Tsutsui Hikari is an otaku, and he mostly avoids social life. Hikari has only one friend at school, who is also a social misfit, and he is mocked brutally by most of his classmates for being creepy and weird. One day, he ends up having to clean the school pool with Igarashi Iroha, who appears to be pretty much everything he hates in real-life girls. She skips school, has a blunt manner, doesn't have female friends, and seems the sort to be promiscuous. However, she is friendly to Hikari, and even stands up to the people who make fun of him. Hikari's bitterness and trust issues lead him to say pretty harsh things to Iroha, but she never dismisses him as creepy. After a while, it starts to look like Iroha may become his first real-life, 3D girlfriend! Will he be able to handle it?
When it comes to romance stories, authors often opt for a plot-driven story instead of a character-driven one. What this often leads to is the creation of fairly forgettable and shallow characters with personalities that don't spread out in a more human fashion. This is especially true for high-school romance dramas.
However, people often forget that what works best for a romance drama is a character-driven story. Without going much into the depth of the internal conflicts of a character, it is easy to not find emotions to attach to a character. And this is a very essential device that an author must use
to capture the reader's attention as much as they can for such a genre.
There are many examples of manga which have the same shallow characters that feel like they were developed off of a checklist that someone prescribed. That's never a bad thing to do, if one has a plot that can make use of those traits memorably.
Then there are proper character driven stories that take the time to show us what's going on in the heads of the main characters. Mangaka like Umino Chika and Oshimi Shuzo excel in telling such stories. But comparing their excellence here won't be all that meaningful, mainly because of the major difference in the core genre.
At the core, Real Girl aka 3D Kanojo, is a high-school romance story. And there's probably a million of them, right? That's true. Even the premise of the story about two people, quite opposite in terms of personalities, is not unheard of.
What makes Real Girl different and memorable is that the author took the time to establish each of the characters as being something that is not quite understandable upon first glance. Every aspect of the manga shows us the internal conflicts of the characters in question. It shows us that, just like most of us would in real life, these characters printed on paper also have to sort through all their feelings to come up with decisions that don't necessarily give a definite answer to a question. It shows that that feelings are more complex than a girl and a guy fawning over each other. It shows that the change that people go through in their lifetime are often because of the influence of others. This extends to all the major characters, and not just the protagonists.
And that is what's so good about this high-school romance story. Even though it appears to be the same as many others, there's obviously something more complex going on underneath that makes it different. That is the idea that the entire story is based around. Sure, like any other story, there are moments that shine bright and there are moments that often turn you away, but all in all, it's a story well done.
Being a character-driven story, the story itself progresses with the characters themselves and as such, often shows quite some variation in tonality as it progresses, depending on the emotional conflict that the characters themselves are going through.
The art isn't exceptionally commendable. There's plenty of faults, especially when it comes to showcasing facial expressions. But it's well enough to easily discern the most important characters in the story.
For a high-school romance story that came from a shoujo magazine, Real Girl is truly a memorable experience that doesn't fail to tell a heartwarming love story about two very different people and how they adapt to the time they have together.
I wonder why there are no reviews for such a good manga as 3d Kanojo. I am actually not really good at writing reviews, but this manga deserves one, even if it is a short one.
The story starts by presenting tsutsui, a gloomy otaku who happens to hate 3d girls (real girls, if you are not familiar with the concept) and he himself is despised by the girls around him and classmates in general. But Tsutsui's life changes when he encounters Iroha, a beauty with a seemingly bad temper.
I am not totally sure about how original the plot is, but I have
never read another manga with this kind of argument. So, it is pretty original for me, and that is the first thing I liked about this story. However, the thing I love the most about 3D Kanojo is the character development, the two main characters grow amazingly throughout the story, especially Tsutsui.
Tsutsui starts growing as an off-line person (as he said it himself) when he is approached by Iroha and eventually starts dating her. Which makes me think that it is truly amazing how one person can change another person's life. Due to his low self-esteem, Tsutsui doesn't trust Irohara's motives to go out with him. Furthermore, he can't believe that a girl like her would fall for a creep like him. And that is what makes this manga so good, the author managed to convey the character's feeling perfectly. The reader can feel that Tsutsui is scared of being loved. Moreover, he is terrified by the idea. However, when Tsutsui decides that he won't let go of that girl, and that he will do his best to show is feeling towards her is when the real story begins.
Iroha is also an amazing character, but I won't say much about her because she is a real mystery at the beginning of the manga. All you have to know is that despite her appearance and bad temper, she has a good heart.
Another point worth mentioning is that there is a lot of humor in this manga, especially when tsutsui starts comparing real life events to animes, mangas or video games. He even tries to understand girls through otome games; that is hilarious.
In short, 3D Kanojo is a refreshing story that teaches great lessons about friendship, love and more. It also deals with the topic of prejudice, which is a good thing for me. Furthermore, if you are kind of otaku you will definitely enjoy all the remarks tsutsui makes about anime and stuff.