Shiina Ayumi was one of my favourite shoujo manga authors in the past. I no longer see any new releases from her which saddens me but at least I can re-read some of her manga and still enjoy it immensely. Dice is only 2 volumes, it's short but still really sweet so if you need a quick read I would recommend picking this up.
- Story -
Alright, I didn't expect a 2 volume manga to have any sort of story. I just expected a cute fairytale romance that would end even before I felt like it started. I was in for a small surprise. Dice plays
out its story at a good pace, and because it's short it doesn't try to repeat the same stories again and again. There's something in every chapter that will keep you going until the very end. Although it does follow the pattern of pretty much every other high school romance shoujo manga you may end up reading, it does it well. I particularly like how it ended as well. Normally, I don't expect short series to end on a satisfying note but I don't think it needed more then the 2 volumes this series got.
- Art -
It's Shiina Ayumi! Her style is very easily identifiable. I think she does have the problem of making her characters look different from series to series but I think most artists have this same issue. I like to think of Shiina Ayumi's style as plain yet still extremely cute. She has the standard large eyes and cute hairstyles - I also think her female characters have this slight 'manly' charm to them. Sometimes she tends to leave her panels really empty but this is also a strength as some mangaka tend to overdo their tones and patterns and it blinds my eyes. Compared to some of her earlier works, Dice has improved art that still retain her trademark style. In general, for a shoujo manga reader I don't think art here is something to complain about. I would pick up this series from just staring at the art.
- Character -
So you have the main character, her love interest, the one who likes her and her friend who is after... actually I don't know this series sorta makes its love triangle a bit on the confusing side. A 2 volume series isn't exactly gonna have the most fleshed out characters but I think it does a decent job at introducing 4 mains and sticking to them. Sometimes the development between each of them iis a bit cheesy and forced. But either way, the good thing is that the main character is pretty strong so if you can't stand those whiny heroines in shoujo manga that can't do anything on their own... well, you won't see that here.
- Enjoyment -
As far as whether you will enjoy it or not, you get what you should expect which makes it great. It's a 2 volume shoujo series - so expect some cute art, some romance, some drama and some forced and somewhat rushed plot development that comes with every short series. What may surprise you is a strong heroine, decent set of characters and a satisfying ending (in my opinion).
- Overall -
I enjoyed this manga, I thought it had wonderful art, a good set of characters, an admirable heroine, an engaging story that will keep you going through the 2 volumes and a satisfying ending that won't leave you hanging (but you might still want more if you liked it that much). You can't complain when everything is done well even if nothing is done mindbogglingly fantastic.