64 of 64 chapters read
Welcome to Koibana Onsen, the place where love blooms. A family-run Inn, within a secluded rural setting, provides a unique romantic atmosphere for the couples that use it for their little romantic gateways. So it was quite the surprise when Akiyama, rather than cancel his reservation, decided to go to the Inn after being jilted by his girlfriend. Little did he know that such misfortune would turn into its own form of fortune, as Akiyama's experience in Koibana Onsen led to his decision to help the owners and begin working there. The owners being 3 fairly attractive sisters and, well you know where it goes from there, being a Harem and all. Yet that is only true in the beginning, with Akiyama getting into perverse situations - ranging from ecchi to raunchy - with the sisters. But unlike the majority of Harem, there's a greater focus on the Romance. Sure there are enough moments to keep a steam room well steamed, sometimes in some very odd and unnecessary ways; but Akiyama's relationship developments are the greater focus. Later on it branches out to include a variety of characters.
The characters being what I thought were the strongest aspect of this manga, however even as I say that, Akiyama can be so spineless at times that it can get annoying. It's what makes him less interesting and more or less into another generic kind of male protagonist. I would have continued to feel like that if the characters remained 1-dimensional but they didn't. What I like is that there's character development where I didn't expect it. Like the sisters: Fuuka, Nonoka and Moeka. All follow very rudimentary character archetypes in the beginning, but with more depth added to them as the story goes on, and those aren't the only important characters in this story.
On the other hand, one of the main issues I had whilst reading Koibana Onsen was the artwork and how horribly inconsistent it was. From jarring facial features to slightly misshapen limbs and awkward postures. Such things really stick out once you first notice them. Sure it is serviceable and a lot of readers could care less; but the lack of style and technique, on the mangaka's part, really gets to me.
Overall Koibana Onsen did certainly feel like a place love would bloom and it proved to be rather enjoyable to see the relationships start off as a simple seedling and eventually blossom. However I really didn't enjoy the contrived ways the mangaka tried to get his characters into some rather questionable, sexual situations. But other than that and some other minor annoyances, Koibana Onsen is a decent Romantic, Harem worth checking out and maybe one day I'll try my luck in one of these Japanese Onsen.
71 of 71 chapters read
Haruma Kawagoe is a university student living independently, then one day out of the blue; his decade old wish is granted in the most unusual of fashions. Now he has a cute little sister, haply named Choko that he must care for, whilst dealing with the various other affairs in his life. This sort of premise, of a young male forced into a sibling/parental role they aren’t prepared for, is nothing new however the way it was established was rather odd, to say the least. But beyond that this was a very ordinary slice of life and that’s one of its failings. Things that occurred just felt too ordinary; from doing a bit of shopping, to gradually making friends; it’s the things we are all used to doing in our day-to-day lives. I must admit that certain moments were rather entertaining or compelling to read, however it was really only the potential for romance that spurred me on, when the slice of life occasionally got tiresome.
Well at least the characters involved in this slice of life were of course ordinary, yet interesting enough for readers to give a damn about them; something that is particularly vital for this kind of premise. The mangaka did a fine job in developing Haruma & Choko separately; effectively dividing entire chapters between them, in order to flesh out their story’s however it fell short again, when it came to deepening their relationship. The problem is that their relationship with one another felt forced and it lacked any real drama and much in the realm of progression that may come in the relationship between siblings. It was really only Haruma’s & Choko’s relationships with others that steadily progressed, which is what helped make up for their lack of progression with one another.
Being a slice of life, the art worked well in capturing the light-hearted tone the story was trying to achieve. The artwork appears to looks simple, yet there quite a far amount if detail added to where it’s needed... especially during the close ups. Now it’s not really that much of a negative but it would have been nice if the character designs had more variety. It is an issue a lot of manga have when try to go for simple, ordinary looking characters, because without colours it can be difficult to tell them apart.
So Chokotto Sister was a decent slice of life, without much in the realm of drama, outside of the romance, so it was mostly a mellow experience. I just wish it as better, because I felt it had quite a few failings here and there. The chapters were somewhat disjointed and going from chapter to chapter just felt like going from one moment to another moment, with no real continuation. There was quite a lot of unnecessary ecchi scenes, for what didn't feel like an ecchi manga. The romance did a good job in keeping me interested but it severely weakened one of the characters, due to its implementation and in the end I just wish it and many other aspects of Chokotto Sister were handled differently. Even with all that said, it was still a decent slice of life nonetheless.
