Ai Maekawa is a jimi—a homely, studious girl. After being horribly embarrassed by a popular student towards the end of middle school, Ai uses the break between middle and high school to carry out a complete makeover. Between dieting, makeup and new clothes, Ai makes herself into a beauty. Imbued with newfound confidence, she decides to pursue Sô Ichinose, the most handsome and popular boy in her class. Over the course of the series, Ai attempts to win and keep Sou's affections, as well as friends both female and male.
I really wish I could say I liked this series- the art was good, and the main SIDE characters are likable, but I didn't. The plot itself was VERY superficial, and sent a VERY negative message towards its target audience. The message the plot was trying to give out is to get friends, and to get a boyfriend, that a girl must change not only her appearance(become 'beautiful'), but also her entire personality as well. It also was giving the message that overweight people can never get a boyfriend because "no one will ever like them for their personality alone; it's just a fantasy", and
that a quiet, geeky person will always be picked on, and never loved.
This message only contributes to the belief that beauty doesn't come from anywhere but the person's exterior appearance. A story like this should NOT have been translated in the US, as it could possibly lower teen's self esteem, and reinforces negative views on a person.
The second thing I don't like is that the protagonist was far too forgiving, and her actions are too unrealistic. She was OK with the fact that her boyfriend was dating two other women at once- which NO REAL GIRL WOULD BE. She never dumped him, like she should have- she fought the other two girls for him. She also put far too much effort into keeping him- and never got the same effort back from him. He really didn't care for her, yet she still never dumped him.
The only saving grace this series had were the protagonist's friend, and her 'boyfriend's friend. And even they weren't enough to save it.
Avoid this series at all costs, unless you like series with jerky boyfriends, and superficial messages.
“Oh I’m getting an erection. Is it touching your back?”
I laughed I’m sorry but that up there is funny, which is the type of humor you find in Doubt!! You have to appreciate honest truths, even creepy ones.
Having been an ugly duckling for all of her life and tired of people not noticing her in a good way, Ai decides, ‘enough is enough.’ During one summer she turns herself from a nerd into a princess, with a lot of effort, she looks completely different and the new school she’s starting will bring forth her “new and improved” life. Everything is going according to plans
and everyone loves her, Ai has her eye on the school’s most popular guy and top player. It turns out that on the inside she is still the inexperience girl she has always been specially when it comes to guys.
The story is simple and typical, so average you see it everywhere you look (tv counts). Girl decides to change herself because people were hatin’ ( I like to try slang every now and then) on her. She changes herself and goes to a new school to start over and people love her there. Immediately getting the attention of the school’s top guys and best friends, So’(that’s his name) and Yuichiro. Good thing she’s pretty now, if not all that stress of getting So' to fall in love with her would make her really scary if she were her plain old self. Lesson is simple in this one, you want something, go get it! Not meaning sex, which is talked about in this manga a lot too. The “it” was more metaphorical for all your wishes and desires (could include sex if you want). A girl's struggle to being accepted and dealing with a promiscuous guy and all his psychotic (non medicated) ex's (yes that's plural, remember that if you start reading this one). And try not to dwell on the message that unless you're pretty or beautiful your life won't amount to much and no one will love you because then you'll really dislike it.
This is the part we thank all those side characters for lifting the dead carcass that some manga have potential of being and giving it LOL moments to deviate from the fact that the lead characters are not lead material at first and for a while later. Mouthful there.
“ A cat fight is about to commence… a rivalry so intense that it’s heat will scorch the Earth!” (very anticlimactic, I mean dramatic)
To start of you have, Ai, who is a bucket of crazy. If crazy were to take human form it would lie on her shoulders and give her directions. Everywhere.
She wanted what she didn’t have when she was plain, now when she’s pretty, she’s still herself and a little bit like the other girls she disliked. Her development in this story was that she cared enough about wanting to change her life that she changed her outer self in order to achieve it, to become stronger (to get laid). I’d say she got confidence but it was more of self assurance that she grew into. I grew to like her more towards the end due to standing up for herself and not letting someone under the pretext of love take advantage of her.
Mina is Ai’s best and only friend in this manga. And if Ai has the crazy, Mina feeds the weird. She’s in love with Yuichiro, as it happens he loves Ai, which is obvious to everyone but Ai. Instead of hating her friend for that, it is represented in a comical way that is almost (and yet completely) unrealistic. She is a rare breed that one. Mina is herself and is just there for the purpose of providing advice (not good one most of the times) and comical occurrences which extend the plot and manga length.
Yuichiro and So, the unlikely pair that are as different as night and day and yet as alike as water and ice. Always curious why the do that in manga. Make two guys who are almost identical, different in personality and make them both like the heroine. I think it’s just to see which one she picks. Trying out the “good guys finish last.” saying.
Yuichiro is the serious and smarter version of whore-ish So‘, who has girls eating out of his hands and from his character you assume that he lost his virginity in middle school to his teacher. Yeah that guy. Yuichiro is the friend we all want to have and sometimes take for granted until he isn’t there anymore. His character is consistent and never changing in his side role. Which is a shame because he has spunk when it counts and I was rooting for him.
