Mao Manaka is a 15-year-old girl in junior high school who appears to be a refined beauty on the outside, but she's actually an impulsive girl who is very persistent once she has made up her mind to do something, which her childhood friend Ryouma likens to a bulldozer. This personality causes others her age to tend to stay away from her, and Ryouma enjoys the fact that he's basically the only person who can hang around her because he secretly has feelings for Mao.
Ryouma's daily interactions with Mao change one day when she meets Hayato Honjou, a fledgling actor who has had trouble making a name for himself in the entertainment industry. Ryouma quickly notices a change in Mao's demeanor when she starts showing a lot of interest in Hayato's up-and-coming career. Mao soon tells Ryouma that she has feelings for Hayato, and she shows Ryouma her determination to get closer to Hayato.
There aren’t a lot of shoujo manga with male protagonists, so naturally this one caught my attention. It was pretty cute in the beginning, as well. A lot of times the female protagonist is the one trying to get the love interest to notice her, but this one is about Ryouma chasing Mao. It’s also an interesting construct considering the childhood friend romance. If you know your shoujo, you know that about 99% of the time the childhood friend is never a serious romantic rival. I usually don’t even like the childhood friend. But this manga made me really root for Ryouma’s efforts. The reader
really gets to see how Ryouma feels about Mao, and it isn’t something that just came out of nowhere, either (like in other poorly written shoujo). His love for her developed from a young age and stayed carefully hidden. Actually, it could have been more obvious, too, but Mao is one of the dense types, so it wouldn’t have mattered.
What I liked about this manga is that it frequently jumped out of the school setting because of the acting business that the characters took part in. It wasn’t just something that the mangaka brushed over, either. Though the details didn’t get too technical, the reader is able to learn a little bit about how expression, experience, appearance, and dedication get the actors to where they are in the industry. Yes, some people have natural talent, but they need to grow on that in order to become wonderful. That’s shown when Mao works from the bottom up, starting from a few model shoots, commercials, and then short films. Ryouma is similarly given smaller jobs before he can handle the more serious ones, even having to deal with stage fright. Acting is not some light business.
The amount of times I laughed while reading this manga was countless. I was super excited to pick this one up after recognizing the art and realizing that it was created by a mangaka whose work I had read before (a oneshot called “Hatsukoi Harinezumi”). It was hilarious to see Mao acting on her impulses sometimes (like in the first chapter, she maneuvers a bulldozer to save a cat stuck in a sewer drain from a fallen log), and I even chuckled during her incredibly dense moments. Ryouma really took the cake for my laughter, though, as he was so eager to please but also hindered by his own insecurities and other people’s lack of common sense. A few of the other characters that were introduced were also quite humorous; I’m sure I laughed every moment the mangaka intended me to.
I especially loved Ryouma as the main character. Though he and others think that he is an average-looking guy, I think his dual-colored hair makes him quite unique and attractive. While he doesn’t face situations as head on as Mao does, I think he comes in second compared to her. He made his debut as an actor quite quickly, and as she did it for the person she loved, he did as well. He grew a lot from the beginning of the manga until the end.
What I like most about his personality is his “mood swings.” People refer to them as such, but they result from his being a tsundere. They only occur around people he trusts, situations where they ask him to do things and he’ll say something like, “Fine, not that I want to!” or something similar. It’s so cute because everyone recognizes what he really means. Like all tsunderes, he has an incredibly sweet side as well. When he’s comfortable enough, he shows a lot of care for his friends and family and I just love it.
I liked Ryouma more than the other characters just because of who he was. I couldn’t bring myself to like Mao that much for other reasons, but that aside, the other actors were great people and fun to read about.
The artwork by Ayumi Komura is really quite stunning. It has that fresh and light feel to it while still being detailed in shading, clothing, and hair. People with light colored hair have thick light colored eyelashes, so that’s something I always stare at when those characters pop up. Most characters have large eyes, even the males, so that’s a little different for shoujo. The only things I didn’t like were that the characters tended to have long noses and limbs, but I suppose those are consistent.
The romance was a little iffy near the end of the book, but it tied up nicely and very cutely with a oneshot. I came in expecting a lot after having read a great oneshot by the same mangaka, and with good reason, because most shoujo oneshots are terrible. Seeing that, I knew this manga would be amazing. While it isn’t the best shoujo I’ve ever read, it did meet my expectations and I will definitely read more from this mangaka. Her artwork is a whole other story in itself. I love the way she uses humor in various situations. The characters are excellent. Overall it was a fantastic read.
It starts you off with the cliche boy running after girl and stuff like that but do not be fulled. The art is amazing and the story has a really intense plot twist, but it is also rushed.
The experience will differ for each reader, as for me I loved it due to the plot twist and it's wonderful art style.
To not spoil everything let's cut it short shall we?
This manga is for those of you who like a boy chasing a girl love stories that have a happy ending, I won't spoil what kind of happy ending it is but just know that
the boy fails at chasing, tha's all I will spoil. So let's move on.
If you like a nice drawing style, with detailed eyes and pretty things, you should read this manga.
One thing bothered me a lot, the rushed ending. It ended just to fast and there is I think a lot of room to add at least one more volume.
Full Dozer is a shoujo romance that breaks away from most of the usual tropes.
The story is about chasing you dreams and your love, even as they both evolve. It's a very rushed story--especially the last volume--but it works because the characters are just so gosh darn likable. I wanted all of them to be happy, and that makes for an interesting love triangle (eventually rectangle).
Also, the story's end is great, even if it comes on too fast. Maybe I really just wanted there to be more Nina; she's a great character and does wonders for the series, but doesn't
show up until the last volume.
My only real problem (besides the pacing) with this manga is the artwork. Sometimes the characters look beautiful and interesting--after all, they are all in show biz. But every once in awhile, a character's profile in a panel will give him/her a bird-beak nose that looks extremely off-putting, and like it came out of a different manga. That inconsistency I found very distracting.
Still, this is a very enjoyable manga; if you like short shoujo romances with likable characters (no bad-boys or stand-offish jerks to be found!), give Full Dozer a try.