84 of 84 chapters read
Such a common saying but it is expressed no truer than in the Action, Comedy orientated gag manga, with a smidgen of Romance; Angel Densetsu.
We live in a society where keeping up with appearances has become a way of life and one is generally judged & treated based on how they look. Now enter Seiichirou Kitano, a young boy who just moved to a new town with his loving parents and is now optimistic about his transfer to a new high school. On paper Kitano is a model student; he has excellent grades, a perfect attendance record and would even attempt to help the elderly cross the street. But just one look of his face is enough to send someone running for the hills or to paralyze them in fear, as they feel as though they are looking at the devil himself. So this young devil boy must deal with the ordeals that go along with living a life full of misunderstandings, just so us reader will have something to amuse ourselves with and amusing, this manga certainly is.
From people misinterpreting his good deeds for acts of evil, to thugs assuming he is as tough as he looks, this manga is full of hilarious misunderstandings. The structure of Angel Densetsu is quite difficult to pin down because it is episodic, as a gag manga should be, but the story actually has something I always like to see in my stories... overarching progression (both story and characters).Things actually develop, events lead from one chapter to the next and yet it still feels oddly episodic. Quite an odd yet appealing combination.
The same can be said about the characters, that are both an odd and appealing bunch. Like Kitano with his eerie appearance & perception of his surroundings/situations; but you just can't help but like him. The rest of the characters are given almost as much attention as Kitano but they are still a bit of a mixed bag. With some you'll find entertaining and interesting to read and others, whose very presence becomes a bit of an annoyance or will just piss you the reader off.
Well at least for a gag manga of its time, the artwork does a great job in achieving what the mangaka wished to achieve. By creating a lively manga, with a variety of characters, each with their unique design without going to extremes. However the most notable thing about the artwork is how much it improved from chapter 1 to completion. It was nice to witness how the man, who will later create the Shounen Jump hit Claymore, improve in his style and technique.
Angel Densetsu was a manga I judged by the look of its cover. I assumed it would bore me with its tired old fashioned jokes, however I found it surprisingly entertaining and instead of feeling like a generic gag manga; as the story progressed, it started giving off vibes akin to the old show/movie The Adam's Family. Yet I'm not here to say this is the funniest manga around and that everyone should read it, because even the humour eventually begins to wear a bit thin. But the mangaka actually notices this himself and begins to change things up, later on and in my opinion, for the better. Overall we have an odd gag manga with a fair amount of issues but still remains enjoyable to read and for a manga that was serialized for several years, it was good to see the mangaka improve in comedy, story and artwork.
41 of 41 chapters read
- Going back in time to change the future.
- Going back in time and altering the past, thus creating a parallel possible future.
- Going back in time to ensure that certain past events occur, because everything is seamlessly connected.
Yomeiro Choice uses a bastardized version of all three, to form it's inconsistent plot. But in the end none of that really matters, because why complain about the usage of science theorems, in a mediocre harem, ecchi, rom/com.
And just like in any harem, there has to be a protagonist and it comes in the form of (the generic male protagonist #517) Saku Sakuraga. He lives alone, like all Japanese boys supposedly do, but is never given a moment's piece, thanks to his childhood friend's constant meddling and his cousin's sudden arrival. Yet if that wasn't enough on his plate, an odd little girl appears outs of nowhere; claiming to be his daughter from the future, who's travelled back in time to ensure her Dad will procreate her... and she isn't the only one. Well that's it for the basic premise and like I said earlier, the time travel aspect merely plays second fiddle, making this into yet another implausible story where some hapless guy has to pick between multiple girls. However the reasoning behind it all is kind of farfetched. As for the structure of the story, it's exactly what you'd expect, with each chapter having a theme or character focus, to provide opportunities for some comic relief but never really doing much to advance the plot. The comedy and ecchi mostly come from the numerous times the daughters forcefully try to get involved, bringing their future tech into their shenanigans, but it's nothing more than a bunch of uncreative jokes that got old in the days of Love Hina & Tenchi Muyo.
Another thing that got old was the art style. To the mangaka: So what if you can draw cute girls in ecchi (borderline hentai) situations. It doesn't mean anything if little-to-no effort is put into providing a unique look and feel to those cute girls in their ecchi situations. In the end the art of the manga was boring, because it offered nothing new and looked really simplistic.
