In company-owned rabbit-hutch apartments live tenants who can't afford to live anywhere else, and the apartment complex in which high-school girl Hatsumi Narita lives is ruled over by the rumor mongering, self-righteous Mrs. Tachibana. Get on Tachibana's bad side, and life becomes hell. When Hatsumi has to buy a pregnancy test because her popular sister Akane is late, Mrs. Tachibana's son, Ryoki, who used to bully Hatsumi as a kid, promises not to tell the world about Hatsumi's secret, only if she becomes his slave. Suddenly Azusa, Hatsumi's protector in their youth, reappears to save her again! He's moving back into the neighborhood! Despite the budding romance between Hatsumi and Azusa, Ryoki has control over her through the secret that could ruin the lives of everyone in Hatsumi's family, and he hasn't forgotten who his slave is!
I don't usually write reviews, but I thought I would for this. The story is not particularly original centering on a blackmail master-slave relationship that turns into something more. Very cliche in the shojo manga industry. Unrealistically stereotypical characters abounded
The thing that really bothered me was the main character being molested on several occasions, and almost gang-raped by her boyfriend's clique (on his orders) and not contacting any authorities or anything (and staying friends with these people). It was very disturbing that the main character was such a dolt- not a very good self-image for young girls who read this. She also definately chose the
wrong guy to fall in love with-her main crush was a total jerk and treated her with nothing but disrespect and forced her to choose between him and everything else she loved on several occasions (while on other occasions verbally, physically or borderline sexually abusing her). She went along with his increasingly absurd demands even though his only goal seemed to be to sleep with her (on a couple occasions some semblance of humanity on his part showed through but these were usually a guise to get to his ultimate goal). The side story romance between the main character's sister and her childhood guy-friend was more interesting and realistic than the main story. Also, I disapproved of her ultimate guy-choice at the end. In conclusion, this is a poorly written review for a poorly written manga.
After picking up this manga, I thought the beginning was very interesting but as the story was unfolding, it took a long time to develop which was a little bit unnerving. Even though it was slow in progression, the plot twists did make me feel caught up in the story and was able to keep me reading until the very last chapter. If you like mystery, there's a little bit of that thrown in too. There's also very "adult" themes like sex in it but it does not take up more than 5% of the manga.
I liked this manga because it was very unique
in its storyline. It used realistic aspects that parodied the dangers of romance [heartbreak, betrayal, etc.] and the importance of family. The climax of the plot was worth reading cause it was definitely something I did not expect. [When you begin to think that 'oh that's the story' and relax, you soon realize it ends up becoming a beginning to another twist]
I really also liked how Aihara Miki develops each character so you feel a strong attachment/emotion to them when 'its their time to shine' and you don't forget their importance afterwards if they don't come back for a few chapters. The art for it is really well done and the dialogue is good too.
It also delves into many issues that are very serious so it would be hard to understand the circumstances going on in the manga if the reader is not in high school yet.
What I didn't like was how the main character, Hatsumi, acts. [if you are really a feminist, then this might not be the right thing for you ^^;] This manga is particularly long and if you can deal with her constantly being confused by what she wants, having very little self-confidence, or acting submissive all the time, then maybe you can make it all the way to the end of the series. It was very annoying to deal with this aspect but it causes you to focus more on the guys in the storyline and their feelings/actions and the plot itself.
***Overall, if you can stand her, its a really good read. There will be moments that will make you mad, sad, disgusted or feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Although, I personally wasn't happy with the ending but maybe you might be. If you are looking for something with depth, then this is the manga for you. =]
Alright...First of all, who would you choose?
The asshole who made you his slave and is just generally a horrible person, the asshole who tried to rape you for revenge but, just for the record, it was a total misunderstanding and he's sorry, or the really nice and caring guy..... who just so happens to be your (NOT REALLY) brother.
Hatsumi made the wrong choice. She chose to stay in this situation.
Maybe it's a cultural difference... I mean, I get that women are generally not as respected as men, especially in Japan. But the main character of this manga is a total pushover. How did she
fall for Ryoki in the first place? She admitted (even when she was supposedly in love with him) that she was afraid of him. But she never stands up for herself or fights back... she just lets everyone treat her like shit.
And the whole deal with her brother being in love with her, that is such a cop out in so many series. They're not REALLY related. So it's okay! But no. It is not. She grew up believing he was her brother, so he will remain her brother. If your brother confessed his love to you what would you do? YOU'D BE CREEPED-THE FUCK- OUT.
In all honesty, there was a part of me that ate this shit up. I wouldn't have finished it if I totally hated it. I wanted Ryoki to change or Hatsumi to grow some balls and punch him in the face. But in the end, neither or those things happened. Ryoki is still a disrespectful asshole, Hatsumi is still a dumb bitch and everyone is ok with that. Even her now celibate brother. I mean, really? Wtf.
I don't have much to say about Azusa... he has issues that he projects on to other people... and he's an asshole.
Hot Gimmick.... you're what makes me say "What the fuck, Japan?" (Along with many other, much worse, things)
This will be my first review. I chose Hot Gimmick because it's the least enjoyable manga I've read so I feel like it needs my critique the most.
I think some people might find my scoring a little harsh, but I think my ratings fairly illustrate my feelings toward this manga. There's a simple reason why I stuck with it all the way instead of adding it to my dropped list and it's because I'm not a quitter.
There isn't single scrap of originality to the story. Really the only good thing it has going for it is the perverse way the reader can't
help but continue reading. It's just your basic love triangle (actually it's more like a reverse harem). By the end of the short series, you don't really get the feeling that the characters matured any and it definitely did not leave me wanting more. I was actually very happy to say good riddance because the plot development was pushing non-existent once I easily figured out all the predictable "twists".
The volume covers are misleading, in my opinion. When you look at the colored chapter images you get a completely different feeling than when you look at the sloppy, chicken-scratch art in the actual chapters. There are times when the art is stereotypical shoujo with big eyes and lots of sparkle (which is fine, I guess) but most of the time (and especially when the characters are shown from a profile view) the art is empty and the characters are ugly. I also hate when manga-ka get lazy and use photo manips for background images instead of drawing it, and manips are used far too often in Hot Gimmick.
The only thing keeping this from being a 3 or a 2 is Shinogu. Even he was lame, cheesy, and his ending was predictable and laughable, but at least he was likable throughout the entire series. I would say my biggest problem with characterizations would be Hatsumi and Ryoki's relationship with each other. *Possible spoilers*
Ryoki was constantly mentally, physically, and sexually abusive to Hatsumi. Hatsumi had the lowest sense of self-worth out of any character I've ever read about. She was a terrible shoujo heroine and I was kind of rooting for her to suffer because anyone that dumb deserves it. I hated Ryoki. Everything about him was disgusting and cruel, which means I hated Hatsumi even more. Weak-willed protagonists are my least favorite things. They were terrible characters.
I'm being generous. And the only reason it's this high is because I had some kind of weird, morbid fascination that allowed me to finish the series in a relatively short amount of time (a couple of days) rather than tortuously dragging it out.
I would not recommend this manga to anyone unless you like weak-willed female protagonists who passively tolerate abuse.