Popular high school student Suwa Daisuke has no interest in dating newcomer Aikawa Hinako, a quiet loner. That's because she recoiled from his flirtatious touch, and he took it as a personal affront. Daisuke informs one of his buddies that he wouldn't date her, not knowing Hinako was listening. Daisuke's attitude changes after he accidentally hears her confession in an abandoned church; she's been sexually abused by her stepfather and has given up a child for adoption. His former annoyance turns to compassion and concern. Hinako is unaware that he knows her terrible secret. Believing him to have no romantic interest, she becomes more relaxed and comfortable in his company. Their relationship faces a lot of obstacles, including jealous classmates.
Bitter Virgin is a surprisingly mature, beautiful and dark story with a strange and misleading title. When I first saw the title of Bitter Virgin, I figured it was yet another mediocre Ecchi/Comedy that would feature some girl with overly sized breast to the point their unattractive embracing random men as their heads go into the breast. Classic joke isn't it? Of course thinking that, I decided to ignore the series, and wasn't even looking for a new series at the time, focusing on the things I was already reading. I heard it's name thrown around a couple of times afterwards, and finally looked at
it. I was surprised to see that ecchi and comedy weren't even on the list, and instead it was a dramatic romance story. Though I couldn't help of thinking of NANA and how it portrayed the dramatic live of sluts (okay, okay, people who jumped from boyfriend to boyfriend and dreamed of having sex with various people) and got acclaimed (never liked sluts), I once again passed it. Today I decided to give it a chance, and it started off something like how I pictured it, the main character Suwa being a womanizer, attractive women chasing after him, and things similar, despite being done in a serious way. However things take a complete turn when Suwa is relaxing in a church that he spread rumors of being haunted, and hides when someone enters, thinking it may be one of the girls he just got away from. However he is surprised when it was the classmate, Hinako, that he tried to hit on only to have her run away. He pretends to be a priest, but ends up getting a confession, and a shocking one at that. Not just Suwa, I was pretty surprised at how serious the sudden plot twist was, and it didn't take long to realize how the story was going to be, a sad romance about overcoming the past, or something like that. Bitter Virgin is a misleading masterpiece, with a mostly dark but beautiful and hopeful story, with a great message.
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.
“If this were a nightmare, then this is the part when I would open my eyes.”
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.
I have to admit, I've only just started reading this manga, and this is my first review.
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.
Bitter Virgin is a really compelling Shoujo/Seinen, Slice of Life, Romance, Drama with a story that will blow you away. This manga deals with the terrible sorrows in life, so it’s definitely not for the fainthearted.
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.