Coy and self-conscious high school student Karin Karino never paid much attention to boys until she met Kiriya, a popular student from a nearby boys' school. Karin and Kiriya embark on a romantic journey despite Karin's classmate Yuka's best efforts to sabotage their relationship, but Karin soon learns that living happily ever after isn't on the curriculum when she becomes Kiriya's center of attention, as well as embittered Yuka's bull's-eye on her dartboard of hate.
(Source: VIZ Media)
Volume 10: Kiriya at 13 (Spring)
Kare First Love is just another shoujo manga. I feel that while it does discuss topics that not many other manga do, I also feel that its lackluster leads drag the story down somewhat.
Story: I feel that the story is about average. It does discuss topics like dating older men and teen pregnancy and overbearing parents, and the characters play their parts well. I do feel that the story somewhat reaches a plateau for a little while in the middle. But overall it is a good story.
The real trouble I had with this series is the characters. The two leads are not compelling at
all. Karin, our female protagonist changes very little from the beginning to the end of the work. As for the male protagonist, you hate him or love him. There is not real depth to them. I found the side characters to shine more, especially the character Nanri. Miyasaki-sensei put in so many shades to her character and really made her dynamic.
In short, read it if you are waiting for the release of something else, or if you're looking for something to do. Otherwise it's not really worth too much effort.
This was one of the manga's I read while in high school. I came back to it about 7 years later and enjoyed it just as much. It's a cute story and the fact that the relationship between the characters flourishes the way it does, warms my heart. It hit a lot of the pressure points most girls have when it comes to strict families and upbringing to start understanding that it's okay to have a boyfriend. Also stresses a good part about how she deals with a teenage boys libido with the way she is. The insecurities and all make it very real. It
felt like a touch of slice-of-life but not as "depressive-ness" I guess?
I also love the guy's point of view where it's not all about the girl. He also has a life of his own and he's pursuing that. He's ambitious and passionate about his photography which really adds to the story.
This manga may seem as though it's one of the typical makeover stories but it's not; sure enough, the protagonist wears glasses and turns out to be a really attractive girl, but issues such as family, first time sex experiences, and other issues such as first love experiences all occur in this manga.
I wouldn't call it a short series or long one, but just about readable! I thoroughly enjoyed it. This manga was sentimental, there were funny parts too, but definitely a touching manga for those who are into shojou and romance!
Also, photography plays quite a main role in this manga, but it doesn't
discuss anything about specific techniques whatsoever. More importantly, the main character (the girl) renews the main character's (boy) passion for photography once again after a tragic incident in his past which prevented him from taking photography seriously.
Maybe I've grown old and cranky and don't feel as sentimental and "moe" as I should, but a spineless character always having glassy eyes, crying at the drop of a hat and constantly needing assurance, pulling the damsel in distress, fixated with her boyfriend act really annoyed me in this one.
On the plus side, the male lead is portrayed quite realistically, albeit a little too affectionate and obsessed, hehe though I suppose that's what shoujo is all about. Also the mangaka has clearly considered almost every dilemna and heartwrenching issue that adolescents are faced with and has dealt with each such situation very maturely,
so yes, for the right age group, I'm sure this story will hold much appeal and fascination. The humor and subsequent facial expressions, chibi versions and dialogues at many points made me unexpectedly laugh out loud, which is always a bonus.
There are plenty of intimate and touching scenes drawn very sweetly and appropriately, but sometimes, you just want to see what's happening from a different angle or perspective. The close ups for Aoi (who after one year into the relationship is still called by his surname by Karin!) are disarmingly ethereal, as are Karin's.
However, my main gripe with this otherwise well made story is the two leads' first kiss. I don't know if that can ever happen in even manga universe, but it was a little far fetched for me. I suppose it was essential to character development though, and made the story all the more charming.