4 of 4 chapters read
The anthology consists of four sort of dated and boring stories. The art, while tolerable in terms of beautiful bishies being drawn is otherwise very reminiscent of 90's artwork. Heroines are not young or cute looking and none of the actions or expressions are remotely awe inspiring.
Characters seem very one dimensional. For instance, this heroine is inexperienced and shy and prone to clutzyness, and this hero is caring but not expressive; now let's mash this barbie and ken against each other until it seems like they're doing it! That's all you're going to see in the ensuing 30 pages (not the mashing bit! ^^), and the characters never say or do anything unexpected or humorous to make your want to re-read or remember the story.
Premises are lacking in originality and secondary characters don't add to much. Some of the stories even leave you a bit aggressive towards the protagonists wishing for a swift kick to their tenders for being so pigheaded. Conversely, there's not even a single story that'll feel unique or touching that you'll want to share it or bookmark it for later.
If you're looking for one shots, try more recent authors like Toma Rei, Takagi Shigeyoshi or Anisaki Yuna (for some smut). I would NOT recommend this anthology to anyone but those stuck on a deserted island with no other options. (PS I pity those poor folks!)
5 of 5 chapters read
The underlying premise of Koyoi Oto Furu... is not a romantic tryst between the heroine and her dashing knight, but it somewhat shines through the subtle storytelling regardless.
Our protagonist Miyabi Kise loved playing the piano and may have mesmerized a fan or two back when she initially started playing but has developed a trauma after her mother's death and refuses/is unable to speak. Due do certain circumstances, she comes to stay with (a rather scrumptious looking) music teacher who taught alongside her mother. Enter music teacher's current prodigy who just happens to be one of Miyabi's longtime fans, and you have quite a stage set for their relationship high jinxes.
Part of the trauma also discouraged Miyabi from playing the piano anymore so anytime she is asked/offered, she intensely rebuffs such chances. Then why is our hero, Mr Man-Bangs-Yue bent on hearing her play no matter what? Because that's what will create tension and sparks between them you silly goose!
Let's start with the art: Top Notch stuff. Like what dreams are made of, if like people often conjecture, we do indeed dream only in black and white. It's not too flowery or cute, not threadbare or severe. The bishies are dreamy and naughty looking and Miyabi's expressions, gestures and actions all look like she just got done training for Black Swan. Seriously high re-readability due to the art's oomph factor alone.
Characters are very sweet and relatable, not in a cloying sense, but because everyone is so earnest and straightforward. There isn't too much angst for it to get annoying, but there is a tense chemistry of sorts between each set of characters which keeps your turning the pages eagerly. No annoying shoujo tropes or stereotypes about sweeping her into your arms or falling in love at first sight here! But that doesn't mean there aren't moments which just take your breath away or make your pulse quicken simply because you need to look away from the intimacy of certain moments for fear of being voyeuristic!
Secondary characters are introduced every now and then and they actually contribute to the plot rather than just being fulcrums or points of conflict between the main couple.
I thoroughly enjoyed the overall feel of the story along with all the issues addressed in the story including admiration, loneliness, trauma and moving on from it, diffidence and insecurity and perhaps even love to a certain extent.
It's not too short, I would have loved it to be a whole lot longer given the art and the playfulness of the plot and the intensity each character brings forth, but it's of quite a satisfactory length at 5 chapters. You'll inhale them all at one go if like me you're looking for a good read with passion, attitude and the elegance of a piano-centric script.
4 of 4 chapters read
I personally found the first story the best, based around a school setting it's bittersweet and a wee bit angsty. Character development, while a bit convenient for the sake of the story, does occur and you realise your own anxiety is somewhat alleviated when the heroine or hero do or say something vulnerable and how their ensuing relationship blossoms. It's got heart, this first story.
Second story while not groundbreaking in its premise, is still cute. Humorous character development to some extent and you feel sad for the protagonist when she weeps or screams in frustration, so it's definitely engrossing. Art is clever enough in this one that you continue reading even when the plot starts to drag or become mediocre.