So’ is player and the love interest of Ai. He comes of as blasé in his attitude but you can tell that there’s more to him, hopefully. Thank you for that if not he would have been a doozy, albeit a good looking one. His character develops more as the story progresses and we learn more about him, more than any other character and we realize that no there wasn't more to him and he's kind of an a-hole.
What bothered me to the point of dropping it (I couldn’t do it though, I “already drank the poison, might as well lick the plate…”) was that we know nothing about Ai other than she was an ugly duckling before her transformation and she's superficial enough to know that superficity matters.
The story dwells all this time trying to develop a relationship we already know how it’ll end but doesn’t give the side characters which have a better personality any development. It is all about Ai and So’. All the time. Even things that happened where left hanging as if the mangaka forgot to resolve them and drops another new character in before resolving the last issue.
Every chapter ends with a narration to make you want to read the next one but it comes of as a cheesy attempt to a cliffhanger because the actual scenes weren’t cliffhanger-ry enough.. That being the case, it’s the same narration that makes the manga interesting throughout the story. It’s like being inside the mind of the mind, I just made it sound cooler than how it is…
The art was nice in the facial at a glance. Then you start noticing little things like a bubble in the eye drawings that make it seems like the characters are either crying or have a loose contact. When the characters were dressed for school or even outer wear the drawing was average. But during summer scenes and with more revealing clothes it was clumsy. The lines were lumpy and not straight and it was just overall awkward. All in all it was average except for some “Pretty” moments that you get used to.
Overall, a nice, entertaining read with weird humor. If I had to explain in better this would be a summer read. Light and fluffy where serious moments get squashed by weird faces/responses and a "bad" message (the being pretty thing). It's a shame too because the characters aren't bad at all and it could have been sort of awesome (Strobe Edge!). I’m still wondering why the title Doubt!!:
Doubt!! Any of them would read their own manga?
Doubt!! In the name of love…?
Doubt!! You’d ever scream the word doubt unless it’s a title of a manga and the word is followed by not one but two unnecessary exclamation point?
“Life is all or nothing. Take it or lose it. Land safely or fall flat…”
Being that I identified with Ai Maekawa, I particularly enjoyed this series. (I too was a girl that blossomed in high school). It's short, which helps the storyline to move along without much filler. The story is definitely deeper than a high school girl trying to rise to popularity; it focuses more on the psychological struggles of a girl thrust into the high school spotlight (without getting too deep). If anything, this series somewhat spoofs the whole high school hierarchy issue. And it definitely has quite a few "OMG what?" *burst into laughter* moments. I own all the volumes
and re-read them often.
Unlike some people above me, I really liked this manga, and that's exactly because it's different. The main characters are different, than in common shoujo mangas, the plot seems to be pretty normal, but in the end, the story often moves in the opposite dirrection, then you expect. Some people call that unrealistic, but I think it's just original. I mean, 99 of 100 shoujo heroins would dump the guy imediately, if they knew, he was involved with other women(and that even in case it was just in the past, and not actual at all...), and I guess we all read it and hope, that
now she'll treat him the way he deserves it, and dump him, and he would be depressed, tries to apologise, does something incredible to make her forgive him and so on and so on... but isn't it already a very common and often used scenario? I think it's much more interesting the way it was made, cause in real life you don't have such ideal guys running all over the world, and you have to try hard to be with the one you love and to maintain the relationship, though it would be really nice if you just could run off sulking by every problem, while the man would chase after you trying his best to win you back XD Yeah, the main hero is really not a typical shoujo knight on a white horse. He's nothing like the type "Oh, I fell in love with her, and will love her and only her for the rest of my life and will do anything for her". Or at least he wasn't that way till the late chapters. He doesn't mind saying something that hurts her, and it's not unintentional at all. He isn't perfect and doesn't have ideal reasons for his behaviour all the time. Well, he's a teenager after all... When I read shoujo manga, I almost forget, that teenagers aren't really perfect men in each aspect XD
And about that issue of wrong message, that is mentioned in the first review... I think, the message is totaly ok. Because it really says that most people can do something about their looks, if they have the will and put some efforts into it. Of course, if the people want to. And it's no use just blaming everything in the world on the looks, or covering own laziness with ideals like "looks don't matter if the person is good inside". I mean, of course it does count what's inside, but it doesn't mean people can use it as an excuse for not doing anything about the outside. If someone doesn't feel good about his looks, he should just do something so he would be content with himself, why should it be so wrong?
If this manga sends wrong message, then what about all the other shoujo manga? The people there are always cute or beautifull, does that mean they say that ugly people have no chance in love at all? XD
And finally, probably one of the most important reasons for me liking the manga, is the fact, that it's really funny. I mean, most of shoujo mangas are just romantic. Well, they try to be funny, but it's pretty hard to not to end by those cliche jokes, that are everywhere, and are not funny at all anymore... Just the moment during their scholl trip: "I don't have money for a love hotel! - So let's earn it! Hey, foreigner, buy this, see, it's a japanese item, the sign say's "National treasure"" :D It's really rare coming across a funny romantic manga. So I think Doubt!! is really good one, in every aspect.