The characters themselves are simplistic. Heck, they are basically just cardboard cut-outs of what we are all used to by now. Nothing more to their personalities than the one-word captions used to think them up (i.e. Kuran=Tits, Karin=Tsundere, Mebuki, Kiiro & Hiiro=Lolis, Saku=Meh...) So yeah, there's nothing to the characters, but if you enjoy your characters simplistic, then you'll have a variety of them to choose from. Nevertheless they seem to lack any depth that'll make you care about them and by the time the mangaka tries to give them depth, it already feels like it's too late.
I remember that one episode of Futurama when Fry met his accident-prone Grandfather, in the past and takes it upon himself to ensure that his Grandparents hook up. But it was his involvement that killed his Granddad and in the end he became his own Grandfather. It's this kind of messed up feel that Yomeiro Choice has, but unfortunately it's no way near as entertaining. Certainly this manga does have some genuinely funny moments, but they really don't happen often enough, to fully redeem its shamelessness. If it wasn't for the time travel hook I really wouldn't care about it that much, but it can still be written off as just another generic harem, ecchi, rom/com; where some bland teenage boy ends up living with a bunch of easily attainable girls, with a whole bunch of jokes cropping up in-between. I mean sure, if that's all you're looking for then this little title could very well satisfy your need, but that's only if you don't mind: the badly put together story, some poorly executed jokes, a spoilt loser of a protagonist and heaps of non-consensual sexual activities (oh wait, if it looks like she's enjoying it then I guess it's OK).
12 of ? chapters read
Keitaro Satou is just some guy who turned 30. Nothing particularly special about him as he's just like a lot of us who coax through life, never attempting to venture out of his comfort zone. That is until he is forced into some arranged marriage meeting (Omiai). Of course he's has an aversion to this situation, but ends up going, to not disappoint his parents and it is there that he first meets Akio Shimako. So there you have it, a summary to your typical 'love at first sight' kind of romance; though it is somewhat peculiar, since an Omiai is usually used as a plot device to separate the main couple, not bring them together. But apart from that minor peculiarity it's your standard romance with: the pair going on dates to deepen their relationship, friends constantly getting themselves involved and... Not much else. Really, as of the 2nd volume the story has been rather straightforward. In other words it's falling into the usual trappings of some of Ryuta's other works. Both the story and characters.
About Keitaro... what can I say... Well for one, he's similar to a lot of the protagonists Ryuta-sensei comes up with. So he's average but can show his worth when the need arises. The same can be said about the, heroine Akio and how similar in cuteness & quirks she is to the other heroines. Not really a bad thing, mind you, just very familiar. However my main complaint is on how dependant Keitaro is on others. Sure that means that side characters are much more involved in the story, than in the mangaka's previous work "Love is for those Over 30", however it just makes Keitaro that much less appealing.
Speaking of comparisons, I could not help but compare this to the American live action Rom/Com "40 Year Old Virgin", but with a dash more Japanese and a bit less Comedy. Those who've seen the movie will understand what I mean. Now those who are wondering why I've yet to mention the art; well it's not surprising since I expect anyone reading this to have read the previous mangaka's work (Nana & Karou, Toshiue no Hito, etc.) and have an overall idea of what to expect in that department. But for those who haven't, let's just say that the art is incredibly well done and really brings out the subtle quirks in the characters.
Well that sums up my thoughts on this piece. Chances are my opinion on this manga may change but as of now I feel that it has potential to be something really interesting, but right now it's barely doing enough to be more than a solid romance.
10 of 10 chapters read
I won't go into the details of the circumstances, but Sweethearts kicks off with 3 lucky bastards having been chosen to partake in a "private sexual education class" with some of their female classmates. From then on it's a fairly interesting yet predictable tale, of budding romance. It's short, it's sweet and it's highly serviceable. Everything a non-fetish h-manga should be. Yet Sweethearts is one of those h-manga where half the chapters take form as one cohesive story, with the rests forming a collective of short stories. I'm not much of a fan of this practise but I can understand why it's done (to add variety and to keep things from going stale). In the end, the collective of short stories are just a bunch of school-based romances or group romps, that you'll either enjoy or not.
Same can be said about the characters... you'll either care about them or you won't and that's mainly to deal with how the mangaka treats them. Like the first set, in the titular story, are treated with care and developed well enough, in the time span given. Yet some of the others are just slapped into some absurd situations. So you end up with a mixed bag of characters.