But the third and fourth story are completely skippable. The way the third one progresses alone is so annoying to me! There's an almost non consensual incident, after which the perp has the cheek to suggest they "just stay friends" and then gets annoyed at the heroine's interactions with her ex! What Nerve! The Gall! The Gumption!!! It's just a ridiculously annoying and misogynistic tale in my opinion, maybe I'm a little sensitive about it seeing as how he behaves crudely to hide his own feelings and vulnerabilities, but it's not easily digestible, his character or the way the story progresses.
Fourth story's art is very dated and stunted looking and the scanlation or dialogue itself must have been clumsy to begin with. Add to that a poorly thought out storyline and you have the hot mess that it turns out starting page 2. Skip.
Overall, I would highly recommend the first story and the second one to kill time but not the third or the fourth.
5 of 5 chapters read
But that's when things start going downhill and how!
Story 2: Twice a guy does it and says "I didn't want to hurt you AFTER RAPING you so I blew you off..." ARE YOU KIDDING ME BOYEH?! That bit alone had me so aggravated I couldn't finish my way through the clumsy smutty bit. And oh yes, if you folks are planning on reading this for the smut, don't! You have no idea how one moment people go from respectable standing and chatting to being on the floor in a tangle of limbs with someone's boob in someone's palm!
Story 3: The plot actually holds a lot of potential and could have been executed a bit better but the art and expressions on the bishie look a bit roadside romeo-ish sometimes (?! Like a delinquent type lothario!), and again the smut is entirely unnecessary, but you should read this one for the story alone. It's not terribly original, how it's executed, but it's cute all the same. (Oneshot shoujo standards, not if you're looking for quality reads with depth and doki doki)
Story 4: Again, the premise holds promise, because these brother and sister-complex stories are popular shoujo trope, but it feels a bit forced, the brother complex, the relationship between the potaganists and the dialogues and pacing are off. Not recommended. The story is sweet on it's own merit with the voice reminding the heroine of her brother's, but nothing to write home about.
Story 5: Starts out interesting where the heroine's brother' friend is the potential hottie and they've got a palpable chemistry and banter going on. But, the mangaka had to go ruin it by trying too hard to make it passionate and edgy and almost putting in an unsatisfactory rape scene. Then, the boy confesses while letting the heroine know he had sex with his ex the very day he jumped her?! HELLEW?!!! No self respecting girl's gonna let him touch her, but this one does! Again *gnashing* of teeth happens and you forget why the art sort of compelled you to read this one. The heroine's will and self respect in this one is seriously pathetic!
Overall, this mangaka has a talent for drawing gentle and effeminate bishies, perhaps a bit clumsier at the bishoujo facials and eyes, and should definitely team up with Yokoyama Mayumi or some other fun storytellers, but on her own, her stories are lacking teeth, edge or even the ability to keep a seasoned shoujo reader engrossed. read more
1 of 1 chapters read
The story starts out from the POV of Yuuki's sweet and demure roommate Yori chan. It explores their first meeting, the depth of their friendship and her perspective on the love triangle and its origins. It goes on to describe how she cheers Zero on after the events of the finale and about her own little happy ending with a certain blue eyed Idol from Cross Academy. Along the way, we're treated to certain charismatic scenes involving Kaname's fate and the dere part of Zero's tsundere treatment towards Yuuki, albeit a very very little. Not too many plot holes are addressed and the amount of closure you'll derive from this after thirsting for more after the manga finale is questionable. If anything, it leaves you feeling more wistful and ennui-ridden than ever!
Art is of course Hino Matsuri's strong suit and this chapter does not disappoint. No doki doki or Moe moments, but my dead-inside heart was moved enough to weep by the ending pages with the haunting beauty of Zero's (never ending) anguish and Kaname's intended future.
Character development happens a LOT for some of our satellite characters, but for the main characters, all you're treated to is the "Finally!" moment when Zero admits that maybe he shouldn't have been such a pig about Yuuki being a pureblood and his regrets over opportunities lost and the road not taken.
