Sakuta loves to keep his earphones in his ears at all times because he loves to hear the world through his earphones. He especially loves the band INCEST and the singer, named IVE (pronounced eve), who is like an idol to him. One day when he visits the music shop, he gets his hands on a concert ticket for INCEST. Surprised and excited about the concert, Sakuta goes to the concert and he sees the band. He also sees IVE, who he notices is the new transfer student who transferred to his school the very same day. When their eyes meet, the music stops, and IVE stops singing. She looks into the crowd and asks the audience to make room for her to pass by. She walks down the middle of the aisle, towards Sakuta, and the next thing he notices, IVE is hugging him tightly saying, "I've wanted to meet you!" WHAT!?
**This is a heavy spoiler review, so as to clearly convey my thoughts.**
A manga about music, live performance, and, yes, incest and romance. It had an amazing buildup, decent story and enjoyable characters.
So how on Earth did the author manage to crush all of that, in one single arc, and make my score drop faster than a rock?
The story juggles the concepts of live performance, relationship struggles and incest (though this is touched on much later), along with the relationships of a separated family. We are introduced to our MC, Gotou Sakuta, who loves to listen to the world through his headphones. He has a
fascination with the indie band INCEST, and especially with the lead vocalist, EVE. Turns out that EVE is Izumi Shiori, who is actually big sister, separated 10 years ago. What follows is a story detailing Sakuta's struggle with balancing his new job as a roadie for his sister's band with his new relationship with a girl named Koshima Ayano, living with his sister, and later on, the discord within his family.
Although the initial presentation is rather cliche (with the whole big-breasted shy girlfriend, and a flirty big sister), the story develops wonderfully for the majority of the manga. It had proper character development. For example, we see not only Sakuta get braver and come out of his shell of music, but also Ayano become much more brave and daring because of her relationship with Sakuta. The author also included some great foreshadowing and red herrings to keep reader guessing.
One portion I really enjoyed about the story is the usage of lyrics in intense panels and scenes, such as chase scenes and monologues. These lyrics enhance each situation, providing some foreshadow to the significance of the scene and possible outcomes of that particular character’s actions. It was a unique and well done way to further immersion.
Overall, the majority of the story is great.
Until the ending arc, where everything goes insane and nothing makes sense. We'll get to that part later.
Top notch. Each scene was treated with care, even those chibi scenes. Art is clean, and smooth. I couldn’t see any signs of rushing. Some of the best scenes include the concert portions, where the heavy ink weight and style really bring out the energy of a rock concert. Facial expression of characters were spot on and matched the situation well.
Now you may be wondering why the score for this is so low, even as I praise the characters. Once again the ending is at fault, and THAT can of worms is further down.
Most of the characters are enjoyable, with a few exceptions. One of the most glaring faults is the band members. They never got any real development, and are simply there to provide some comedy relief, except for Nakama Hibiki. She symbolizes the burnout of an activity, She is also key in driving the plot at times.
Besides the band members, the cast is very colorful and lively.
Goto Sakuta- Our main protagonist. He emits a very lonely aura, and prefers to be alone, listening to his music. His lonely demeanor is a result of him getting separated from his sister 10 years ago due to a divorce, causing him to be scared of people leaving him when they are close. He’s one of the better protagonists out there, as he doesn’t waste time with misunderstandings and typical shounen inferiority complexes. He takes the initiative, as seen when he gets his girlfriend early on. The many sex scenes he is featured in also help to flesh out his character. The way his character is built, and the way he deals with situations, is realistic and, most importantly, his actions all have clear and human motives. Not once was I cringing from any of his actions.
Izumi Shiori- One of our main heroines and older sister to Sakuta, she follows the “flirty big-sister” trope, but does have some unique deviations. Sis always bright and bubbly, which masks the burdens she holds and her longing for her brother Sakuta. She deeply cares for him, resulting in romantic feelings for him. She shows her feelings very clearly, though gets very embarrassed when things get steamy. As such, she does follow the standard incest character guidelines (Super close ups with Sakuta, heavy flirting disguised as brother-sister love, getting in bed with him, etc), but a difference I feel that makes her slightly unique is the reasons why she feels like so. He was her only comfort during their parent’s difficult times, close to a point where they even kissed. Her fear of dark and cramped spaces also goes back to Sakuta, when he found her at the bottom of the well, rescuing her, and kissing her to ease her fears. In all honesty, she doesn’t really “develop” per say, but that’s perfectly fine, because her established character wouldn’t really benefit from more development anyway.
Koshima Ayano- The second heroine, and one of the most tragically bad partly because of her character, but also in large part due to the author’s writing. She starts off as a typical big-breasted, shy glasses girl, which is every guys’ dream. One of the parts that always bothered me is how her love for Sakuya never made much sense. It kinda just was. One moment he bumps into her and manages to grab her breasts, next he accidentally sees her panties and grabs her bra. Somehow along the way, she falls in love with him. However, the slight character development we see does somewhat make up for that. Because of her relationship with Sakuya, she becomes visibly braver. But, the coincidence that she was actually a pervert underneath, as shown by her constant sex scenes, is another one of those things that just seemed too convenient. That part can be overlooked, however, as those same sex scenes help contribute to both Sakuta’s and her’s development. So what’s so tragic? See at the end.
There are others, such as Ami, the little loli girl for some fan service, and Asaki Yukinari, but these play a rather minor role in the grand scheme of things. Each character does their part, though there are some bland ones.
Now for the best part: The end, and where this whole thing falls apart. The manga had been doing a pretty good job with character development, and overall plot progression. Then it seemed that the author ran out of ideas or something, because the last arc seemed to completely out of the blue.