But when it comes to Kisaragi Gunma's work, it's really just the artwork that you'll care about. Nothing else really matters when staring at the gorgeously drawn girls and their cute expressions. It's a unique style Kisaragi Gunma is known for and a style I'd certainly praise him for; as it is something I'd immediately recognise, as his, in any random anthology I may pick up. Anyone else who shares similar sentiments for Kisaragi Gunma, is certainly the target audience for this h-manga but if you're looking for a highly engaging or fetish-riddled h-manga then I'd suggest you look elsewhere.
59 of 59 chapters read
With the seedy, corrupt, underbelly of the Japanese Yakuza as its main focus; Kyoutarou Higawa is a highschool kid who's caught up in the conflict between his family's clan and other clans. Then one day, Kumiko Shizuki, a girl he has never met arrives to disrupt his life even further, by claiming to be his half-sister, who's also out for revenge. So Gekkoh immediately establishes itself as some kind of political, drama on the coalition & conflict within the Yakuza. With action & mystery being the main driving force behind Kumiko's quest for vengeance and even a bit of romance slapped in for good measure. However just because the story of Gekkoh has a lot going on, doesn't mean it has a lot going for it. Instead of trying to instil believability to the numerous plotlines, the mangaka takes the lazy approach to issues like prostitution & incestuous relations and all that remains is a half-assed, convoluted storyline; with laughably bad dialogue, filling the poorly presented panels.
This also leads to why the characters don't hold up well, in a positive light. Both main characters fail to have some kind of appeal, in my opinion, because they both come with some of my - maybe even your own - pet peeves. Kyoutarou is downright pathetic, from the way he reacts & interacts with members of the opposite sex, to how he always manages to get his assed handed to him. So with that, Kumiko should come as a breath of fresh air. A strong-willed, capable, female lead. The kind that I like... is what I would say, if the idiot mangaka didn't feel the need to degrade her so incessantly. The unfortunate thing is that both Kyoutarou & Kumiko have their good moments, but those moments are far too sporadic, to leave much of an impact. The side characters are generic in both design and motivation and are only there to give Kyoutarou & Kumiko more to do then just fool around. There are actually some side characters who are given interesting back-stories, but they never seem to be fleshed out beyond the basic requisite.
Just like the basic scrawls I find on a page that's supposed to represent the artwork of Gekkoh, which simply can be described as horribly inconsistent. Usually artwork that's rough around the edges can be forgiven, when the mangaka tries to express his/her own unique style, but Gekkoh goes from being alright to just a plain bad at a moment's notice. Also I find it a problem not being able to tell exactly what's going on in a panel, due to how poorly the character's gestures & actions are drawn and maybe you will too
In the end Gekkoh is a manga that leads a lot to be desired. It is by no means a horrid piece of literary tripe, which my largely negative review seems to suggest; I just expected more from it and to think this is the kind of manga, Serika Hirumo was able to produce with well over 10 years of experience. Just shows how little he's developed as an artist & as a storyteller.
21 of 21 chapters read
The set-up is fairly rudimentary for this kind of manga. Your typical otaku-ish highschool boy, Yanagida, is approached by a cute girl, Mizuno, who just offers to give him a blowjob. So being the healthy teenage boy that he is, he goes along with it, only to find out that she was just using him for "practise" and thus he proceeds to do exactly what you would expect from a guy in a hentai manga. Usually this is where most hentai just close off, as oneshot, but this manga does a good effort in taking the story further. With each chapter having a particular focus, be it developing their relationship or developing someone else's. Sure it follows the generic "hates him, then loves him" formula, which seems to transcend genres (I see it used a lot in shoujo material), but it handles it well. This is especially true towards the end.
This is attributed to the main character's and the chemistry they have. Sure you can dismiss Yanagida as a maniacal pervert and Mizuno as a f**kin' tsundere (the annoying kind) however their growing dependency towards one another is what made this predictable manga interesting to read. As for the side characters, they all start out as mere plot-devices and fairly annoying plot devices, at that; but that is until the mangaka actually devotes some time to develop them and move on.
Overall Yanagida-kun & Mizuno-san is a sweet, simple yet not so short hentai manga, dealing the kind of relationship I've seen countless times before. The artwork is also nice and simple, with no definite style in character designs or backdrop detail. So it's safe to say that the mangaka was playing it safe, using tried and true formulas and no emphasis on fetishes (except in 2 or 3 chapters). It's still a good read; just nothing remarkable.