Overall, you're sort of bullied into feeling that yes, you've been provided closure for the epic adventure you vicariously undertook with these three heartbreaking characters, but there's not much that this particular chapter reveals that the ardent reader could not have fathomed on their own. I know I couldn't have not read this chapter given my devotion to the series, but if you're longing for your Zero fix and feeling particularly raw and left torn asunder from the finale ending, consider rewatching the anime instead and spare yourself the agony that this chapter will definitely bring forth. On the other hand, Kaname fans and YuMe shippers will possibly cherish this one a lot more.
1 of 4 chapters read
The story is original, if bittersweet. It’s almost completely devoid of any clichés and a couple of twists and turns leave you with a catch in your throat. The character development was gradual and believable. Irreverent dialogues with a humorous one liner here or there make for high re-readabiity.
Ethereal artwork lends the handsome couple an other-worldly aura of romance.
There are plenty of romance one shots out there which make you laugh and scream and make you go doki doki, but this one will stay with you for a long time, both as a lesson in life, faith in allowing destiny to take the reins and as a warning to cherish stolen moments . And you’ll find a rogue tear making its way down your cheek every time you think of it!
4 of 4 chapters read
This compilation includes both old and newer mature (read unhappy) romance stories. While all are lengthy enough to develop a premise, it's the horrid execution of the story itself that made me cringe with every panel. Your reflex after 5 or 6 pages in the first two stories will be to abandon them or it will force you to really wonder what self respecting girl would put herself through such situations! They leave almost all girls not battling extreme self esteem issues feeling enraged at the bad light the heroine is portrayed in almost every time.
Story 1: Love (You gotta LOVE the novelty of the title!)
It starts off with a high school student, Akane having split up with her boyfriend and in a nasty mood. She meets the charming and sweet Shiwa at a goukon shortly and they hit off. Standard procedure. They have sex. (PS, this is the first time they've met.) OK, revenge sex, no problem. Soon, they start seeing each other and Akane suddenly realises that Shiwa is already married to a girl and has a child. But since she's so in love with him, she "forgives" him for keeping this from her and they resume their somewhat secretive relationship which mostly involves frequenting seedy love hotels. However, she soon finds out that he's expecting another child which serves to only deepen her needyness and soon she finds herself constantly miserable about her second grade position in his life. If you're still interested in finding out what happens, I suggest you have the stomach necessary to read this one, so give it a go.
Story 2: Love, to become your number one.
Sayaka and Atsushi have been together since middle school and it's been five years since they've been exclusive now. They share a very healthy and happy relationship, which Sayaka fully expects will culminate into marriage at some point, when her dream is rudely interrupted by a girl working at the same bar as Atsushi. She somehow manages to seduce the reluctant Atsushi and the next morning Sayaka is greeted at his appartment by their naked togetherness. In a fit, she takes off, resolved to hate him for his indiscretion. But after a series of events, Atsushi manages to win her back, clearly stating that he can't break up with the homewrecker just yet because her family situation is a mess. But because Sayaka wants to hold onto her dream of a lovely life growing old together with this kind and generous and overly philanthropic fellow, she tries to understand his situation. It goes without saying that trying times follow and soon Sayaka must choose. A normal sane life without the ideal of first love graduating into marriage or a miserable existance never knowing just who is number one in Atsushi's life. It's interesting to see how she resolves this mess, and if you can see yourself reading after knowing so much, I would encourage you to do so, if only to see her grow a backbone at the end of it.
Story 3: The heart's self hate.
This is actually a pretty cute one about Nao and Haru who are very lovey dovey. Only Nao has a slight complex about her "outward growing" breasts and before they take that crucial step in their physical relationship, she wants to shape up for Haru feeling she owes him this much seeing as how much more experienced he is as compared to her. While I may argue with her reasons for choosing to improve/work on her body, Nao is by no means a weak heroine. She is constantly striving and isn't discouraged by failures, be it slow results or Haru's popularity among other girls. It has a nice resolution and is an OK enough read, though nothing spectacular with regards to comedy or romance.
