing thoughts and didn't give a glimpse into the future in order to show how everything turned out. As happy as I am that the story wasn't dragged out, it would've been nice to have an extra chapter showing Daisuke and Hinako married with kids or something similar.
Before leaving you, I should at least mention the art. I thought the art was good without being amazing - none of the panels caught my eye and made me think how well it had been drawn. The best thing about the art was how it managed to highlight the innocence of Hinako; a girl who came across as a virgin to those who didn't know her secret due to how shy she seemed. While I can't imagine the art wowing anyone, I doubt readers would think it looks bad or find it difficult to follow the story as a result of the art.
Overall, I got a lot out of reading Bitter Virgin. Seeing a story go into the darker side of life and not hold back has made me hopeful of reading more stories like this when I was starting to lose hope. If the series ever gets released in the UK I'll be buying it.
Rating: 9/10 read more