12 of 12 chapters read
And that is on Aki Murakami, a teenage girl who enjoys basketball and is in the same club as her long time friend and secret love Mase. With this being a short manga, I was glad with how the mangaka managed to tell us all what the reader needs to know in the 1st couple pages, without resorting to blatant exposition. This allows the story to move at a brisk enough pace to really get things rolling, as it soon introduces Aki's secret admirer Koichi and from then on it's a story full of tension and unease. Okay first let me get this out of the way... the story is nothing but a big old love triangle(square) and it's one of those that I particularly don't like. And yet, surprisingly I enjoyed reading this manga and it kept me engaged enough to finish it in 1 night.
Yet since the manga is short enough to finish in a single night, means the characters just weren't as fleshed out as they could have been. This is a shame because I really like the main 4 characters, minus some of the frustrating decisions they made. So much more could have been done with them, like with poor neglected Natsumi, since I felt like they had the potential to be a truly noteworthy bunch.
With that said, the art style here is plain old generic shoujo, which isn't saying that it's bad. It is just something I've grown use to it from reading countless shoujo manga (from the plain yet attractive looking characters to the cute lil patterns between panels) and that's the problem, because Ayu Watanabe does nothing to distinguish her style from all the other generic looking shoujo I've come across. So whereas I can look at anything by Ai Yazawa and immediately tell it's hers, Kimi ga Suki looks just like any other shoujo manga and whether that's a good or bad thing is up to you.
So in the end Kimi ga Suki is a good shoujo manga, for what it is, but there's nothing remarkable about it. The story was interesting yet predictable, the characters were appealing yet under-developed and the artwork's just more of the same you've seen in most shoujo material. So feel free to check it out, if you're looking for something that's short and sweet, but don't expect anything truly breathtaking.
25 of 25 episodes seen
Amagami SS basically has every arc begin the same, by introducing our protagonist Junichi Tachibana, who's suffering from some form of PTSD, after being stood up on Christmas eve sometime ago (I know, it's pretty pathetic... just roll with it). Stuff happens and then it wraps it up, in pretty much the same way for every single arc. So yeah, there's really not much to say about the story, well stories, since they all follow a distinct pattern that's easy to pick up on. Boy meets girl, boy & girl bond through some arbitrary activity, mutual romantic feelings develop and well you catch my drift. Sure each character arc provides a fairly different story from the last, yet it's difficult shake off the feeling that you've just seen this story but with some differences. So by the end I really couldn't find pleasure when Boy A finally got together with Girl B, when he also hooked up with Girl A,C,D,E & F.
Speaking of the girls, they are just about the best thing about the series and the director & writers did a good job in combating the obvious favouritism we are used to in harems by developing each of the girls equally. My only gripe with this method is that even the characters I didn't care about we're also developed. As for the male protagonist, he's just what you expect from your average high school boy who sneaks off with his friend to enjoy the odd dirty magazine. Although the creator tried adding some subtle quirks for each individual character arc. Some of these quirks work but others don't. Like hiding in the closet (that's just waiting for a joke).
I've heard a lot of praise regarding the art and animation of Amagami SS and sure I must admit that the character designs are great. With character's looking like people you expect to meet in real life, doing away with the annoying multi-coloured hairstyles that plagues this genre. But apart from that the animation is just above average. All one has to do is pay attention to the background. As for the sound design, there's really nothing remarkable about it; the same seiyuus we anime veterans are all used, working well with the roles they are given and completed with some typical light-hearted melodies. Like I said... nothing remarkable.
All in all, Amagami SS is a collection of 6 run-of-the-mill highschool romance stories and with 6 stories/girls to choose from you're bound to like at least 1 of the stories/girls. So I'll give the show credit for allowing me to enjoy multiple romantic short stories. Did I enjoy them all? No, but I enjoyed enough... sort of. The good thing is that the obvious fanservice tropes, like pantyshots & breast jiggles are kept to moderate levels throughout but that's because the very nature of this anime is fanservice. That in itself made the show watchable for me however it doesn't excuse the unfunny humour the show is filled with and fact that it became a repeatable conquest, like with every visual novel on the market. Some may take pleasure in what Amagami SS has to offer, I cannot refute that, but I didn't. So you can accept what I've written about Amagami SS, or take it with a grain of salt, but either way I'm sure you did not click on this review assuming that I wholeheartedly liked the show now did you?