Story 4: Second chance.
Another fun read about Auymi and Tetsuya who consumated their relationship an year ago on a rainy day, but haven'thad the opportunity to do it since because of strict parents and empty pockets. Aah a lover's dilemma. To do it in a public washroom or to skip lunch for two weeks and save up for the cheapest love hotel around! Haha, this one actually offers a good amount of comedy, by way of Tetuya's crazy dad, as well as realistic romance and manages to salvage an otherwise mediocre no premise story.
Overall the art is nothing to write home about. It's classified as smut, but don't read it just for that, because there is none. Not even a boob here or a wet kiss there. In both story 1 and 2, I feel the lead heroines seem to have lost their grip on reality and are OK with sharing their man with another woman, be it the "other" woman or as their mistress. I don't quite know what to think of such lead characters, and it's one person's story, so it can't be judged on its content, but the loathe and disdain you feel for the leads... it's intense and colours your entire reaction to the remainder of the story.
Although I like how both girls finally resolve to get out of a bad situation and how they handle it, they took an inordinate amount of suffering along the way to reach a conclusion that should have been evident from the start.
I wouldn't recommend this read to anyone but a delusional girlfriend who's in a bad situation herself to show her how it might turn out or a girl who's been in such compromising situations herself and appreciates the conflict personally. Other than that, die hard fans of the mangaka and genre may read story 3 and 5, but don't expect to be impressed. read more
15 of 28 chapters read
So as the story always goes, we have an (uncharacteristically) level headed and otherwise ordinary shoujo lead Hiyori. Her heart goes doki doki for the popular and friendly Mizuno in the next class but gosh darn it, how is she to approach him when his hoard of female fans won't let her through? Hmm, maybe his best friend who serendipitously happens to be seated next to her could help her out. However Sasamoto, accustomed to being the gentleman in waiting for Mizuno wants nothing to do with Hiyori. He's had enough of helping girls get to Sasamoto, using him as a stepping stone. But after much pleading he relents to poor ol' Hiyori's requests. And things even started going well... If by well you mean Mizuno being approached by his ex girlfriend for reconciliation just when Hiyori is about to make a play for herself and having that same ex girlfriend have a change of heart when Hiyori decides to back down. Tsk... kids today. So tempestuous!
The story seems original enough. Obviously by original I do not refer to a girl falling for a prince like character and trying to make him notice her, but the subtleties of the plot, the round about way each character's past and tenuous relationships are explored and how they determine their destinies is novel. For a drama, this story is refreshingly free of frustrating shoujo stereotypes and annoying character traits which make you want to hurl a television at the character's head.
Unpredictable plots are introduced just when the story is about to settle into a nice groove (it's a drama, it's no-one's fault!) but are handled sincerely. No turn seems outrageous or contrived and the characters make the entire situation very believable. Their are couples you root for, villains you want to throw eggs at and dashing bishies you just want to glomp.
Art is an interesting part of Yoshioka Ririko's works. While it's not particularly groundbreaking or breathtaking, it's cute enough, not overly flowery but it is impactful and original. Sure, they could keep their mouths closed a bit more, but then what would the reader whine about?! Precise characters are drawn with interesting expressions and fashionable clothes. The backgrounds and panel could have been cleaner and sometimes makes for distractions in reading, but it's not the roses and hearts and polka dots which can really be a deterrent.
Characters: Aaaah the meat and potatoes of this story. All the characters, invoke really strong reactions in even the most seasoned shoujo reader. They're quite original both in their motivations and how they handle situations. You really bawl when some particularly sad event occurs in the heroine's life or when her bishi imposes a punishment on himself for no fault of theirs, and the antagonists really make you grind your teeth together, plotting their downfall. I think that's the proof of a good story, when you immerse yourself so fully in your characters that you forget they're just figments of somebody's imagination and you wait with bated breath for someone to finally catch a break or even... GASP a happy ending! Well I'm still waiting for any happy ending, but the plot really sucks you in while retaining its freshness.
