Dec 6, 2021
Amano Megumi wa Sukidarake is an ecchi romance/comedy manga. The concept of Amano's character is based on Amanojaku, a demon in Japanese folklore. From Wikipedia: "It is usually depicted as a kind of small oni and is thought to be able to provoke a person's darkest desires and thus instigates them into perpetrating wicked deeds". As the male protagonist is pursuing his goal of getting into Tokyo University, Amano keeps disrupting his studies whenever they meet. Each chapter is basically a setup for the same joke over and over of the female protagonist accidentally showing her underwear to the male protagonist. Despite that, the story
is much more than just that.
Its extremely amicable cast of characters provide a low-drama setting. Megumi isn't just a voluptuous body. She is an energetic and hard working athlete who isn't very fond of studying. In the doujo she is admired by her colleagues of the kendo club. Outside the club, she relies on her childhood friend, Manabu Shindou, for whom she secretly has a crush on. Manabu isn't a generic male protagonist. Tall and bookish, he is obsessed with studying due to his dream. Traumatized by failing the test to enter a prestigious high school, he vows to enter the celebrated Tokyo University. Completely different from one another, they form a great pair that complements each other.
What brings me joy in this story is the relationship between the two main protagonists, Amano and Shindou. Despite not formally being a couple, their constant acts of kindness towards each other just show how much they care about each other. Love is not just in big acts of sacrifice. Love is in the details. It is in their casual tenderness for the sake of the other. They are in a relationship. They just don't notice that they are. When one needs help, the other one is always there for the other. A couple whose relation is based on their friendship is just lovely to watch. If you are looking for romantic drama, kisses, and/or sex; give up on this title. It is through and through a situational comedy focused on the friendship side of a relationship. When people complain about that, I can only point out that one of the reasons Amano loves Shindou is exactly because he doesn't keep thinking about getting as quick as possible to a physical relationship. To some people, sex is the whole point of a couple. If you think so, don't even bother with this manga.
It has an episodic nature in the sense that it is a series of short stories that most of the time begin and end in one chapter. Despite that, the characters aren't stuck in an eternal status quo. They are all slowly changing as time goes by. The manga covers the three years of high school and delegates about 100 chapters for each year. It is really cool to see Amano's growth from being a promising rookie picked on by the teacher to becoming the revered captain of the kendo club. It is also nice when a teacher points out to Manabu how well he is progressing on his studies by having Amano on his side. Focusing only on studies is stressful and ends up being detrimental to one's well being. Amano's interference balances Shindou's life into a healthier state of mind. Not only that, it is thanks to all this disturbance that Shindou finds out what career he wants to pursue later in life.
This manga may seem like an excuse to show scantily clad women. While it is, it isn't just that. Beyond the provocative pages, there is a heartwarming tale.
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