****** MAJOR SPOILERS AGAIN******
Near the end, Sakuta and Shiroi get the news that their hospitalized mother can finally be brought home for their care. They are overjoyed, and it seemed like this seemed like a perfect way to intensify things right?
Nope. Instead, seconds later, we get the news that his mother had wandered outside and gotten ran over. Just like that. I was blown away. It made no sense to kill off the mother, much less anyone. It seemed like she was nothing more than just a plot device to get the plot rolling. That was warning sign number 1.
The second warning sign came in the form of the transformation of the send heroine, Ayano, into a psychopathic, possessive yandere. It’s pretty insane, because there was no indication that she was so for the last 30 or so chapters. Just like the mother, it was another plot device to spice things up, without adding any depth or consideration of any buildup that the story had. One can argue that her constant “I love you’s” and her constant messaging are signs, but aren’t those normal things for a new couple dating? That’s a really thin and flimsy groundwork for the transformation, and even then, it was only overblown near the end.
Following that is the discovery that the reason that he doesn’t remember any of the nostalgic memories that she has is that, somehow, he locked away his desires for her. How in the world do you forget that? Unless it was some sort of deep trauma, I doubt that someone can forget the memories of someone they loved, especially when they are separated. Although to be frank, even as I hated it, I found it pretty cute. The flashbacks of them together were adorable.
And then the final chapters. With the promise of eternally taking care of his sister, Sakuta takes Shiori away from the live performance stage, where she was struck with stage-fright. They run away. Sakuta finally gives in and sleeps with his sisters and romantic partners, only for Ayano to come and stab Sakuta. Time skip. And then we see that Shiori is now playing music for an old senior hoise. Ayano is in therapy instead of jail, and Sakuta is now on a rock tour somewhere. It made absolutely no sense at all. Random thing after random thing kept happening. I was outraged. I had been enjoying everything up until the mother’s plot death. Everything went downhill from there.
Not to say that the ending arc didn’t have tis good moments. For example, the display of Shiori and her dependency on Sakuta when their mother passed away was a nice touch, referencing back to the times where he was the one comforting her. Hibiki playing a key part in helping the siblings move forward. But all that is not enough to make up for how the author trashed the rest of the story, just so that he can have this ending. It seemed like shoe-horning everything in so that Sakuta and Shiori would end up together, almost like the author desired that pairing to the point of degrading the story.
Yes, this manga was very enjoyable. So much that it hurt. Sakuta was a breath of fresh air from those indecisive shounen MC’s. Excellent characters and a decent story, coupled with some nice art, was able to make a fairly cliché presentation into something interesting. However, this enjoyment was absolutely killed with the last arc. For long moments, I would just think to myself, “Why was I wasting my time with this?” That high enjoyment dropped like a rock off a cliff.
It’s not even that I don’t like the ending. I look at things in a very objective way, so even if the ending was not what I wanted, that doesn’t mean a low score. However, when dumb plot devices and cuveballs are thrown at the story, that’s when there’s a problem. You just can’t do that. It just makes no sense to dump what was before into the trash.
Do I recommend it? Yes. As bad as the last arc was, I can’t deny that the early parts were highly enjoyable, and I can’t deny that I was immersed in the story for a long time. Just prepare for the ending.
This manga is really a great piece of work. The story started off by revealing to you the relationship between the protagonist and his favourite lead singer. However, don't be fooled by the initial plain introduction as you will soon be absorbed into the story as it progressed further down the later chapters.
It has a great mix of emotions and at times, you will really feel for the character, for better or for worse. Each of the characters were thoroughly introduced, thus giving you a sense of attachment to the characters. The artwork of the manga is also superb. Rarely
do I come across artwork of this magnitude. It is easily on par with Sun Ken Rock (another highly recommended manga) and GTO (one of my all time favourites).
Overall the enjoyment was really really pleasant. If you have not started reading it, you should. It really leaves you craving for more but not to the extent of leaving you hanging. I cannot wait for the anime adaptation to come out.
I loved reading this manga, especially as a fan of J-pop/rock music. The chapter are based after songs from artists like Asian Kung-Fu Generation, Bump of Chicken, and various other artist. Plus, they have inserts from the song so if you choose to play the song with the insert it really conveys the tone and emotion to the reader. Shying away from spoilers, I thought some relationships in this manga kinda were weird and I know some may not be ok with it, but if you can look passed it you'll see how wonderful this manga really is.
- It turns into the opposite of what the ealier chapters make out
- It was canceled and thus has a rushed ending - very wishy washy
- The later chapters become increasingly dark
- Character motivations are not constucted well
- speech bubbles do not have arrows, so can be confusing
The main thing to note with this series is it contatains two different manga, with two different genres. The first 15 or so chapters start out with a relativly easy going tone, traditional harem ecchi story telling with a single flash of breasts. The wrighting is not
amazing but its a fun little jaunt. notable genres include; ecchi, romance, slice of life
Its at this point the writing switches gears and begins turns into a full fleged adult manga with serious tones, you will understand when this happens. No more tropes, it just keeps the convinent plot points (miss understanding, miss timings etc).
The story and plot are reasonable and intresting, however the manga does not adhear to the established personalities of the characters. As such the decisions and plot points come across as forced and out of character. Thus leaving you with the sensation that everything just dosen't feel quite right. When you couple this with the crazy tone swiches the manga becomes less than enjoyable.
The worst thing is the manga has you expect and nice happy experience only to take it away quite suddenly.