Though drama is definitely the foremost element of this story, the characters don't take themselves too seriously. There is plenty of humor and good natured joshing throughout the manga. There is also a healthy sprinkling of fun and carefree school experiences portrayed to keep the story grounded and perhaps as a break for the leads all dealing with a lot for ordinary 16 year olds!
I really enjoyed KwT. Each chapter doesn't necessarily end at a big cliffhanger, but you do feel uneasy until you know what happens next. No couple falls in love at first sight, nor do they break up over tiny misunderstandings. First kisses and sex aren't made the focal point of the entire series, though they're given adequate significance. Cliche premises are kept at bay and novel and realistic situations are explored instead. These are clearly a bunch of smart kids and you feel happy while reading this, rather than contemptuous or disdainful towards even one of them.
So would I recommend this story? Yes, if you like to invest deeply in riveting story lines. Yes, if you're not easily moved by substandard romances and are longing for something real but heart throbbing at the same time. Yes, if you want to cheer on for a girl looking to have a happy life, even if that means being single. But if you're looking for instant gratification and are quick to feel bad when anguish befalls the lead characters, then tread carefully. These kids are about to enter high school, and there's heartbreak, angst and longing around every corner! read more
Which is why I was shocked once I finished Houkago Sensei... because the story proves beyond a doubt how she has finally matured as a storyteller as well as at developing characters. Generally I found weak shoujo leads and naively besotted bishounen in her stories, where any tiny dialogue or event would cause a SHOCKED or a teary eyed response from the heroine at the drop of a hat (Yeah I'm talking about you Hotaru from Boku kara kimi...) and misunderstandings and unsaid feelings created the majority of the plot. Well no more!
This one shot briefly introduces us to a cute and level headed Sakuma who is secretly working at a bar posing as a college student, and earning good money. Well, clearly conflict needs to be introduced so under very gallant circumstances, she is saved from being pawed by an inebriated customer by Sawamura sensei. She makes a hasty exit knowing he could blow her cover and what happens later at school when he confronts her and beyond is what forms the meat and potatoes of this chaste little one shot.
Story: Not highly original to be working part time, against school rules and to be caught by either a student or a teacher, but how it's handled is definitely novel. Mostly the bishounen ends up blackmailing the shoujo somehow or asking for small sexual favours, only here the hero takes the high road and offers to help her instead. Hmm interesting. AND Sakuma isn't all choked up about it, thinking how she doesn't deserve such kindness or how he's so understanding and gentle and descended from the heavens just to be her prince charming. Small twists and unexpected plot elements lend the story credibility and avoid the general nausea associated with how quickly the leading ladies fall for just any person simply because he's male and happened to be at the right place at the right time.
Art: Aikawa Saki. Nuff said. If you're not familiar with her artwork, I would urge you to read [Zenbu Kimi no Mono] or [Secret Kiss]. The bishounen always look smexy and glomp-worthy and the shoujo's look young enough to pass for 15-17 years but clean and cute enough for modern tastes. Her panels aren't littered with flowers or annoying hearts but often have interesting and relevant backgrounds adding to the mood. As far as this particular story goes, her character's expressions have only matured and there is less loud mouthed screaming and wide eyed innocence and more sneaky laughter and shy grinning. A+ for appealing to the seasoned shoujo reader.
Characters: Without spoiling too much of the story and plot-line, both characters are highly mature for one shot shoujos, not that they're precocious or making exceptional decisions, but they think before speaking and control their reactions and behave appropriately not given to drooling at moment's notice or impulsively grabbing the other for a kiss simply because the plot calls for it. They have shades and nuances in their personalities which is often missing in one shots, and gradually develop feelings straying from the Love at first sight! cliches.
