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.
"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!
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.