Shindo Manabu is a student in a very prestigious high school who's goal is to get into Tokyo University. He studies constantly and tries to never lose sight of that goal. That is until his childhood friend, Amano Megumi, who goes to the same school starts to distract him. He only saw her as the tom-boy she was as a kid until they meet up again when she has become "more developed." As those two get closer to each other Manabu gets more and more distracted from his goal of getting into Tokyo U, so hilarity ensues.
Amano Megumi Wa Sukidarake is a novel twist on the slice-of-life manga genre. Featuring both episodic chapter, a tiny cast and a copious amount of ecchi, it doesn’t fit snuggly into any sort of sub-genre. Instead, it is its own beast, choosing to sell itself not on witty dialogue or visual comedy, but with its titular heroine alone. The result is a sweet albeit unpolished series that relies on its winning formula to keep the audience reading.
Story: Amano Megumi has got a winning formula: combine the exaggerated visuals of slice-of-life comedy manga with a couple titillating shots of the heroine, Amano Megumi. Add in
some bits of actual romantic potential between the MC, Maa-kun with the adorable Amano, and there’s a fun and fluffy read to be had.
Within its greatest strength, however, lies the manga’s greatest weakness. While the series tries to change up the stories in later chapters to kindle Amano and Maa-kun’s relationship, the manga is repetitive. Some of the settings and situations feel like nothing more than a stage for Amano to flash some skin. After marathoning through several chapters, don’t be surprised if you start to being able to call the beats of a chapter. “Oh, she’ll stick out her butt here”, “As I thought. A boob shot”, “And this is where Maa-kun tells her to cover up with a nosebleed.” Granted, other ecchi series suffer from these issues, but those other series have larger casts.
As such, Amano Megumi is more like medicine than entertainment. A few chapters-a-day. Be careful not to take too much or you’ll build a resistance to the meds. But if you've had a long day and need a break, pop open a chapter.
Characters: You’re here for Amano. There are other characters, like Maa-kun’s cousin, Maa-kun’s crush, Amano’s Mom, Amano’s friends. The reader, however, doesn’t get a chance to bond with most of the side cast because they’re just small parts of Amano’s story. They’re archetypes that help set up the ecchi and the comedy, which wouldn’t be so bad if the main cast was larger.
But it’s not, so reader will be stuck with two main characters for most of the series: Amano Megumi and Maa-kun. Amano is happy-go-luck girl with a busty figure, a passion for Kendo and a penchant for klutziness. Whether she’s accidentally ripping her Halloween stockings on a table, poking her butt out of a kotastu or taking off her pajama bottoms in the throe of a fever, Amano is simultaneously sexy and adorable. Her co-star, Maa-kun, is her childhood friend, a studious boy who struggles with Amano’s sizable assets. Many of the ecchi scenes in the manga are the product of Maa-kun’s lewd fantasies, and while he tries his best to look after her, he can only watch the plucky heroine so closely before he loses his cool.
The relationship between these starts as a friendship rife with unintentional sexual tension, but, in recent chapters, is starting to show signs of something more. Perhaps this development will charge this manga with a new energy to break out of its repetitive structure. Only time will tell, though.
Art: The character designs are simple yet effective. The art style itself emphasizes the ecchi, with the detail and quality of Amano’s ecchi moments contrasting the more blocky, basic style of the comedic segments. Maa-kun himself looks angular when compared to Amano’s curvy, plumb body. Although the manga uses archetypes that are similar to other series, the art style helps the characters stand apart.
Enjoyment: Like any comedy manga, the series lives and dies by its gags. If you don’t find its brand of ecchi-filled humor funny within the first few chapters, you’re not going to like the rest of the series. It can get repetitive, but the characters are nonetheless lovable.
If you’ve wanted to see a curvy, chubby girl screw with both her childhood friend and social decency, then you’re in luck. Caution: Meaty Goodness and Warm Fuzzy’s ahead!