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.
3D kanojo was a series that had me excited from seeing the first few episodes of the anime,with an initial impression of a budding romance between two young high schoolers that would develop into something different from many of the other romance manga. Sadly, that was not meant to be.
Between hashed over cliches that only served to introduce mostly useless characters that the story could've have done without, you have a couple that you actually want to root for. Tsutsui and Iroha were people that were interesting to learn about, albeit sometimes frustrating to watch over. However, finding their sections after
about the first 20 chapters was an absolute chore. Eventually they get over their obstacles in a sudden end that makes you happy but questioning why the author ever decided to even mention this point in the story and personally makes me wonder if the series got the axe.
The most upsetting part however, would be the development of the side characters. In a story where the characters decide the tempo, many of the characters are just hashed over stereotypes that seem rushed, barely planned out and shoved together to make "cute" couples. The only side pairing that i could actually stomach never ended being together for no clear reason despite having entire arcs dedicated to developing the close relationship between each other. Having spent 46 chapters seeing these two, who I won't name for spoiler reasons, but becomes very obvious once you read the manga, the author decides in the last two chapters to take all that progress and burn it down, providing reason at all as to why they separated.
All in all, its a series that lures you in with the first few volumes, and has some decent characters that are held back by petty side characters and overwashed cliches. However, by the seventh volume of the series, you're left questioning why the author made some decisions. By the eigth volume you're skipping sections about characters you don't care about to find the ones you do, and by ninth volume you're wondering if the series is done and what the hell happened to half the cast, questioning why you ever picked it up in the fist place.
Maybe my opinion is biased from the fact that I had such high hopes for it based on what I saw in the anime, but having read the entire series in one night I can say that I haven't been as disappointed in a series as I am in 3D Kanojo.
I came to read this manga because I had watched the anime and I wanted to know how it was gonna finish. To be honest I had no expectations since I found the anime pretty bad.
The first part of the manga is exactly the same as the anime, so I was pretty disappointed about that (I was hoping that maybe they had only done a bad adaptation but no).
Luckily, this disappointment disappeared after I read the whole manga.
Just to make you know, this manga has clearly not the idea of showing you the life of an otaku. The author probably wanted to make a protagonist
that is weak and bullied, and the fact that he is an otaku is an « excuse » for justifying him getting bullied.
It’s so incredible how my opinion changed just by reading the other half of the manga.
I was really disappointed in the first half because everything seemed to be “fake” or rushed. Tsutsui’s family and friend were almost all detestable. His family was a shitty family with a mother who doesn’t even trust and help his son when he his called lolicon, he has a brother who trashtalk him 24/24 even though Tsutsui is always here for him. Not to forget two of his friends, Takanashi and Ishino... How can he even call them “friends” when Ishino stopped speaking to him for a rumor and when Takanashi tried to destroy his whole life just because he wanted Iroha for him.
And the author shows us Iroha as a bitch that goes out with everyone just because she’s cute...
I think I’m not gonna talk about Tsutsui’s best friend that wears fucking cat ears at school... At this point it’s really parodic of what an otaku is.
On addition, Tsutsui is way too weak as a protagonist. I know that it’s what the author wanted but I didn’t enjoyed watching Tsutsui getting bullied 24/24 without reacting or trying to justify himself, all that because « I don’t need anyone but my friends and I deserve that because I’m an otaku ». That’s not a good protagonist mentality and it doesn’t make me want to read a manga like that. (Well finally I read it so I have no word)
There’s another thing that I have to talk about. The relation between Tsutsui and Iroha is a huge problem since we don’t really know why they are going out... I mean, the author gives us some shitty reason but it’s way too light to begin a romance between two characters, and it feels really rushed. Because of that, their whole relation is based on something that we don’t really understand and everything seems pretty « fake » between them like I said before.
By the way the manga in the early chapters is not well drawn... it’s better later, but there are still some issues in the drawing, since sometimes, we can’t really recognize the differents characters that appears because their chara-design and drawing style is too similar.
There’s another thing that I didn’t like... it’s the fact that some emotions are less drawn. The characters aren’t blushing a lot and sometimes the relationships seems really bland. When I read a romance manga I like to see the emotions on the drawing and knowing that their heart is going « doki-doki ». Even the faces aren’t really expressives.
So... finally... what is the difference between the first part and the second part ? What made me change my mind ?
Well, I would say, pretty everything.
First of all, everything is less rushed and the relationships are developed, there’s an arc for every couple. It’s really cute to see how they end up together and the relation between Tsutsui, his friends and his family is more developed too, so everything seems less fake. That’s still not perfect but it became enjoyable to read even though Tsutsui is still a victim.
There’s still some problems like Tsutsui’s brother or Takanashi that continues to trashtalk him from behind but it’s way better than in the early part of the manga and we come to like the differents the characters.
At this point the relation between Iroha and Tsutsui is still pretty weird but it’s a bit better.
Then, there’s the ending, and this is were you are happy to have read so far.
The romance between Iroha and Tsutsui is developed and it’s really cute. It doesn’t seem fake anymore and we see Iroha in a different way too. She becomes really lovable.
*Now I will spoil a lot so don’t read if you haven’t read the manga yet, the spoiler end before the end*
When it is told that Iroha has only one month left, there’s a huge jump in the relation of the two protagonist but I found it really well made, and it really moved me when Iroha had to say goodbye.
Then, there’s the time skip of seven years, at this point, it gave me the exact same feeling as the anime « Kimi no nawa ». This feeling of the two lover not being able to see each other. At the beginning I thought that this manga was gonna be like « Your lie in April » but finally it took another way, and that’s really good.
Honestly I found the ending beautiful, seeing how the relationships ended up after seven years, seeing Iroha and Tsutsui meeting each other again. Everything is concluded and there is nothing more that we can ask from the manga. The author has done what he had to do and concluded everything. Now, if we want more, all we have is our imagination :)
*End of the spoil*
To conclude, I loved this manga despite every relationships were bad introduced. The author improved his manga while its publication and he made it so good that at the end we don’t really care if the relations were bad introduced.
If you have only watched the anime, honestly, read the manga because it was really a beautiful story.
So we have 3D Kanojo-Real Girl . What seems to be another typical shoujo manga (which it kinda is) does indeed do some things a lot better than others.
The story is character based and revolves around a third year high schooler boy otaku who is , well your typical otaku he does all night anime watching , reads lots of manga , plays lot's of games and so on.
And his counterpart is a strange and beautiful girl who somehow comes to like him.
Since I don't wanna spoil anything that's all the story you get but keep in mind that the ending seems a
bit rushed and out of place to some extent and might leave you unsatisfied but the first 20 chapters at the very least are really good.
The best thing about the manga is it's art. To be honest I was really impressed by the quality of it the only thing annoying me is that many side characters esp girls were drawn really alike and you could get confused at times other than that it has a really good pencil based art which is easy to get used to and enjoy.
The characters are really well done as well. Not only the MCs but also the side characters were really put together with though which were amazing at times.
Overall I'd recommend this to shoujo lovers and between this and the anime I prefer the manga myself since it feels more relaxed than the rushed adaptation in the anime.