Atashi, kiss-shita (or kisushita, depending on who you ask), shouldn't be good. Everything about it screams "shoujo checklist"; it's got the unrequited love, the childhood friends, the character who hides their emotions because of trauma, and the ridiculous glittery screentones. So why is it so enjoyable?
Haruka Matsui-sensei deserves a lot of credit. She didn't stay content, as many artists do nowadays, with lazily cobbling together manga tropes. She took those tropes that we all know and love, and elevated them beyond their mediocrity.
Take her plot, for example. It's unoriginal, but undeniably well-executed. In 35 pages, she gives us the kind of backstory and character
development it would usually take 35 chapters to get to. No panel is wasted, everything is tightly-knit and contributes to the advancement of the plot or the creation of a romantic ambiance surrounding the two main characters.
Shoujo manga like this one are too often ruined by an abundance of filler; they are driven by romantic tension, by conflicts and resolutions and climaxes, yet their authors allow them to slip into mundane slice-of-life stories. Unless you're writing a manga like Horimiya, which is good precisely because of that slice-of-life quality (something that likely comes from its origin as a 4-koma), you can't allow that to happen.
Luckily, Atashi, kiss-shita doesn't. The one-shot format seems to have drawn out Matsui-sensei's storytelling powers, and has led her to condense her tropes into a taut, compelling drama.
Her art, while for the most part traditional shoujo fare, is also elevated by certain welcome touches. The pared-down backgrounds and static scenes typical of this kind of manga work in her favor here. They allow her characters' expressions to stand out in places where they would otherwise have been drowned by extraneous detail, and they emphasize the power of her key panels, which all contain graceful, flowing movements.
While not a masterpiece by any means, Atashi, kiss-shita is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Perhaps what it does best is make the flaws of typical shoujo series--poor pacing, lack of tension, and trite art--stick out even more than they usually do.
First time review writing! Not sure why I decided to do it for a relatively unpopular one-shot, but whatever:
Story: 6/10 [Minor Spoilers]
The premise for this story is good, a couple of good, childhood friends are together a lot and as time went by, the girl developed feelings for the guy and would like to further their relationship through the form of a kiss. Pretty typical shoujo-romance plot.
However, with this one-shot, the author attempted to throw in so much background and different conflicts that the story ended feeling very rushed, jumpy, and difficult to follow. The attempted drama also felt a bit unneeded; especially in
regards to the addition of the "fake boyfriend."
Overall, it was cute, but cute can only get you so far.
Not really much to say here, it was solid art, but nothing spectacular.
As someone who reads primarily shoujo related manga, I know characters tend to stick to a set style, and this one-shot is no different. The characters had typical, flat personalities that didn't stick out; a bit harsh for a one-shot, but that's just the way it is.
This was fluffy, and fluffy is good in my eyes; but as I stated previously, this one-shot stuck pretty heavily to the typical shoujo formula and can't be considered anything amazing. I gave it a 7 because I'm a shoujo guy.
This story suffered from a lack of length. If the author were to extend this story from a one-shot into a series with about 2-3 volumes, giving the characters, plot, and backstories more time to be developed, I believe this would have a much better outcome.