Overall this was an enjoyable read and one I would hope is considered for serialization because it was a level headed shoujo with potential for doki doki moments and kyaaa inducing romantic scenes. A must read for fans of the genre and everyone else who could use a break from frustratingly fluffy stories steeped in stereotypes. read more
The premise is interesting enough. A delinquent type Kaichou (student council president) is basically making life miserable for most of the student body but is grudgingly tolerated for practical reasons by the staff and school. Enter female foil who pulls his ego trip down a notch or two... or at the very least tries her best to. Let's see how they both handle the trials and tribulations at a high school in a violent neighborhood and an entire school at unrest with the autocratic indulgent dictator. Can their clashing personalities actually end up helping the school or will they ride into the proverbial sunset fangs bared and punches flying?
It's not a run of the mill premise, but it's not terribly original either. PUH-lenny of manhwas and romances are based on such initial plots. 'Course this discord normally ends within the first two chapters, so in this mangaka's defense, she dutifully follows her plot through till the end. Did it create something enjoyable for the reader? Not for me no. I personally didn't love how the heroine was constantly having to "understand" this moronic despot's perspective, even though her compliance clearly came after much arm twisting. Apparently by the end of the volume, she's made considerable difference in the student council but I didn't see any. Bottom line, feminist or even slightly righteous female readers will definitely develop a bit of hatred for the male lead in the first chapter which carries forward.
Art... Aah the very reason one picks up any of Tagaki-sama's works. She knows how to appeal to the next generation of shoujo lovers. She knows how to draw the smexy bishies without making them girly or butch. And their eyes! Zoowie Mama! Orgasmic truly. I don't expect a single disgruntled fan as far as the art goes. She's a whiz at her expressions (and she had a nice niche of expressions to work with here) as well as body movements. I couldn't make much out of the "action" shots, but maybe I don't have an active enough imagination for that stuff. Clean panels and interesting costumes.
Characters... Now she's tried to be original here in making her shoujo lead surprisingly strong willed, but the reader needs more than a girl screaming herself hoarse, we need to see consequent results too... Alas you'll be disappointed there. Others than the leads, both of whom are mediocre at best, four chapters don't much allow for secondary character development, but one of them is given a bit of a personality, even if it is that of a stereotypical skirt chaser.
I expected Momoko to kick ass, drag some boys around by the collar, bang down a door or two or at the very least punch (or bite!) some wrongdoer, but maybe I hoped for too much. She stays introspective and wistful at best. Whatever little internal monologue exists, is dull.
Enjoyment. If you haven't figured it out till now, YOU'RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION! I couldn't get past my hang ups of Momoko being treated like a troublesome accessory and the narcissistic kaichou not getting what he deserved (A swift kick to the gonads). But if these issues don't rank high with you, you may enjoy the occasional humor and sporadic chemistry between the leads. It's not liberally sprinkled though. Almost all the chapters follow one pattern and don't offer much in way of progression.
Overall, I recommend this to readers who don't invest emotionally in the leads, and if you're in the mood to see an obnoxious boy and his trouble making posse run amok. If you're a fan of Takagi Shigeyoshi, this title lacks her trademark tingling romance and lighthearted feel good factor. If you still insist on a fix, tread carefully. PS, I'm a romance enthusiast and perhaps the severe lack of doki doki in the story may have somewhat marred by opinion.
Oneshot: Bitter Trap
Nanao is a formerly rich well bred girl, whose family has fallen on hard times. So when a marriage proposal from a prestigious family shines a ray of hope in her father's destitute business, she's pushed into attending. But she may just have an agenda of her own to meet with Yoshito, the groom to be, as well. HINT It's not to seduce him, has nothing to do with his dashing looks but everything to do with their limited interactions at high school together.
*Rubs hands together* Looks like it has all the makings of a delicious feisty quick read.
Very well executed in the limited space provided. Surprising twists and turns keep the jaded reader going "Whoaa", while it doesn't try overly hard to be iconoclastic. The heroine has enough brains and gall to show a spoiled and distrusting kid who's boss and how she won't be pushed around! The bishie in his turn knows how to distinguish a gold digger from a koibito (sweetheart) and really creates swoon-worthy moments whenever he lets his guard down or whenever he gets truly dazzled by the heroine's charm. Which is often. Plenty of crazy scenes and one liners to impress the toughest critic, do yourself a favor and definitely read this. A+++