High school student Youta Moteuchi is so unpopular that his classmates have given him the nickname "Dateless." So it's no surprise when the love of his life, Moemi, is not interested in Youta but instead is in love with Youta's best friend, Takashi. Youta turns to a video rental shop for comfort, but little did he suspect that the shop was magical and that the cute girl on his rented tape would pop out of the television and try to fix his ruined love life!
Video Girl Ai was written by the mangaka that did I"S. This threw up all sorts of red flags, because I"S was really, really, really bad. This made me all the more surprised when VGA turned out to be great.
For starters, it's probably the only shonen romance I've ever read where I got the impression who the main character was going to end up with was really, truly up in the air. Hell, for a couple of short blinks, the "Main Character X Nobody" pairing was up for grabs.
The plot in itself is kind of generic, but that can be forgiven because the plot actually moves. Things happen. Relationships change. And they stay changed. "I want to go back" is the exception, rather than the rule. This is the most important thing that makes VGA good and almost all other shonen romance bad. There is nothing worse than a romance story that just spins its wheels, and thankfully that never happens with this series.
The characters are great. I bought all of them as human beings (except Takashi. I don't know what the hell was up with him) and once their personalities were drawn out, they acted in character. It makes some of the fairly generic events that happen have real impact, since you can actually thing of them as people.
There was only two characters where I was truly unsatisfied with how that character was dealt with. Considering the genre, that's actually kind of amazing.
In closing, VGA is shonen romance done correctly. You're doing yourself a disservice if you're a fan of the genre and haven't read this.read more
Video Girl Ai is one of the best manga I have ever read and I would highly recommend it to all readers interested in a sweet, passionate and sincere story. I have cried so many times while reading this manga and I have been moved by its characters. I still re-read some chapters of the manga once in a while and the story narrated has a special place in my heart.
In particular, I love reading the final pages of the manga. I am not going to spoil anything, but those pages truly shaped the way I feel about love.
"Video Girl Ai" is an interesting romantic/sci-fi manga in the style of Pinocchio. It's sort of every pubescent guy's fantasy: Striking out in the romance department? Taking comfort in the rental of a pornographic video? Wouldn't it be great if the chick in the video came out of the TV to assist you in finding love?! Well, that's what happens here.
Quirkiness and angst ensue amidst a story of love triangles, magic video tapes, (Google that if you must), and what it means to be human. Is it flesh and blood or genuine emotion that make us what we are? The story itself is the standard boy likes girl, girl likes boy's best friend, boy gets help from a chick who pops out of a TV screen. None of the main characters are that memorable. All are very likeable but have their flaws. There is a decent supporting cast to go with them. It's not really the characters that make this manga good, it's the journey they go on.
The story gives us a lot of soap opera-esque scenarios of "Who is going to end up with who
?" and "How will this romance play out?" but when everything was said and done, I left pretty happy and rather satisfied by the conclusion. The artwork does well in it's story telling and once again that's what it's about. The story. It's a refreshing re-hash of some old concepts and an enjoyable read. Heads up. There is some sexuality and nudity. Nothing tasteless. If you're in the mood for some mildly adult themed comedy romance drama, give it a read. Cheers! read more
Story and Characters:
Video Girl Ai is one of biggest wastes of time i had with any manga, it fails at first for having a too stupid concept to be taken seriously and it tries to be serious about the delivery, besides going around and around with the same ideal until the writer decides to give a climax/denouement and a resolution to the story.
The premise is simply enough "a young boy has problems in love, find a mystical shop with a item that may help him in his struggles and discover that he might not know what love is" is a very simple story in the beginning, we have a introduction to each character and some good conflict most of the times (mostly because of misunderstandings, a plot device that is pretty used in the story) until the story becomes mostly a harem but with a romantic-drama vibe and this is when the series repeats itself, for example if you watched/read anything with harem you get a main-character that is probably dense and a cast of girls that likes him for no reason and that's what you get here.
The concepts presented like the video-store itself is ludicrous, a video-tape that can bring a person to life when is played on a VHS player? A "video-girl" that has lightning powers for no reason (and no explanation)? A villain that has gadgets and supernatural power for every convenient plot point? That's when my suspension of disbelief is no longer in effect.
I see that the mangaka himself had even problems with continuity in respect to the mysterious characters of the video-store and the degree of their powers, i asked myself why is he even doing this? Why did he open the store for pure hearts boys if he don't believe in "love" or the concept of being "pure"? he could just kill these people, a interesting thing about the "main villain" he's only around when the plot needs him to build a dramatic-scene, we don't get to see his motifs to why he is doing what he's doing.Another character that suffer from lack of continuity is the main character Youta, in one chapter he is fighting for a person that he supposedly says he "loves" and in the continuing chapter he already forgot about what he said, to my surprise the most consistent character were the girls (Moemi,Nobuko and Ai).
In regard to character development, the supporting character gets more attention each of the girl get some type of arc in this mess, each one grow to be more independent and open about themselves, the main-character is one of the few character that was annoying for lack of introspection and common-sense (a example of this was latter in the manga when he risks the life of his "sister" to talk to a girl that he just broke up) by the end of the story he still is too impulsive and kind of a a**hole.
Conclusion, the story is ok but pretty inconsistent for my taste, it's filled of pathos with some ethos but lack any logos, for a drama-romance the delivery feels like a novela (or soap opera) and i'm talking about the one filled with nonsensical bulls**t.
And video girl len? My honest opinion, it's same thing but worst, feel like a attempt of releasing a new series but failing miserably in doing so.
Honestly speaking i really like the art style, especially the character design, it has a 90s feel a it match the setting.
It was good in a not so good way, it's kinda a so bad it's good thing, i cannot see myself rereading it but i remember laughing at some attempts of drama.read more